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JoyFULL // The Search for Joy // Philippians 1:1-13 // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 3:58 pm

JoyFULL // The Search for Joy // Philippians 1:1-13 // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans

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April 16, 2024 3:58 pm

Pastor Josh kicks off this brand new series entitled, JoyFULL. This will be a study on through the book of Philippians on how we can experience lasting joy through living for Jesus.

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And amen. Well listen, it is a good day to be in the house of God. We are starting a brand new series today. In fact, if you have your Bibles with you, I encourage you to go to the book of Philippians.

The book of Philippians. And we've entitled this series Joyful. Joyful.

Now for any of you OCD people in here, we did not misspell that by accident. And we are talking about, through this series, how you and I can have fullness of joy. Fullness of joy.

And really the question that this book is going to be answering in it is this question. How can we have joy even when we suffer? How can we have joy even when we suffer? Now, when we think about the idea of joy, every single one of us want to be joyful, right? In fact, just by a show of hands, how many of you want to be joyful? Raise your hand. And listen, if you didn't raise your hand, there's something wrong because I don't think anybody in here is saying, you know what, I'm kind of cool with the opposite of being joyful.

I'm good. I don't need the joy of the Lord. I don't need to be happy. I'm kind of cool being in my depressed state and my anxious state and things like that. No, every single one of us, we want to be joyful. And in fact, you know, you're church people and so many of you know the Lord, I believe, and so you're looking at it from a spiritual perspective. But even those who do not know God, the ones out there, I'll tell you this, is that they still want to be joyful. Everyone is chasing after joy.

Don't believe me. All you got to do is turn on the TV and wait and you watch these commercials, right? Or as the younger generation call them, ads.

And so you watch these ads and these commercials, they come on in between your show or in between the big game and things like that. And you watch these and here's what I'm telling you is that all of these commercials are trying to sell you something that will lead to you having joy in your life. Hey, drink this and you'll be joyful, right? Taste this and you'll be joyful.

Try our program and you will be joyful. Everything that we do, whether it be, you know, the clothes that you wear, you'll be joyful. Because every single person that they put on these commercials, they're all smiling, right? They're all smiling.

They're trying to sell you something, right? And it's all of these different things that are trying to sell you into if you buy their product, you will have happiness and you will have joy. But the question is this, is how can we have joy when we suffer? Like when your circumstances don't go the way that you had planned, how can you remain joyful? When things around you kind of spiral out of control, maybe your family dynamic that you had built, all of a sudden because of choices, that's gone. How do you remain joyful in the midst of that?

Or possibly your children, maybe one of your kids, they graduate high school and life is good and all of a sudden they stray away from God. Like how in the world do you remain joyful? Or perhaps you go into a doctor's office and the doctor comes in with discouraging news that you had absolutely no control over. How do you remain joyful in that?

Or perhaps you walk into your job and you've worked there for many, many years and they tell you that they're cutting your position and now you do not have a job anymore. How can you remain joyful when things are not going your way or when you're discouraged or when you suffer? The book of Philippians is all about that question. And so if you're here today and you're struggling with joy and you're struggling with finding lasting eternal joy that you can have no matter what happens around you, the next few weeks that we're going to be in this series, and it's going to be several weeks, we're going to slowly work through this book together.

So I'm not really sure how many weeks this is going to take us. And so but we're going to work through this together and we are going to talk about how you can have joy, how you can have the fullness of joy. Now, before we jump into Philippians chapter one, I want to give you a little bit of a background about this book. And I want you to know my very favorite, I'm going to say this up front, we don't do this a whole lot on Sunday morning. We don't go through books of the Bible as much as we do on on Wednesday nights and in my Bible fellowship class and things like that. But this is my favorite way to preach.

OK, I love to work through a book of the Bible and I love to slowly kind of go through it. And so here's what I'm asking you to do is you're here on the first week. That's awesome.

