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Advancing the Gospel

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRO:

Have you ever had an experience that was unpleasant but ended up yielding some decent results? Perhaps something similar to what I have?
I’ve gone into a restaurant before. Not in a big hurry to be anywhere, just hungry. Sit down. Give your drink order. Your order the chicken crispers with corn on the cob because that’s what you always order. Then you wait…and wait…and wait. You and your smoking hot, blonde, curly headed date start getting hungrier and more impatient.
You try to keep your cool though and keep having nice conversation. You continue to sip on your drink, or you would, but you can’t because you’ve run out. That’s ok, you’ll just flag the waiter down when they come back by. So you start keeping an eye out for your waiter. You look around, they’re nowhere to be found. You start to get more impatient. You’re thirsty. Hungry. Annoyed…your waiter finally comes back by. “Can I get a refill, and any estimate on when the food will be out?” smile, smile, wink wink… “Oh yes, I’ll get right on it!” They come back with your refill, then turn back around and bring you your food. “A salad for the lady, and the chicken fried steak for you...”, “UUHHHMMMMM…I asked for the chicken crispers,” you say as you try not to explode. You waited forever then, they bring you the wrong food!
So after the other person your with finishes their meal, your food finally arrives. It’s ok though because It’s hot, and you’re in no hurry to be any where. After eating the food, which was good, you calm back down. The manager walks by, “How is everything? Ok.” You smile and say, “It’s ok, but, I waited for 55 minutes for our order, saw our waitress once, and then I was brought the wrong food. It was fixed, but I was not super happy about the circumstances.”
The manager disappears for a second, then comes back with a steaming hot cookie covered with ice cream and chocolate sauce. He then informs you, “Sir, your chicken crispers have been comped and this desert is on us. I’m terribly sorry for the experience you had tonight sir.”
The situation wasn’t great. You waited, you were hungry, thirsty. You weren’t really getting the service you’d expect. Wrong orders. But, you did ok. You were not in a hurry to be anywerhe. You were with a person whom you loved spending time with. Then on top of all of it, you get a free meal and desert. Turns out, there was definitely some good in it!
We all have experiences where something negative happens, but good comes from it and is better than if you hadn’t experienced it. Perhaps you’ve experienced health issues and drawn closer to God and your family because of it. Maybe you’ve gone through financial trials and learned dependence on God. Maybe you experienced heartbreak only to accidentally run into something much better and healthier.
Paul made clear in His letter to the Philippians that this was his case. He was in a pretty bad situtaion, but was seeing his passion fulfilled and Christ glorified. Paul was writing this letter while imprisioned. His tone isn’t one of defeat though. It’s one of joy, success, and encouragement. He is glad to see the gospel promoted through in a tough situation.
That brings the up the question, how can the gospel be advanced in a bad times. When you find yourself in a negative situation, how can you promote the Good News of Christ?
Turn with me to .

1) The Gospel can be advanced in bad times through your experiences. You can promote the good news through your bad situations.

A)Exposition (1:12-14) (QUICK GOSPEL DEFINITION)
The things that happened to Paul helped further the gospel. (Paul encountered a girl who could foretell the future through Demons. Cast them out. Men who “owned” her were mad because they lost money. Accused him of doing them harm. He was beaten and thrown in jail. No real verdict. Just some angry guys.) Furthered the gospel. She was faithful believer now.
Paul’s attitude in what he was experiencing helped further the gospel. His motivation was evident to the palace guard that his motivation and reason was Christ. (Paul had armed guards around him like he was some sort of violent criminal. Instead of using as opportunity for complaint, he used it as an opportunity to catapult the Gospel through the palace guard. He left no doubt why he was in prison, and whom he was there for. How different a prisoner he must have been. One who sang praises and told of a loving God who offered them freedom! Word of that would definitely spread. Christ was glorified in Paul’s imprisonment.
Paul’s response to his experiences helped further the Gospel. People were encouraged and given boldness! Because Paul spoke boldly, they became bold. They saw how he responded and in turn knew they could share the Good News boldly as well. If Paul can do this and be brave in the face of danger, they could too! God was taking care of Paul, he would take care of them too. Paul’s response gave them boldness!
B) Illustration
Just finishing up 4th. Many people shoot fireworks. I enjoy it. I think it’s a good thing. Brings families a bit closer. Something to do together. All have fun. I have good memories of it. I wanted to continue this tradition that many around the world have of shooting fireworks off with family. Last night, we were shooting. Gideon is a bit scared. Loud noises, big bangs, fire. Reasonable fear. He does like roman candles though. He wanted to shoot one. A bit scared. Didn’t want to hold it. Wanted to see it though. So I lit it, held it, shot it. He watched. Saw all was good. No huge bangs, no fires, I still had fingers. So, he ran up and held the next one. Let me light it and waited for the fireworks to shoot off. He wouldn’t have done that if he hadn’t watched me light and shoot off the first one. So by watching me, he was emboldened to shoot it off, and I got to pass off a little of my joy of fireworks to him.
C) Application
Your experiences in negative situations can help to further the gospel. Use your situation as a chance to share. They often create opportunity that wouldn’t be there to if you hadn’t gone through that nastiness. Just recently Bradley was able to encourage and share Christ with a student who had lost a close friend. He could do that because he’s experienced that. The situations are limitless. Just like Paul, you have to be intentional in your sharing. Look for an opening to share the Good, life changing news of Jesus with someone.
ii. Know that when you respond in boldness you give others boldness to act the same way. When people see you facing down ugly situation just to share the gospel, they are encouraged to do the same. Having a conversation with someone who is has vastly different beliefs than you. Or, Pastor has mentioned praying for a waiter or waitress at dinner. Kinda scary. Being with someone who does it, kind of lets you know you can do the same. Approaching some random stranger at Walmart can be scary. When someone sees you do it and come out good, they can do it. Live boldly and intentionally.
Know that when you respond in boldness you give others boldness to act the same way. When people see you facing down ugly situation just to share the gospel, they are encouraged to do the same. Having a conversation with someone who is has vastly different beliefs than you. Or, Pastor has mentioned praying for a waiter or waitress at dinner. Kinda scary. Being with someone who does it, kind of lets you know you can do the same. Approaching some random stranger at Walmart can be scary. When someone sees you do it and come out good, they can do it. Live boldly and intentionally.

