Growing What God has Given by Living for the Progress of the Gospel

Johnny Kjaer December 29, 2019 Philippians 1:12-30
Outline

Philippians 1:9-10 - And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

3 superior ways to live for the progress of the Gospel

I. Proclaim Christ Regardless of Our Circumstances

A. Know through suffering the Gospel is advanced

The circumstances Paul was facing

Philippians 1:12 - My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel.

“Paul’s private concerns did not matter; the Gospel did.” Richard R. Melick

Philippians 1:13 - My imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.

Philippians 1:14 - Most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

B. Rejoice because the Gospel is proclaimed in the good and bad

a. Some from good will

Philippians 1:16 - The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel.

b. Out of envy and strife

Philippians 1:17 - The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

c. Paul’s response

Philippians 1:18a - What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice…

II. Live for Christ All Your Days

A. Experience the joy of your deliverance

Philippians 1:18b-20 - Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

B. Exalt Christ by having joy in your purpose

Philippians 1:21-24 - For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

“What greater encouragement can a man have to fight against his enemy than when he is sure of the victory before he fights it.” Richard Sibbes

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 - Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

C. See the joy your ministry brings to others

Philippians 1:25-26 - Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

III. Conduct Yourself in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel

A. Stand firm in unity with other believers

Philippians 1:27-28 - Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

B. Receive God's gift of suffering for Christ

Philippians 1:29-30 - For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

What is the most life-changing good news you have ever received? How did it change your life?

The I Am pregnant story.

Today we will be examining the Scripture in the book of Philippians. In this book Paul prays for the church in…

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-10

Just like Paul prayed for the ten-year old church of Philippi that they abound in love…so that they may approve the things that are excellent

…to know what are the things more valuable and superior…

We must pray and grow as a church “to approve the things that are excellent” to make sure we are living for the greatest life-changing good news in the most successful way as we embark on another New Year together as a church for Jesus Christ.

How can we live for the progress of the Gospel?

Philippians 1:12–30 (NASB95)

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, 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 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Today is the last sermon as a church family under the annual theme of Growing What God Has Given.

As we consider the most excellent way to grow what God has Given and begin a New Year…By Living for the Progress of the Gospel

Today we will be looking at Three superior ways to live for the progress of the Gospel

I. Proclaim Christ regardless of our circumstances! (12-18a)

A. Know through suffering the Gospel is advanced (12-14)

The circumstances Paul was facing (12)

The Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians has been through a lot of difficult situations to this point.