In fact, look to your neighbor and say you did it. All right. And so the very first week is always the most important week to be here at the start of a series. But here's what I'm going to ask you to do is just commit to being here as we work through this together. And then I'm going to go just a step further. And many of you do this already and I think it's great. But if you do not have a hard copy of God's word, I'd agree. You know, and some of you don't have one for certain reasons, maybe the print size and stuff like that is totally fine.

But I'd encourage you bring one or if you bring an iPad or something like that, take some notes so that you can kind of follow along along with us. And so as we work through this together, deal. Are you guys good with that? And so here I want to give you a little bit of if you weren't. I mean, it doesn't really matter. OK, I still said it.

And so but here's the thing. Philippians chapter one. The book of Philippians, you can read about the church at Philippi. It's written by the apostle Paul and it was written to to a real church, a church that was started by the apostle Paul. In fact, if you want to kind of go deeper in understanding what we're going through here, you can read all about how the church at Philippi got started. It's all in Acts chapter 16.

OK, so if you want to go to Acts 16 at some point in your personal time, go there. You can read about how this church began. But through a series of events, in fact, a dream, a vision that Paul had about going into a place called Macedonia, he felt after he kind of snapped out of that dream. He said, man, that was God speaking to me in order to go to a place of Macedonia. So he began to travel there. And when he gets there, he encounters three different people that really helped start the church at Philippi. And and so they go into this this European city, in fact, as the first church that started in Europe.

And and so this church at Philippi, he goes there and he meets three people. The first person was a girl by the name of Lydia. Now, one thing that we know about Lydia is the scripture says that she wore purple. So purple was usually a sign of royalty.

It was a sign of wealth. And so for her, this was an idea that, wow, God used the apostle Paul to reach this this well-to-do girl named Lydia. And so God ends up saving her through the ministry of the apostle Paul. In fact, not only just her, her whole family came to know God as a result of that.

And that was the first person that he saw converted there that eventually led to the start of the church at Philippi. The second person that he saw was this little slave girl. In fact, this slave girl, she was a slave to this family and she was actually demon possessed. And so she had this demonic possession about her. And so God used the apostle Paul to call the demon out of her. And she ended up getting saved along with her household. And so you have Lydia, this well-to-do girl, you know, we could call her rich, I guess, in our classification.

You had her and then you had a demon possessed girl. In other words, someone that was rich and then someone as far from God as you could ever imagine, right? They are now, God is going to use them to to start the church. Well, after God used the apostle Paul to cast out this demon and this girl, a lot of people in the community did not like that. They thought the apostle Paul was kind of dealing with stuff that was just out of this world. And so what they did was they actually took Paul and they threw him into prison. They threw him into prison. You know this story and you can read all about this in the book of Acts. They threw him into prison and then at night while he was in there, he began to, him and Silas, they began to sing praises to God.

And they began to sing and different things at night. And when they did that, God sent this earthquake and all these prisoners, you know, their shackles were, they fell off and everything. And as Paul was about to escape, there was a jailer that was there, this Filipina or this sorry, Philippines.

Sorry, I can't say the word. OK. And so but this jailer there that was watching over the jail cell, he actually saw everything that happened. He actually saw everything that happened. And Paul actually led him to the Lord. He led him to the Lord. And so now through all of these different encounters, that is how the church at Philippi began. That's how the church at Philippi began.

Now, for all of them that got saved, whether it be Lydia, whether it be the demon possessed girl, whether it be this jailer that God used to save all of these different people, here's what I want you to know. Up to that point, the Roman religion is what was the most common and prevalent religion there in Philippi. And so you say, what was the Roman religion?

Here's what the Roman religion really was. It basically said that you could worship any God that you want. OK, you could worship any God that you want. You can believe in any God that you want, as long as there was a caveat to it.