2) The Gospel can be advanced in bad times through the sharing of Christ. The good news can be promoted in bad situations by preaching Jesus.

A) Exposition (1:15-18)
People were preaching Christ through jealousy of Paul and were trying to do damage to him. They were doing it through competition. Trying to compete with Paul. What exactly was done is unknown. Some thing they spread “He’s in prison, he’s not who he says he is.” Scholars think people wanted the recognition and love Paul got. There were some preaching out of wrong motives, perhaps trying to gain a profit.
They were preaching the word though, or else Paul would have called them on it. He’s not one to pull punches.
Some preached form goodwill. The right attitude. They wanted Christ glorified. They wanted the Gospel spread. Everyone can support that.
Paul was appointed to defend the gospel. Speak in defense of those who speak wrongly of Christ. This was definitely happening. There were those saying it was all a lie. We still see that. People saying it’s Jesus plus a set of rules. We still see that. There was that along with a whole myriad of things of which many are still seen today. Paul boldly spoke truth in the face of all these.
Even Christ was being preached for various reasons, His name was still being spread. The gospel was being made known to people. Amidst these people trying to do harm to Paul. Amidst his beatings and imprisonments he rejoiced. Why? Because Christ was being preached! Even though the vehicle was a bit sketchy to the human audience, the end result was good.
B) Illustration
Last year Colin Kapernick made national headlines for weeks. He was the most talked about player in the NFL. He refused to stand for the national anthem in a silent protest for the Black Lives Matter Movement. The 49ers got some negative press for it. They got nasty letters. Some things that definitely weren’t good. You know what else happened? The 49ers got their name out a lot more. They got increased revenue from the coverage. Capernick’s jersey became the number one selling jersey in the NFL last year because of it. The Niners benefited from it even though they didn’t all like the way in which they got it. They sure did like the end results though. Sometimes we look and see methods or ways people share their faith and don’t like them, but we should be glad Christ is made known.
C) Application
We may feel competitive with other churches, or people. You may know of others that have motives of being well known. Or they want the prestige of having a big church group. They may feel that way with you. Their may be some of the “We run 500 on Sundays.” or “We have to have 2 services because we’re so full!” or “We do this” and “We do that.” If they are preaching Jesus, don’t get defensive or competitive, rejoice. Be thankful that Christ is being preached. In the middle of opposition you can rejoice that Christ is being made known. That’s a good thing, even if you don’t like how it’s done.
Also know, just like Paul was appointed to defend, or speak on behalf of the gospel, you are too! Take courage from his example and other believers and speak it boldly. The gospel is advanced by sharing it! You advance it by sharing it during good times, bad times, times of opposition, or any other time. Share it.

Closing:

So how is the gospel advanced during bad times? It’s done through you’re experiences. You look for opportunity to share Christ in your particular situation. You give people boldness to do the same. Are you taking those opportunities? You should!
You promote the good news during those bad times when you share it. You speak it. You give it. Are you? If yes, good. If you aren’t, why not? Fix it. In all that know, you can advance the good news of Jesus Christ in any situation.
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