Summary: Don’t let fear stop your joy in the Lord Jesus.
Introduction: Colors illustration
Background: Paul switches from his status to theirs – perhaps they’ll have to go on without him.
Purpose Statement: In The face of trials...
I. Be worthy (v. 27)
A. This is central
1. Act like the new creation that you are
2. Importance of the idea of citizenship to the Philippians
B. The one thing
1. Regardless if I come back or not
2. Paul boils down the Christian life to this
C. Live like you truly believe it
1. Do you believe Christ died for you?
2. Cheap Grace illustration
II. Contend for the faith (v. 27)
A. Nowhere does the Gospel teach a trial free life
1. Paul suffered, Christ suffered, we’ll suffer
2. Those idiots on TV preaching health and wealth
3. Importance of persevere
B. Know what the Gospel is
1. If you don’t know how can you content for it?
2. How many could tell me what it is?
C. Be able to present it and defend it
1. It’s your job
2. Live it!
D. Work together in unity
1. One spirit/one man
a. Twain Illustration
2. Standing firm
III. Have no fear (vs. 28-30)
A. People will oppose you
1. Your firmness in the face of adversity will serve as a sign (v. 28)
2. Victory will be yours (Christ already won)
3. There really is nothing to fear
B. God is in total control
1. The end of the story is already written
2. You believe in Christ because of Him (v. 29)
3. You share in Christ’s sufferings because of Him (v. 29)
a. Not all suffering is a result of sin
b. Remember Job’s friends
c. CS Lewis dog story
C. Expect sufferings
1. Paul suffered (v. 30)
a. Acts 16 – Paul & Silas beaten and imprisoned
2. Apparently they were beginning to see suffering (v. 30)
3. You should expect sufferings
a. John Wesley Illustration
Conclusion: Don’t let trials effect your joy in Christ
What are you supposed to look like? A young 8-year-old boy was sitting on a wooden pew during the Sunday morning service in a war torn German sanctuary. The others in attendance were stern, rigid, and downcast. The sermon was quite dry and austere. The young boy sought some object upon which to focus his curious attention. His eyes focused on the stained glass behind the minister’s pulpit. He noticed that the colors were bright, the faces etched in the glass were joyful, and the perfect morning sun illuminated the colors. After eyeing it for several minutes, he was very impressed and whispered to his mother, “Oh mother, who are those people in the colorful stained glass?” His mother replied in a correcting tone, “They are saints. Shhh.”
The next day, the young boy was off to school. At the outset of the history lesson, his teacher announced, “Today we are going to learn about the saints. Can anyone tell me what a saint is?” While others in the class seemed puzzled, the young boy excitedly raised his hand. The teacher called out his name, “Tobias, can you tell us what a saint is?” He replied, “Yes ma’am. Saints have joyful faces. They are colorful and the sun shines through them.”
What a living picture that could be. Joyful, colorful, and transparent; despite our circumstances, our lives reflect the radiant color and joy of Christ as His light and glory illuminates our beings.
Cheap Grace - Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s seven principles for erasing selfishness:
1) Hold your tongue and refuse to speak uncharitably about a Christian brother or sister.
2) Cultivate humility by understanding that you, like Paul, are the greatest of sinners. You can only live in God’s sight by his grace.
3) Listen long and patiently so that you will understand your fellow Christian’s need.
4) Refuse to consider your time so valuable that you cannot be interrupted to help with unexpected needs, no matter how small or menial.
5) Bear the burden of your brothers and sisters in the Lord, both by preserving their freedom, and by forgiving their sinful abuse of that freedom.
6) Declare God’s word to your fellow believers when they need to hear it.
7) Understand that Christian authority is characterized by service and does not call attention to the person who performs the service.
Twain - Getting Along
Mark Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
CS Lewis likened God’s use of adversity to walking a dog. If the dog gets its leash wrapped around a pole and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the leash more. Both the dog and the owner are after the same end, forward motion, but the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite the direction he wants to go. The master, sharing the same intention but understanding better than the dog where he really wants to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog’s will.