Sermon Notes from "The Important Thing" #RealJoy

Here are notes from my sermon today at Hesston MB.  It is based on Philippians 1:12-18.


The Important Thing

Philippians 1:12-18

Praise: What God has done at Philippi-As we begin this morning, let’s be reminded of the opening verses from Philippians 1 that were read during singing this morning.

·         1:3-Paul is thankful for people of Philippi. He remembers that God saved Lydia & the jailer, and how God worked miracles of casting out demons and prison doors being opened. 

·         1:6-Thankful to God who “began a good work will carry it on to completion

·         1:5,7-He is thankful for their support of his ministry

·         1:9-11-prays for their love to abound more and more & ends in verse 11, it is all to the glory and praise of God.

What God has done through Hesston MB over the years. Stories during sharing. As we celebrate 38 years, I would like to recognize the charter members who still attend. 

Persevere (vs. 12-14)

·         Is Paul’s response?  Optimistic, Pessimistic-which are you? Let’s watch two clips from Saturday Night Live characters that highlight the extremes. It seems Paul’s response is neither of these, but based on a joy & peace from the Holy Spirit.

·         Vs. 12-Paul encourages the Philippians that what has happened has advanced the gospel

o   his imprisonment which we would consider a bad thing has actually turned out for good.  How?

o   His imprisonment took Paul into contact with a select group of people, soldiers and Roman officials, who otherwise would have had no relationship to him,[1]

§  People in our world need to know “Christ died for sinners”

§  Charter members left what was comfortable and established relationships to come in contact with people in Hesston to proclaim “Christ died for sinners”

·         Vs. 13-What does it mean Paul is in chains for Christ?

o   He is in prison for sharing Christ.

o   The guard and people recognize Paul has not broken any law and has been imprisoned falsely

o   Paul recognized that all events could be redeemed for the Lord’s sake,[2]

·         Vs. 14-Because Paul is in prison, the brothers have become more courageous and fearless. 

o   Paul is not available.

o   Encouraged by how God has worked in spite of Paul’s circumstances. If the gospel can advance while Paul is in prison, then they too can point people to the gospel.

Preach (vs. 15-18)

·         Vs. 15-Some preaching Christ with bad motives (envy and rivalry) and good motives (goodwill)

o   Paul rejoiced in the message they preached, but he was grieved by the manner in which they delivered it. (David Jeremiah)

·         Vs. 16-Motive for one group was love

o   Are the things we are doing for God out of duty or delight? We DO out of gratitude and joy for what Christ has DONE. External action might be the same but the internal motivation is different.  Duty can eventually lead to pride or despair. Delight recognizes God working in us rather our works.

·         Vs. 17-Motive for other group was selfish, not sincere, stir up trouble for Paul-who is this?-Judaizers? I don't think so.

o   Paul’s aim was to glorify Christ and get people to follow Him; his critics’ aim was to promote themselves and win a following of their own.[4]

·         Vs. 18-The important thing (NIV), only in every way (NASB)

o   It mattered not that some were for him and some were against him. All that mattered was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ![5]

o   For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

o   For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

o   looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

·         Vs. 18-No matter the motive (false or true) Christ is preached!

o   Are we keeping the gospel (Christ died for sinners) as most important?

§  Or do we distract from the gospel with disagreements about Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, etc.

§  Or we focus on externals like you need to clean yourself up before you are welcome in church-we look at what they watch, listen to, what they wear and make judgments

§  We make moral issues (drinking, sexuality, abortion) more important than Christ or people. I am not saying these are not important but they are not more important than Christ being preached.

§  Is our focus on what we are doing for Christ or what He has done for us?

§  We let creation beliefs or end times or Calvinist/Arminian or Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Mennonite divide us rather than praising God for being united with Christ.

Closing: In what ways, have I become distracted from gospel message “Christ died for sinners”?

In Christ alone, you were saved. In Christ alone, you are made alive.  Because of Christ alone, you are redeemed, restored and reconciled. In Christ alone, you are holy, blameless, forgiven and righteous. In Christ alone, death, sin & Satan are defeated.  In Christ alone, you are loved.




[1] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 70). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[2] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 70). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 68). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 69). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 69). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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