Summary: Part 2 of a series from Philippians focusing on the blessings of trials.
The Joy of Hardships
A. Sources of Joy
1. Men have searched for joy through many avenues.
a) Voltaire search for joy in unbelief and then declared, “I wish I had never been born.”
b) Lord Byron searched for joy in pleasure, yet proclaimed, “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
c) Jay Gould (multi-millionaire) searched for joy in material wealth and on his deathbed proclaimed, “I suppose that I am the most miserable man on earth.”
d) Lord Beaconsfield (British Prime Minister) searched for joy in power and position stated at the end of his life, “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.”
e) Alexander the Great searched for joy in glory and conquering yet proclaimed in tears, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
2. Christ is the source of true joy.
a) Romans 5:11 – “…but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
b) 1 Peter 1:8 – “…Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,…”
3. Paul found the joy of Christ.
a) Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice.”
b) The book of Philippians highlights the joy of the Christian life.
c) Last week – The Joy of Community (1-11)
d) Tonight, joy is found in unlikely sources – Hardships and Persecution.
e) Five reasons that Paul could rejoice in suffering through hardships – Philippians 1:12-18
II. Rejoicing in Suffering
A. Hardships Further the Gospel (12)
1. Hardships Fuels the Fire
a) Acts 5:41 – “So they departed from the counsel, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
b) Acts 8:4 – “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”
2. Hardships Opens Doors
a) Acts 16:16-34 – In this case doors were literally opened to open spiritual doors of opportunity.
b) Acts 22-26 – Doors were opened to speak to Paul’s countrymen, Roman officials and Jewish royalty.
c) Acts 27-28 – Hardships open doors from Caesarea to Rome.
3. Hardships strengthen the Faithful
a) 2 Corinthians 12:10 – “Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecution, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
b) 2 Corinthians 13:4 – “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we are also weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.”
c) Being strengthened by God gives us the energy and the courage to keep pressing on.
B. Hardships Demonstrate Evidences of Christ (13)
1. Christ is to be seen in us.
a) Galatians 2:20 – “…no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me…”
b) 1 Timothy 4:15 – “Meditate on these things, give yourselves entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”
c) Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine…”
2. When Christ is seen in us, Christ can be taught to others.
a) Our willingness to rejoice in trials speaks volumes to others.
b) Even the most unlikely people can be reached through the power of influence (whole palace guard).
c) What evidence of Christ have we demonstrated to others?