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Joy in the Gospel

Joy with You in Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Gospel is constant, unchanging.

Paul, Timothy, and the church of Philippi were believers who found joy with one another in Jesus as they served Him.
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philipi from prison, likely in Rome while awaiting his trial.
Last week, we saw the:
1. Authors and their attitudes: servants
2. Audience and their applications: bishops, deacons, & saints
3. Area and its affluence: a Roman colony
4. Appeal and its affection: grace & peace in God
We asked ourselves:
We asked ourselves:
Do we have attitudes of a servant of Christ? (ownership)
Are we surrendered to help our church function as a body under Christ?
Do we find our identity in Christ?
Do we look for grace and peace in God our Father and in Christ?
We concluded with:
Let’s have joy together in Jesus.
Begin by finding joy in serving Jesus.
Begin by finding joy in serving Jesus.
A few moments ago, we read:
A few moments ago, we read:
Philippians 1:3–5 KJV
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
Philippians 1:3-5
Philippians 1:12 KJV
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
Philippians 1:12
Philippians 1:27 KJV
27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Here we see:
I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11
II. Furtherance of the Gospel, vs. 12-26
III. Faith of the Gospel, vs. 27-30
Apostle, or servant, Paul and those serving with him were passionate about the Gospel, and so were the bishops, deacons, and saints within the church of Philipi.
They found Joy in the Gospel.
The Gospel is constant, unchanging.
It is a source of unending joy if we will partake in it.
Today, we will see from the text how to find joy in the Gospel.
Let’s pray.
1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 94: Sound Check for Billy

Billy Graham was so focused on bringing his message into every endeavor—even in something so simple as a sound check—that he would somehow always find a way to do it.

“One of the distinctives of Mr. Graham’s ministry has been his ability to make positive points for the gospel in any situation,” says Larry Ross, whose firm has handled media and public relations for Graham’s organization for more than twenty-three years. “You can ask Billy Graham how he gets his suits dry-cleaned on the road, and he’ll turn it into a gospel witness.

“I cut my teeth in the corporate world before I worked with Mr. Graham, and I set up numerous media interviews,” Ross says. “Almost always before a TV interview, they do a microphone check, and they ask the interviewee to say something—anything—so they can adjust the audio settings. Often a corporate executive will count to ten, say their ABCs, or recite what he had for breakfast. Mr. Graham would always quote John 3:16—‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’

“When I asked Mr. Graham why he does that, he replied, ‘Because that way, if I am not able to communicate the gospel clearly during the interview, at least the cameraman will have heard it.’ ”

—Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham

Billy Graham was known for his partnering with many for sake of the Gospel.
Paul starts this letter by stating his gratitude and joyful prayers for these people who partnered with him in the Gospel shortly after meeting him and even until the writing of this letter, about ten years later.
Paul wrote about their:

I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11

“…from the first day until now...”
Koinonia: Fellowship/Participation/Partnering
Notice with me how Paul describes their Gospel fellowship:

1) A Thankful Fellowship, vs. 3

Church and the ministry is a partnership that calls for expressed thanksgiving.
May we be encourage by Paul’s example to not only partner together, but also to intentionally express thanksgiving to God and to one another.
To God about others
To others about them

2) A Prayerful Fellowship, vs. 4

May you and I grow in our diligent practice of praying specifically for one another.
For spiritual warefare
For spiritual fruit
For Gospel witness
For health and stewardship
There is joy found in praying for one another as part of our Gospel fellowship.

3) A Confident Fellowship, vs. 6-11

Paul articulates his confidence that God will complete His work which He began in these saints.
- Specifically: Their salvation, sanctification, and glorification
- Broadly: Their Gospel ministry as a church
Friends, you too can be confident God will complete the work He is doing in you!
Paul further defines this confidence:

A. God’s Faithful Work, vs. 6

B. Paul’s Loving Heart, vs. 7; 8

Paul had them in his heart.
Paul had an affectionate longing for them in Christ.

C. A Shared Grace, vs. 7b

Gospel fellowship calls for sharing time, talents, and treasures to partner together in the same cause.

