YEF General Secretary, Danielle White, spoke from the Word of God, on Jan. 16th, from Philippians 1:12-18 – Paul and Silas’ Imprisonment. After reading the verses together, she began with these questions, “Whether in chains or free, where is Paul’s focus? What does he want the Philippians to know and focus on?”
“He wanted them to know that God’s blessing and power were still with him, even though he was in prison. He was not out of the will of God and God’s work continued still. The gospel of Jesus Christ was still being preached.”
She went on to share, through the Word of God, that these verses shows where the Christian’s focus should be in always be; it is on the gospel of Jesus Christ. All people of God must maintain “mission discipline” – focus on the gospel as the core message and method. For churches to retain this focus, members must practice this same “mission discipline”. When looking at Paul, he understood his current circumstance – imprisonment – in the context of its purpose as related to the gospel.
“God didn’t waste Paul’s time during the Roman imprisonment. God never wastes our time, though we may waste it by not sensing God’s purpose for our lives at the moment. Paul believed ‘the things which happened to him have turned out for the furtherance of the gospel’, we can see this belief displayed in verse 12 of Philippians 1. And we also know that all this helped further the gospel, as he wrote Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians during this time. He believed that even his chains were for the gospel. He also interpreted his upcoming trial before Caesar as an opportunity for the defense of the gospel. In Acts 23:11, God speaks to Paul reassuring him and telling him that he will indeed preach the gospel in Rome.
So he strived and never gave up until he reached Rome. So now that he’s here, though in prison, Paul knows that this is apart of God’s great commission for him. So his courage during his imprisonment isn’t just some blind positivity, but true trust and awareness in his situation in terms of the gospel being spread.”
What is life’s purpose? God proclaims in His Word, that life’s purpose is the gospel; preaching Jesus’ resurrecting power. God allows opportunities to demonstrate the power of the gospel. Rather than complain when one hits bad circumstances, they should ask God to use them for the gospel’s advantage.
Why do people complain when they receive difficulties? The easy answer is because they’re painful, but the deep answer lies here: “When our focus and purpose of our life is purely on self, this is when we begin to complain.” Rather than looking to God and trusting; one begins to look and dwell on how much they’re hurting.
“Of course, we should feel painful and there’s nothing wrong with feeling this way. Paul, himself, talks about this thorn in his side; this illness that keeps him from doing all of the things he wishes to do for the gospel. But notice how it always comes back to the gospel with Him. Paul doesn’t mention if he was being advanced, because he didn’t care about that and he assumed that the Philippians didn’t care either. Their common passion was the furtherance of the gospel, and the gospel continued to advance.”
The final proclamation of this Word from God was this, “Our lives – and the circumstances – is a conduit for the gospel. This gives us the way, right and ability to share right where we are!!”
YEF prays that this small article of a short sermon could be a blessing to those reading today, tomorrow and always. Amen