To many of you that thought evokes a lot of emotions. Suffering is the last place we would expect to receive joy. God obviously views suffering in an altogether different way than we do. We think suffering is intended to destroy us, but God intends for our suffering to develop us. James 1:2 gives us the proper response to suffering: “Count it all joy my brothers, when you fall into divers temptation.” Joy–not anger, frustration, and despair–must be demonstrated at the occasion of all our suffering. Remember that your joy is not based on your situation; it’s based on your Savior. Our joy must be anchored totally in the person of Jesus Christ.
Review: Paul has been encouraging the Philippians to exude joy in every area of their lives. The book of Philippians is appropriately called the letter of joy. He has a dynamic partnership with the Philippians believers because they have generously supported his ministry in prayer and monetary support, despite his being imprisoned. In verses 1-11, Paul has been speaking about the believers at Philippi. Now Paul shifts to discuss his personal struggles and the progress of gospel at Rome. Rather than speaking about his condition, he speaks on the status of the gospel of the gospel in Rome.
Summary of text: Paul revealed that the gospel was progressing despite his imprisonment.
Main Idea: Start viewing your suffering in light of its kingdom contribution.
Transition: Let’s think about how we can express joy in suffering. This text gives us two realities of Christian suffering
I. The gospel will progress despite severe persecution. vs. 12-14
We can learn two lessons from the ways in which God used Paul’s imprisonment:
a. God opens up doors in our adversity. vs.12-13
b. God orchestrates our adversity
II. The gospel will progress despite sinful people. vs. 15-18
Paul shifts from talking about his role in the gospel under persecution to discussing the gospel as it relates to others. He gives three facts about how we should deal with others who partners in the gospel ministry.
a. The message is more important than the motive vs. 15
b. The message is more important that the messengers. vs. 16-17
c. The message is more important than the method. vs. 18