D. A Spiritual Growth, vs. 9-11

Abounding Love, vs. 9
In Knowledge
In Judgement (discernment)
All three ingredients compliment one another
Discerning Wisdom, vs. 10;
Christlike Purity, vs. 10b
Christian Fruit, vs. 11;
Of Righteouseness
By Jesus
Unto Praise
I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11

II. Furtherance of the Gospel, vs. 12-26

1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 494: Shoemaker’s Calling

He was just a shoemaker, after all, and an average one at that. But in the evenings, after work, he studied Greek, Hebrew, and a variety of modern languages. He devoured Captain Cook’s Voyages to expand his horizons, which, because of his poverty, kept him bound to a small, forgotten English village. Some people said his time would have been better spent getting a second job to support his growing family.

But the young man’s passion wasn’t a curious, self-satisfying hobby. Early in life he had become concerned about the millions of unbelievers outside of Europe, and he was trying to figure out what could be done to bring them the gospel.

With God’s help, he slowly figured it out. He ended up going to India to serve as the first Protestant missionary in the modern era. His passion inspired a generation of men and women, such as Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, and David Livingstone, to take up the cause of missions.

Because one impoverished shoemaker named William Carey followed his God-given passion, large parts of the world that had little or no access to the gospel have large populations of people today who confess Christ as Lord.

—Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya (Zondervan, 1983)

Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.

God has a sovereign right to dispose of us as he pleases; we ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.

It is amazing how God will use those submitted to His will.
There is no better place to be than in the will of God.
Paul is about to recall how God threw him some curve balls which changed up Paul’s plans but furthered God’s plan.

1) Providential Happenings, vs. 12

Paul not only had not expected to be called to Macedonia and Philipi, but also, he did not plan to be a prisoner in Rome.
Yet, just as the church in Philipi needed to rejoice in the providence of God to bring Paul to them, they needed to rejoice and trust in the sovereignty of God to direct Paul to other places, including this Roman imprisonment.
God used Paul’s imprisonment to bring the Gospel to Rome and its leaders as well as to give Paul a place to write his prison epistles.
When God is working, yield!

2) Inspirational Testimony, vs. 13-14

Paul’s bonds inspired other believers to more boldly preach the Gospel.
Your testimony through trials can be the loudest, most impact-full message you ever preach.
Challenges are opportunities for God to work through you in ways you cannot manufacture.
Paul’s testimony furthered the Gospel.

3) Spiritual Rejoicing, vs. 15-18a

Mature people see the big picture!
Lakeshore Baptist Church needs spiritually mature people to see the big picture of Gospel furtherance!

4) Eternal Hope, vs. 18b-26

Paul had an eternal hope that guided his temporal ones.
Paul knew God would deliver him, whether by death or freedom from prison—either way was deliverance!

A. Assurance of salvation, vs. 19-20

B. Purpose of Life, vs. 21

To live IS Christ!

C. Struggle of Life, vs. 22-24

Choices between two good options means one good is left out.
Paul expected God to keep him around longer to complete more Gospel ministry, but Paul would have enjoyed retiring with Jesus.
“…more needful for you.”
When considering options in life, we ought to ask ourselves what is more needful for others. Often, we only ask what is best for us.
I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11
II. Furtherance of the Gospel, vs. 12-26

III. Faith of the Gospel, vs. 27-30

Paul tells them, “Whether I am with you or absent from you, I hope to hear that you live as . . .”

1) A Heavenly Citizenship, vs. 27a; 3:20

Philippians 3:20 KJV
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Politeuesthe: to live as a citizen
See any resemblance to “politics”?
Someone once said:
That reminds me:

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.

That reminds me:

Harry Truman, talking politics with a group of Yale students, was asked by one earnest youth, “How do I start in politics, sir?”

Replied the former president, “You’ve already started. You’re spending somebody else’s money, aren’t you?”

Paul is saying to live in a manner consistent with being a citizen of Heaven and a representative of Christ’s Gospel.
We ought to conduct ourselves as ambassadors who represent and obey Christ.
Paul tells them, whether I am with you or absent from you

2) A Unified Stance, vs. 27b

3) A Unified Mind, vs. 27c

4) A Synergistic Team, vs. 27d

Root Greek (Lemma): syn athleo

Work together!
Run the race!

5) A Similar Suffering, vs. 28-30

Christ suffered.
Paul suffered.
We will suffer.
Suffer together.
1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 496: Life with No Regrets

When William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school in 1904, he was heir to the Borden Dairy estate, which made him a millionaire. For his graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Finally, Borden wrote home to say, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” At the same time, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”

During his college years at Yale University, Borden became a pillar in the Christian community. One entry in his personal journal that defined the source of his spiritual strength simply said, “Say no to self and yes to Jesus every time.”

