Summary: The Word of God encourages us to be Christ’s person in every situation and to seek to glorify HIM, “whether it be by life, or by death” (Phil.1:20).
LIVING IN CHRIST
(Philippians 1:12-26; 2:1-13; 3:7-21; 4:4-19)
LIVING IS CHRIST
Last week, during our bible study I discussed with you the details on the series of messages that will be covered these months of May and June. I hope you have read and studied the sermon outlines I gave to you last week.
In these sermon series, we will study the books of Philippians and Colossians. There are seven (7) series of messages: 4 from Philippians (month of May) and 3 from Colossians (month of June)
These sermons series are focused on Jesus Christ. That is most appropriate since Jesus is the CENTER of our faith. It also noteworthy, because all of these messages are drawn from portion of the New Testament commonly called the Prison Epistles.
So for this month of May consist of four messages on LIVING IN CHRIST. We will discuss what it means to give Christ a position of primary importance in our lives and what it take on His mind, or attitude; how Christ can help us persevere in our struggles and how we can give us reason to rejoice- even in the darkest of circumstances.
Today’s message is entitled, “Living is Christ.”
Circumstances often throw and defeat people. The one thing that a believer must do is to learn to live above circumstances- to keep his witness for Christ strong and mature. Many people struggle with how to face the issue of death. This message will speak of that concern. It will encourage us to be Christ’s person in every situation and to seek to glorify Him, “whether it be by life, or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)
Verses 9-11 includes prayer for continued growth in love, knowledge, and judgment; in appreciation for what is best; in lifelong sincerity and purity; and in fruitfulness springing from the righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus.
The following verses (12-26), from which our text for today is taken, testify that Paul himself possessed the same qualities that he urged his friends in Philippi to demonstrate.
I. Progress of the Cause (1:12-18)
A. The Gospel advances (vv. 12, 13) Paul’s ministry had been somewhat limited since he was sized by the Jews in the temple are of Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-31). He faced dark circumstances: he was a prisoner in Rome. Paul was waiting to appear before the Supreme Court of Rome. However, he used his ark circumstances to spread the gospel. Paul did not see himself as a prisoner of Rome. He saw himself as a prisoner for Jesus Christ. He did not see himself a victim; he saw himself as a victor for Christ.
His enemies taught that having arrested Paul and putting him to prison would destroy him and his influence- in fact, they had hoped to murder him (Acts 23:12-15). However, these men succeeded only in broadening and making more permanent the apostle’s accomplishment.
Paul-his imprisonment and stand for Christ and the gospel which he preached- became the conversation throughout Rome, the conversation among all the social circles including the upper strata, the very palace of the emperor.
Acts 28;30,31 notes a period of two years during which Paul lived in his own “hired house” in Rome and received visitors whom he taught and counseled.
Persecution has often served to make the church more firm in his faith and its eagerness to spread the gospel. The persecutors fail to realize that, while they can hinder the movements of the messengers, they cannot suppress the power of the message!
B. Other Believers are Encouraged (v.14) Christians in Rome knew that Paul was physically restrained by being imprisoned. Rather than being intimidated by the fact, however, many of them had become encouraged by Paul’s example to speak the word plainly and to accept the consequences. No doubt some also responded to the need for faithful persons to pick up the work where Paul had been forced to lay it down.
Paul’s dynamic witness made a strong impact upon all those around him. His strong witness, despite his terrible circumstances, stirred many believers to become much more confident in their own witnessing.
Paul was providing evidences of the blessing one receives in the service of Christ, even under less than ideal conditions. He was also giving a powerful demonstration that the claims he had made in others letters about God’s presence during difficulties (as in Romans 8:28 and 2Corinthians 12:9-10) were more than mere words.
The lesson for us is that, we must never let circumstances get us down- never let them defeat our testimony and witness for Christ, no matter what they are.
Notes: “When the Communists were in control of the former Soviet Union and of Eastern Europe, they encountered numerous examples of this kind of evangelistic fervor. They put Christians in prison for preaching, and the Christian continued to preach, leading fellow prisoners and even some of their captors to faith. They were as dangerous to the Communists cause inside the prison as they had been outside. In some cases they were actually been outside. In some cases they were actually released early because their evangelistic success in prison embarrassed the government!” (A Dangerous Prisoner- by R.C.S.)