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Can You Predict Your Future? - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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August 2, 2021 2:00 am

Can You Predict Your Future? - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 2, 2021 2:00 am

If you were to describe what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? In the message "Can You Predict Your Future?" Skip shares about two words that could define your future: hope and life.

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

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So here is Paul looking to his future saying, I have an active hope. My neck and head are stretched out and I have an eager hope and anticipation. I hope you're saying, what for?

I'll tell you what for. Verse 20 tells us, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life. Or by death. Here's what he's saying, as I look to the future, one great concern that I hope for more than anything else is that I will be a faithful witness for Christ. With all that's going on in the world today, it's easy to feel hopeless. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how you can live with confident hope in the face of an uncertain future. Before we begin, here's a resource that will nourish your soul with God's amazing truth. You know those times you hear a sermon that really speaks to you? It's almost as if the pastor knows what you're personally going through, and he teaches a message like you're the only one listening.

Well, it's not that the pastor knows you personally, it's that God knows you personally. Here's Skip Heitzig. Get to know the God who knows you with Pastor Skip's Picks, a collection of some of Pastor Skip's most memorable teachings, including, Is the Rapture Real?

and Overcoming an Anxious Mind. This four-DVD collection is our thanks for your gift of $25 or more to help keep this ministry connecting more people to Jesus. Call now to request your copy of Pastor Skip's Picks.

1-800-922-1888, or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's get into today's teaching. We're in Philippians Chapter 1 as we begin our study with Skip Heitzig. 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 from 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 that 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, but 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, and 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. Tithes may build a church, but tears will give it life. Now why should we pray? There's a lot of reasons.

I'll give you just two. Reason number one, spiritual work always requires spiritual tools. One of the most frustrating endeavors is to try to do a work of the Spirit in the energy of your flesh.

You are doomed for failure. Second reason, it produces confidence, according to the text. I am confident through your prayers. It's a spiritual tool. It produces confidence.

Two good reasons to keep it up. So one means of Paul's confidence is through their prayer. Notice the second, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit will give you everything you need. Now you see the word supply in that text? It literally means a lavish supply, a lavish supply.

The Greek word is epikoregios. We get our word chorus from that. It literally means one voice upon another. So if Ryan stands up here singing, and Tamara stands up here and adds a harmony, and Steven stands up here and adds yet another harmony, and their voices blend in melody and harmonies, first, third, and fifth, you are stacking up the voices.

Then if you add a choir next to them, you have an epikoregios. You have a lavish supply of beautiful voices. So what Paul is saying is this, the reason I'm confident is because you keep praying and because the Holy Spirit lavishly supplies everything I need to handle the future.

Here's the truth. The hand of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you. He will lavishly supply what you need. You know Zechariah chapter 4 verse 6. You'll finish it as I start quoting it. It's not by might, it's not by power, it's by, say it, my spirit says the Lord. Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. So Paul is confident in the future.

If there are praying friends and plenty of fuel, and the fuel is the Holy Spirit. So Paul looks out of his prison bars. He sees two stars, the star of joy, the star of confidence, he predicts them both. But he sees a third star, the star of hope. Verse 20, according to my earnest expectation and hope. Earnest expectation means about the same thing as the next noun, hope.

They really go together. Earnest expectation is like an intense form of hope. Active hope you might say. According to my earnest expectation, active hope and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. Now you know, you've known this because you hear me every week. You know I love words. So this word here, earnest expectation, literally means to watch something without stretched head. Go ahead, stretch your head up. You've just done and what this verse is talking about, this earnest expectation.

Now here's where the word came from. In old times when somebody would see something on the horizon coming, like an army or a group of emissaries approaching, people would stand on the walls and stretch their heads out. And they'd see, what's happening out there? Is that a war or is that a letter coming?

What is it? It's the same thing if you go to a baseball game and the batter hits the ball into left center and everybody's head goes. They're watching it.

They're kind of anticipating. Where's it going to go? Home run? Oh, I caught it.

When I was a kid we used to watch golf on television, which some people swear is a cure for insomnia, but we used to love it. And same thing, the ball is hit and it goes into its trajectory and you see everybody in the galley. Where is that going? Is that going to go on the green?

Is that going to go on a sand trap? So here is Paul looking to his future saying, I have an active hope. My neck and head are stretched out and I have an eager hope and anticipation. I hope you're saying, what for?

I'll tell you what for. Verse 20 tells us. That in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

Here's what he's saying. As I look to the future, the one great concern that I hope for more than anything else is that I will be a faithful witness for Christ. That I won't be ashamed, but that I will be bold.