During his first semester at Yale, Borden started a small prayer group that mushroomed into a movement that spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting for weekly Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s thirteen hundred students were meeting in such groups.

Borden met with fellow Christians to make sure every student on campus heard the gospel. Often he ministered to the poor in the streets of New Haven. But his real passion was missions. Once he narrowed his missionary call to the Kansu people in China, Borden never wavered.

Upon graduation from Yale, Borden wrote two more words in the back of his Bible: “No retreats.” He turned down several high-paying job offers and enrolled in seminary. After graduating, he went to Egypt to learn Arabic so he could work with Muslims in China. While in Egypt, Borden came down with spinal meningitis. Within a month he was dead at age twenty-five.

Prior to his death, Borden wrote two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words “No reserves” and “No retreats,” he wrote, “No regrets.”

I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11
II. Furtherance of the Gospel, vs. 12-26
III. Faith of the Gospel, vs. 27-30
Let’s find joy in the Gospel!
Let me read to you a recent report from a missionary and then share with you a personal testimony:
Family and Friends,
We have been overwhelmed at our Father’s goodness, timing, and clear guidance recently!
Our Hearts Are Broken
On January 8 we were told that the English school at which I work will be closed down on January 17. The official reason is that the school conflicted with the 9-year compulsory education law of Chína. (Students must attend public school until 9th grade.)
This school has provided an opportunity for many people to serve here in Chína. Our family and all of the other foreigners associated with the school will need to leave due to a loss of our teaching visas. Please práy for our Father to care for the school leader, Mr. J, and his family, especially! Please also práy for our Father to guide His many servants here.
Our Father’s Moving
A few weeks ago Danielle and I both thought that our Father may be wanting us to prepare to move to another situation. Although the assembly meetings and other ministries were going well, and we were content and happy in every area of our lives, we both wondered if our Father wanted a change. (We know now that He did and was preparing our hearts.)
After talking, we reached out for counsel and found that our Father was beginning to prepare a plan for us. The day we heard our school would shut down, we were officially offered a job serving míssíonaries through our home church in the States. What a blessing that our Father always prepares our steps as He leads! We are looking forward to continuing to share, serve, and help others around the world!
The Next Steps
We are tentatively planning to leave Chína during the first week of February. Please práy for each step of our preparation (as there are many things to take care of before we leave). Please práy especially for our friends here!
That all the earth may know,
Joseph & Danielle Palmer
That email, among many, many testimonies, is a strong demonstration of how God has been working in me and Martha’s life, and it is related to our life.
I need to talk with you about something important and difficult.
God has been stirring up my and Martha’s hearts and life over the last year in amazing ways.
As I have been approaching my mid-thirties, I have been examining and searching where God is leading me to focus for long-term commitment.
I had to ask vocationally: am I a pastor, entrepreneur, or nonprofit organizer? I do not believe it is wise or sustainable for me to remain all three. I may seem calm with it, but it constantly pulls my priorities. I believe our church suffers from my lack of commitment to it.
After much fasting, prayer, writing, discussion, and counsel, I have come to the conclusion that I believe God wants me to give myself to pastoring and living of the Gospel. This is what I have thought God would lead me to do since my youth.
God took Martha through a similar experience.
We began asking God to help us know if and how we should pastor full-time here and transition away from my work with FBMI and eventually away from entrepreneurship as well.
After God began to take us through this inner examination and prayer, He began to stir up the circumstances of our life.
Our business suffered losses beyond our control, and they seemed to come the more I prayed about this. The business is the means by which I would have expected God would enable us to transition from FBMI and into pastoring bi-vocationally instead of tri-vocationally. We were close to that point, but as we wrestled over this, we fell back another 1-2 years from that goal.
FBMI has been coming together for a natural transition time.
We came in contact with the pastor in Hobart, and for a while I thought our church might be of assistance to their church. I stopped hearing from the pastor after I shared some potential next steps.
Around the same time, I was contacted out of nowhere by three different pastors about opportunities to pastor churches. I did not believe any of those were where God wanted me, but Martha and I prayed about them and visited two of them.
Through a course of events triggered by the other pastors contacting me and seeing those areas, I came in contact with a church just outside of Washington D.C. that is needing a full-time pastor.
