An exposition of Philippians 1:12-26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 16, 2009.
Sermon Outline »
I don’t know about you but I’m finding the older I get the more cynical I become. Nothing shocks me – I’ve come to expect the worst. People come to me with a problem and I want to say, “What do you expect? People are jerks – you can’t trust anybody – life is hard and then you die – get over it.” This of course is comforting to those who come to their pastor for encouragement and support!
Now, while I am becoming increasingly cynical – I am becoming more and more angry with those folks who are always upbeat. The ones who never see a problem, who just know things will get better. You know, perky – upbeat – optimistic people – they’re so irritating! You know what kind of person I’m talking about? You could throw them into a room full of manure and they would get excited because there must be a pony around!
I guess that is why I find the apostle Paul’s upbeat demeanor in the book of Philippians so amazing. Here is a man literally staring death in the face saying – “Rejoice”. Here is a man who can talk about those responsible for his being in prison and say – if it serves the cause of the Gospel, so be it – I rejoice in that. That is a most extraordinary thing. The only explanation I can find is that the apostle Paul saw things differently. He had a unique perspective on life.
Let’s explore that perspective together beginning in verse 12 of chapter 1.
Text: Philippians 1:12-26
Paul is writing to this beloved congregation from prison in Rome. The church sent a love offering to help with his needs upon hearing of his imprisonment. Epaphras had delivered the gift along with greetings from the church. Some time after arriving he became quite ill. After recovering Paul sent his back to the church with this letter of gratitude. It is a warm, pastoral letter. Free of rebuke and full of love and devotion.
Let me ask – how do you respond when you are wrongfully treated? How do you react when life “dumps” on you? When your life comes crashing down around you through no fault of your own? Why is it some grow bitter and others grow better? Same struggle, same hardship, same pain – very different response. How is it some can sing – while others can only wail? I suspect it has to do with this idea of perspective. The word perspective means literally – “to look through”. Implied however is the notion of using some device to help clarify. To enable you to see clearly.
From the great apostle’s life we learn:
Thesis: Genuine joy demands that you view life from a divine perspective.
- Lesson 1 – Barnyard 101 – Masham and the livestock judging.
Same animals different outcome why?
1st judge = Ag teacher. 2nd judge = a meat producer.
- Lesson 2 – Art 101 – Mr. Berlin.
Horizon line and the perspective point.
Everything must come back to the perspective point.
That point gives meaning and depth to the picture – without it there is chaos and the picture makes no sense.
In this text we find 2 characteristics of the person of perspective.
- The person of perspective looks to see God’s hand in every circumstance of his life. (1:12-18a)
- The person of perspective desires above all else that Christ be glorified in their life. (1:18b-26)
Real joy. Genuine joy. Lasting joy demands a divine perspective on life. Such a person looks for the hand of God in every circumstance in life and desires above all else to see Christ glorified in their life.