  • Paul was a man whose life had been radically transformed by the Gospel.
    • Paul was known by the name of Saul.
      • He had one purpose and that was destroy the followers of Jesus Christ.
      • So, he set out with all of his passion to erase the growing number of believers in Christ.
      • He was so aggressive that he was described as ravaging the church.
        • Like a wild animal feasting on its prey, Paul set out to end the followers of Christ.
    • Paul was confronted by God on the road to Damascus. Let’s look at the conversion of Saul and see the radical way that he was changed after being confronted with the reality that Christ is God! Turn with me to Acts 9.
      • Acts 9:1–22 (NASB95)
      • 1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
      • 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” 7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
      • 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
      • 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”
      • 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
      • 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
      • 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
      • 21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
  • After being confronted with the realities of the Gospel the Apostle Paul lived his life for one purpose and one purpose only.
    • This was for the proclamation of the Gospel.
      • At this point in Paul’s life lived for the Gospel he had been ...
        • In a riot against his preaching of the Gospel
        • Imprisoned in Caesarea for preaching the Gospel
        • His life had been threatened
        • Been in a shipwreck while being sent to Rome
        • Under house arrest
        • And now was awaiting a trial to determine if or when he was going to die for the Gospel.
  • He didn’t say, “in spite of all the circumstances I have gone through the Gospel is still advancing.”
  • Instead, Paul said, “through the circumstances I am going through the Gospel is advancing.”
  • “Paul’s private concerns did not matter; the Gospel did.” - (Richard R. Melick)
  • Paul had purposefully taken the Gospel all over the major cities of the Roman Empire.
    • Philippi
    • Thessalonica
    • Corinth
    • Athens
    • The one city he had talked about desiring to preach in was the city of Rome
      • If the Gospel could permeate the city of Rome than it would be able to spill out to the entire empire of Rome.
  • And now Paul was in Rome, but he was speaking to a different audience than he probably had anticipated speaking to.
    • He was speaking to the Praetorian Guard.
      • These were the bodyguards of the Caesar.
      • They served in Governor’s Palace
    • They held him captive, but he had a captive audience for the preaching of the Gospel.
      • If the Gospel was going to change the Roman Empire, there was no better place to be proclaiming the Gospel than in the audience of the Emperor’s staff.
      • Imagine the talks around the water cooler of the guards.
        • Guess what Paul said today.
        • Do you think what Paul is talking about is really true?
        • Remember when he used to persecute the church and now look at him working for the cause he used to destroy.
        • I wonder what made him change?...
  • I’m guessing that because you are here this morning you are not currently sitting in prison like Paul awaiting your sentence for preaching the Gospel.
  • I doubt many of you were shipwrecked on your way here.
  • However, I imagine you have trials and difficulties of your own that you are facing.
    • How do you see those circumstances?
      • Are they just a nuisance that interrupts your life?
      • Are they a hardship for you just to endure?
      • Do they serve any purpose other than to make you stronger, wiser, or to bring closer to family or friends?
    • What if God allowed these difficulties in your life for nothing more than the opportunity for you to display the glory of God?
    • What if God wants to work through your difficulties for the advancement of the Gospel?
      • What if through the multiple doctor appointments, you may be facing God is working opportunity for you to share the Gospel with the nurses and doctors you will spend many hours with?
      • What if through the difficult family dynamics, you are trying to maneuver you are called to demonstrate the life changing work of the Gospel?
      • What if your trials are less about the temporal difficulties you are encountering and are more about the eternal implications it may have on others?
  • Paul was able to rejoice because even though he was removed from the public preaching stage the Gospel was still advancing because others were now living in the boldness the Gospel gives.
    • Have you ever observed how when one person is fired up for the Gospel it helps others to be fired up for the Gospel?
      • Obviously from church history we can name a few.
        • Martin Luther
        • John Knox
        • George Whitfield
        • Charles Spurgeon
        • And many others
      • From your own life you may identify others who have inspired your own desire to advance the Gospel.
        • Maybe a Pastor
        • Maybe the person who first shared the Gospel with you
        • Maybe the person who discipled you
        • Maybe a parent
        • Maybe a spouse.
  • Personal application:
    • As a result of your faithful life to the advancement of the Gospel are others encouraged to share the Gospel with those around them?
      • What good is it if you hide the greatest news for all mankind?
      • Do your kids share the Gospel with those around them, because they see your faithfulness to do so in your life?
      • Do your peers naturally turn to conversations about the life changing effects of the Gospel because it is a regular part of your conversations?
  • Don’t make it about finally getting your beach body.
  • Don’t make it about getting rich.
  • Don’t make it about your dreams.
  • Make it about sharing the Gospel.
  • Make it about encouraging others to share the Gospel.
  • Make it about learning how to find Gospel opportunities in the midst of your suffering.

Despite all of the things that Paul had faced and his possible death for the sake of the Gospel the Apostle Paul was rejoicing in the fact that the Gospel was progressing.

“My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)

Why could Paul look at all of these horrible situations and rejoice in one simple truth – the Gospel is advancing.

The Gospel had so changed the life of Paul that he viewed all the circumstances of his life through the grid of how the Gospel was advanced.

In verse 13 Paul, begins to share how the Gospel is being shared in his circumstances.

“My imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.” (13)

How about you? Do you view your life through the lens of the Gospel? Do you view as supreme in your outlook on life the glory of God as revealed in the spread of the Gospel?

In verse 14, Paul begins to rejoice in the fact that others are now boldly proclaiming the Gospel after seeing how the Apostle Paul was suffering for the sake of the Gospel.