As long as you don't say that your God is the only God, or your God is the one true God. And so in Rome, that's what they did. And so in this city of Philippi, this church was beginning. And Roman religion was saying, hey, you can worship whoever you want, as long as you don't say that yours is the only religion, yours is the only way to God. So you have Lydia, you have this demon-possessed girl, you have this jailer, and you have the Apostle Paul. They're actually saying something far different. They're saying, hey, listen, the only way you can be saved is through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

He is the only way to God. And because that was so contrary to what was common there in the city of Philippi, what happened is they began to stand out, right? They began to stand out there in this city. And as a result of that, they began to experience a lot of persecution, because they would stand out because they were saying, hey, Jesus is the only way to God.

So they're persecuted, they're discouraged, they're in pain, they're in hiding. And it is in the midst of all of that that Paul writes the letter that we know is the book of Philippians. He writes this letter to the church at Philippi. Now, the church had grown.

The church was a little bit bigger, and so it had grown up to that point. But here, the Apostle Paul, he's writing this letter, and that's why he's talking about joy. That's why he's talking about having joy even when you suffer, because they were suffering. They were being persecuted.

They were experiencing discouragement. Things around them were falling apart because they gave their life to Jesus. And so the overwhelming theme of the book of Philippians is this. It's Paul's joy. It's Paul's joy.

In fact, I don't want this to go unnoticed. He is actually writing this letter from an actual prison cell. So he's sitting in prison, and he's writing this letter. In fact, he's in prison waiting what he refers to in chapter 4, execution that is coming for him.

He is there unlawfully. He'd been abandoned by many of his faithful colleagues in ministry. And yet, amid all of these circumstances, amid prison, amid the fact that he's awaiting execution, amid the fact that many of his companions in ministry had left him behind, and he is sitting there writing. Amidst all of that, he actually writes with this incredible amount of joy, this incredible amount of happiness. And he answers this question, how can we have joy even when we suffer? And here's what I'll tell you this.

The interesting thing to note, and by the way, I wanted to give you a lot of intro before we dive in, because we're going to be in this book for several weeks, and I want you to know the context and what it's written. But here's what the most amazing thing about this is to me. Paul is experiencing joy. He's experiencing true happiness, even though nothing around him seems to be good. Nothing around him seems to be working out the way that it should.

And here's the most amazing thing. It's not because he's far from God. It's because he's in the center of God's will.

That's the craziest thing to me, because it's one thing that you're experiencing discouragement because you're far from God. We understand that, right? You get that. You understand that, hey, if you run from God and go the other way, like nobody is wondering why Jonah is not joyful, right? We all get it. If you run from God, you're probably going to find yourself, I don't know, in the belly of a fish.

Who knows? So here's this thing. It's like nobody questions that. But when you have a story like this where the apostle Paul has gave his life to Jesus, he is on these missionary journeys. He starts this church on a second missionary journey because God told him to go there.

He finds himself in prison. And he's writing with this incredible joy in the midst of knowing that he is exactly where God wants him to be. How in the world can he have such happiness? How in the world could he have such joy? Well, the theme of the book is found in one verse, in one verse.

And this is the secret. So if you're here today and you're struggling with joy, maybe your health isn't where you want it. Maybe your family is falling apart and you don't know what to do.

Maybe your kids have abandoned the faith and they've ran from God and you don't know what to do. Or perhaps something's happening at your job or in your career and you just feel like everything is spiraled out of control. Here is the verse that I want you to lean upon. I want you to memorize. I want you to dwell upon it. I want you to meditate upon it because this verse is the reason why the apostle Paul can have joy even in the midst of suffering. It's found in Philippians 1, verse 21. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. You see, the question that we asked earlier, how in the world can we be joyful?

How in the world can we be happy when circumstances around us are falling apart or when you are possibly suffering here today? The answer is found and for me to live is Christ. You see, Paul takes the entire book of Philippians to explain what he means by this verse. You see, Paul believed that life's greatest achievement, life's greatest joy is to know Jesus. It's to know him, to have a relationship with him.

