Summary: This sermon is part of a series in Philippians.
HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND STILL ENJOY LIFE
THE FOUNDATION FOR JOYOUS LIVING
Sunday January 28, 2007
Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:1-2
A. I have spoken to you on numerous occasions about the importance of a solid foundation. You do not have to be a contractor or home builder to understand the importance of having a solid foundation before you begin to build a structure. I mentioned to you back in December about my desire to help our sister church in San Vicente build a new home for the pastor. One of the reasons this is needed is because the original foundation was not solid and is literally sinking into the ground. Jesus understood this principle and that is why we read these words of his in Matthew 7:24-27 NLT “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.26 But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
1. I would suggest to you today that a major reason why so many people who call themselves Christians fail to experience this joyous living that Jesus promised in John 10:10 and other places is because we are building on a faulty foundation. We must be willing to take an honest look at our lives and answer the question, “Where am I trying to find my joy in living?” It is my belief that if we are honest we will discover in too many instances that the answer will be in things like finances. If we just had a little bit more money then we could be joyous. Or it will be employment; if we could just have a different job or a different position at work then we could be joyous. Then of course there is the ever popular, Stuff! If I just had a few more “things” or if I had that one special “thing” then I would be happy. Of course we all know even though we don’t always live this way that none of these things will ever provide us with real happiness or joyous living.
2. In these first two verses of Philippians I believe we can discover what the real foundation is for having a joyous life.
B. Before we explore what these two verses tell us let me say one quick thing about how Paul begins this letter. In all the letters Paul wrote only 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philemon are begun without Paul using the word “Apostle”. The reason this is important to note is that the use of this word is meant to remind the readers of his authority in their lives and if you read these other letters you will discover that in each of them there are some serious problems that Paul had to deal with. Philippians is one of the only letters Paul wrote that as almost expressly to encourage and build up the church. Only at the end of chapter three and the very beginning of chapter four do we hear Paul speaking about some problems.
Trans. OK let’s begin our first look into this wonderful and encouraging letter. The first thing I would point out to you that Paul tells us is that discovering joy in this life begins with understanding who we are.
I. JOY BEGINS WITH UNDERSTANDING YOUR TRUE POSITION IN LIFE.
As Paul opens this letter he shows us that understanding this position in life begins with leadership.
A. This Understanding Begins With Leadership.
1. I am reminded of something one of my professors in Bible College told us, He said, “You can never expect the spiritual level of your church to rise above that of its leadership.” He also went on to add that if it does we need to resign immediately and get out of the way because we are no longer leaders or pastors. I think we can see this very principle quite clearly here in Philippians. How could Paul say as he did in 4:11,12 for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. How could he say something like this if it were not the way he was also living his life? How could he say this if at the same time in this letter he was whining and crying about his situation and begging these people to get him freed from prison. Now it is certainly not that Paul didn’t want to be released but he also knows that begin in or out of prison were not the reason for joy in his life. He proved this back on his first visit to Philippi when he and Silas were in that dungeon sings praises to God in the middle of the night!