Summary: Introduction to series "Restoring the Joy" on the book of Philippians.
Restoring the Joy
Study of Philippians
Sermon # 1
“Restoring the Joy”
As I thought and prayed about what I should preach on for the next few weeks, I had to ask myself, “What is that we as a group of people really need?” The conclusion that I came to was that we need our joy restored. We need what King David prayed so long ago when he said, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). I think that most of you realize that once we are saved we cannot lose our salvation, but as is so apparent to most of us, you can certainly lose the joy of your salvation!
The missing ingredient in many of our lives is joy. We live in a world of long faces sad heavy hearts. We don’t even see joy in the lives of the people who should exhibit it the most, Christians. In fact if there is anywhere that it seems conspicuous by its absence it is the Church.
Any Christian that is feeling down or discouraged about anything should study Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Sixteen times in four brief chapters Paul speaks of inner joy. There is so much bickering in Christian circles, so much complaining, so much unhappiness. This was never the way it was intended to be! Christians were meant to be filled with love and joy and peace – so I hope you will join with me as we seek to restore the joy!
Now you need to remember that when Paul penned this letter he had already been kept imprisoned for two years at Caesarea, without trial, and now he has been held of an unknown amount of time in Caesar’ s jail in Rome. He had survived a disastrous shipwreck while being transported to Rome. He has been deserted by most of his friends. Other Christian leaders are using Paul’s circumstances to advance themselves. He is facing possible execution at any time. It does not sound like a situation that would lend itself to the writing of a cheerful letter does it? Yet there is no book of the Bible that speaks more of joy than Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
I. PAUL GREETS THEM IN JOY (1-2)
“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul greets the believers at Philippi not as any way superior but as a fellow “servant of the Lord.” And He addressed his remarks to all the “saints” at Philippi. ‘Saints” here is not the designation of some super believer, it is not mean they were without sin. It is a description of every true believer.
II. PAUL OFFERS JOYFUL THANKS FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN HIS LIFE
What was it about the people of Philippi that allowed Paul to be joyful?
First, He was thankful that He Had Happy Memories Of The People. (vv. 3-5)
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, (5) for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now”
Paul says that he has happy memories of his time with this church. Does that mean that there were no sad times, no times of difficulty? Of course not!
When Paul speaks of the “fellowship” of the church at Philippi he meant more than just a sense of comradery. When used in the Bible this word means to be caught up into a communion created by God.
Think for a moment about the make-up of the church at Philippi, like most church of our day, it was made up of people who outside of the church had little in common. The church at Philippi was seemed to largely a Gentile church, because all of the names associated with it are Gentile names. There was the local jailor and his family (Acts 16:25-34), a slave girl who had been delivered from demon possession (Acts 16:16-18) and a business woman named Lydia (Acts 16:14-15). Apparently there was little to bind them together by worldly standards, but they had one important thing in common, their love for the Lord and involvement in His church.
In Paul’s day the world was filled with barriers that separated people, just as it is today, barriers of race, wealth, education and culture. But within the fellowship of the gospel none of these things mattered, they simply loved one another and the world marveled at this.
Secondly He was thankful because He Had
A Unshakeable Confidence In God (v. 6)
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”