- Sermon Notes
You Can Choose a Redeeming Theme
Illus. A choice?
This morning we begin our study through the book of Philippians. The book of Philippians in Bible began as a letter which was sent from Paul the Apostle to the church at Philippi. The letter was likely to the church while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. His specific circumstances were that of being held on house arrest. Throughout most of his days and nights at this point in his life, he was chained to and under the supervision of Roman guards.
The details and backstory surrounding his imprisonment in Rome is given at the end of the book of Acts. Paul had been out on three missionary journey’s, planting churches throughout the known world. At the end of his third missionary journey, he went back to Jerusalem, and once he arrived back there, he was falsely accused and arrested. He would stand various trials with different groups and government officials until he appealed to Caesar. Since he was a Roman citizen he could appeal to Caesar and upon appealing to Caesar he was told, “to Caesar you will go!” From there he was put on a ship headed for Rome. On that ship as a prisoner, he experienced storms and shipwreck. He would then board another ship and finally make it to Rome where he was put on house arrest, chained to soldiers round the clock.
Paul was imprisoned and in chains, yet while there, he was able to have visitors, talk about Jesus, and write letters. And so he did, the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
As Paul wrote this letter, he was awaiting his trial before Caesar Nero. He did not know how the trial was going to work out. He could be released, or he could suffer the death penalty. Things had not gone well, he had been beaten, falsely accused, sidelined, and chained up… Yet what we see is that Paul chose a redeeming theme.
This book to the church at Philippi is known for a particular theme. The overwhelming and overarching theme is joy. In 4 chapters Paul uses the words joy or rejoicing 16 times. He not only applies it to himself and his situation but points the people in Philippi as well as you and I to the theme of joy and rejoicing in our lives. It is a theme we will develop throughout our study of Philippians.
Paul who had many reasons to choose differently. That said, my prayer is that you will see through Paul and his situations historically, that you can choose a redeeming theme in your life personally, despite the way things may have gone thus far or even the way they seem to be going.
Today we will study the first 11 verses of Philippians chapter 1. From this text, I have three points we will pull from Paul’s example that will help you choose a redeeming theme in your life: your attitude, your confidence, and your choices.
- Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
Philippians 1:1-5, Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
- After his introductory address and greeting, Paul reveals his attitude toward the church at Philippi in verse three.
- First, he looks back on his remembrance of them and expresses that he is thankful to God in his remembrance.
- Then looking around, and his disposition at that time toward the church, he was joyful.
Illus. Troubles and triumphs in Philippi (Acts 16).
- 3, “I thank my God in every remembrance of you…”
- 4, Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy (NLT).
- There is his theme, joy. I look back and remember thankfully, I look around presently and pray joyfully.
- The word “joy” in our English language is defined as an emotion of delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good.
Illus. Happy and you know it?
- The definition in a dictionary speaks of joy as something that is situational, something dependent on circumstances.
- Biblically is applied differently. The definition carries similarities, “joy” here is a Greek word, “chara.” As defined it means joy, or gladness.
- While it carries a similar definition, the availability and application of joy in the life of a believer is not situational or based on circumstances.
- This means that you can have joy as a theme, despite what you are seeing.
- Paul was looking around, seeing his chains, not knowing the way things would work out for him physically, but he could trust in the Lord and his faith was firmly in Him.
Illus. Thank you, Lord!
1 Thessalonians 5:16, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
- Paul looked back on what the Lord had done at Philippi, and despite the pain he experienced there, he chose an attitude of gratitude and joy.
- Paul chose a redeeming theme. His attitude and the way he chose to look at things, kept that redeeming theme going!
- Be Confident in the Lord as You Go Forward
Philippians 1:6-8, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (NASB 95’)
- When Paul looks back at what took place in Philippi, he gives God the credit for work that began there.
- He makes sure that they know, the work there was started by the Lord.
- He is not referring to the work they had done personally, but rather, what God had begun in and amongst them.
- Paul did not speak to his own work there in Philippi, rather he called it the good work God had begun.
- It was evident to Paul who started the good work.
- In Acts chapter 16 it is evident. Paul wasn’t looking to go to Philippi, but the Lord did not allow him to go elsewhere.
- Paul, Silas, and Luke went according to the vision they were given, then them met Lydia, she listened to the things spoken by Paul, but in Acts 16:14, we read that the Lord opened her heart to respond.
- Then Paul and Silas are put in prison, and they begin to praise, but it was the Lord who provided the earthquake, shook the foundation of the prison, and opened the prison doors!
- Paul says, it was God’s work, and he calls it a good work!
- Paul looked back and saw the Lord working.
- When you give your life to Christ and choose a redeeming theme, you can know that the Lord is working. He does not just work in you to get you up and running and then leave you hanging, He continues working.
Isaiah 64:8, But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.
Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
- The word Paul uses “workmanship” is poiema (poy-yee-muh’) it is where we get our word, “poem.”
- We are God’s poiema, His work, His masterpiece. Paul wrote, that the work God has started is a work He will perfect.
Philippians 1:6, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Philippians 1:6, I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)
- The picture we get is that the work has begun, but God is not done! Paul had confidence in this.
- To be confident is to be persuaded, to believe something as true, to agree with the statement, the Greek word also carries the idea of making friends with something. I like that… “The fact that the Lord will continue and complete his good work in me, is like a friend to me!”
- We can be confident that the work continues as we go forward, and if it is His work that is being completed in us, we can trust that it is a good work.
Jeremiah 18:3-6, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Am I not able, house of Israel, to deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.
Illus. Potter and Clay.
- What we can know is that the good work God has begun, he will carry on to completion. And when you know He is the One working, He is the one who began the good work, you can trust Him to continue the work.
- He who began a good work in you will keep perfecting it until the day the Lord Jesus returns. Since that day has not happened yet, you can know the Lord is not done yet.
- When you choose a new theme, be confident that your story is not over yet, God is still working.
III. Align Your Choice with God’s Voice
Philippians 1:9-11, And this I pray, that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may discover the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God.
- In verse 4, Paul told the church that he always offered prayers with joy in all his prayers for them.
- Now he reveals the content of his prayers.
- The content of his prayers is important because there are many ways he could pray.
Illus. Long Road to Love.
- Paul prayed that their love would overflow in their knowledge and discernment, so they would discover the things that were excellent, that they would be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ.
- He prays about his desire for them to overflow in love to discover the excellent way as they look forward to the day of Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- There are many in the Bible in the cloud of witnesses, and through this study, Paul’s theme of joy despite what he was experiencing is witnessing to me.
Ephesians 1:7, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NASB 95’)
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