Summary: Confidence in Christ leads to a deeper and more powerful life of worship. What does a Christian place his confidence in with Christ?
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In a study, Psychologist Dr. Elinore Kinarthy reported that the average person has more than 200 negative thoughts a day: worries, jealousies, insecurities, cravings for forbidden things, etc. Depressed people have as many as six hundred. You can’t eliminate all the troublesome things that go through your mind, but this kind of insecurity plagues our society. As I’m writing this message, our society is in a heightened fear of the Coronavirus. Honestly, it seems as if the media is always looking for something to cause anxiety in our lives. This insecurity shakes our confidence and our hope in life.
It’s the kind of insecurity that we introverts feel in a crowded room of strangers. I would rather be anywhere in the world than a crowded room full of strange people. Sooner or later someone asks me what I do for a living. Knowing I’m in a place full of Christians, my confidence is higher. “I’m a pastor.” Put me in a place full of strangers, and my psyche convinces me that every person is a card-carrying ACLU member from Seattle in the area attending a conference for militantly defeating religious liberties. “I’m… in the people business...”
It is easy to be confident when it seems like everything is going your way. Like being a *** fan during the **** season. Take that confidence away and we’re stuck justifying our own position. In America we have so much to place our faith upon. Wealth, status, the economy, our own well-being. It’s easy to forget how much insecurity is in the rest of the world.
In fact, right now there are more people enslaved than in any time in history. Seventy-one percent of the ten million slaves today are women and girls. Twenty-five percent of the slaves today are children. Where do people in places like Guinea Bissau where children cannot find basics like clean water and immunizations find confidence for their life? In 2020 no child should ever perish or suffer because they do not have access to clean water or a twenty-five cent immunization.
The first Christians didn’t believe they had much to be confident in their own lives. After the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, everything they believed seemed to overturned. Jesus was crucified and buried, and the disciples of the first Easter hid in fear. Yes, life offers its fair share of reasons for concern. Big and small, there are plenty of threats against the things that seem offer security. But as Bonhoeffer wrote, we pursue security, when what we really are looking for is peace.
Little changed culturally after the resurrection and ascension. Existentially, the world was far from open arms to the first church. Of the Twelve Apostles, eleven were martyred. The only reason John was not martyred was because they couldn’t figure out how to kill him. Even Paul, who was once feared by the church because of his persecution, now was being persecuted himself. The letter to the Philippians is called a ‘prison epistle’ because it was written from a Roman jail. It is in Philippians that we find inspiring words like, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13).
It is here also that Paul, from his prison cell reminds the early church and us that we have something to be confident about. It is from here I want to tell you today of the same confidence that Paul shared. Yes, because of the Risen Christ, we can have absolute certainty. Faith, no matter what, how the world around us is pressing in on us. Confidence in the face of a diagnosis. Confidence in a time of storm and turmoil. Confidence no matter what the economy is doing. Confidence despite the finance, children, family, or job situation. Confident today that, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” That’s what the resurrection does and why we worship the risen Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 3. always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5. because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6. I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.