Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Holy Spirit, the heart, God's glory


(Father’s Day) June 20, 2010

Philippians 3:1-3


I want to show you a little video made by our Student Minister, Josh Cooper.

Show Video

Hudson Lawrence Cooper, 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 19 inches long came into this world on June 8, 2010. And Nicole’s and Josh’s lives will never, ever be the same. Hudson is their first child and that makes this day pretty special for Josh. It’s the first Father’s Day where he’s the father.

And when you become a father everything changes in your life. (Not just the diapers). Everything.

The sporty little car is replaced with a minivan, in Josh’s case the “mini” Cooper, goes in the minivan. Guys night out becomes a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. The Harley Fat Boy magically turns into a ’76 Goldwing (yes, it still stings). According to one expert, children go through four stages of dealing with their fathers. In stage one, they call you da-da. In stage 2 they grow and call you daddy. As they mature and reach stage 3 they call you dad. Finally in stage 4 they call you collect.

But regardless of the sacrifices, regardless of the collect calls and broken hearts, there is no greater joy or privilege than being a father.

And from the salutation to the benediction, Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a letter of joy. Even though it’s written from prison the joy of fatherhood permeates every word that flows from the Apostle’s pen.

On his second missionary journey Paul had answered a visionary call from a man in Macedonia saying, “Come over…and help us.” (Acts 16:9, 10). And Paul responded to that vision. He traveled to Philippi and birthed the first church in Macedonia.

They were his spiritual children. He was their spiritual father and this letter is one of the most beautiful examples of that kind of relationship in the New Testament. This letter celebrates a relationship between their missionary father and his children in the faith. His sacrifices, even prison, are for their benefit, and their growth as mature followers of Jesus is the Apostle’s goal.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this…that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6).

His spiritual children are growing in Philippi, and Paul knows that joy as a spiritual father. And He wants to keep His children on the right track as they worship Jesus. That’s why he tells them…

I. Joy is the Foundation for our Worship

“Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!”

One of the most famous scriptures on joy is found in this letter. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice.”

This is one of the most important spiritual truths we can understand in Christ, and teach our children: “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.” Joy is the foundation for our worship! Therefore it will be one of the first areas the enemy attacks. That’s why the Apostle Paul tells his Philippian children these words from Philippians 2:12-16, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” It has nothing to do with earning God’s grace. It has everything to do with joy. It is understanding that God is working in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

Complaining and arguing steals our joy. It comes about because we think getting our own way buys happiness. It’s exactly how everyone in this crooked and depraved generation thinks.

It’s not our way that buys joy. It’s understanding that God is working for our good, no matter what the circumstances. Trusting His providence, even in prison or pain. It allows God’s children to be different in this world of selfishness. “To shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Life.”

Joy is hard won. It’s a battle between selfishness and surrender, and this world can plainly see who’s winning in the battle. If complaining and arguing become our companions, Satan is victorious. If joy wins, God shines through us.

“Joy is like the hidden note in the glass. Joy is tuning in to what God is doing around you, seeing the world through his eyes, picking up on his delight in us as his children. Anyone can find happiness for a while. Happiness depends on what is happening to you. Joy is different; joy goes deeper. Joy is when your whole being sings because you have caught a glimpse of God at work. Joy can creep up on you and surprise you in unexpected places.”

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