Sunday 31st January

Service Transcript & Video

JOY that only Jesus and the Gospel can give to you.           Philippians chapter 1.

 

Life in lockdown is NOT easy and these last few weeks have been especially tough for many of you…

For some or you… especially if you’re on your own.. Perhaps You are struggling… You may be lonely… maybe even sad…  and   feeling a bit lost… 

missing your friends.. missing church… missing being here on Sundays…

 

For those of you with young children  you are struggling too..  worn out and weary.

Exhausted with all the demands being made on you as you try to home school and occupy the children and maybe even work from home as well… 

     Life is MAD… manic… tough..

Q. Is it possible…. Even though your circumstances are really tough… to know God’s JOY… to experience God’s love…

 to be strengthened by God’s grace…??

 

I BELIEVE IT IS….

That’s Why I wanted us to jump into this Book of Philippians…. 

Because the Apostle is writing this letter in some VERY difficult circumstances….

He is in Rome…  under house arrest.. in lockdown… Never out the door… chained to a Roman soldier 24/7…. awaiting trial and execution…

and yet this is a letter that oozes JOY

The Words JOY or rejoice x16 in these 4 chapters…

There’s such a difference between JOY and happiness..

Happiness depends on what’s happening around You… your circumstances… what’s going on all around YOU…

We’re happy when things are going well!!

Eg..

I’m happy when Man UtD beat Liverpool!!

(I know .. that was VERY naughty)

BUT JOY… 

real JOY.. God’s JOY….Gospel JOY…

the kind of JOY that JESUS gives us…

 is something that you experience deep within you….. despite….  your circumstances being VERY tough….

So Jesus says..

I have told you these things so that My joy  may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

                                                John 15v11

“Until now you have not asked the Father for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.” 

                                             John 16:24

That’s the JOY the Apostle Paul is speaking about in the Book of Philippians..

 

I also thought this Book of Philippians was so relevant because there’s some things on my heart that I want to say to you as a church family… before I leave you in a few weeks time….

Many of them are the very same things that the Apostle Paul says to this church family before he possibly leaves them as is executed…

 

So let’s jump into chapter 1…

Here’s the 3 things I saw in this chapter…

 

1.There is such JOY in my heart when I think of You because we have seen GOD work as we have shared the Gospel  as a church.                                         (v 3-11)

 

I honestly look back over these last 27 yrs with such JOY…. and when I look out over these empty pews and imagine many of your faces sitting there… 

it’s brings both Joy and tears to my eyes…

I genuinely thank God for you… 

for the JOY of being   part of your lives. 

for the JOY of seeing many of you converted to Christ and the Gospel taking root in your lives and changing you from the inside out…

The Apostle Paul expresses that very same JOY..    Look at v3-8

I thank God every time I think of You  v3 

I pray with JOY because of YOU   v4

I have you in my heart v7

We share something special together.. the grace of God who in His amazing grace has saved us…

 is transforming us and 

will one day … finally and fully make us into the very likeness and loveliness of JESUS Himself… v6

I have such an affection for you in Jesus v8

And this my prayer for you in SST…

as it’s Paul’s prayer for these believers..in Philippi (v9-11)

That your love for GOD.. for one another.. for the lovely but lost people of this town and nation will grow and grow and grow..

 

Q. Do you remember how I used to say that we want us to become the MOST loving Church on the island of Ireland…??

 

I long for you to grow in love…

I long for you  to grow in living holy and pure lives.. 

so that HIS ‘fruit’ will be produced in you…

The fruit of lives that are growing to become more and more like JESUS in your everyday.. 

as GOD… who first began HIS good work in you and saved you…  will keep working in you and one day finally and fully complete HIS work in you when JESUS returns..

Q. Are you growing in love or are you growing stale as a Christian?

 

 

 

 

 

2. There is such JOY in my heart when I see God working and the Gospel advancing… in spite of the difficult circumstances we are living through.

                                                    1v 12-26

Q. Have we ever lived through such a tough time as this..??

Q. Did we ever think we’d see a day when our church services… our church  groups and organisations would be closed for over a year??

Outwardly.. It’s looks like a total disaster..

Humanly speaking it’s bound to set back the Gospel…. 

because we can’t do this… or that.. or the other thing… that we’d normally be doing as a church… to share JESUS…

BUT GOD work’s … 

in the most wonderful ways… 

in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances….

