Prospects for 2007
TEXT: Philippians 1:19-26
TOPIC: Prospects for 2007
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
Sunday morning, January 7, 2007
(Background material, outline from this sermon come from Lehman Strauss’ Devotional Commentary of Philippians, pages 74 – 104)
NOW – What are your biggest prospects and mine? What are our future aspirations, our dreams and our hopes?
Most of us live selfishly, seeking to satisfy our own hopes, wants and wishes. Few of us are so sold out to our Lord Jesus Christ that all of life, and even death itself, have only eternity’s values in view.
THEN – The Apostle Paul was such a man. Undaunted by his persecutions and imprisonment, his heart, still undivided, lays bare his own spiritual autobiography, the secrets of his soul, the things he hopes for, in short -- his prospects.
Open God’s word to Philippians 1:19-26.
19For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
I. TO LIVE LIFE WITH A HOLY DEPENDENCE UPON THE SCRIPTURES, PRAYER, AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD, Philippians 1:19
19For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
A. Dependence in the Security of the Scriptures, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance”
Notice Paul’s courageous certainty amidst conflict! Whatever good or evil befell this man, his prospects always remained the same. The reason? He had an unshakable confidence in the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures.
With the passage of each year, New Year’s always bring about a certain measure of uncertainty. Less and less truth seems to be known and embraced.
What we can know as Believers?
1) 1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you….that you may know that you have eternal life.
2) Romans 8:28 – We know that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord,….
3) Philippians 1:19 – (This was one of the “all things for good experiences for Paul) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance…
Paul knew that for him all things would turn out for the best.
B. Dependence in the Supplication of the Saints, “through your prayer”
Paul understood the value and the importance of prayer. He takes it for granted that they were praying for him. He certainly believed in the power and effectiveness of prayer.
As a pastor I cannot place too much emphasis on the need for the intercession of the church. God must raise up among us more prayer warriors who will give themselves to intercessory prayer!
One of our top priorities as a church in 2007 will be a renewal of our Prayer Ministries and a new opportunity of service as a Ministry Intercessor. I hope many of you will hear God calling you to this ministry opportunity in 2007.
C. Dependence in the Supply of the Spirit, “and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Paul not only relied upon the prayers of the saints, he also looked to the provision of the Spirit. The word “supply” refers to a provision or a grant given to those in need. The Holy Spirit has an inexhaustible supply of strength for the ministry to meet our every need. Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all my need according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
May we learn to live in 2007 depending on the Word, prayer, and the Spirit’s power.
II. WE MUST LIVE LIFE HAVING DECIDED FOR CHRIST IN EVERYTHING, Philippians 1:20
20according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
A. The Forward Look, my earnest expectation and hope
Not to be released from prison of his pain…but that in nothing I shall be ashamed.
2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
“Appear” means “to be manifest without disguise.” This was Paul’s incentive for ministry and life. His ambitions and prospects were guided by the fact that one day he would face his Lord!
1 John 2:28, And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
One day, when we too stand before Him, all our masks will be stripped away as well. All pretensions, all our posturing, and masquerading will be revealed for what it really is.
May we so live our lives in 2007 in such a way that should He come in this year, we will not be ashamed to stand before Him as who we are!
Another ministry opportunity we can look forward to in 2007 will be the first installment of a new intentional approach of disciple making. I hope to begin a strategic effort to begin our first model group of disciple makers this April.
B. The Present Look, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
To “magnify” means to make great or larger, to increase in size in scope or focus.” How can we magnify Christ in our lives this New Year?
1. Magnify Him in that sphere of the unbelieving world where He is minimized.
2. Magnify Him in the presence of those who are blind to His glory.
3. Magnify Him by displaying His grace to those who have never seen it.
Before we leave this point, notice the vehicle we use for magnifying Christ, my body. “As always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
Guy King once wrote about this very thing:
“Christ magnified in the body – magnified by lips that bear happy testimony to Him; magnified by hands employed in His service; magnified by feet only too happy to go on His errands; magnified by knees happily bent in prayer; magnified by his shoulders happy to bear one another’s burdens.”
Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt the call of God to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession and consecration. Henry Varley said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”
Moody was deeply moved by those words. Later, as he listened to the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon Moody thought:
“The world had yet to see! With and for and through and in! A man!’ Varley meant any man! Varley didn’t say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else! Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, Moody reasoned, he’d be one of those men. And then suddenly, in that high gallery, he saw something he’d never realized before,--it was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that great work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master’s feet, and say to Him, ‘Send me! Use me!’”