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Summary: THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL CAN ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM DIFFICULT PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES

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BIG IDEA:

THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL CAN ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM

DIFFICULT PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

- BY SHOWING UNBELIEVERS THE REALITY OF OUR

RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST;

- BY SHOWING BELIEVERS OUR EXAMPLE OF JOY AND

FAITHFULNESS (WHICH GIVES THEM COURAGE TO

PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL)

INTRODUCTION:

What is our primary goal in life? What is our passion? What do we live for? For Paul the answer was easy: "For me to live is Christ "

The advancement of the Gospel was foremost in his thinking. He was totally wrapped up in living out his divine commission to be the apostle to the Gentiles in proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ. His personal circumstances or comforts in this life were not his primary concern.

We saw the importance of fellowship in the Gospel -- but how can some people have any impact for Christ given their other responsibilities or difficult circumstances in life? What chance do you have to advance the gospel when you work a fulltime job? When you are busy at home raising three children? When there is poor health or poverty or other hardships in your life?

Paul certainly didn’t have what we would judge to be the most advantageous circumstances-- no big salary, no fancy office, no radio and TV ministry, no publishing house distributing his letters, no flock

of servants to wait on him hand and foot. Instead, he was under house arrest in Rome and it appears that the pressure of his situation has been turned up a few notches with the immediate events surrounding his

trial. He was concerned that believers such as his faithful supporters back in Philippi might misinterpret his difficulties and become

disillusioned and discouraged. "I want you to know, brethren"

(Note the importance of our personal testimony -- our silence can be taken the wrong way)

THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL CAN ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM

DIFFICULT PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

- BY SHOWING UNBELIEVERS THE REALITY OF OUR

RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST;

- BY SHOWING BELIEVERS OUR EXAMPLE OF JOY AND

FAITHFULNESS (WHICH GIVES THEM COURAGE TO.PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL)

cf. times of persecution throughout church history -- these have also been the times of most effective growth of the church -- not just in numbers but in depth of knowing God and fruitfulness in serving Him;

cf. the church today in China

I. (:12) STATEMENT OF HIS THESIS: THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL CAN ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM DIFFICULT PERSONAL

CIRCUMSTANCES

A. The Apostle Paul’s Personal Circumstances Looked Bleak

"the things relating to me" -- trace his sufferings from Acts 16 when God began a good work in their hearts to the present;

What difficult circumstances are you facing today?

cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-27; Acts 20:6 - 28:31

Paul did not focus on his personal difficulties and he did not want others to be burdened down in a wrong sense either; he knew how to focus on living for Christ and how to live above his circumstances

Transition: "have fallen out rather" -- the result of his difficult circumstances is unexpected from the natural perspective

B. These Difficult Circumstances Have Promoted the Advancement of the Gospel


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