Sunday, December 4, 2016

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 3: Chains Advance the Gospel

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 3:
Chains Advance the Gospel
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SERMON INTRODUCTION

Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

THE CHURCH
The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.


TODAY’S SERMON

Today we look at how Paul’s imprisonment caused the advancement of the Gospel







SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 1:12-26
 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

He continued with thanksgiving to God for them and a prayer for them.  He now explains how even his being in prison is for the glory of God.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.




    I.      I WANT YOU TO KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME
a. Has actually served to advance the Gospel
                                                                                                               i. God only causes the good in our lives
1. James 1:17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

                                                                                                            ii. However, God does use bad things in our lives for good!
1. Romans 8:28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

                                                                                                         iii. We have seen this throughout the bible when bad things have happened, and God turns them for good.
1. Israelites enslaved, Moses frees and displays the power of God to all of Egypt

2. Remember, things will work out for His Purpose…this does not mean everything will always be pleasant in our eyes or understanding…but what was meant for evil will work out for God’s purpose.


a. i.e. Judas’ betrayal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         i.      God did not cause this; we know from the Word that Satan entered him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ii.      Turning Jesus in was supposed to serve Satan’s evil purpose, however, going to the Cross was God’s plan all along…and Judas (as well as Satan) unknowingly worked their evil to God’s purpose in Jesus’ life.



b. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard
                                                                                                               i. Being in prison was not pleasant, or God’s will for Paul
                                                                                                            ii. However, God turned it to serve His purpose, which is the first of God’s Will
1. That ALL men are saved & receive the Holy Spirit

2. That ALL Preach the Gospel to everyone

3. That you receive Gifts and Fruits to enable you to fulfill the 2nd Will of God


c. Because of my chains others are encouraged to be confident in the Lord and proclaim the Gospel without fear
                                                                                                               i. Positive outcome in a bad situation, though still unpleasant



II.      IT IS TRUE SOME PREACH CHRIST OUT OF ENVY AND RIVALRY
a. But others out of goodwill (motivation)
                                                                                                               i. Remember, motivation is EVERYTHING to God!

1. Scripture says that Sin as well as Salvation take place in the heart of man

2. The result of your actions weigh far less than the motivation behind them

                                                                                                            ii. Luke 18:9-14 “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

                                                                                                         iii. On the outside it appears as though the Pharisee, a teacher of God’s Word was righteous…his outward actions were correct, yet his heart was full of sin.


b. Those that preach Christ out of goodwill, do so out of love
                                                                                                               i. Their motivations are love, and therefore they are justified before God.


c. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition
                                                                                                               i. And therefore, they are not justified before God



III.      I WILL CONTINUE TO REJOICE THOUGH
a. I know through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what happened to me will result in my deliverance (vindication / salvation)
                                                                                                               i. Paul knows that whatever takes place, it will be for the Glory of God, and to further His Purpose and Will!


b. I eagerly expect and hope I will not be ashamed, but have courage and Christ will be exalted
                                                                                                               i. Whether by life or death
1. How would h be ashamed? If he stopped thinking of Christ and His purpose, and cared more for his own life.

2. Paul wanted to be brave for Christ whether he was called to live or die.

3. A martyr will exalt Christ even with his last breath


c. For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain
                                                                                                               i.  Paul stating that living must be living for Christ, however dying would be greater to him because he would be with the Lord

                                                                                                            ii. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!


                                                                                                         iii. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.



CONCLUSION – convinced of this, i know i will remain

And I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.







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