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.
“The important thing is that in every way Christ is preached. Because of this I rejoice.
What is important is happening = Joy for Paul.
What is less important to Paul is protecting his reputation. What is less important is his own freedom and comfort- take it – definitely IF it mean’t continuance in gospel ministry.
What does get Paul going is when distorted gospel being preached & followed- Galatians perplexed, astonished. Not living in line with the gospel- Peter in Galatians- then it does matter.
What rules Paul, what sets his priorities is the gospel saving and changing lives, as it did his. The gospel preached is important as it is the power of God unto salvation
Excited about the gospel what brings him joy in roman captivity
That’s Paul, that is his convictions- they are his priorities. Mine are different.
Imitate me, follow the example set. Follow the example of Christ- same attitude. Paul is imitating what is important to Jesus, we are to imitate that. Paul writes these words to the Philippians “I want you to know this”- he’s giving them and us an example of handling hardship.
Foundation- God began the work, God will carry it on, God will bring it to completion
Work out your salvation, knowing it is God working in you to will (desire, want) and act according to his purpose (his will, his priorities, what is important to him).
Person he is in chains for is Jesus Christ- Paul is not his own man.
As a servant of Jesus Christ, the Master has purposefully ordained that at this time Paul be imprisoned. So be it. I am his servant. He is worth being in prison for, if my imprisonment means more people hear about my Saviour to believe in Him, then I’m OK with that- I belong to him
Paul knows his hardship is small compared to that of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His hardship had purpose and it was with joy…”who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”
He wants his conviction; his example to rub off on them- Jesus is worth it. He is the most important. The most valuable…”surpassing worth.”
Paul experiences JOY when the really important thing is the happening thing.