- Sermon Notes
HOPE FOR OUR GENERATION
Tonight I would like to introduce you to something many have writ-ten about –
We are going to look at a man who viewed circumstances very dif-ferently than you or I, not that we wouldn’t be in agreement with this man, but how often do we live our lives without regard for our circumstances?
The Apostle Paul gives us insight into living with open hearts so that we can learn from our circumstances.
I go through the same challenges you do –
You will discover if your faith is real during a storm.
• He didn’t say, “In this world you will not have troubles” or Say the name of Christ and you will have no trouble.”
If life’s circumstances challenge all that you are, then you are in the right place tonight – because God will revolutionize how you live.
We all know it’s hard to look at a person and know everything is sincere, that everything is in order, that God’s way wins over the world’s ways or the flesh in their life.
But then the heat comes – trouble comes – things change and who we are in Christ becomes more clear.
How many people in this sanctuary could say, “I’ve been through difficult storms and I weathered that storm – I am able to look back & see God’s hand in it?
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work to-gether for good to those who love God, to those who are called ac-cording to His purpose.
I. Circumstances Are For The Gospel’s Sake
But Paul with all these Circumstances hear’s of the people in Phi-lippi who he loves and writes to them because he sees God in all his circumstances – he’s not discouraged yet none of us would fault him for being so.
• So Paul, still in prison, is now comforting the Philippians who are free.
A. God is in Control
Do you believe it? Do you live your life demonstrating what you believe?
When he wrote the church in Ephesus, he said don’t lose heart over my circumstances; he was excited about what God was doing from a Biblical Point of View – his view transcended his world circum-stances.
Ephesians 3:13; Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribu-lations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
What can we learn from Paul from just this first verse in our text?
• God is in control
B. Allow Circumstances to Glorify Christ
We often say we know God is in control but do we go the next step to see that He’s using our circumstances to glorify Himself?
Philippians 1:12; Now I want you to know, brethren, that my cir-cumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
• KJ version says, rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
When the Greeks used this phrase, “for the greater progress”, it meant Circumstances clear obstacles for the gospel, not close those opportunities.
ILLUS – Army Corp of Engineers –
• Without prison these doors would never open.
• Paul’s circumstances allowed God to give him access to the highest powers in Rome.
Caesar had 3 levels of confinement
• Maximum Security – Minimum Security – Medium Security; Paul was in Medium Security – on house arrest guarded day/night by the Praetorian Guard.
Caesar’s personal body guards – hand picked – for valor, leadership, battle tested – 10,000 men – the most loyal to Caesar – serve for 16 years with many benefits, pay and comforts not afforded the Roman Army.
• These guys guarded Paul.
• Chained wrist to wrist – rotated shifts every 4-6 hours.
• Do you think they were bored? Can you imagine. This went on for 2 years.
Do you think God would waste all this time with His apostle Paul chained to guards and not use his circumstances to glorify Himself?
During that time he could conduct Bible Studies, present salvation messages to countless visitors, write letters to the churches. – Ephe-sus, Colossae, Thessalonica –
ILLUSTRATION – Departure from Nike
Imagine Paul sitting chained to this Goliath of a soldier – It’s no wonder the scripture says the Word of God became known, only his circumstances put him in front of these people.
What are your circumstances and how could you allow God to use you to impact Heaven because of them?
II. A Godly View of Circumstances Emboldens
Vs 14 – Boldness results for the believers in Philippi.
• Up to now the church in Philippi wasn’t in great shape, they were timid, afraid to be bold.
Romans 1:16; For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Now Paul is bold with the Praetorian Guards, with VIP’s in Rome. Fruit as many come to know Christ, then the church becomes more bold.
• A free man in Rome would not have accomplished this for Christ’s sake.
God used Paul to set the church on fire and put the bureaucracy on notice for Jesus Christ.
A. There is Blessing in Adversity
• Adversity is often the door to ministry.
• It often opens the door to glorify God in ways success never could.
• It is a chance in our day for God to display His power in our lives when we are hurting.
ILLUSTRATION – Baseball injury in college
2 Corinthians 1:4; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
What are you going through right now that you could turn to bless-ing with a Godly viewpoint for adversity?
How many times have you heard someone say; “before I went through __________, I couldn’t speak to those going through it the same way.”?
• We go through things to become equipped, not for punishment.
B. God is Sovereign
• Here Paul is again reminding the Philippians about Romans 8:28.
• Turning ashes into beauty – turning a mess into victory.
• Sovereignty is more than being all-present, all-powerful – View it as God actively stepping into your life, actively stepping into your circumstances.
• Lord Jesus Himself
God loves to turn bad circumstances into good.
• Paul’s in jail – no problem – I’ll just turn that around so he has great influence on the power of Rome.
• Give Him enough time and He will do that for you and I.
C. Trust God in the midst of Adversity
Some of us right now have circumstances we would like to change:
• Challenges in parenting
• Financial hardships
• Strained Relationships
• Health struggles
• Loneliness, possibly bouts with depression
He’s calling us to trust Him – it doesn’t matter what “it” is; God’s plan is to turn adversity around for His own glory.
Psalms 62:8; Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Paul never lost his Joy in spite of his circumstances – or what we read about would not have been accomplished through Paul.
His spirit aided God.
• Believing what God says is how we have victory over our circum-stances.
• We will have various crisis’ in our life – do we believe Him when He says He is in control?
Isaiah 41:10; ‘‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Luke 12:22-26; And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
Revelation 1:17; When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
Hope for our Generation. These are the truths to live by and be teaching and modeling for our younger generation.
Imagine a teenager with a Godly view of circumstance – image how healthy they are – the impact they have on their generation and those around them!
Your circumstances can’t possibly be as bad as Paul’s – Do you be-lieve God can handle your circumstances?
Philippians 1:12-20 NASB
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my [i]imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole [j]praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the [k]brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my [l]imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even [m]from envy and strife, but some also [n]from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition [o]rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my [p]imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my [q]deliverance through your [r]prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.