Summary: *This sermon and series is based from the package marketed by Outreach Ministries and was adapted for my personal use* A Sermon showing how to live a life giving everything to God
“Learning How To Live A Life Of Loss”
Coulee Community Church
May 12, 2019
Welcome back to the third week in our series based on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This wonderful letter teaches us how to experience joy during tough times.
Key Scripture: Philippians, Chapter 3
A quintessential attribute and point of the Christian life
Learning How To Live A Life Of Loss
During week one, we covered chapter 1 of the letter, where Paul urges us to live “as if” God is in control. During the second week, we looked at chapter 2, where Jesus, our Lord, is presented as a perfect example for behavior in times of difficulty and persecution. He is our model for enduring tough times.
Both messages are available on the podcast if you missed them, and I’d strongly encourage you as end time believers to listen to the messages when you can’t be here on Sunday morning- you need that truth an encouragement to feed your soul.
So now in week three of this series we will look at Philippians chapter 3, where we see that the apostle Paul is also a model for us in learning what it means to endure hardship.
Suffering and hardship should come as no surprise to us. The bible is full of examples of people who went through suffering. One of the longest prophetic books was written by a man named Jeremiah, who was known as the weeping prophet.
Perhaps we cannot explain the meaning of suffering philosophically, but we can go through hard times in a Christlike manner.
Jesus said, “If they’ve persecuted me, they will persecute you.” (John 15:20)
The Apostle Peter, in another letter, said, “Don’t be surprised as if some strange thing we’re happening to you when you encounter hardships” (1 Peter 4:12).
In another context, Paul himself encouraged new believers with these words: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
In fact, one of the last messages given to us by Paul (in 2 Timothy) reminds us, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Today as we will look at Philippians chapter 3, we will discover that Paul offers himself as an example for how to go through hard times. Very near the end of this chapter, in verse 17, he says, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”
As you read through the New Testament, you’ll find that this kind of exhortation is common in Paul’s letters. He often offered his own life as a personal example.
The church of the Philippians had a unique perspective in understanding how Paul endured persecution. The Book of Acts records that in the very first days after Paul arrived in the city of Philippi, he was thrown in prison.
He responded to this imprisonment by singing praises to God!
God responded to Paul’s praises by supernaturally breaking him out of jail! Even the Philippian jailer was impacted by Paul’s example: the jailer took Paul into his own home, bandaged his wounds, and became a follower of Jesus. (He and his whole family were baptized as new converts.)
Paul’s example while he was planting the church in Philippi is instructive in two ways.
First, there is frequently a connection between fruitful ministry and difficult days.
We talked this last Wednesday during our bible study about the great falling away predicted in the scriptures (2 Thess 2). These prophetic warnings are in the bible to tell us that no matter what- even if everything looks dark, and hard times are coming we are still to be about the master’s work, looking up and crying out Maranatha Jesus- not just to get us out of here- but calling Maranatha Jesus to come into the lives of those we love and live around.
Second, the world is watching as followers of Jesus endure tough times. How Paul responded (and by extension how we respond) becomes a means of evangelism. Our actions authenticate our message.
Perhaps you have never been thrown in jail for your testimony of Christ. Perhaps you have never been beaten because you were a follower of Jesus.
But difficult days come in many forms. There are plenty of believers who have suffered the loss of family relationships because of their belief. There are plenty of believers who have been passed over for promotions at work because they put their faith first and their work second.
There are plenty of believers who make choices involving in personal loss in order to remain faithful to Jesus their Lord and to His mission for their lives.
Perhaps you are one of those believers. Or, if you have not faced difficult days let me encourage you as Paul and Barnabas encouraged the first church they planted: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” The question is not whether we will face hardship or suffering.