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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode · 2 years ago

The Advance of the Gospel: Philippians 1:12-18a

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Grace Bible Church, Philippians 1:12-18a

Ed Wolff - preaching

Hello and welcome to Grace Bible Church in Gatesville, Texas. This is the audio segment of our sermons here at Grace Bible Church. If you would like to find out more about us and watch our full Lord's Day services with video, go to Grace Bible tx dotcom. Let's pray together. Most gracious and victorious God, we long for that day, Christ, when you return, flanked in glory and the new, the old is swallowed by the new, and when we will sing praises, the nation's will sing praises to you, Oh God. We long for that day and we cry this morning. Come, come, Lord, Jesus, come, and this morning God, as we live in that moment between the already and the not yet, as we live now longing for the day that you will return, empower us, help us, fill us with your spirit and make us be the people you want and desire to be, that we might take your Gospel to the nation's that they might hear about Jesus Christ, because of our faithfulness in this moment to share with them the glorious good news of Jesus. And even this morning, in the next few minutes, as we look at your word, I pray God, that you would use it, that you would speak to us. We expect to hear from you this morning, speak to us, move in our hearts, transform US and change us. And I pray, if there's any one here that is watching that does not know you, that as we as this service continues, that your spirit is even now working on their hearts, opening their eyes, opening their hearts and drawing them to yourself. And I pray this morning that they would come to faith in Christ or do your will in us this morning. We Are Yours, we are your servants, you are our king, you are our father. Do with us as you will. We ask these in the strong and glorious name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Well, this morning, it's great to be back with you this morning after a couple of weeks hiatus from the book of Philippians. In this morning we're going to jump right back into the book of Philippians Again, Verses One and twelve through eighteen. If you have closed your Bible, I would encourage you to open them back up that we might look at the word of God and see what God's word has for us this morning. I am going to have to make an uncomfortable pause I'll be right back. When you don't do this much, you need notes, and when you don't have notes that could be a very bad sermon. Could be a very short sermon which praise the Lord. That might be a good thing. After like my last sermon that lasted I think sixty minutes, and Kolbe sermon the week after lasted like fifteen minutes, something like that. Most of you probably want me to learn a little bit from Luther Philippians, chapter one versus twelve through eighteen. The year was one seventeen eighty five. A young cobbler turned pastor was visiting a local Baptist Association, a meeting of Baptist ministers and, as was customary back then, he was asked when he got there to come up with a topic of discussion for the evening, and so he did something that was very near and dear to his heart, and so this was the topic that he put out there. Quote, whether they're the command given to the apostles to teach all nations was not obligatory on all succeeding ministers to the end of the world, seeing that the accompanying promise was an equal extent. Unfortunately, they didn't have time to speak and talk and discuss this that evening, because an older Baptist minister stood up and told this young man to sit down. He said sit down, young man, sit down and be still. When God wants to convert the heathen, he will do it without consulting either you or me.

That young minister did sit down, but the last thing he did was sit still. That young preachers name was William Carry, and the fire that burn in his heart for the Gospel to go to the nation's would simply not be quenched. In fact, today, William Carry, as many times referred to as the father of the modern missionary movement, later that in one thousand seven hundred and ninety two he would write his his magnus opus, his his book. That was the pinnacle of his writing career. Listen to the to the title of this book, an inquiry into the obligations of Christians to use means for the conversions of the heathens. Book titles are very different back then than they are today. That same year, he priest a sermon that was entitled the deathless sermon, based on Isaiah fifty four, two and three. We don't know much about the sermon but we know that it was divided into two parts. Expect great things from God and attempt great things from God. William carries also practiced what he preached that. Later that year, he and several other men formed the particular Baptist Society for propagating the Gospel among the heathen, mercifully renamed to the Baptist Missionary Society, and the next year, the next year, in seventeen ninety three, he became one of its first two missionaries when he and his family arrived in India, where he would spend the next forty one years. In that famous sermon, he is reported to have said catch wider visions, dare bolder programs, rouse up and go forth to conquer for Christ even the uttermost parts and the aisles of the sea. And that's exactly what he did when he arrived in India. But it was not all sunshine and roses. It was hard. He had many struggles along the way. For the first two years he was there he received no communication with with home. It was seven years before the first person he saw come to Christ, seven years before the first convert to Christ. He was quite gifted in a translation and he was able to translate the Bible and other books into the native language of Bengali. But after nineteen years of fire destroyed much of his work, he had an accident that left him lame and on the mission field two wives and several children died. And not once, not once, in those forty one years, was he ever able to go back home to England. When Carrie, talking about his struggle, said this. When I left England, my hope of India's conversion was very strong, but amongst so many obstacles it would die unless upheld by God. Well, I have God and his word is true, though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse though. I were deserted by all and persecuted by all. Yet my faith fixed on that sure word would rise above all obstacles and overcome every trial. God's cause will triumph, and God's cause certainly did triumph. And William Carey's case not simply in the forty one years that he ministered there in India, but his story and his ministry has inspired and lit a fire under the English speaking world to go to the nation's to leave their comfortable homes and go to the nations with the Gospel. There are thousands, hundreds of thousand, maybe even millions, of people that no Christ today because of the inspiration of the Ministry of William Carrey. And yet if William Carry was listening to our live stream this morning, he would not really like us talking about him. Listen to what he said one thousand eighteen thirty four before his death, speaking to a friend, he said this. You have been saying much about Dr Carry and his work. After I am gone, please speak not of Dr Carry, but rather of my wonderful savior. William carry recognized that it wasn't about him, it was about God. He didn't really want us to focus on his circumstances and his accomplishments and his struggles. He wanted us to focus on the God who was in control of his circumstances and accomplishments and struggles. He didn't want himself to be Exalted, he wanted Christ to be exalted. He ultimately...

