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?
C. Hardships Promote Confidence in Brethren (14) (Three Ways)
1. Reliance on God
a) Psalm 34:19 – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
b) Psalm 46:1 – “The Lord is my refuge and my strength, a present help in times of trouble.”
c) 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and a sound mind.”
2. Encouraged by others.
a) If Paul can be bold in chains, surely we can bold out of them.
b) When we see others still focused on the kingdom it makes us examine ourselves – 2 Corinthians 13:5
3. Commitment to the Word
a) Romans 1:16 – God’s power is in the word.
b) Psalm 119:105 – God’s direction in the word.
c) Psalm 119:49, 81 – God’s hope in the word.
D. Hardships Help Defend the Gospel
1. The need to defend the Gospel.
a) Acts 20:29-30 – “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves, men will rise up speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples.”
b) 1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy…”
c) 2 Timothy 4:2 – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…”
2. The attitude to defend the Gospel.