Summary: Joy Genome is a Lectio Continua through the epistle of Philippians. How can we have joy...always?

Philippians 1:12-21

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

“Joy Part I: These Chains are Wings”

Intro to “Joy Genome”

Are you filled with Joy?

Why is it some people seem happy no matter what is happening to them?

We are going to explore that question over the next four weeks by doing a Lectio Continua through the “Joy” book of the bible.

Philippians is the “Joy” book.

A book… only four chapters long… mentions Joy 10 times!

The optimist says the glass is half full.

The pessimist says the glass is half empty.

The politician says “That glass needs a stimulus package.”

The paranoid... wonder who drank the other half.

The mother of a persistently demanding four-year-old says “sweetheart it's whatever you want it to be, just please let mummy have five minutes of peace and quiet.”

The thrifty want to know what's in the glass anyhow... and if they can have the rest of it.

The computer specialist says that next year the glass capacity will double, and be half the price.

The Buddhist says don't worry, if the glass has lived a good life, it will be reincarnated as a FULL glass.

The English teacher says that while the terms half-full and half-empty are colloquially acceptable the glass can technically be neither since both full and empty are absolute states and therefore are incapable of being halved or modified in any way.

The smart alec says that the glass is not empty at all - it is half-filled with water and half-filled with air - hence, filled to the top.

Finally, the Minnesota Viking fan… looks at the glass… and declares it’s time for a beer run.

So what would you say? More importantly… and more relevant to our scripture text today… what do you think Paul would say? If you don’t already know it by now, it helps to know that Paul was a little nutty. I mean… he had to be to write some of the stuff he wrote. Let’s set this up a tiny little bit… as Paul writes this book of Philippians he is in prison, he has been abused and beaten, persecuted and threatened… and now he sits… awaiting his execution… writing letters to the churches near and dear to his heart. So he is in prison and he starts out his letter talking about how this was such a good move for his ministry. He has to be a little nutty… right?

That’s how he starts out this section in verse 12, “12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Paul, you’re in prison. You’ve been beaten and persecuted. How on earth could this possibly be a good thing. But Paul says, “because of my bravery… other pastors and other Christians have become brave… and that’s awesome.”

Have you ever been inspired by someone else’s bravery? Someone who’s faith in Christ has just amazed you, and you’ve wanted to be just a tiny bit like them? I know a few… and I’ve known a few. And what a blessing they are to God’s ministry. Paul would probably say if his imprisonment would help save a single soul or embolden a single pastor… he would chain himself up. So in the light of that news is the glass half empty or half full? There’s some joy in that… isn’t there.

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