Summary: Part of a lengthy series I am doing in the book of Philippians.

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Sunday March 16, 2008

Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:12-14


A. What would say is the Christian’s biggest little question? Any ideas? I think the Christians biggest little question is this, “WHY?” The biggest question we have for God usually amounts to these three letters, W-H-Y. When things happen to us that seem unfair, or harsh, or wrong I think the typical response of a child of God is WHY? “Why God, why me, why this, why now? I know this is a serious issue but I can’t help but think of something I got in an e-mail the week I was preparing this sermon. It has to do with this subject of fairness. This was actual wording taken from a police officers video recorder after stopping someone. "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop.” You know it is interesting to say the least that we Christians and I am including myself in this, that we seem to feel that suffering is so unfair for us. I really think that if you listen to some preachers today and I will say I think a lot of this comes from those on TV. I lot of these preachers seem to be saying to us that if you suffer it means that there is something wrong with you or that you have in some way offended God.

1. I have been reading an excellent book called “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. In a chapter called “Beatitudes: Lucky Are The Unlucky” I want to share with you something he wrote. (Read portion).

2. If this is the case, if this is true that when things go wrong it is a sign of God’s displeasure with us then Paul is among the worst offenders of the gospel and no one could be more on the wrong side of God than he because there is no doubt but that Paul suffered and suffered a lot! [] I honestly believe that the character George in the Seinfeld TV series typifies much modern day thinking both inside and outside the church when it comes to this subject of suffering. There is an episode when George is at this therapist and she notices something on his lip and suggests he get it checked out by his doctor. Well if you know this character George flips out and feels that it much be cancer and that he is going to die. He tells his therapist that he believes God is punishing him just about as he is to be successful writing a TV sitcom. She responds to him by saying, “I didn’t think you believed in God.” To which George says, “I do for the bad things.”

3. You know it really is sad that so often times God is given credit when things go wrong, like an earthquake or hurricane, or flood and we say “It was an act of God”. Why is it that when we get a promotion or pay raise or new house or new car we don’t say, “It was an act of God?”

B. Let me take just a minute here to remind all of us the theme of this sermon series. It is How To Be A Christian And Still Enjoy Life. How can we experience these ups and downs of life? How can we go through the difficult times that this human experience provides us, especially as people who profess faith in God and still enjoy life? How can we be joyous people as Christians when so much of today’s train of thought is that bad things should never happen to those who proclaim themselves to be Christians? Well I believe that Paul gives us some answers in the next set of verses we will explore in chapter one. As we think about how to have Joy in spite of things going wrong or not going as we planned consider Paul’s words. First of all consider what happened to Paul himself.


A. Paul’s Life Was Filled With Trouble.

1. Read with me V.12 again (read). Notice that Paul said “I want you to know about the things that have happened to me.” Well what are the things that have happened to Paul? Let’s consider some of those. First let’s consider what has happened to Paul since his first visit to Philippi. I want to share with you the words from a man named J.A. Motyer who did an excellent job summing up what happened to Paul after his visit with these people. Before I share this with you I want you to follow along with some of this in your bibles so let’s all turn to Acts chapter 21. (Read copied portion and stop to review the scriptures he lists.)

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