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Summary: How will you honor Christ and be a part of your church in the New Year? If we won’t reach out, or if we won’t work together to do reach others, we've become an exclusive, limiting club filled with Pharisees … which is dangerous ground to be on!

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Looking ahead to 2017

Philippians 1:1-30

Introduction

The New Year is always an opportunity to reflect, and to look ahead

Today, we will forego looking back (can’t change that) and look forward for Christ

We know the current condition of the church, of our lives (some good, some bad)

Let’s examine a testimony about looking forward (preaching – less teaching)

Read Phil 1:1-30 / Pray (SERMON: SUMMARIZE CH 1)

Point 1 - Paul often dealt with disappointment (12)

Paul is always thankful for what God is doing (or has done)

With a full heart, he can give thanks to God b/c of faithfulness

Our testimony: We too, should desire to be thankful in what God is doing

Even in prayer: “that our love may grow more and more for one another” (9)

Yes, there are always disappointments and challenges in life (12)

But (13, 14) he is still able to preach because of Christ …

Even his jailers know his heart (and continued to hear about it)

Some preach Christ from envy and rivalry (15,17) – no fruit here

APP: (16) Those from love know it’s that reason he is in prison

APP: (18) He is in prison, fully grasping his circumstances, and rejoicing in them

IMP: Difficult surroundings STILL helped him to advance the Gospel

This should be no different for us either: struggle should motivate us

Out of that should bring us to a place of wanting to do more because of Him

Romans 5:3-4, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

APP: Challenge should not lead us to despair and to want to give up

TRANS: Disappointment can still lead to an expectation of hope!

Point 2 - He has an expectation of hope (20)

Paul’s expectation of hope is that he can honor Christ in everything (20)

We too, can be patient and expect our lives to glorify Christ

Every day, we will have chances to honor Him, with everything we do

So how do you overcome disappointments? (motto) “Christ will be honored.”

(20) Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death”

APP: Even when bad things happen, we exalt Christ because of who He is

Reminds me of Exodus after the Egyptians were drowned in Red Sea:

Exodus 15:20, “Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.”

They praised because of God’s work, which before escape looked hopeless

APP: When we live a life of expectancy, we rejoice at everything

Ever see those who just rejoice in what God is doing? Wonder why? (20)

TRANS: Why should we live a life of encouragement?

Point 3 – God’s desire is we’d be encouraged (27)

Paul wanted others to be encouraged; relationships to be strengthened

This brought him joy; even in the face of expecting (immediate) execution

Consider: the ax that would kill him is the gateway to a face-to-face mtg. w/ Jesus

His heart is that we too would be strengthened, courageous, willing to GO

(28) “without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you”

What has God’s word has taught us most often? We need a vision in front of us

Wisdom is vital when it comes to God’s word, and our application is critical

Application requires a vision, and a vision I believe is what we have today

If Paul has given us these words of encouragement, how shall we live?

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

I want to give you 3 pieces of wisdom (application) for the New Year

And then … I’m going to give us 3 opportunities (goals) to be involved

Wisdoms (also known as a Life Mission):

We must not live a life filled with disappointment and filled with criticality

We are experts at pointing out the negative, we must choose to cut that out

Christ is not honored when we wallow in our own self-pity; nor our own grief

Christ is not please when we stand in one another’s way and distract from mission

We must do the things that God has commanded us

He has called us to live purposeful, to look ahead, to focus on what’s next

Paul knew this in prison, and yet he was not deterred from the mission of God

Here’s a beautiful picture of his focus: 2 Tim 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

We are called to suffer, even when we don’t want it (29)

Paul calls us to live a life that honors God, in everything we do

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