That I Did Not Labor for Nothing
“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49).
The preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. The preaching of Christ is the thunderbolt, the sound of which makes all hell shake. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Christian History, no. 29.
Background, Personal Stories, Personal Knowledge (familiar), Outside Knowledge (new), Outside Stories, Real Life Change, Clear Appeal, Sound Bites, and the Supernatural.
INTRODUCTION: (INSPIRE – You Have to be Believed to be Heard)
On his second missionary journey Paul visited Philippi. Through his ministry there several people trusted Christ as their Savior. Some of these were Lydia and her family and the Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16:14-34).
Soon after Paul’s visit a local church was established in Philippi. The church helped the apostle in different ways so this epistle was written to acknowledge their help, as well as to help them.
Philippians is personal and practical in its tone and teaching. Paul emphasized the need for believers to rejoice in Christ. “Joy” (chara) is used four times (Phil. 1:4, 25; 2:2; 4:1); “rejoice” (chairoµ) occurs eight times (1:18 [twice]; 2:17-18; 3:1, 4:4 [twice], 10); and “glad” occurs thrice (2:17-18, 28). (In 1:26 the word “joy” is a different Gr. word; there it is the word “glad,” “boast,” or “glory,” [kaucheµma], which also occurs in 2:16 and 3:3.) Paul wrote frequently in this epistle about the mind of a child of God. One’s manner of life is truly a reflection of what occupies his mind.
There was a JOY problem.
“That I did not labor for nothing”
Trading Spaces decorating show
Sign up for change, want it to stay the same
Shouldn’t have signed up for the show - chill out!
Some have their favorites, want Doug, Verne, Frank, etc., but the producers make the decision
If God wanted it the same as pastor Bob, he would still be here.
If God wanted it the same as pastor Marty, he would still be here.
I may not be your favorite pastor, yet, but I am God’s for this time.
You need to have faith that God will work out His plan.
So much so that Paul thought he might have labored in vain
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
What was robbing their joy?
Without complaining or arguing - regional sin
What was the cure?
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Stop blaming others for your spiritual laxity
Become blameless and pure - as long as one is blameful, fingers pointing back, one is not blameless.
Stand together in One Spirit
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
Hold out the word of life (Encourage each other)
Shine like the stars in the universe - far-reaching influence (church attendance 230)
In order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Present your petitions to God
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let Jesus be the Lord of your Thought Life
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: (INSTRUCT -- Specific Application/Formation)
What are the big questions? Where is the Grace? What makes this Christian?
What will this look like as it is lived out?
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
“Have It Your Way”
Hank - Older Man (50-70)
Sharon - Younger Woman (20-30)
Both characters had been in an accident with each other and are using rental cars
The older man and younger woman sit on chairs, back to back
Each was obviously wrong, but blames the other
Both say their rental cars remind them of church - I miss MY church
Both complain about their rental car while driving to church
Too much (not enough) get-up and go
Number of buttons and gadgets
Getting the seat just right vs. too many options
Turn chairs to face each other
Head on collision
Angel appears to tell them they are to go to heaven
Each asks questions about heaven, with apprehension
The kind of people
Angel brings a fiery chariot to each, pointed at the cross
Both refuse to ride because it does not suit their taste
They ask for another choice
The angel points them the other way and says, “Have it Your Way”
Unison - “My way - You mean I do have a choice?”
Yes, you have a choice.
What’s out there? Will I like it?
“I don’t know what you like.”
“So am I”
“Aren’t you going with us?”
“No. You’re on your own.”
They walk out of the church, holding hands, with their heads down
Have it your way