And here's what I want you to know and all this is by way of introduction. All of us, every single one of us are living for something. In fact, every single one of you have something in your blank. For to me to live is blank. For to me to live is blank.

And here's what I want you to know, is in that blank, whatever it is, for some of you today, and you know this to be true, for some of you, you're saying for to me to live, in other words, for me to be happy, for me to be joyful, for me to be rejoicing in the Lord. Here's what I want you to know, is some of you have money in that blank. Some of you think that if I just have a good 401k, then I'll be happy. If I have a promotion, I'll be joyful.

If everything goes well with my investments, if the stock market does really well, if the economy hits exactly like I'm predicting for it to hit. And for some of us, that is in our blank. And here's what Paul's saying. Is he's saying money, it'll leave you missing something, doesn't fulfill you. For some of you, it's not money in there. For some of you, it's your career. You live for your career. You live for success. You live for everybody around you to believe in you. You live for everybody around you to respect you.

You live for those things. And that could be perhaps in your blank. For some of you, it could be popularity.

Students, let me tell you, for some of you, you're living that you can be popular with the people at your school. And that is what's driving you. That's what's waking you up in the morning. That is what is leading and guiding everything that you do. You see, all of us have something in the blank. For to me, to live is blank. For some of you, it's just if I can retire. For some of you, it's if I can travel. For some of you, it's politics.

If we can just have the right people in office, then I'll be joyful and I can be happy. Or for some of you, it's to get into a certain school or it's a promotion at work or to make the team. Whatever it is, listen, all of us have something that we are living for. And here's what the Apostle Paul is saying.

Is Paul saying that every single thing that we just talked about, wherever you're at here today, whatever is in your blank that is not Jesus, is going to leave you unfulfilled. It's not going to provide the joy that you want. It's not going to provide the happiness that you're looking for.

It's not going to provide the fulfillment that you want. His point is this, and this is the reason why he's in the middle of a prison cell writing this letter saying, hey, we can be joyful. It doesn't matter that things are happening.

It doesn't matter that we had a closed door in front of us. We can be joyful. Why? Because for to me to live is Christ. For to me to live is Christ.

Nothing more, nothing less. And what Paul was saying is this, and I'll try to put it in terms for you is this, true joy, lasting joy, eternal joy. True joy is found in a who, not a what.

It's found in a who, not a want. You see, true joy, if you're looking for joy and you're wanting joy when everything around you is falling apart, here's the thing. True joy is found in a person, and his name is Jesus.

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. That means that, hey, if my bank account doesn't look like I want it to, I can be joyful. If I don't get the promotion, I can be joyful.

How about this one? If I can't build the building, I can be joyful. If things don't work out the way that I want, I can be joyful. If my family doesn't look the way that I want it, I can be joyful. If God doesn't give me kids the way that I've been praying for, I can be joyful. Why? Because true joy, it's not found in a thing.

It's found in a person. And for some of us, the reason why we struggle with joy so much, and the reason why you're up and down, you say, Pastor, I'm more in tune. Listen, I follow a lot of you on Facebook, and I wonder. Like, I want to delete the account just because I hate negativity so much. Because as a child of God, and as a follower of Jesus, why in the world are we being negative so often? We have Jesus, and that is enough. That is enough.

That's the point. And so for you, I want you to understand that true joy, it is found in a who. That's why the Apostle Paul in chapter four will get there eventually. He says this in chapter four, verse four. He says, Rejoice in the Lord always.

What? Paul, you're writing from prison. Surely you don't mean it in that moment. You know what he says? He follows up, even doubles down on his idea of rejoicing, and he goes on to say this. Rejoice in the Lord always.

How? Because for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. So let's look in it. That was the longest introduction that I've ever had in a sermon.

But I promise my outline's not near as extensive as it is. That doesn't mean you're going to get out of here sooner, but it just means that I don't have as many words written on this page than I usually do. Verse number one, Philippians chapter one, it says, Paul and Timothy, the servants or slaves of Jesus Christ to all the saints. That just means Christians. So if you're in here today, you're a Christian. He's referring to Christians specifically in this context at Philippi.

