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Summary: One of the reasons we lose joy is because we lose focus. This sermon looks at keep our focus so we keep our joy!

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JOY COMES FROM THE RIGHT FOCUS

PHILIPPIANS 1:12-14 NOW I WANT YOU TO KNOW, BRETHREN, THAT MY CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE TURNED OUT FOR THE GREATER PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL, 13 SO THAT MY IMPRISONMENT IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST HAS BECOME WELL KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE PRAETORIAN GUARD AND TO EVERYONE ELSE, 14 AND THAT MOST OF THE BRETHREN, TRUSTING IN THE LORD BECAUSE OF MY IMPRISONMENT, HAVE FAR MORE COURAGE TO SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD WITHOUT FEAR.

PROPOSITION: IN A MULTI FACETED WORLD, WE NEED TO MAINTAIN OUR FOCUS.

INTRODUCTION: AS WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES IN THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS, WE WANT TO KEEP OUR FOCUS CLEAR – OUR FOCUS IS JOY! ONE OF THE REASONS WE LOSE JOY IS THAT WE LOSE FOCUS. WE START TO HONE IN ON THE WRONG THINGS, WE CHOOSE A NEGATIVE WAY OF LOOKING AT A SITUATION, OR WE ALLOW A VALUE SYSTEM DIFFERENT THAT ONE THAT SHOULD BE OURS AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST TO GUIDE OUR CONCLUSIONS ON ISSUES.

TRANSITION: IN AN EFFORT TO KEEP US FOCUSED ON THE RIGHT THINGS, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT PAUL’S FOCUS AS HE VIEWS HIS SITUATION.

I. FOCUS ON REALITY

a. VERSE 12 – “ I WANT YOU TO KNOW”

i. WHAT IS IMPORTANT

ii. “I WANT YOU TO GET THIS”

b. PAUL HAS DETERMINED THAT HIS CIRCUMSTANCES ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE PHILIPPIAN CHURCH TO BE AWARE OF

i. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THEM THE WAY HE DOES

ii. HE WANTS THEM TO NOT ONLY KNOW BUT TO ALSO UNDERSTAND

c. UNDERSTANDING PAUL’S CIRCUMSTANCES

i. PAUL’S PASSION IS THE GOSPEL

ACTS 20:24 "BUT I DO NOT CONSIDER MY LIFE OF ANY ACCOUNT AS DEAR TO MYSELF, SO THAT I MAY FINISH MY COURSE AND THE MINISTRY WHICH I RECEIVED FROM THE LORD JESUS, TO TESTIFY SOLEMNLY OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.

1. ANYTHING THAT WAS FOR THE GOSPEL; PAUL WAS IN FAVOR OF!

ii. PAUL VIEWED HIS CIRCUMSTANCES THROUGH THE IMPACT THEY HAD ON THE GOSPEL

iii. PAUL’S CONCLUSION WAS THAT HIS SITUATION WAS GOOD FOR THE GOSPEL

1. PAUL SAW THAT THE EVIL TOWARDS HIM WAS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR THE GOSPEL

iv. PAUL USES THE WORD PROGRESS

1. THE GREEK WORD IS PROKOPE

a. MOVING FORWARD AGAINST GREAT OBSTACLES

b. USED OF SOMEONE WHO IS HACKING A PATH THROUGH THE BRUSH

i. SLOW PROGRESS FOR THEM

ii. EASIER PROGRESS FOR OTHERS

v. SCRIPTURE TESTIFIES TO EVIL WORKING OUT FOR GOOD

GENESIS 50:20 "AS FOR YOU, YOU MEANT EVIL AGAINST ME, BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT THIS PRESENT RESULT, TO PRESERVE MANY PEOPLE ALIVE.

ROMANS 8:28-29 AND WE KNOW THAT GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. 29 FOR THOSE WHOM HE FOREKNEW, HE ALSO PREDESTINED TO BECOME CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, SO THAT HE WOULD BE THE FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN;

EPHESIANS 2:10 FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS FOR GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND SO THAT WE WOULD WALK IN THEM.

vi. GOD HAD EVEN USED SATAN TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES

1. IN THE TESTING OF JOB

2. IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST

vii. PAUL HAD OFTEN SPOKEN OF WHAT HE HAD BEEN THROUGH FOR THE GOSPEL

1 CORINTHIANS 16:9 FOR A WIDE DOOR FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE HAS OPENED TO ME, AND THERE ARE MANY ADVERSARIES.

1 THESSALONIANS 2:2 BUT AFTER WE HAD ALREADY SUFFERED AND BEEN MISTREATED IN PHILIPPI, AS YOU KNOW, WE HAD THE BOLDNESS IN OUR GOD TO SPEAK TO YOU THE GOSPEL OF GOD AMID MUCH OPPOSITION.

d. GOD HAS ALLOWED SUFFERING FOR MANY REASONS

i. TO CORRECT US

PROVERBS 3:11-12 MY SON, DO NOT REJECT THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD OR LOATHE HIS REPROOF,

12 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE REPROVES, EVEN AS A FATHER CORRECTS THE SON IN WHOM HE DELIGHTS.

ii. TO INSTRUCT US

1 PETER 1:6-7 IN THIS YOU GREATLY REJOICE, EVEN THOUGH NOW FOR A LITTLE WHILE, IF NECESSARY, YOU HAVE BEEN DISTRESSED BY VARIOUS TRIALS, 7 SO THAT THE PROOF OF YOUR FAITH, BEING MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD WHICH IS PERISHABLE, EVEN THOUGH TESTED BY FIRE, MAY BE FOUND TO RESULT IN PRAISE AND GLORY AND HONOR AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST;

iii. AND IN THE CASE OF PAUL – TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL

ILLUSTRATION: JOHN BUNYAN'S PREACHING WAS SO POPULAR AND POWERFUL, AND SO UNACCEPTABLE TO LEADERS IN THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY CHURCH OF ENGLAND, THAT HE WAS JAILED IN ORDER TO SILENCE HIM. REFUSING TO BE SILENT, HE BEGAN TO PREACH IN THE JAIL COURTYARD. HE NOT ONLY HAD A LARGE AUDIENCE OF PRISONERS, BUT ALSO HUNDREDS OF THE CITIZENS OF BEDFORD AND THE SURROUNDING AREA WOULD COME TO THE PRISON DAILY AND STAND OUTSIDE TO HEAR HIM EXPOUND SCRIPTURE. HE WAS SILENCED VERBALLY BY BEING PLACED DEEP INSIDE THE JAIL AND FORBIDDEN TO PREACH AT ALL. YET IN THAT SILENCE, HE SPOKE LOUDEST OF ALL AND TO MORE PEOPLE THAN HE COULD HAVE IMAGINED. IT WAS DURING THAT TIME THAT HE WROTE THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, THE GREAT CHRISTIAN CLASSIC THAT HAS MINISTERED THE GOSPEL TO TENS OF MILLIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. FOR SEVERAL CENTURIES, IT WAS THE MOST WIDELY READ AND TRANSLATED BOOK IN THE WORLD AFTER THE BIBLE. BUNYAN'S OPPONENTS WERE ABLE TO STOP HIS PREACHING FOR A FEW YEARS, BUT THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO STOP HIS MINISTRY. INSTEAD, THEY PROVIDED OPPORTUNITY FOR IT TO BE EXTENDED FROM DEEP WITHIN A JAIL IN THE SMALL TOWN OF BEDFORD TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.

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