Due to what I perceived to be God’s stirring in our hearts and life, Martha and I chose to visit this church during the summer while visiting her family.
We learned that their pastor had served them for 49 years and that the Lord had helped them develop into a very stable church that is looking for new leadership to immerse himself into the church and Alexandria area of around one million people.
After much prayer and discussing it with counselors in our lives, I turned in my first and only resume just to see what God would do with it—there were 84 others including doctors and pastors, so I figured it was a chance for God to do something if He wanted to.
I earnestly asked God to evidently open or close doors in my life surrounding all of this and to keep me from being called if He did not want to change our ministry.
I asked God to use this to help me settle my heart and calling in Gary, if that is what He wanted.
I just wanted a clear assignment from my Lord.
The church in Alexandria did a lot of research, contacting references, and eventually let me know that they were looking at me and several other serious candidates.
The pulpit committee of six interviewed me over the phone.
I received a call on December 10 that they are asking me to candidate on January 5 to be their pastor.
This is a full-time pastorate where I would give myself singularly to pastoring with no other full-time or side jobs.
Due to the way God has been stirring things up in our hearts and lives, Martha and I both believe we would have been disobeying God to not candidate.
eve we would have been disobeying God to not candidate.
After discussing it with the deacons here, Martha and I decided to go candidate on January 5 for several days in obedience to what seemed to be very evident leading of the Lord.
The church votes today if they want me to be their pastor.
I am telling you before I know for sure if they have voted me in.
We both have been torn about this.
I believe God has chosen to strongly demonstrate His sovereign leadership in this, as I have stubbornly been slow to accept many circumstances were His working.
This is very difficult because we love you. All our adult lives, half our entire lives, and all our children’s lives have been here.
Our church, school, global ministry, business, home and friends are hear.
Yet, I believe God has shown us that if we do not take this leap of faith and obedience, we would be in disobedience.
I am sorry for the geographical separation this will bring to us, but I rejoice in what God will continue to do with all of us for sake of the Gospel.
Martha and I are committed to helping the church pay off the church mortgage so that your budget is alleviated some to start paying you next pastor more.
The deacons and I have been working to find, vet, and interview with three pastoral candidates.
Remember that China missionary email? God worked in his heart and circumstances to bring him into our FBMI office as the perfect replacement for me, and I believe he is doing the same for our church.
First and foremost, the nominee must:
Qualify with a desire, giftings, church affirmation, and character qualifications for the work of a pastor
Demonstrate a track-record of faithful stewardship, discipleship, evangelism, and leadership, study, and prayer
Give us confidence that he will clearly teach and preach sound, biblical doctrine
Show evidence that he will lovingly shepherd closely the Lord's flock
We prayerfully plan to present to you a nominee next Sunday during our members' meeting after we have invited him to candidate the weeks of February 2 & 9 with four sermons, QnAs, and Wednesday evening Bible discussions along with more QnA.
Prayerfully, we as a church will vote on February 16, necessitating a 2/3 majority vote of members present via private ballot.
Our last Sunday would be February 23.
In addition to helping the church pay off the mortgage and providing leadership for the pastoral candidating, I hope and pray to remain in strong relationship with the next pastor and visit occasionally.
This is difficult, but God will see us though.
As Paul said, we thank God for you and for our fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now.
I sincerely believe the best days are ahead for LBC if you will remain faithful, stand fast with one spirit and mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel.
God is choosing to further the Gospel according to His own plans that are different than ours.
I have wept many times thinking about this.
You are our dear friends and family.
We love you, and we love the Lord.
As you must obey the Lord, so must I.
As I pray for you, please pray for us.
It would be much simpler and more predictable to remain here.
Selling our home
Selling our home
Selling our business as a turnkey
Leading the pastoral candidacy
Transitioning duties at FBMI
Homeschooling and learning schooling options
Learning a new place and people
I ask that you please remain faithful through this and at the very least commit to learning the new pastor for six months.
Give him time, and be patient.
We are communicating our expectations, but he will have differences.
For Christ's sake, pull together.
We have wrestled over it and determined that this location does in fact need a clear, Bible-teaching, Gospel preaching church.
Let's followed the Lord together with joy an trust in Him.
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