But this can be for you. These saints are in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you always in every prayer of mine for you all making requests with with joy. Now, now, joy, I want you to understand, is a fruit of the spirit only God can produce. The word joy is mentioned in the book four times.

The word rejoice is mentioned eight times in the book. You'll see it as the overwhelming predominant theme of the entire letter to this church. He goes on in verse number five for your fellowship or think your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Being confidence, one of my favorite verses, being confident of this very thing that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Let me just say this real quick about that verse. Salvation. When we think about salvation, it isn't you working for him. In fact, the beauty of salvation is actually him doing all of the work for for you. In fact, it's not just after you get saved like, man, I got to really do, do, do, do, do. No, here's the point. It's it's really him working in and through you.

That's the point. That's what the apostle Paul saying. He's not given any credit to him. He's just saying this. I just opened the doors in front of me that I walk through as he's opening. All I'm trusting in and I'm confident in is the fact that that he is going to be who began a good work in me. He's going to perform it.

He's going to finish it. He's the one working in and through his first number seven, even as it is meet for me to think this of you all because I have you in my heart. And as much as both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation in the gospel, you are all partakers of my grace, for God is my record.

How greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that you may prove things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled, verse 11, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ and to the glory and praise of God. But I would you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened to me have fallen out, rather unto the furtherance of the gospel, so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace and in all other places.

So let's just look at the outline real quick and we'll go from there. So let's look at Paul's joy. As Paul is joyful in the midst of his circumstances, in the midst of the persecuting Philippian believers there in Philippi, who are experiencing persecution because of their faith and things like that.

As we're talking about all of those things, here's what I want you to notice. Number one, the source of joy. What's the source of joy? You find it in just a couple of verses, verses one and two.

You see this. Where does this joy come from? If you're here today and you're struggling and you can't find joy and you're looking at all of the wrong places, I'm going to tell you where the source of joy is. Teenagers, college students, listen to me, lean in a little bit today, because this is so true for you and if you can get this at an early age, it'll save you a lot of heartache as you get older and make decisions in your life. And so here's where it is.

We find it in the first thing. Paul is now a servant of Christ. The first source of joy is found in his opening statement when he says this, Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ.

You say, what in the world does that mean? Here's the reason why the Apostle Paul could have joy no matter what was happening in his life. It's because he's now a servant of Jesus. And any day that I'm a servant or a slave to a higher master, it's a better day than anything else.

You see, that's what the Apostle Paul is saying. You say, what in the world does he mean here by the phrase servants? It literally means you're a slave. Let me tell you this, every single person in here is a slave to something. You're either a slave to sin and a slave to yourself today. You walked in here and you are just living your life to please you. And you're living your life to please what makes you feel good.

And you're living your life for you and you alone. The scripture says that we were all born into this world as slaves to sin. The Apostle Paul, he talks about this in the book of Romans. He says that we are all slaves to sin and we follow after sin and we chase after sin. But the day that you believed, the day that you confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and you became a new creation, here's what happened in your life. You were freed. You had this bondage, these shekels of sin that you could do nothing but serve sin. You could do nothing but follow after sin. And it says this, that when you trust in Jesus as your Savior, the bondage of sin has now been broken. And now you are free.

You are free from that. And now you don't have to serve sin. That's why the Apostle Paul asked this question in Romans chapter 8. He says this, like, why should we continue in sin? Should we?

Absolutely not. God forbid that we continue in sin. In other words, what he's saying this, because he's talking ultimately about being a slave to sin or a slave to God. And so for some of you, if you can't have victory in sin, I encourage you to go to Romans chapter 8 and read this. Read this. Here's why. Shall you continue in sin that grace may abound?

Absolutely not. Don't stay sinning. Why in the world would you go back and put on the shekels of sin that you were completely freed from?

