Sunday, October 26, 2014

Being Joyful: Increasing in Joy

October 26, 2014

Being Joyful
Increasing in Joy
Philippians 1:3-11

(Advance Slide #1)

An element to the joy that Paul expresses is that God is a ‘finisher’ as well as a ‘beginner.’
  • The particular work which he has begun, and will finish, is the work of grace, through the gospel.
  • Vs. 6 sums up an important motto of this letter,

(Advance Slide #2)

    • “...he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

(Advance Slide #3)

Philippi was the first place in Europe that heard the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ.
  • Paul first met them in Acts 16.
  • Of all the Christians, those in Philippi brought him the most joy!
    • They even supported him in his imprisonment.

(Advance Slide #4)

Paul is all about his partnership with these believers.
  • This word is often translated ‘fellowship.’
    • We have developed a meaning for this word that includes: sharing of worship, prayer and mutual support and friendship.
    • The term literally mean to ‘have something in common.’
  • In Paul’s day fellowship was a business term....indicating a business partnership.
  • The Philippians, then, are:
‘partners in the gospel’ (verse 5), ‘partners in grace’ (verse 7); they are in the gospel business, the grace business, along with Paul, and their gift proves it.

They are in the gospel business, the grace business, along with Paul.
  • This gives God joy and confidence!
  • Our partnership also brings us joy and confidence because we are in the gospel business together.

(Advance Slide #5)

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. Philippians 1:6, 7

Paul knows that when the gospel message of Jesus does its life-changing work in people’s hearts this isn’t something that might then fade away with the passing of time.
  • If there is faith and loyalty in Jesus we have a joy and confidence that what God begins, he always finishes.
  • But Paul remains confident in the grace of God, as should we.

When we have true Christian fellowship we experience true Christian joy because of our fellowship.
  • Our partnership is in the gospel of Christ.

(Advance Slide #6)

  • When we have Christian fellowship we keep one another in our minds, hearts and prayers.

In this fellowship, Paul prays for them.  
  • The opening of the letter looks ahead to what will come later.
  • He does this with the content of his prayer for them.

(Advance Slide #7)

Love that overflows - vs. 9

(Advance Slide #8)

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,”

There is something specific that he wants them to overflow with...‘knowledge’ and ‘discernment/wisdom.’
  • This is not how we think of love.
  • For us, love has to do with an emotion, or affection not knowledge and wisdom!

For Paul, they are ‘bound together’ they have ‘fellowship.’
  • We separate the heart and the head but Paul does not do this.
    • If our love is to be authentic, true Christian love, it will be show is wisdom and knowledge.
    • Different than what we might consider ‘book learning.’

This kind of knowledge is a deep insight into the way God’s world truly is...
  • It is a  knowledge open to everyone who is prepared to submit themselves wholeheartedly (mind and heart).
  • To God through Jesus
    • Single minded, Submissive mind

(Advance Slide #9)

Love that will have results - vs. 10

(Advance Slide #10)

“so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,”

The results that Paul writes about is moral discernment.
  • The Philippians live in a world very much like our own.
    • The lines between what was moral and what was not was often blurred and confused.
    • This makes it difficult to know right from wrong!
    • This makes our ‘walk’ difficult.

Paul wants them to know the difference between the two.
  • If they know the difference then they will approach the coming “Day of the Lord” with great confidence.
  • This letter has a lot to say about this coming day.
  • Christians should approach this day with confidence and joy!

(Advance Slide #11)

Overflow with fruits - vs. 11

(Advance Slide #12)

filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Paul prays that their lives be filled with the fruits of right living.
  • In this verse we find another big word for Paul.
  • ‘Right living’ is translated ‘righteousness.’
    • It sometimes means God’s own faithfulness, and sometimes the status of membership in God’s family.
    • As a member with all the privileges such as forgiveness of sins.

Here this word emphasises more the behaviour which results from both God’s faithfulness and the status of being a forgiven family members.
  • Through every stage of the process: hearing the gospel, believing it, obeying it, and living by it…
    • NOTHING is done for the glory of the person.
    • As he says here everything is done “through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”



(Advance Slide #13)

Paul’s prayer for the church is a prayer that every church leader might wish to use for the people in their care.
  • It’s also a prayer that every Christian might use for himself or herself.
  • And remember, as we pray.
    • The reason we’re praying is that God has begun His good work in you all.
    • And what God begins, he completes.

We too can experience joy through true fellowship.
  • True Christian fellowship— a having-in-common that is much deeper than mere friendship.

(Advance Slide #14)

  • “I have you in my mind … I have you in my heart … I have you in my prayers.”

This is the kind of fellowship that produces joy, and it is the single mind that produces this kind of fellowship.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Being Joyful - Our Joy Robbers

October 19, 2014

Being Joyful
Our Joy Robbers
Phil. 1:3-5

(Advance Slide #1)


(Advance Slide #2)

Would you consider yourself a ‘joyful’ person?
How would others know if we were joyful or not?
  • There must be evidences/indicators that we are joyful people.