“Most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” – (14)

Others who were watching Paul were strengthened in their boldness to share the Gospel.

Paul’s life was changed by the Gospel and now He is rejoicing in one important thing.

B. Rejoice because the Gospel is proclaimed in the good and bad (15-18)

There were 2 different reasons that the Gospel was being shared.

  1. “Out of envy and strife.” (15)
    1. “The former proclaims Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” (17)
  1. “Some from good will.” (15)
    1. “The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel.” (16)
  1. “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” (18a)
    1. Paul understood that the Gospel is much bigger than his life or his suffering.
    1. “Paul’s suffering was neither corrective nor instructive. It was simply a suffering permitted by God so that the Gospel might be spread to others.” – James Montgomery Boice

As you approach this new year and you begin to think about the goals and motivations for the year and years ahead, don’t lose focus on the way your life should be about the proclamation of the Gospel.

Determine to …

II. Live for Christ all your days (18b-26)

A. Experience the joy of your deliverance (18-20)

So now Paul has laid out all of the difficulties facing him.

  • Paul has focused on the great news that the Gospel is advancing through the circumstances he is currently in.
  • Now he turns his attention to the joy that he can have in the midst of his circumstances.
    • Philippians 1:18b–20 Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
  • Paul was able to rejoice because he was going to be delivered.
    • He will eventually be released from prison – either by death or by the courts freeing him.
      • He knows that the suffering he is currently enduring is only temporary in light of eternity.
      • He knows that God is sovereign.
      • He knows that God is good.
      • He knows that nothing he will endure is outside of God’s good plan in his life.
      • As a result, he can have joy, because of the eternal message of the Gospel.
        • “Paul’s example of selfless humility shows that the worse circumstances are the greater the joy can be. When the seemingly secure things in life begin to collapse, when suffering and sorrow increase, believers should be drawn into the ever-deeper fellowship with the Lord.” – John MacArthur.
    • Knowing that we are made right with God because of the death burial and resurrection of Christ on our behalf leads us to live a life of joy regardless of what you may face in life.
      • My eternity is set once I have accepted Christ.
      • So, I can rest knowing with confidence what lies ahead.
      • Lately, I have been watching several from our church suffer with different diagnosis that are life altering.
        • One brother, Jeff Griggs is now on hospice. Yet he continues to live his life with joy. Still joyfully serving others. Still joyfully living out the gospel for others to see.
        • One thing I notice about several of these folks who are suffering but have lives that are clearly changed by the Gospel is the joy in which they are able to face life.
          • Are there tears of sadness in their life? – yes.
          • Are there times of worry and concern? – I am sure.
          • But their overall approach to life is a life of joy. This comes from their rejoicing in the eternal security of the Gospel they have received.
          • Their countenance is revealing where their confidence lies.
    • Can you like Paul demonstrates have joy because God will be exalted through your life.
      • How will having joy in the deliverance that Christ gives change your daily life?
      • How will having joy in the deliverance that Christ gives affect your life in the midst of your own suffering?
  • Paul’s life is all about Christ. He lives for Christ. However, if he dies, he is encouraged because he will gain by being with the one he has lived for.
    • Philippians 1:21–24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
  • To live is Christ.
    • Paul had a singular focus and purpose to his life. It was all for Christ.
      • In verse 22 he says that if he lives on in the flesh, then it will mean fruitful labor while he lives.
      • He is confident in verse 24 that if he stays in the flesh then it will result in good things for the church here on earth.
    • He didn’t see life as all these different little areas of life that sometimes intersect with his purpose of bringing glory to God by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. No, his life was all about Christ.
      • “Take Christ from Christianity, and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the center of Christianity, all else is circumference.” – John Stott
    • How about you?
      • Are you willing to live for the Gospel in all your areas of life?
        • Even if your friends aren’t?
        • Even if it doesn’t fit perfectly in your schedule?
        • Even if it means that ministry is difficult?
      • Is your total focus in life Christ?
  • To die is gain.
    • Paul recognized that after living his life entirely for Christ there would be nothing better than being with the one he lived for.
    • In verse 23 he points out that he “has the desire to be with Christ, for that is very much better.”
      • “What greater encouragement can a man have to fight against his enemy than when he is sure of the victory before he fights it.” – Richard Sibbes.
    • Think about the way you can be joyful when you realize that eternity with Christ awaits you.
      • Death results in eternal life with the one you lived for.
      • That faith affects your focus.
        • 2 Corinthians 5:6–9 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
    • Have you lived this year reflecting that your faith is firmly in the truths of the Gospel?
      • Have you strived to point others to Christ with everything you did?
        • Are you living to be pleasing to the Lord?
      • Have you faced fear with confidence that eternal life with Christ is awaiting you?
  • Philippians 1:25–26 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
    • Paul realized that his purpose on earth was necessary for the growth of others. In other words, the Gospel had so permeated his life that he recognized the need for him to encourage others in their growth in the Lord.
    • If he continued on earth than he would spend his time strengthening the church.
    • How about you?
      • Are others growing in their walk with the Lord as a result of sold out commitment to living for Christ?
      • I have noticed when I stop serving others out of a love for the Lord and laser focus on my purpose to live for Christ, then it is east to become so focused on me that I start to become all about what I can get out of something.
        • The Gospel never leads me to think about myself first.
        • The Gospel always motivates me to love others with an unexplainable love that only God can give.
        • The Gospel leads me to a share the good news of the Gospel.
      • This results in the growth of those I interact with.
  • Philippians 1:27–28 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

