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Can You Predict Your Future? - Part A

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July 30, 2021 2:00 am

Can You Predict Your Future? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 30, 2021 2:00 am

After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looked ahead to his uncertain future. In the message "Can You Predict Your Future?" Skip shares several words that sum up what Paul expected his future to include.

This teaching is from the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians .




This week's DevoMail:

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This shows us that joy is a choice.

It is an act of the will. It is tethered to something deeper than happiness. If you remember in our very first study of Philippians, we noted the difference between happiness and joy. We said happiness is a temporary feeling of delight if the circumstances go your way.

Joy is something that is fixed. Skip shares how you can live with joy and confidence, knowing God has your future in his hands. But before we begin, if you love Bible study, a trip to Israel is a life changer.

Your Bible study will never be the same. Skip has lived in Israel and led tours many, many times. Here he is to invite you on his next tour. You know, there's always something new to see and experience in Israel. And I'm so excited to let you know that I'm taking another tour group to Israel next spring in 2022. You're in for an incredible time as we travel throughout Israel and experience the culture that's so unique to that country. We'll start on the Mediterranean Sea and head north, seeing places like Caesarea and Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in and around Jerusalem and see the Temple Mount, Calvary, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Mount of Olives, and much more. This remarkable itinerary is made richer with times of worship, Bible study, and lots of fellowship. Now, I've been to Israel a number of times over the years, and I can honestly say that visiting the places where the events of the Scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived, taught, and healed, it just never gets old. I can't wait to see you in Israel. Start planning and saving now to tour Israel with Skip Heitzig. Information at slash c-a-b-q.

That's slash c-a-b-q. Now, we're in Philippians chapter 1 as Skip Heitzig gets into today's message. So a golfer went to a fortune teller, and the golfer said, hey, I have one question.

Will there be golf courses in heaven? Fortune teller said, well, I've got good news, and I've got bad news. He goes, okay, give me the good news. She said, the good news is, in heaven, the golf courses are so beautiful, so magnificent, they're beyond human imagination. And he said, well, how could there be any bad news with that?

She said, well, the bad news is, you have a game book to start at 830 tomorrow morning. Predicting the future has been a favorite pastime for millennia. Way back in antiquity, diviners, priests would use all sorts of methods that they said was able to read the future. So they would look at clouds the way they were dispersed in the sky, and they would say that means such and such. Or they would look at the way stars appeared in the sky and the galaxies, or drops of oil in water forming different patterns.

Some even used the entrails of animals. If you can imagine putting an organ like a liver on a plate in the way it would wiggle and wobble, they would be able, they said, to predict the future. And it's people's desire to know the future that makes horoscopes still popular, or fortune tellers popular, or palm readers, or psychics, or weathermen.

We want to know what is coming in the future. Now all of those things are forbidden by scripture, except perhaps for weathermen. But the reason they're forbidden in the scripture is simple. They're fake.

They don't work. They're calling on nothing to predict the future that they don't know. It's just making a guess. Only God knows the future, and only God can predict the future, and we have looked at the great series against all odds of how God has fulfilled prophecy. But did you know that you can predict your future? You can predict your future.

You can't predict future circumstances, but you can predict future responses. I want you to see how Paul does it. In Philippians chapter 1, I'm going to take you back up to verse 18.

He says, Now look at what he does with the future. Up to this point in Paul's letter to the Philippian church, he has been looking at past tense events. For example, in verse 3, Paul says, In verse 5, he is thankful for their partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And in verse 12, he says, All of these are past tense experiences.

Paul is in jail. He's writing to the Philippians about what happened to him in the past and what is happening to him in the present. Now he pivots and he looks to the future. Notice the words, for instance, in verse 18. Yes, I will rejoice.

That's future. Verse 19, for I know that this will turn out. Verse 20, he says that in nothing I shall be ashamed.

Also in verse 20, so now Christ will be magnified. Paul is now predicting the future. Now the truth is, the future was uncertain for Paul. He did not know which way the winds of Roman justice would be blowing for him. He knew that he would stand trial.

That was sure. But he doesn't know what's going to happen in the circumstances of life, yet he makes predictions about his responses to those circumstances. And I'll give you four words that sum it up. He predicts joy. He predicts confidence. He predicts hope. He predicts life. It's a pretty good future, right? Those four things he predicts. You, if you are a follower of Christ, you can predict your future. You can predict what your future responses will be.

It's like that old Dale Carnegie saying you probably heard. Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw the mud, the other saw stars.

So here's Paul the apostle looking out literally from prison bars in Rome. He doesn't see mud, he sees stars. And he sees four stars to be exact. He sees the star of joy, the star of confidence, the star of hope, and the star of life.

We're going to be looking at each one of those today. Abraham Lincoln once said, the best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. Well that's good news, but it will come nonetheless. Your future is coming.

What will it be like? I love what Corrie Tynboom used to say. She said, even though we don't know the future, we don't know what the future will hold, we know who holds the future.

Because of that, there are four stars that you can see out from whatever prison you might find yourself in. Let's consider the first. Joy is the first. In verse 18, the last part of it, notice he says yes and will rejoice. Now let me just tell you something about the scripture in general. This letter to the Philippians is just that.

