February 16, 2020

Joy, in Gospel Progress

Bible Text: Philippians 1:12-18 |

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When I was 13 I had my first opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

His name was Alex, and he accepted Jesus under one of the trees in the back playground portion of Timothy Christian School on a sunny June Sunday morning.

Of all that could stick in my mind from that moment, I remember his face after we finished praying together. He lit up, I mean, lit up. “Does this mean I get to go to heaven?” he asked. He jumped around and told anyone who would listen that he just asked Jesus into his heart.

I watched Alex ask questions and sit attentively every week at what was then known as “Higher Ground”, our Harvest Kids program, until one week he and his family stopped coming. I don’t know where he is, if he’s following Jesus, or if he’s fallen away from the faith he once professed. But I find myself praying for him every once in a while, hoping that he is committed and pursuing Christ with all that he is.

For those few weeks I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion, even as young as I was, that God had allowed me to have a hand in helping Alex know Jesus. I look back and realize that it was joy that filled my heart, at seeing God work in such an phenomenal way in someone's life.

The fact that we, as weak and frail as we are and filled with doubts and insecurities, could play a part in changing the eternal destiny of another human being is pretty remarkable. It’s a gift from God. There’s no doubt about that.

This week, as we continue our time in the first chapter of Philippians, the apostle Paul will go in depth in the circumstances he found himself in while he wrote this letter. We’ll see his attitude, his perspective on the hardship he faced, and how he used it to advance the work of the gospel.

My prayer for us this week is that as we unpack the purpose of our lives as followers of Christ, the Lord would give us eyes to see the way that the good news of Jesus Christ is impacting our lives and the lives of those around us. And that we would be keen to look for and pursue opportunities to share that good news with others.

Joy comes in watching gospel progress in us and in those around us. Looking forward to diving into this together.

Sermon Notes

Joy, Unleashed
Joy, In Gospel Progress
Philippians 1:12-18

February 16, 2020

Isaiah 55:10–11
Isaiah 55:12a

In all I do, the endgame is to advance the gospel. And so...

...I must seize every opportunity (v. 12-13)

Jail can be a wonderful place for Christian evangelism- one has a captive audience and plenty of time to preach and teach. The chains restraining Paul’s body do not restrain the gospel.
-- David Garland

Seizing the opportunity:
1. Know the gospel - www.harvestbarrie.ca/5-gospel-words
2. Invite them to church
3. Share your story
4. Pray
5. Approach people with humility, patience, and grace

...seeking to encourage others (v. 14)

...and staying the course (v. 15-17)

Psalm 7:8
Isaiah 54:16

...experiencing the joy that comes from fulfilling my purpose. (v. 18)