Summary: This is an expository sermon based on Phillipians 1.12-20.
Text: Phil 1.12-20
Paul was in jail when he wrote this letter and yet he is full of joy. Just like Paul we all have bad times and times of discouragement. Read “You Know it’s a Bad Day when…
You know it’s going to be a bad day when:
* You turn on the morning news and they’re displaying emergency routes out of your city.
* When the sun comes up in the west.
* Or when your boss tells you not to bother taking off your coat.
* Or when you jump out of bed in the morning and you miss the floor.
* You know it’s a bad day when the bird singing outside your bedroom window is a buzzard.
* Or when you wake up in the morning and your dentures are locked together.
* It’s a bad day when your horn accidentally gets stuck and you’re following a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
* You know it’s a bad day when you put both contact lenses in the same eye.
* When you walk to work on a summer morning and find the bottom of your dress is stuck in your panty hose.
* When you call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
* When your income tax check bounces.
* When you step on your scale and it reads tilt.
* When suicide prevention puts you on hold.
Discouragement is a tremendous evil. Many years ago a young Mid-western lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.”
This morning Paul offers us three things to encourage the church: We can be encouraged by the Providence of God, we can be encouraged by the Promise of the Gospel, and we can be encouraged by the Provision of the Holy Spirit.
I. The Providence of God – Phil 1.12-14.
A. God is in control of circumstances. – Rom 8.28
Illustration: Former heavyweight boxer James (Quick) Tillis was a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. "I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, ’I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ "When I looked down, the suitcases were gone."
B. God is a great encourager. – Acts 4.31
II. The Promise of the Gospel – Phil 1.15-18
A. The preaching of the gospel is God’s chosen method for reaching the world for Christ – Mk 16.15; 1 Cor 1.18-25.
B. Gospel preaching and people getting saved encourages God’s people, “I will rejoice”. New believers are always excited and want to tell others about Christ. Many times this excitement goes away. But remember that if you ever are witness to the saving power of the gospel, you want to witness it again and again.
Illustration: One morning a woman opened her door to get the newspaper and was surprised to see a strange little dog with her paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected "delivery service," she fed him some treats. The following morning she was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of her door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers. She spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.
III. The Provision of the Holy Spirit – Phil 1.19-20
A. We are not alone, God is with us! Jn 16.7-11.
B. The Power of the Holy Spirit is activated by Prayer – v.19 “through your prayers”. The power of the Holy Spirit is only a prayer away.
Illustration: In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.