Summary: When a serious believer goes beyond the call of duty and expends himself or herself to the glory of God, others are motivated to expend themselves for God.
Motivation by Example
1. One of the big challenges within American Evangelicalism is staying motivated.
We become bored and lose our enthusiasm.
• Boredom is always a contemporary issue: The Rev. Dr. Robert South, while preaching one day in 1689, looked up from his notes to observe that his entire congregation was fast asleep--including the King! Appropriately mortified by this discovery, he interrupted his sermon to call out, "Lord Lauderdale, rouse yourself. You snore so loudly that you will wake the King." (source: www.sermonillustrations.com)
2. How can we take a bored, unmotivated Christian and transform him or her into a zealous, joyful believer?
3. The answer: motivation. Infusing another with enthusiasm.
4. In Philippians 1:12-30, we can see four motivations that energize us toward serious ministry. Today we will look at Motivation by EXAMPLE
5. The Bible is filled with examples of motivation by example:
David and Goliath
The qualifications for elders or deacons/deaconesses
Paul: "Follow me as I follow Christ."
Elijah and the prophets of Baal slaughter
6. Many Christians want to lose their inhibitions and give their hearts to God with reckless abandon, but exposure to half-hearted Christians holds them back. Sometimes all it takes is the example of one serious Christian; seeing him or her gives permission for us to stop fearing and jump in with both feet.
MAIN IDEA: When a serious believer goes beyond the call of duty and expends himself or herself to the glory of God, others are motivated to expend themselves for God.
I. Serious Christians BLOOM Where They Are Planted (1:12-13)
A. The find contentment KNOWING God is working (12)
1. progress of the Gospel ?????p? (prokope)
2. we are to be on the LOOKOUT for ways to "further" the Gospel
3. This gave Paul time to contemplate and write the prison epistles
4. Sometimes a "forced slowdown" is in our best interest; sometimes we are too tired to be motivated about anything!
5. Instead of viewing his imprisonment as a defeat, he viewed it as an opportunity
B. They search for opportunities to use circumstances for the KINGDOM (13)
• the palace guard were the ELITE troops (see 4:21)
• Paul was chained to a different guard very 6 hours. Guards who were won to Christ probably encouraged their friends to take a shift to talk to this fascinating man!
• As these guards traveled through various lands, they could carry the Gospel
• who do you have access to?
C. It Can Be STRESSFUL to be in the headlines, but a blessing nonetheless
Everyone knew Paul was in chains "for Christ;" not because he was a nut, not because he hated the government or authority, not because he was a social activist, but truly "for Christ."
• right now, the issue of Intelligent Design is in the news and the attacks are relentless; but isn’t that better than cowering in a corner?
• some Christians think thusly: anyone who makes waves must be off target
II. Serious Christians ACCEPT That Our Faith Carries a Price Tag (14-19)
A. This brings out the BEST in most brothers & sisters (14)
• When believers suffer for their faith, it emboldens other believers
• made them FEARLESS (aphobia, ??????)
• fear straps us from many things: One woman tells this story,
At the busy dental office where I work, one patient was always late. Once when I called to confirm an appointment, he said, "I’ll be about 15 minutes late. That won’t be a problem, will it?" "No," I told him. "We just won’t have time to give you an anesthetic."
He arrived early."
(source: www.sermonillustrations.com from Terri Spaccarotelli, Reader’s Digest, June, 1992, p. 145)
• The number one reason we do not share our faith more often is fear (?????).
• What are we afraid of? Embarrassing ourselves, not having an answer, creating a relational rift, having to be on the defense from then on, being left out, being laughed at, conflict, peer rejection, but misjudged, offending others…maybe we are shy by nature…
• What overcomes fear? Motivation. Love is one motivation; self-respect is another…a heart to do God’s will is yet another…many…
• motivated by GOODWILL
Chinese authorities arrested 100 Christian young people as part of the government’s continuing crackdown on churches outside state control…in a separate incident, 10 pastors were arrested during a baptism service in Sui County, Hunan province…
One reason we insert our "Voice of the Martyrs" insert every quarter…
B. This brings out the WORST among the competitive (15)
• motivated by ENVY
• Eccl. 4:4, "I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
• Some people are so competitive, that it is easier to direct their competitive nature than to try to change it…