It is a letter. Paul did not write Roman numeral one, period, two, three. He didn't write verse numbers.

He wrote a letter. It was just text. There were no chapter divisions, there were no verse identifications. In fact, until the year 1227 AD, all of the Bible was text, no chapters, no verses. In 1227, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, decided it would be much easier to be able to find something in the Bible if there were chapters and verse numbers.

So he did that. And then in the 1300s, 1382, the very first English Bible that had verse numbers was the Wycliffe English Bible. And that's helpful. However, I don't always agree with where they put the verses. In fact, many Bible translators have said the same thing. They go, no, that verse belongs in a different chapter.

The way it was broken up is not inspired, but it can be helpful nonetheless. And here is a good example. In verse 18, the NIV, if you have a new international version, shows the break that should be there. Verse 18 in the NIV reads this. It ends with this phrase, and because of this, I rejoice, period, not comma, period. Then it begins a new paragraph. And the new paragraph says, yes, I will continue to rejoice.

That's because the thought of verse 18, that last phrase, belongs in verse 19. He is now moving from the past to the future. See, here's what Paul has been writing so far. He's saying the things that have happened to me in the past will not rob me of joy.

I'm not going to let that happen. They've actually furthered the gospel. And so what things are those?

Well, let's go over them. He was arrested in Jerusalem, falsely accused. He was then taken to Caesarea by the sea. He spent two years in jail there. He went through three mistrials before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.

He appealed his case to Caesar. He's put on a prison ship. He's taken to Rome. He's had a shipwreck in the ocean. He finally makes it to Rome.

He's put in jail again for another two-year incarceration. And he says, all of those things happened to me in the past, and they will not steal my joy. Then he says, not only are there past circumstances, there are past and present people who are trying to rob me of joy.

We spoke about those last week, all those anti-Paul cranky Christians who are trying to make Paul's incarceration even worse than it already was. He says, I'm not going to let them steal my joy or get me down. And all of that ends in verse 18 where he says, I rejoice. Now he turns to the future at the second part of verse 18. He pivots and says, yes, and I will rejoice. Now he's looking to the future.

And here's the deal. Once again, I remind you, Paul doesn't know what's going to happen in the future, as far as circumstances are concerned. All he knows is that he's going to stand before the Roman court for a trial.

And because as a Roman citizen, he appealed to Caesar directly, that means he's going to stand in front of Caesar Nero himself. And Caesar Nero will render the verdict. He will either set him free or he will sever his head. He will either exonerate him or exterminate him.

Paul doesn't know which. He says as much in verse 20, whether by life or by death. Yet he makes this prediction. I will rejoice. I'm going to have joy in my future. Now in hearing this, some of us will be tempted to say, wait a minute, Paul, you can't say that.

Because what if he hands you a guilty verdict and says off with his head? Then you're going to have to say, well, I used to rejoice, but not today. Today is a bummer.

My bummer runneth over today. Paul says, no, I'm not going to say that. In my future, whether by life or death, I will rejoice.

Here's why I am belaboring this point. This shows us that joy is a choice. It is an act of the will. It is tethered to something deeper than happiness. If you remember in our very first study of Philippians, we noted the difference between happiness and joy. We said happiness is a temporary feeling of delight if the circumstances go your way. Joy is something that is fixed.

There is a difference. By the way, the Bible mentions happiness about 30 times. It mentions joy 300 times.

Because they're different experiences and it's helpful to make a demarcation between them. So happiness is externally triggered. If you get a raise, you're happy. Somebody pays you a compliment, you're happy. You get a new car, you are happy for about a week until you have to make the payments on that new car. If your team wins, you're happy.

If you ask that cute girl out and she says, yes, you're happy. Happiness goes up and down depending on the circumstances. Joy is internally triggered. It is based upon a relationship with God. You're justified by faith, your sins are forgiven, your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you're on your way to heaven.

That's something that is fixed. So happiness has its source in events, in people, and in things. Joy has its source in God. Which means Paul may have been experiencing unhappy feelings.

He may be emotionally unhappy, incarcerated in jail and going through the beatings, etc. Nobody likes that. But what he is saying is nothing and no one will steal my joy. That's why this book is so filled with it. In four chapters of the book of Philippians, joy, rejoicing, gladness shows up 19 times. This prisoner writes about joy. So Paul is looking out from prison bars and he sees the star of joy. He says, not only have I rejoiced, I will rejoice.

That's the first one. The second prediction he makes, the second star that he sees is the star of confidence. Look at verse 19. For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Did you hear the tone in his voice? Do you hear the certainty? For I know. He is sure about something, isn't he? He didn't say, well, I think, I hope, I suppose. I know.

It's a very strong word. You see, your outlook is determined by your up look. And Paul is looking out and up from that prison and he sees not only the stars, he sees the God who made the stars. He goes, I am confident.

I know. This is a man of faith. He is filled with faith. If joy is an act of the will, then confidence is a statement of faith. Question, what is he so confident in? What does your text tell you? What is he confident is going to happen?

