Summary: You can have joy by aligning yourself with God’s passion, God’s purpose, and God’s perspective!
The Joy of Alignment with God
We are continuing to talk about joy! The Christian life should be a joyful life. The preacher once said that some Christians look like a mule eating oats out of a half-inch gas pipe.
What does it take to be joyful? We mentioned last week that it takes friends, strong relationships. We will find out today that to be joyful, you have to have the right attitude and the right motives.
With that you can be in prison and still be joyful!
“One of the surest measures of a Christian’s maturity is what it takes to rob him of his joy.”-John Macarthur
II. He had the Right Passion- vs. 12-18
I was saddened by the death of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. The thing that made this man stand out was passion! What happened to him was secondary to his passion.
Paul’s Passion: To see people’s lives changed by the gospel!
Paul took great joy in the fact that the gospel was making progress in spite of the fact that he was in prison. The word here for progress speaks of a man hacking his way through the jungle.
A. Sinners were being changed- vs. 12-13
Paul’s heart was so connected to the gospel that whatever furthered the gospel gave him joy, no matter the personal cost to him. We see his heart in the following Scripture:
22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul spoke of the palace guard who took notice that his chains were in Christ. You see for two years Paul was chained to a guard around the clock. Can you imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul. How blessed these guards were! They thought he was their prisoner, the truth is that they were his prisoner. This tells me that Paul was real. He was a solid witness around the clock. If someone was chained to you 24/7 would they get saved?
B. Saints were being changed- vs. 14-18
1. Most are strengthened- vs. 14
Pauls’ imprisonment had given some courage to stand up for the sake of the gospel. They had been timid before, but somehow by the courage of Paul, they received courage!
2. Some are sincere- vs. 15-17
The right motive for ministry is love, not a desire for self, for money, for recognition. Some were sincere like this.
3. Some are selfish- vs. 15-17
Some people had the right message but the wrong motive. These were preaching Jesus, but preaching Him out of a false motive. Notice that they didn’t steal Paul’s joy. He just rejoiced that Jesus was being preached!
We would not have used a psychic named Baalam, but God did. We would not have given Jonah revival, he didn’t even want his congregation to get saved! But God did. We would not have blessed another Psalm of David after Bathsheba, but God did!
Two great preachers in history are John Wesley and George Whitefield. They were opposed in some doctrinal matters. A man asked Wesley one day if he expected to see Whitefield in heaven. Wesley replied, “I do not.” “Well do you think that Whitefield is not a converted man?” asked the man. “Of course he is converted!” replied Wesley, “He will just be so close to the throne of God and I so far away, that I will not be able to see him.”
III. He had the Right Purpose- vs. 19-21
Paul’s Purpose: To magnify Christ!
A. Christ will bring me through!
Verse 19-The Greek word meant to know something with absolute certainty. He knew that one way or another his current circumstances were temporary. He could say with Job:
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
His deliverance would come through two things:
1. Their prayers for him-
2. The power of the Holy Spirit-
B. Christ will not make me ashamed!
20-Earnest expectation and hope is not a wishful thinking. It is a hope based on evidence! It is “to look with outstretched hand”-
Tell about falling down waiting on Dad to come in!
C. Christ will be magnified in me
Magnified- “to make great or to enlarge.”