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The Greater Good

Philippians: The Book of Joy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:17
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The Greater Good

Oh how Paul desired to take the message, take the Gospel to Rome and he finally did make it there, not as a preacher but as a prisoner. It did not stop him from serving the greater good there and in his letter to the church at Philippi to exhort and to promote unity to the brethren there. (Php1:3-5, 9, 6; Jam1:22)
Paul praised them for their participation in the gospel (php1:3-5)
Philippians 1:3–4 NASB95
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
Philippians 1:5 NASB95
5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
They were partakers of God’s grace and now participants in sending forth the Gospel message for the greater good. They sent forth the Word.
From participation to prayers of affection for them (Php1:9)
Philippians 1:9 NASB95
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
That their love may abound, more and more. Have real knowledge, all discernment.
Love is the root of all Christian virtues
Love leads to real knowledge, real knowledge leads to all discernment, discernment is not just knowing but applying the truth!
James 1:22 NASB95
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
For these things leads to confidence that Paul shared
Philippians 1:6 NASB95
6 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.
What is the good work that was started? The good news work, the gospel work, the forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the carrying out the commission, regardless of circumstances and for the greater good.

I. Greater progress: preached in prison

Regardless of our chains (circumstances) may we not only be ready but be willing and be sharing (preaching) the Gospel of Christ
Philippians 1:12–13 NASB95
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 imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
Philippians 1:14 NASB95
14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
(insert story: bondage in chains of addiction) to glory and praise of God now)
There are lots of good biblical stories of things working out for the greater good or for the furtherance of God’s people, God’s message (Est4-5; Act4:13-20, 5:17-32, 41-42; and Eph1:11-12; Gen50:20; Php4:22)
Queen Esther saved the Jewish people (Est4-5)
Esther who risked her life to see the king unannounced saved the Jewish people from being killed off.
Esther 4:13–14 NASB95
13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
Stephen’s Death (Act7)
Acts 7:59–60 NASB95
59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.
Here, Paul’s imprisonment (Php2:12-14)
The same God who used Moses’ rod; Gideon’s pitchers and David’s sling now uses Paul’s chains.
These chains gave Paul contact with sinners, our chains, our tribulations, our sorrows, our pains, our sufferings maybe used to the glory of God to the progress of the Gospel, to the greater good!
All for God’s glory (EPh1:11-12)
Ephesians 1:11–12 NASB95
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
When we have the mind of Christ, a singleness of mind we know he works out all things after the counsel of His Will and to the praise of His glory!
To the greater good Used Peter and John’s arrest and imprisonment
(below not on screen)
Act4, Peter and John arrested, threatened and released. A great point made is that it was evident they were with Jesus (Act4:13); They were commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus (v.18) and it resulted in
Acts 4:19–20 NASB95
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Are we this way? Should we be this way? In our workplace, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, may we not stop speaking the name of Jesus.
One more biblical example, Joseph who was an heir and a favorite to a slave and a favorite who worked out for the greater good.
Genesis 50:20 NASB95
20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
(insert personal story here of the greater good from chains to introducing people to the chain breaker)
The greater good for Paul meant all the Praetorian guard heard the message and many believed.
Philippians 4:22 NASB95
22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
Furtherance of the Gospel, the greater good accomplished much
Became well known to all (v.13)
Built more people trusting the Lord (v.14)
Built courage and boldness (v.14)
Built fearlessness (v.14)

II. Greater progress: A matter of heart?

Not all things for the greater progress are done with the right heart, even Jesus pointed this out (Lk9:49-50)
Luke 9:49–50 NASB95
49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
Paul was not dismayed or discouraged but determined that God will further the gospel message regardless.
Philippians 1:15–16 NASB95
15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
Philippians 1:17–18 NASB95
17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my 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,
There seemed to be some division going on in the church at Philippi. Some preached the gospel of grace from a pure heart, others seemed to preach the Gospel with a link to the law of Moses and a system of works that could not save them. They came from a place of envy and strife.
Can we be legalistic at times? We need to be careful to be truthful, be gentle, be compassionate but not legalistic for that comes with envy and strife and unity comes with love!
So how can we close division, protect against it? Like Paul did
With Singleness of mind
Rejoice at the preaching of the gospel (v.18)
God uses all things to fulfill His purpose, know this, believe this, walk in this.
Romans 8:28 NASB95
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
How is Paul able to rejoice! He rejoicing the same way we should. That Jesus is being preached. We don’t have to agree with everyone, but we have a responsibility to share the gospel and share the truth of the Gospel, we don’t add to the body, Christ does. When we obey the Gospel.

III. Greater Progress with confidence

What is hope? Confident expectation of good to come. Paul had hope, he had confidence
Philippians 1:19–20 NASB95
19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your 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.
Hope that was confident
Hope that was earnest
Hope that was shameless
Hope that was with all boldness
Hope that was evident
Hope that was not perfect, for we are all works in progress, look at what Paul say’s:
Acts 20:24–25 NKJV
24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.
Acts 20:26–27 NKJV
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Paul was determined to share the whole counsel of God. People are missing that oftentimes, we need to share the whole Gospel from God’s promises in the O.T. to the fulfilment in the N.T. and the commandments given for us to follow in joyful obedience.
(lead to encouragement)
(Insert encouragement slide)
Do you want to further the gospel for the common good? Know it, embrace it, live it then share it. I love the way Ezra put it and we will close with this (Ezr7:10):
Ezra 7:10 NASB95
10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Set your heart
Study the Word of the Lord
Put it into practice
Then teach it to others.
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