Summary: Life sometimes gives us lemons, Paul teaches us how to make lemonade from lives lemons.
This morning we continue our study of Philippians. Last week we studied Philippians 1:1-10. Here we discovered a man who had every reason not to be happy, but yet he was filled with joy. Over 18 times in this short four chapter book Paul talks about rejoicing or joy.
Last week we observed that Paul has a life of joy because he measured himself by his relationship with Jesus, not by his relationship to his churches, or his relationship to other men, but by his relationship with Jesus. He said it so simply, Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ.
Second, we discovered Paul’s path to joy was a path of prayer. He was a man who breathed prayer. In fact as we exist on air, Paul survived on prayer.
Someone has said, “The Christian can no more survive without prayer then he can survive without air.”
Third, we found out Paul’s practice was to focus on others. Where we are taught to only be concerned about ourselves, to look out for number one, Paul was devoted to the people around him.
Now, this morning we turn our attention to Philippians 1:12-30. Here we see a man who is living out what he said he believed last week.
1. As I said, earlier, Paul had every reason to be sad. Do you remember where I said he was last week? That is right, Paul is in prison, and not just any prison, he is in a Roman prison guarded day and night by the imperial guards.
2. Paul is not just in prison, but he is facing death. He may not live even one more day.
3. Finally, Paul has been forced out of the preaching ministry. He was a free spirit, traveling the known world, establishing churches in every major city. Now he is chained between two Roman guards.
If anyone could say life had given them a bowl of lemons, it was Paul.
We have all felt like life has given us a bowl of lemons at times.
1. Our education might be lemons.
2. Our cars might have been lemons.
3. Our homes might have been a lemon.
4. Our spouse... well maybe I should not go there.
This morning if we can learn how to make lemonade from life’s lemons it will increase our joy. If anyone can teach us this lesson, it will be Paul.
Paul shows us three attitudes that will turn your lemons into lemonade.
I. PAUL KEPT A POSITIVE ATTITUDE IN HIS CURRENT SITUATION.
Look with me at Philippians 1:12.
And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.
Paul said, everything that had happened to has helped spread the Good News.
Not just some of the things that happened to him. Not the things he liked that happened to him. But Paul said all things. That had to, some how, include the fact he is in prison, the reality he may die, and he would leave behind all the churches he started.
How painful it must have been for Paul, yet he confesses, all these things has helped to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Not only has the Gospel spread it is continuing to advance.
This part of the Bible Paul wrote in the Greek language. The word he used here is προκοπή prokopé̄ . It means to drive forward. It is the beautiful picture of pioneers cutting there way through the wilderness. This is the team that slashes their way through the underbrush and pierce it so the troops following them can have a save trip.
There was a movie in 2006 that illustrates this principal of driving the gospel forward.
This true story of a group of Christian missionaries in Ecuador who set out to reach the Wadani tribe (a violent Ecuadorian tribe defined by revenge killing). When the 5 men from this group are speared to death by Mincayani and others in the tribe (who believe all foreigners are cannibals), the wives and children of those men move into the Wadani tribe to teach them about God. End of the Spear is an amazing story of Truth, Love, and Forgiveness.
(Video Clip End of the Spear)
Those five missionaries, even though they died for it, were the first to cut the path for the gospel message to the Wadani.
This is how Paul saw himself, as he is sitting in a prison, he believes he is a pioneer cut the way for the Good News of Jesus to spread.
TRANS: Paul kept a positive attitude in his current situation, but he did not stop there...
II. PAUL KEPT A POSITIVE ATTITUDE CONCERNING HIS CALLING.
Look again at Philippians 1 but this time it verses.