12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
1) Leverage your suffering
a. What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
i. What has happened to Paul?
a) Paul rejoices in suffering…how?
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
ii. Your desires> your hope> disappointments
a) What you hope for defines your disappointments
Want to get married> hope to get married> disappointed
Want to get rich> hope to get rich> disappointed
a) The opposite of loving God is loving yourself
i) Not loving Satan, Not hating God
b) The opposite of living for God is living for your comfort
1 Peter 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
iii. Define your ultimate win?
a) (for most of us) Comfort and Control is our ultimate goal.
i) Running a marathon>”feel like I’ve been hit by a car”
b) Introspection can be your enemy. Life is not about you.
iv. We are left playing Simulated Christianity
Try to do good
Go to church, read the bible, etc… That is not the adventure.
v. SOLUTION: Align our expectations with God’s expectations for us
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
b. Paul uses his location to share the gospel with those around him
i. Here I am, mine as well as share the gospel
a) Not a fake delusional trust. …real faith.
c. People have become more courageous, because of Paul’s suffering
i. Because he perseveres in suffering
ii. You have the opportunity to help people be more courageous
a) If they struggle it is disheartening
b) If they do it with ease, I know I can do it too
i) Did it hurt? (tattoo)
ii) Was it cold? (getting into the river)
iii) Was it scary? (coming out of a haunted house)
iv) Was it difficult? (marathon)
1 We want to know! If you can, we can.
c) So be courageous in suffering. Leverage your suffering.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
2) Leverage your opposition
a. Preach Christ (not heresy)
i. People use this to defend heresies like the prosperity gospel
Without sin and death, there is no gospel
The Bible says believe the gospel and brace yourself for suffering
a) God can use ANYONE to advance His gospel, but Paul is not talking about people teaching a false gospel.
i) Pray for those that teach some other gospel.
b. What was the “selfish ambition”?
i. Personal gain? Increase their status. “Stir up trouble”
c. Even those who are against Paul, will be used to advance the gospel
i. Your biggest opportunities to advance the gospel are when you are up against those who hate you.
a) Your greatest frustrations are some of your greatest opportunities to share your faith
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
3) Leverage your life
a. “will turn out for my deliverance” God is up to something! (Perspective)
i. Courage to be faithful in the opportunity to exalt Christ
ii. If I’m suffering (facing opposition), I’m probably doing it right.
You may not get the promotion
You may not date how the world does
iii. ILLUSTRATION Sales 100 “No’s” to get to a yes.
b. Verse 21, "For to me, to live is Christ to die is gain"
i. You can’t get Paul down.
We are going to lock you up- my chains will move the gospel forward
We are going to hurt you- rejoice in suffering.
People preach against you- at least they are preaching.
We are going to kill your friends- they get to see Jesus.
We'll let you live- to live is Christ.
We are going to kill you- ah, to die is gain.
ii. I’d love to die, but for your sake, I will live!
a) It’s Heaven and Hell
c. The second that you trusted Christ, you became invincible
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities [indeed one or the other is an eventuality], it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another… all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
i. Set your mind on what matters.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
ii. It is life and death. Heaven or hell. Everyone you see will be one place or the other
That is not a safe job.
The gospel is not safe.
a) Leverage your suffering
i) Your greatest opportunity for people to see what you hope in
b) Leverage your opposition
i) Your greatest opportunities for you to share your faith
c) Leverage your life for the gospel
i) It is everything.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming...What a ride!!"
Guy who died on a motorcycle…not the point of life.
iii. If there is a Heaven and a Hell, Then there is nothing more important than the gospel.
iv. ILLUSTRATION: Annoying things on the plane
b) The gospel is like this parachute
i) God uses you to hand them out
Gain the right perspective- It is all eternal. It is life and death. You carry the thing that can save everyone.