It's amazing that he says this. He didn't say, I have one great hope, and that is that I get out of jail. I have one great hope that I can escape this pain and suffering.

He said, I have one great hope, whether I live or die. I want to be a witness for Christ. I'm looking for opportunities to represent Christ.

What I hope for is that I might express my faith and exalt my Savior. When I was a young Christian, I was morbidly afraid of witnessing to another person, telling them about Jesus. I was embarrassed. To be honest, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed about the gospel.

The reason I was embarrassed is because I was afraid that they would reject the message, and that would make it seem like they're rejecting me. So I just held back for the first several months. It was very difficult. Then something kicked into gear, and I could never shut up after that.

Howard Hendricks put it this way. In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering. I was stuttering. Paul is saying, my great hope for the future is that I will not stutter, but that I will be bold. It means to have freedom of speech, bold.

You know what? We need to be bold. While the world is breaking bad, we need to be breaking bold. That's what we need to be doing, breaking bold.

You know, the world, yeah. The world is bold about what it believes, and they're becoming bolder. They're not ashamed of what they believe in.

They'll use every opportunity they can, every song they write, every news program, every sitcom, every movie to further their agenda. They are not afraid. They're bold to share their values on abortion, on homosexuality, on promiscuity.

They want to get that out there and get it in your face. It's time for Christians to get out of the closet and be bold. Do not be embarrassed and not be ashamed.

You say, Skip, I can clap for that, but boy, that's hard for me. I'm just not that. I'm not a vocal person. I'm not a bold person.

Fair enough. Just ask God to make you bold. I'll be bold.

I'll be a witness as long as you keep praying and the Spirit keeps providing. See? So let's just start there. God, make me a bolder person. So He's praying for that. He wants that. He hopes for that.

That's His earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed. But look at this, with all boldness, as always, He's always been bold up to this point, so now, in this present situation facing Caesar Nero, so now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or death. You know what magnified means? Magnified.

That's really what it means. It just means to enlarge something, to make it bigger than it is. To enlarge it, to make it bigger, or to make it greater.

So I have a question for you. How can you make the greatest person in the world greater? How can you magnify Christ in your body?

He's already great. How can you make Him greater? Well, I'm glad you asked.

I'll give you an example, then an explanation. If you look up tonight at the stars, if there's not light pollution, you can see some of the stars flickering. Those stars, those little twinkles, some of them are enormous.

Some of those stars are a thousand million miles in diameter, or 12,000 times larger than the sun. Yet you look at them and they just twinkle. They flicker. You can barely see them. So if you want to see them better, what do you look through? A telescope.

When you look through a telescope, what happens? They get magnified. You're magnifying them. You're enlarging them.

When you enlarge them, it seems like you brought them closer, and now you see them clearer. So here's how it works. To most people in this world, Jesus Christ is 2,000 years ago. He's so far away. He's so in the distance. He's so unapprehendable.

He's so irrelevant. That happened 2,000 years ago, until you show up. Now, by you, by them looking at your life, He's either magnified, brought closer, clearer, or minified. Remember as a kid, you'd take the telescope, sometimes just for fun you'd turn it around, you'd look through the other end, and everybody could be right in front of you.

They seem like they're 40 miles away. Paul says, you know what I want? I want boldness.

I'm looking for opportunities to represent Christ, because I want the Great One to be even greater through my body, as I give Him my hands, my feet, my mouthpiece, let Him use my life, I present my body, Romans 12.1, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is my reasonable service. Christ is magnified by our bodies. So Paul looks out from his prison bars, doesn't see mud, he does see stars. He sees the star of joy, confidence, and hope.

He predicts that. There's a fourth star, and that is the star of life. Verse 21 sums it up. It's sort of his motto, his slogan. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. That's one of the most famous verses in the Bible.

Among Christian circles, you've heard it, or you've heard it quoted, or you have quoted it. But this is Paul's slogan. This could have been on Paul's tombstone.

Wouldn't that be great? Here lies the apostle Paul. For him to live was Christ, to die was gain. Every time I read words by Paul in the Bible, I kind of step away from him going, who is this guy? I'll tell you one thing.

Paul wasn't a guy for small talk. He might sit down with a cup of coffee, and he might get past the hellos pretty quickly and just say, let me ask you about Christ. Why are you asking about Christ? Because for me to live is Christ. My life is Christ. And if I die, I keep living because I'm with Christ.

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. It reminds me of a kid who went to Sunday school. He went to a new church in a new town. And the first day of church after Sunday school, his parents said, well, how was Sunday school? He said, oh, it was good. He said, well, tell me about your teacher. And he paused, and he says, well, she must have been Jesus' grandmother because Jesus was the only one she kept talking about the whole class. I like that. That's sort of like Paul the Apostle.