I know this will turn out for my what? It says deliverance. I know I'm going to be delivered. Now, what does that mean? Well, the word deliverance is the word common word in the New Testament, soterion. It's the word for salvation. I know this is going to turn out.

I know. I'm confident this is going to turn out for my salvation, literally, soterion, translated deliverance. Now, Paul is not saying I'm an unsafe person and I hope that if I suffer enough in jail, I'll be saved. He doesn't say that.

That would contradict him. Some people think that Paul is saying, I know that I'm going to be sprung out of jail. I'm going to be set free. He can't mean that because in verse 20 he says, whether by life or by death, so I could live or I could die. So when he says, I know that this is going to be from my deliverance. That's Paul's way of saying I'm going to be just fine. Deliverance could be better translated, perhaps my well-being.

Things are going to turn out for the best. This is Paul's Philippians one way of restating Romans 828. You know, Romans 828, for we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

This is the same truth stated in a different manner. Paul's in prison. He's not sure how God's going to deliver him. If he's going to deliver him from the trial or through the trial, he doesn't know if he's going to live or die. But he goes, I'm just fine. I know I'm going to be delivered.

Let me explain something to you. I prayed for a lot of people who are sick through the years. And quite honestly, I prayed for some people and they get better. And it's always fun to watch that happen. I've even seen on a couple of rare occasions an instantaneous healing. I won't deny that.

I've seen it with my own eyes. But I've also prayed for people who don't get better, they get worse. I pray for them, they get worse. I pray more for them, they die. So be careful. Let's get Skip to pray for this one.

I have no special ability. God is sovereign. He does what he wants. So I pray for some people, they get better. Some people, they get worse. Some people, they live a long time.

Some people, they die. God delivered them all. Some people, he delivers by giving them 20 years on earth. Some people, he says, no, they're done with life on earth. Let's take them to heaven. That's not a bad gig.

They get delivered completely. And that's Paul's thought. I am confident in my future that things will turn out for my deliverance. Now what is the means of Paul's confidence? What's the agency of it? Well, it's twofold. Through the prayers of God's people and through the provision of God's Spirit.

Look at it yourself, please. I know this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Here's what he's saying. As you keep praying and as God keeps providing, I'm going to be fine. I face my future with confidence.

Now let's drill down a little bit. Consider prayer for a moment. I am absolutely confident in my future well-being through your prayer. He's assuming the Philippian church is already praying for them, but in writing this, he's asking for more prayer. Now I'm going to make a statement that might be shocking to you, but I believe it to be true. We marginalize prayer.

We really do. Most of us believers, most of us, we marginalize prayer. We doubt that prayer will even work, quite frankly.

You know how I know that? Because if we didn't believe that, we'd be doing a whole lot more of it. If we really thought prayer had the power to change things, to change us, to change people, we'd be doing it a lot. Paul is so sure that as long as they are praying for him, he can be joyful and he can be confident in the future. A few years back, I had the privilege of going to London and visiting Charles Haddon Spurgeon's church called the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Of course, Spurgeon lived in the 1800s, died, but his church still stands. It has survived wars, burnings, bombings.

The facade is still there. The church has been rebuilt. I love going there because I remember all the stories, not only about Spurgeon and how many people came to hear him preach, but if he took people on a tour of the facility, he would show them the great tabernacle where he would preach, but he took them to the basement where there was a little empty room, a meager room. He'd point to the room and say, this is the powerhouse and the reason that this church is blessed by God. It was a prayer room. He said, when I preach, there's a group of people, every service that meets in this room, and they pray that the Spirit of God would be unleashed. This is the secret.

This is the power. Leonard Ravenhill said this, the church has many organizers but few agonizers. Many who pay, but few who pray.

Many resters, but few wrestlers. Many who are enterprising, few who are interceding. A worldly Christian will stop praying and a praying Christian will stop worldliness. Tides may build a church, but tears will give it life.

That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series Technicolor Joy. Now, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mysterious.

In the Bible, Jesus even said he moves like the wind. Even so, Christians are instructed to know and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and his help, counsel, and comfort, as Skip Heitzig reminds us. You can't neglect the Holy Spirit since the scripture is full of the Holy Spirit from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. Not only is the Bible full of the Holy Spirit, you can be too. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who helps us. How many of you think you need all the help you can get to live your Christian life?

Yeah, I'm with you. We need help. Discover who the Holy Spirit is with Pastor Skip's DVD study, Expound Holy Spirit. And for a limited time, you can also get a copy of Lenya Heitzig's booklet called Empower, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Both resources are our thanks for your gift of $25 or more to help expand this Bible teaching outreach.

To give online securely, visit slash offer or call 800-922-1888. And we invite you to visit today where you'll find even more of Skip's messages, over 3500 teachings that help unpack the Bible verse by verse to help you tackle life's toughest issues. Once again, that's And just a reminder, tune in to watch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4 30 p.m. Mountain or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5 30 a.m. Eastern.

Check your local listings next week. Skip Heitzig shares how you can face an uncertain future with confident hope. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-18 22:32:11 / 2023-09-18 22:41:10 / 9

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