That's the point. And so what Paul's saying when he opens this letter, he knows the Philippians, they're discouraged. They're in pain. They're afraid of persecution.

They're fighting for their life. All because of their faith. And so he reminds them right off the bat, listen, we can be joyful. We can be joyful because we no longer serve sin. In fact, we are slaves to the master. And that is where true joy comes from.

It's not found in circumstances. It's found in being a slave to him, being in a relationship with him. He goes on and he says this, servants of Jesus Christ to all the saints. Then there's this little word in Christ Jesus.

That word in is so important. So the source of joy is realizing that we now are a servant of Christ. You're a slave to him, but you're also found in him.

You're also in him. In other words, our position has changed. Your position has changed. In other words, before the gospel came into your life, you were an enemy of God. Now because of what Jesus did, you're a friend of God. Before the gospel saved your life, you were guilty.

Now because of Jesus, you're innocent. Before the gospel, all you could have is filthy rags. Now you have the righteousness of God's own beloved son. Before the gospel, you had a hostile relationship with God. But now you have peace with God.

Before the gospel, you were a sinner. And now, according to this verse, Paul's saying you can rejoice because you are a saint of God. And then in verse number two, he says, not only the source of joy is being a servant to Christ, being found in Christ, but he also, in verse number two, he'd experienced grace and peace.

He says, grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, grace is undeserved. It's unmerited favor. You see, grace is something that seeks you out when you have absolutely nothing to give back in return.

It's a free gift that is freely offered to every single one of us. And he's saying this, that we can be joyful even on our very worst days because we've experienced grace. It doesn't matter if not one thing goes right in Paul's life. Because of the gospel, he can still be joyful.

It doesn't matter what happens in your life. You can still be joyful because you are a servant of Christ. You've been found in Christ. You've experienced grace and peace with God. And because of that, we rejoice in that.

We rejoice in that. And so when things don't go your way or if your family spirals out of control, let me tell you this, you can still be joyful because of what you have in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The second thing, the nature of joy. The nature.

What does it look like? Verses 3 and 4. The first thing you find in verse number 3, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. If you have the joy of Jesus in your life, it's going to produce gratitude in your heart. It's going to produce gratitude in your heart. You know, just as a side note, I love being around thankful people.

I love being around people that can find good in life. You ever been around somebody that just is negative all the time? Listen, I'll tell you right now, my wife knows this very well. I can't handle it.

Like that's just not, I can't do it. I can be around negative people for a few minutes. But after that, I need a break. I need a Diet Mountain Dew in my system.

I need something because I can't handle it. Because here's what I love. I love being around people that can find the good in things. Because as Christians, we should always be grateful. As followers of Jesus, we should be thankful. And what Paul's saying, he's writing this, you know, he's shackled up, he's in the midst of prison, he's awaiting execution like what he says in chapter 4. And he's writing this to a bunch of persecuted believers that are really trying to just live another day because they love Jesus with all of their heart, soul and mind. And he's writing this. And I can almost imagine him writing this and stuff with a smile on his face, maybe tears in his eyes, just how grateful he is, maybe a song that he's bursting out in as he's writing this. And he's writing this letter and he's talking, man, I'm so grateful for you. In the midst of being shackled up here, in the midst of being bound there in the midst of a prison, he's still finding the point to be grateful for what God has done in his life. He's grateful for the Philippians.

For some of us, we need to honestly look at our life. If you've experienced the joy of God, then you should experience gratitude. You should have gratitude. Find something good to say.

Find something good to say about the people and the things around you. The second thing is this, the joy of Jesus, it produces confidence in your heart. Verse number six, being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

He was so confident in the work of God that God was not done with him. In other words, there's a greater good. For some of you, your circumstances might not look good here, but I want you to know that your circumstance here is not the end for you. A greater day is coming. A greater day is coming, and so just persevere, have confidence that, hey, what I'm in right now, it's only for a season, but I know that things get better because I'm a child of God, and I'm in Jesus.

