Abounding in Joy

June 11, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Philippians - Journey of a Joyful Life

Topic: The Church, Christian Living Scripture: Philippians 1:12–18

One of the main reasons Paul writes this letter was to update the Philippian church on his welfare (Phil. 1:12). They were concerned for Paul in these days of imprisonment. In Philippians 1:12-18, Paul assures them that despite his suffering, opposition and circumstances, the gospel is spreading. Our passage is divided into three sections: 

  1. Paul’s Report (1:12-13)
  2. Paul’s Reaction (1:14-17)
  3. Paul’s Rejoicing (1:18)

Philippians 1:12-18 teaches us in order to find true genuine joy, we need to put the advance of the gospel at the center of our ambitions. Paul's proclamation of Christ through his attitude and words in this difficult situation he found himself, not only resulted in witness to the lost soldiers, but it also encouraged many of the Roman Christians to be bold in their faith.

If we’re cheerfully trusting in the loving sovereignty of God in the midst of trials, as Paul did, we proclaim the reality of faith in Christ both to the lost and to the saved.

Paul’s example is impressive and instructive. Christians need to put the advance of the gospel at the center of our aspirations. Our own comfort, our bruised feelings, our reputations, our misunderstood motives—all of these are insignificant in comparison with the advance and splendor of the gospel.

Getting Started                          

  1. If you have siblings, you are sure to have at one point in your childhood been falsely accused. Can you remember while growing up, your most vivid memory of being falsely accused, that led to an unjust punishment?
  • Read Philippians 1:12-18
  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

 Digging Deeper

  1. Philippians 1:12 begins with the words, “I want you to know . . .” What might this phrase indicate about this section of Philippians? What might it suggest about Paul’s purposes in this letter?
  1. Paul says that his imprisonment for Christ has actually made some believers more “confident” and “much more bold to speak the word without fear” (1v14). Why would persecution of one Christian produce courage in others?
  1. Paul encourages the concerned Philippians by insisting that his imprisonment has actually helped the spread of the gospel, and he gives three examples to prove his point (1:12-18). Identify each of the encouraging examples, describing them in your own words. (Hint: one is in Phil. 1:12-13, another in Phil. 1:14, and another in Phil. 1:15-18).

The Heart of the Matter

  1. Paul’s circumstances were enough to make any man unhappy, and yet we find him abounding with joy (1:18). We saw in Habakkuk, the prophet rejoicing when he understood and submitted to the plan of God. The way to find true happiness is to put the advance of the gospel at the centre of our ambitions. How does “putting the gospel first” fit in with a job, family, etc.? Can every Christian seek first God’s kingdom? How?
  1. Jesus’ words about denying yourself and taking up your cross apply to every person who professes to be a follower of Him (Mark 8:34). Does denying self mean that we can never do things we enjoy in life? What does it mean?
  1. Often in life, when things don't go as planned, we can be tempted to think that our life is bound by despair and failure. How did you apply this account of Paul in v 12 - 13 to your life situation? Does the sovereignty of God and the fact that God himself will build a church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, affect your thinking and life decisions in any way?                                                                                                                       

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