Summary: As Christians, we are servants and saints of the Lord Jesus Christ who can rejoice even though we go through intense suffering.
TRIUMPHANT JOY #2: SERVANTS AND SAINTS REJOICING IN SUFFERING
BACKGROUND TO THE LETTER OF PHILIPPIANS:
Author & Date: The Apostle Paul in 61 AD
Theme: Joy in Christ
Occasion: Paul wrote Philippians during his first Roman imprisonment.
THE BIG IDEA: As Christians, we are servants and saints of the Lord Jesus Christ who can rejoice even though we go through intense suffering.
I. WE ARE SERVANTS AND SAINTS:
“1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops (elders or overseers) and deacons (those who serve): 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 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 (partnership) in the gospel from the first day until now, 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; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:1-8, NKJV).
a. We are bondservants of Jesus Christ (v.1a).
All Christians are called to be servants – to serve God, the church, and the world.
Bondservant – doulos - devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests.
How are you serving Jesus with your life? Where are you serving in the church?
There is a joy that comes from those who devote their lives to serving others.
b. We are saints in Christ Jesus (v.1b).
All Christians are called saints – if you are in Christ, you are a saint – set apart!
Those who are set apart from sin experience joy in that purity and holiness.
There is a joy that comes to those who belong to Jesus, knowing sins are forgiven.
c. We are partners in the Gospel (v.5).
As serving saints, we are Gospel partners and partakers of God’s grace (v.7).
II. PAUL WAS REJOICING IN SUFFERING:
a. Paul’s Rejoicing in Prison:
“And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.” (Phil. 1:14, NLT).
• In verses 12-18, Paul talks about what has happened since he ended up in jail:
• Christians are getting bolder, jailers are hearing the Gospel, people are preaching Christ.
• He doesn’t focus on the negative – his hard bed, hunger, etc. – but on the good.
“But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” (Phil. 1:18, NLT).
b. Paul’s Intense Suffering:
“8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. 9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10 Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies.” (2 Cor. 4:8-11, NLT).
• If you get knocked down, get back up again!
A FOOLISH COMPARISON OF MY SUFFERINGS WITH PAUL’S:
(Great to do if you ever start feeling bad about your life – from 2 Cor. 11:23-28).
I had someone mock me because I was a Christian
- Paul was whipped times without number, and faced death again and again
I had to get stitches (hockey stick to the head)
- five times Paul received 39 lashes, three times beaten with rods, once he was stoned.
I had to pay a speeding ticket once
- Paul was in jail often
I have been in about three car accidents
- Paul was shipwrecked three times, and once spent a whole night & day adrift at sea
Our house was flooded once; we lost some stuff
- Paul faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers, faced danger from people in the cities, in the deserts and on stormy seas
I slipped on the ice; back pain, sleepless nights
- Paul lived with weariness, pain & sleepless nights, went without food, shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep warm
• Paul suffered beyond anything we can imagine, but he still had joy.