The third thing I want you to see is this, the motivation of joy. You find it in verse number 12. He says this, but I would, ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me, so that's like the prison, that's, you know, he actually in Acts chapter 16, you find that he got beaten when he cast out that demon out of that girl. He got beaten during that time, and so like he's thrown into prison, and who knows, he probably has scars, he probably has bruises and things like that as he sits in a prison cell. And so he says, hey, all the things that have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.

Now, this one blows my mind. Here was Paul's motivation for joy. Here's what his motivation was. This is what drove him.

This is what led him. Paul's motivation for joy is this, that the gospel be proclaimed, that the gospel get out, that the gospel reach people. You see, Paul, it's almost like he's writing this letter, and he's saying, hey, listen, I know you guys feel bad for me because you're actually the ones hiding, but me, I know I'm sitting in prison writing this, and many of you saw me when I got beaten and all of these things, and as he's writing this letter, he's saying, hey, all of those things, all the terrible things that have happened to me, it's okay. It's okay because I've just put them aside for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of the gospel, and you can almost feel this verse for a moment.

You can almost put yourself in this position. It's like Paul is saying this, that, hey, but here's the good news. I can almost imagine him elaborating a little bit and saying, hey, here's the good news. I get a new guard that comes and watches over me every day, and I know that sounds terrible, and here I am in prison, but it's almost like, hey, every new guard that has sent my way is a new opportunity for me to share what Jesus has done in my life with the people around me. And you almost get this sense that he's saying that, hey, it doesn't matter all of these things because I look at my problems, I look at my scenarios, I look at my bad circumstances, I look at my suffering, I look at my persecution, I look at my bad health, I look at the circumstances around me that are just spiraling out of control, and I'm using it not to complain and to wallow in my suffering. I'm using it to say what an incredible opportunity that God has given me to share the gospel with new people around me.

That's almost what you feel here. That's his motivation. I was listening to a pastor preach on this passage just this past week, and he was talking to a missionary family, and this missionary family, they go to the field, they leave their family and friends. They're in a closed part of the world, and so he couldn't really disclose anything. And he went to visit them on the mission field, and they left everything behind. And when they got there, they had no kids.

It was just him and her. And when they got to this field, they ended up getting pregnant. So they're super excited. They're going through the pregnancy, I mean, miles and miles away from grandparents, family, things like that. And when they get there, they go all the way through the pregnancy. And right before she was delivering, they found something wrong with the baby. This has been something that they prayed for, they wanted so heavily. They go all the way up to the point, and they find something, but she was right there, so she delivered the baby.

The baby was born, and the baby lived for like 14 minutes. They had this moment, they're away from family, and shortly after, this pastor went to visit them to check in, and they said something that was so, so good. They told this pastor, they said, you know, we often think about everything that we gave up to come here. And they referenced things like, man, what would it have been like to be around grandparents? What would it have been like to be around our family?

What would it have been like to live close? And all these different things. And they said, you know, we gave up so much to come here. But when we start to think about what we gave up to come here, here's what flows our heart. What do these people give up had we not have come here?

What would these people have given up had we have not come here? You see, some of us, we're looking at our circumstances, and we're just complaining, and we're wallowing in it, and things like that. Perhaps your circumstances could be what God is using to bring somebody to Him. Have you ever stopped to think about that? That maybe the reason that things are happening in your life is because God is trying to tell you something?

Hey, you get an opportunity around you. Stop complaining and start using your voice to talk about the goodness of God. Stop talking about how bad things are around you and criticizing everything around you and start talking about how good God has been to you, and perhaps God could use those conversations to bring more and more people to Him. Why don't we have the message of verse number 12 here of our text that we could say that everything that's happened around us, yeah, it stinks, and it's not good, and life is bad, and things just haven't gone the way I want, but we put all of that aside for the furtherance of the gospel, for the furtherance of His name to go out.