So the Apostle Paul.. wanted to go to ROME… as a preacher to proclaim JESUS the Saviour…

But here he has ended up in Rome… locked in a house… chained to a soldier… unable to get out the front door…

 

But look at how GOD has used this v12-14

in the most fantastic way… 

in the most  unbelievable way… 

in an absolutely wonderful way… 

to spread the Gospel… 

to share the GOOD NEWS of Jesus.. 

so that Christians… who wouldn’t usually have opened their mouths and talked about JESUS… 

are doing so more than ever… 

and are doing so (v14) courageously and fearlessly…

Folks…

I don’t think there is a greater JOY in my heart… than the Joy of sharing JESUS and seeing people genuinely  and lovingly converted to Christ….  

That’s why Alive to GOD and more recently ALPHA has been the JOY of my heart…  

to see people come in through the doors so nervously and begin that journey of discovery… 

and then… to see them Not only converted to Christ… but their whole attitudes, priorities, outlooks and lifestyles beginning to change… as they work out what it means for them to be a follower of JESUS in Donaghadee to-day..

 

Awh folks.. for us as a church..

There is NO greater Joy than the JOY of seeing the Gospel advancing

 in this town of Donaghadee that we love… 

or…

 across the nations in Burundi or Kenya or Croatia or Mexico city or Middle East..… 

places where we’ve sent people or teams over the years… to share the GOOD NEWS of JESUS….

Honestly…. It’s worth laying down our lives for…

Like the Apostle Paul we can say… 

v20-21   “I eagerly expect….is gain.”

 

For us.. to live is JESUS… to die is gain…

Because as Christian believers… 

Jesus is Not only our Saviour… 

He’s our life… He’s our JOY.. our HOPE.. He’s our purpose in living.. 

He’s our everything.. our ALL… 

Folks… NEVER EVER be ashamed of JESUS in your family… your school…  your workplace… or with your friends.. (v20)

Pray for courage and gentleness and grace (v21) so that Christ will be exalted by … Who you are

 and… 

how you live your life every day..

Christians ought to be the most Joyful people on earth…. even though we may be going through some of the toughest things possible…

Because our JOY is JESUS and 

our JOY is in JESUS…. NOT…  

in the things that are happening to us… or.. 

what is going on around us.. (v25-26)

 

Q. DO YOU FEEL you ARE growing and making progress as a follower of JESUS?

Q. Are you quietly becoming more and more courageous in sharing JESUS with the people you know and rub shoulders with every day?

 

3. There is such JOY in my heart when I see you living lives that are worthy of JESUS and the Gospel. (v27-30)

 

Life is NOT easy these days…  

Some of you are struggling with very difficult and challenging situations…

It’s NOT easy to follow JESUS when you are facing the struggles you are facing.

It’s Not easy being a follower of JESUS in school.. at work… in your family.. with your friends…

They can make fun of your faith…

They can point out your mistakes and challenge your love for JESUS.

They can ridicule you for believing the Bible.

One of our convictions as a church is  that GOD’s Word the Bible is His truth to shape His people in every age, every culture and every area of our life and lifestyle… 

so we commit ourselves to radical and loving obedience to God and His Word.  

 

That is so contested today in our society.

BUT there is NOTHING as beautiful or as powerful as a life transformed by JESUS….

It’s hard to argue against a life that is being quietly transformed by JESUS…

 

Whatever happens in the future folks… can I lovingly ask you in SST as the Apostle asks these believers in Philippi… v27

to live in a way that is worthy of JESUS…

to live in a way that points lovingly to JESUS…

to live in a way that reflects JESUS

and

 Yes there will be opposition

Yes people may be hostile to you as you try to take God’s Word seriously and live it out passionately…

That’s why you desperately need to stand together as ONE… in unity… (v27)

“stand firm in one spirit, contending as One man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”

You know folks …

It’s such a privilege .. such a JOY … 

to believe in JESUS… to know Him…. Love Him.. follow Him.. obey Him… 

but ….

there is also a cost….

“everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 

                                       2 Timothy 3v 12

ie…

If you want to live all out for JESUS… even in a quiet and loving way….  

You will find people criticising you… challenging you.. attacking you…. 

Maybe even saying unkind things to you and about you…

That’s Why you need each other… 

That’s why you need a small group of fellow Christian’s to…

 support you, encourage you, stand with you, stick by you, pray for you.. 

and you with them.

That’s why a Home group is such a precious thing to be in…

Because it’s too tough to go it as a follower of JESUS on your own…

 

Q. Have you got a small group of friends who you are meeting with… to help you live as a follower of JESUS??

Q.IS following Jesus as Saviour and LORD making a difference to how you are living your life day by day… in a way that other people notice??

Q>Are you living a life that is worthy of Jesus and the Gospel??   

How would your closest friends and family answer that one??

 

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