Paul not only had joy because of his deliverance, but he shows us how to …

B. Exalt Christ by having joy in your purpose (21-24)

Paul has joy in his deliverance, and this frees him up to focus on his purpose here on earth.

C. See the joy your ministry brings to others (25-26)

Paul seems pretty confident in these verses that he is going to return to the church at Philippi to help them continue to grow in their walk with the Lord.

Paul could look at his circumstance with confidence because he saw the joy that comes from his salvation. This salvation leads him to live with a singular focus because he was confident that ultimately his death would lead to gain when he was with the Lord. As a result, he could rejoice in the ministry he was able to do. All of this should lead us to…

III. Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel (27-30)

A. Stand firm in unity with other believers (27-28)

One of the marks of those that are living for the Gospel is a desire to pursue unity with those who are also living for the Gospel.

B. Stand firm in one Spirit, with one mind.

  • This paints the picture of not moving. You are planted there.
  • This passage is calling us to not be shaken by the attacks that seek to lead us astray from the truth of God’s Word.
  • Often my boys try to wrestle dad.
  • But when they try to ram into me, and I am ready for them I am able to stand firm and their attacks just bounce off of me.
  • I am standing firm.
  • Every single follower of Christ is commanded to stand firm in one Spirit with one mind.
  • This isn’t just the responsibility of your pastors or church leaders.
  • Every believer needs to be studying God’s Word in order to stand firm.

C. Strive together for the faith of the Gospel.

  • This means that we are to be unified together for the same purpose
  • What is that purpose?

D. Receive God's gift of suffering for Christ (29-30)

Philippians 1:29–30 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Paul recognized and encourages us to see the various sufferings and trial in our life as good thing because it advances the Gospel, it provides an opportunity to grow in our joy in our salvation and purpose, and it draws us to be unified with other followers of Christ.

Johnny Kjaer

Roles

Pastor of Student Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.A. - Church Ministries, Maranatha Baptist University
M. DIV. - Faith Bible Seminary
D.Min. - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (in progress)

Johnny is married to Tori. They have 3 children Leif, Tryggve, and Kjirsti. He has been a part of the youth ministry at Faith since his internship began in 2010. He has been in the position of Pastor of Student Ministries since 2013. Johnny is an ACBC certified counselor. He also serves the church by directing the Lafayette Living Nativity and the Lafayette Passion Play.

Read Johnny Kjaer's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Kjaer to Faith Church.