He must be related to Jesus because that's the only guy he talks about. For me to live is Christ. Therefore, to die is gain because you'll be with him.

Now take that little phrase and make it your own for a minute. For me to live is blank. Fill in the blank. And then to die is blank. The only thing or person you could put in the first blank to make it say gain would be Christ.

Let me show you this. Let's say you were to say for me to live is wealth. Well, then you have to say then to die is loss because you cannot take your wealth with you.

You leave it all behind. So if for you it is getting a lot of money, then when you die it's a total loss. If you were to say for me to live is fame and notoriety and status, then you'd also have to say for me to die is loss because you lose it when you die.

You're famous only here but not there. If you say for me to live is having a perfect physical body, well, you're going to have to put loss there too because when you die you get real ugly real quick like in a day. The only one or thing you could put that says gain is Christ. For me to live is Christ. To die is gain. That's why this is the sumim bonum of Paul's life.

This is the pinnacle statement that sums up everything. For me to live is Christ. To die is gain. Here's Paul.

He's in prison. He doesn't know if he's going to live or die. If I live, I'll live for Christ. If I die, I'll live with Christ.

Either way, there's life in either equation. Jesus said this, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.

And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Paul believed that. Paul believed that. Now we should close by telling you what happened to Paul. Paul, in jail, will be set free.

And he'll spend a year out of jail. We don't know what he's doing, but I'll tell you what, for him to live is Christ. So he's out there doing something for Christ.

He's preaching the gospel, starting some church somewhere. A year later, he gets arrested again in Troas and brought to Rome the second time. This time he's not under house arrest like he is now with a little bit of freedom. The second time he is placed in a prison called the Mamertine Prison in Rome.

It's still there. It's a hole in the ground. There are no windows in it. It is solitary confinement. He gets food that is lowered through a rope in the hole in the ground. That's where he spends his final days. He's taken up out of the Mamertine Prison, taken to the Basilica Julia, a building that was built by and for Julius Caesar, named after him. And he is given the death verdict. Condemned to die. History tells us how he died.

Let me tell you how A.T. Robertson describes it. The crowds flowed into town. Some were going out. Paul was only a criminal going to be beheaded.

Few, if any in the crowd, would know or care anything about him. At a good place on the road some miles out, the executioner stopped. The block was laid down. The executioner stood ready, axe in hand. The men stripped Paul, tied him, kneeling upright to the low pillar which exposed his back and his neck. The lictors beat him with rods for the last time. He groaned and bled from his nose and his mouth.

And then, without a hint of hesitation, the executioner frowned as he swung the blade down swiftly, hitting its mark with a dull thud. And the head of the greatest preacher of the ages rolled upon the ground. That's how Paul died. Now Paul said, for me to live is Christ.

To die is gain. For that one year he was preaching Christ. Now, in that one brutal moment, Paul moved from the imperial city of Rome to the eternal city of heaven. He was preaching Christ. Now he is with Christ. And Paul knew it all along.

That's why he wasn't afraid. If I live, I'll preach Christ. You kill me, I'll be with him. Either way I win. Either way I'm delivered. Either way I'm going to rejoice. I'm going to be confident. I'm going to have hope because I'm going to have life either way. Now I told you at the beginning of this study that you can predict your future responses but not your future circumstances.

I was wrong actually. There is one circumstance you can predict. And that is, will you spend eternity in heaven or in hell? I can predict, accurately, that because I believe in Jesus Christ and not my own good works or my religious works, but I trust in his finished work, unequivocally, no doubts at all, I'm going to heaven. I have no doubts.

That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Technicolor Joy. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these teachings coming to you while connecting others to God's truths. No matter what happens in your life or where God takes you, he's always in control.

His word assures us of this truth time and time again. Here at Connect with Skip, we want friends like you to hold fast to the encouraging truths of the Bible and then share those truths with others. One way you can do that today is by prayerfully partnering in this work to keep these teachings coming to you and others. Here's how you can give today. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity and come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares vital insight on how you can make a difference for Jesus right now in our world. We live between two worlds. We've already seen that we have dual citizenship. We are earth-born, but we are heaven-bound. We live on the earth, but we long for what is ahead in heaven. So we live effectively between two worlds. We experience the tension of that.

And sometimes we even wonder, when life gets really hard, how long do I have to stay here? Why can't I just bypass all this and go directly to heaven? Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a 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 10:47:15 / 2023-09-18 10:56:53 / 10

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