What is really important? What matters?
As a church as Christians- what is important when things get tough
Philippians is a letter written:
By a man in chains -imprisoned for his faith, probably on death row- will die here or walk out?
To a church family in Philippi who are facing their own hardship and opposition- suffering for their faith.
In these circumstances Paul addresses this church with his own example of what is important. What is of importance to him in his situation, and for them as a church facing hardship and suffering.
Two Important Matters for Paul- links with his joy
God’s people – when they are gospel living and focused - joy
God’s message- when it is proclaimed - joy
Prayer for God’s people (Philippian church) to continue their PROGRESS in gospel living.
With Joy because of their partnership in the gospel
Heart, focus, passion for gospel reaching people- they share Paul’s burden.
They see the gospel important as well
Expressed financially – like no other church- using their money to see gospel out there!
Sending one of their own, Epaphroditus, to support Paul- not ashamed of him in prison.
We are partners with Paul- brings him great joy. Deep affection for them. But he knows of their hardship. Knocks confidence in God, harm their spiritual vitality.
What are to be their priorities and focus? Prays & Example.
For further Progress in being gospel living people- behaviour in middle of suffering
Prayer and example- helpful what to pray for ourselves, for KCC.
Specifically not lacking it but wanting more and more of it- overflowing, abundance.
Love only increase abound- progress to live out the Love of Christ,
but that their love for one another is SMART love – not a ‘anything goes niceness’
but love that is shaped by knowledge of God, sharp and robust in determining right and wrong
love that challenges love seeks the good of others; Antique roadshow experts- discern average / not much from excellent
so that you are able to approve test what is excellent- this is the way to live. SMART.
their lives reflect the gospel attracting the world to its brightness living the gospel- brightness of righteous living; pure and blameless World, who needs the gospel, know you are my disciples if you have love
"...making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God. The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech,
arises from personal encounter with Jesus Christ – knowing him his values, how he loved.
How can they be sustained? “through Jesus Christ” vs 11
Progress between first day and until completion. Founded on God’s work.
God’s good news message (gospel, God’s Word, Christ preached)
Example that hardship serves to progress God’s message – advance of the gospel
Preaching the gospel is what has landed Paul being chained to Roman soldier in Rome.
Paul is not wallowing in his captivity- this is the man who has a sing song in stocks- he’s not wallowing because for him the greater priority is happening- more important to Paul than personal freedom is God’s good news message getting out there- “What happened to me advanced the gospel.” My being in prison has made the gospel spread. He’s good with that.
Hardship has purpose; but is also provided for.
Paul looks beyond his personal circumstances to the effect it has.
As result… Prison knows about Christ-
Because of my chains… Christians have become confident in the Lord
Brothers bolder- more courageously and fearlessly-
big battle to overcome for us- God uses the example of others to embolden believers.
Who do you surround yourself with to encourage in your faith- Christian relationship
Example of Joy because Christ is preached- that is what matters-
If being in prison not enough, Paul also has Christian troublemakers- their motives against Paul -envy and rivalry, selfish ambition ( certainly not gospel living)-
Their goal- to cause trouble for Paul in prison.
very hurtful, destroying- critical, blaming him,
Instead of wallowing / woe is me- Paul’s response- that doesn’t matter
Look what’s happened …“Hey doesn’t matter” – infuriating OR genuinely liberating- Liberating perspective what is important
Paul’s personal viewpoint about these attacks on him- doesn’t matter!! No licence to say it of others.
But Paul what about reputation, damage to you personally- doesn’t matter in light of the greater priority is happening- that brings Paul joy in the midst of trouble, personal harm.