So we come back to our original question to wrap this up. How can we have joy even when we suffer? How can we have joy? Where does it come from? I want you to leave with this thought. Joy, I've already said this, but joy is always found in a person.

It's not found in a what? And if you're looking for it in a what, all of those things are going to be, they're going to fall short. They're not going to fulfill you. What you have in Him far exceeds any suffering that you could ever experience.

What you have in Jesus, it far exceeds it. And here's what I want you to know, and I'm going to land the plane here and be done. I'm just going to speak.

For some of you, I've received, and I love this, I received several emails and text messages just saying, hey, we're praying for you, pastor. I know you're discouraged, I know you're down, whatever, and things like that. I want you to know up front that what I experienced this week completely pales in comparison to what some of you are going through. I want you to know that up front. But if I've learned anything, here's what I've learned. And this is your pastor learning. I want you to know that I'm a work in progress just like every single one of you.

Here's what I've learned. A building is not my joy. He is my joy. A building is not my treasure. He is my treasure. A building is not the end. He is my end. A building is not my reward.

It's not. He's my reward. And so for some of you that are looking at circumstances to fulfill you, I want you to know every single thing in this life will leave you wanting more. Everything. There's not enough money in the world.

If there was, all the athletes would be the happiest people that we know. Right? But they're not. They're not. They're all discouraged. They're all frustrated. They're all upset. They're all discouraged.

Why? Because all the things that they've been chasing after, they've all found that they all fall short of what they're looking for, lasting joy. And I want you to know when Jesus is your reward, when Jesus is your treasure, when Jesus is your joy, here's what happens. Everything around you pales in comparison to what you have in him. And that's the good news of the gospel.

That's why the apostle Paul writes the book. He's like, look, who cares about the circumstances around you? Get your eyes off of those things and get your eyes on who we get to worship every day, who we get to have a relationship with. He's our reward. He's our joy.

Would you bow your heads with me? I don't know where you're at today, but I've needed this passage more than anything. God has a sense of humor. God knew that we would align this sermon series with some news that we received. I needed this as your pastor. But if you're in here today and say, Pastor, I've been chasing after the wrong thing.

I've been chasing after all of these other things instead of him as my treasure. If that's you, would you please slip up your hand? Listen, my hand was raised.

Don't be embarrassed. If you're in here and you say, man, my eyes have been on the wrong stuff. It's been around a career. It's been around money. It's been around relationships. It's been around my kids. It's been around my grandkids.

It's been around good circumstances, good health. It's been around all these things. I see hands going up everywhere. If that's where you're at today, listen, I was there. My hand was there. Here's what I want you to do in this moment because I've been on my knees so much. He's our treasure.

I'm going to pray for you and this altar is going to be open. Father, Lord, we're all human. We all focus on the wrong things. In fact, I believe the Philippians that were Christians, God, they were struggling with the same things.

They had their eyes on the wrong. That's why Paul's writing this letter. God, we need this. You're our joy. You're our treasure. Let our hearts go after you for to me to live is you.

Nothing else. Bless these people in here today. Father, I pray all of us would leave here with our eyes fixed upon you. Would you please stand with me? If God spoke to you, you come.

The altar is open. If your eyes have been on the wrong thing, put them on him. Father, I pray all of us would leave here with our eyes fixed upon you. I normally don't do this. This is completely spur of the moment, but I need this, Bob.

I don't know if we can. Bob, if we could sing the choir song, Yvette and all of our choir, if you're in the audience today, I'd love for you to make your way up here today. I want to sing that song again because that's my prayer.

It's about just looking to him. Let him be exalted. That's what we want. That's what we want for him to be exalted in our church, in our community, in our life, in the circumstances, whether they're good or bad. God, let him be exalted. Let our eyes be fixed upon him. That's what we want more than anything else in life. Let our eyes be upon you because they don't need to be on anything else.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 21:57:17 / 2024-04-16 22:16:03 / 19

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