Have you ever met someone who you thought was a happy person?
  • They had the money, the fame, the laugh of the parties.
  • Despite all that, they were lost, lonely, hurting and falling apart.
EX. - While Mark Twain is a famous writer humorous whose work brought joy to many he was a man of much sorrow
  • We are likely familiar with this situation (personally, or otherwise)

(Advance Slide #3)

While writing his letter to the Christians in Philippi the apostle Paul was in prison.
  • Given his situation there should be no reason for joy...yet he was joyful!
    • He could be found not guilty of charges, or he could be found guilty and beheaded!
  • He desired to travel to Rome as a evangelist yet here he was under house arrest.
    • He would have been chained to a Roman soldier, forbidden from preaching in public.

(Advance Slide #4)

So what was his secret?
  • 19 times in this letter Paul encourages the Christians with these words: joy, rejoicing, and gladness.
  • The secret is found a few words that he repeats several times:

(Advance Slide #5)

Mind - he uses this word ten times.
Think - he uses five times.
Another word found is remember...this also involves the mind.

So, could we say that our joy has to do with the way in which we think...our attitudes?

(Advance Slide #6)

This is a letter explains the mind the believer must have.
  • Especially if we are going to have Christian joy in a world filled with its many struggles.

(Advance Slide #7)

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5


(Advance Slide #8)

Joy Robbers
Before we can experience the joy God wants us to have we must consider the thieves that rob us of our joy!
  • When things are going our way (when we’re in control) we tend to be happier…right?
  • What about when things are out of our control?
  • Actually most situations are beyond our control: weather, traffic, what others say or do!

Paul’s circumstances were beyond his control...NO REASON to rejoice but he did.
  • We must not let our circumstances rob us of our joy.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:4-7

  • We love ‘Friends Are Friends Forever’
  • The sad truth is that people will rob us of our joy in a heartbeat!
    • The things they say and the things that they do.
  • Let’s be honest, this road goes both ways...right?
    • Our actions have likely contributed to someones loss of joy.

But we cannot isolate ourselves and we still need to glorify God.
  • “You are the salt of the earth…” “You are the light of the world….” Matthew 5:13; 14
    • Sometimes we become bitter and sometimes we grow dim.
  • There is a way to have joy in spite of people.

  • Most people today think that joy comes from the things that they own.
    • Things...stuff seem so beneficial yet the rob us of the joy!
  • We end up just worrying about them.
EX. - Abraham Lincoln was walking down the street with his two sons, who were crying and fighting. “What’s the matter with the boys?” a friend asked.
“The same thing that’s wrong with the whole world,” Lincoln replied.
“I have three walnuts and each of the boys wants two.”
  • “’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

These are just a few...of course there are many other.

(Advance Slide #9)

  • How to we control these robbers?
  • The answer is: We must cultivate the right kind of mind.

Maintaining Joy
If our joy has to do with our minds then there are certain attitudes we need to cultivate and maintain.

(Advance Slide #10)

Having a Single Mind - (chp. 1)
  • James 1:8 says that “...a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
  • In chapter 1 Paul discusses the difficult situation that he is in.
  • The situation does not rob his joy because he does not live to enjoy circumstances...he lives to serve God.

Paul rejoiced in these difficult situations because:
  1. They strengthened his fellowship with other Christians.
  2. Gave him opportunities to lead others to Christ.
  3. Provided the occasion to defend the gospel before the Roman courts.

When you have a single mind, your circumstances work for you and not against you.

(Advance Slide #11)

Having a Submissive Mind - (chp. 2)
  • Chapter 2 focuses on people.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” 2:3
  • In chapter 1 Paul put God first, in chapter 2 others are put second which means that he puts himself last.

A Christian with the submissive mind does not expect others to serve him; he serves others.
  • This is following the Christ-like example!
  • The Christian should considers the good of others to be more important than his own plans and desires.

(Advance Slide #12)

Having a Spiritual Mind - (chp. 3)
  • 11 times in chapter 3 Paul uses the word things.
    • Pauls explains that the people have their “minds set on earthly things.” vs. 19
    • The spiritually minded Christian is concerned about heavenly things...not the worldly.

The person with the spiritual mind looks at the things of this world from heaven’s point of view— and what a difference that makes!
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col 3:2

Having a Secure Mind - (chp. 4)
  • Worry is actually thinking and feeling wrongly (mind and heart) about circumstances, people, and things.
  • We need to cultivate an attitude in which we guard our hearts and minds.
    • Why? so that the worry will not enter!
  • How does Paul describe the secure mind?

(Advance Slide #13)

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 4:7

Chapter 4 also helps to explain the spiritual resources that we have.
  • These will help as we cultivate and maintain these attitudes:
    • God’s peace - vs. 1-9
    • God’s power -  vs. 10-13
    • God’s provision - vs. 14-23

What should be do?
  • How can we put the practices into our lives?

Let me offer the following suggestion:

(Advance Slide #14)

  1. Be sure you’re a Christian!
    • Paul wrote this letter to “all the saints in Christ Jesus...”
    • Being a ‘saint’ is being set apart!
    • This helps us to develop the single mindedness.
  2. Admit your failures/sins.
    • Double-minded, proud, worldly minded, and filled with worry...this is sin!
    • The sooner we confess the sooner His joy will fill our lives.
  3. Look for opportunities to put your mind to work.
    • We will have more than enough opportunities to practice a ‘single minded’ faith.
    • Our daily lives are filled with ‘exams’ that help us develop a more deep spiritual attitude.

(Advance Slide #15)