...didn't want us to speak of the servant him, but to speak of the savior. This morning, as we turned back to the book of Philippians, what we will see is that William. He was simply walking in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, because what we see in these verses is the Apostle Paul doing the same thing, not wanting the Philippians to focus on him, the servants, but to fix their eyes, to fix their gaze on the wonderful and Glorious and mighty triumphant savior. That's what we see in these verses. Now it's been a couple weeks since we've been in the book of Philippians, so let us let me get US caught up. Let us let me give you some reminders. First off, from remember where Paul Is. Paul is in prison in Rome. He is a waiting to stand before Caesar to plead his case, and the Philippians have heard that he's struggling and hurting, and so he they have gotten together some for of form of gift and sent it to him, and so Paul sits down to write this letter to the Philippians for really three reasons. One, to thank them for the gift, number two, to answer a request that they had that we're going to get to when we finally get to chapter two, and also to encourage them and help them in some struggles that they are having, and so he begins the letter, if you remember, in a very standard way, of very way that many letters would have would have begun in that era. But he takes something standard and he makes it grander by soaking it in, Saturating it in the Gospel. He reminds them that it is God who has begun the good work in them, that he is the one who has loved them and shows them and pursued them and open their eyes and open their hearts. He is the one that has given them faith. He is the one that has taken the scales off of their eyes so they may see Christ as he is and might turn and willingly place the faith that he has given them in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their sense. He's begun that work and not only has he begun that work, but he has continued that work and he will continue that work until Christ returns, until he comes, as we have sung, flanked in glory and the new swallows up the old. Win that happens, our faith, our salvation will be finally and fully consummated. And today he is working in our lives to continue to empower us and help us, mold us into the shape of Christ and help us and cause us to persevere until that Glorious Day and when we stand before God in the new heavens of the new earth, when our gaze is fixed upon the savior, when we claim and cry worthy is the lamb that was slain, what we will be saying is God, it is all of you. This is a work of you. That's what he wants to remind them as he begins the letter and as he lays that foundation. Then he goes into in verse twelve, giving them a report about how things are going. Some of you, most of you, probably know Blake Kimbro Hope Blake doesn't know I'm speaking about him this morning, so hopefully this will be okay. For those of you that don't know, Blake was a local pastor, one of my local pastors, who was called to the mission field and spent a decade or so on the mission field in Zambia, Africa. He's now back and preaching, pastoring a church in East Texas. But when the last times blake was here, he told us that when he came home and he would be around town, he would meet somebody, maybe somebody he knew or just somebody was trying to be kind, and they would give a normal Texas greeting. Hi, how are you? Blake said. He made the mistake of thinking they actually wanted to know and he told them and we got some interesting looks. The Philippians here are not like the people we meet in HGB. They really want to know. They are intimate with Paul, like a friend that you have, that you want to know how they're doing when you know that they're suffering. They want to know. They're longing to, though. They want to know how he's doing since he's in prison. But when Paul Responds in Verse Twelve, notice what he doesn't do. He doesn't ultimately tell him how he's doing. He tells them how the Gospel is doing. I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel. The Gospel is advancing, it is moving forward, it is it is that it is not stopping, it is moving, it is progressing, which may be opposite of what they might have assumed. Right I mean when Paul is out and able to go on missionary journeys and go wherever he wants to and preach the Gospel. It's easy to see how the Gospel would advance. But Paul is locked in a box, he's in a room, he's in a cell, wherever he may be. He's freedom has been taken away from him. He can't go anywhere and it might be assumed that the Gospel has retreated.

Paul Says No, Paul says I'm in chains. But the Gospel is not in chains. The Gospel is advancing like an army. It is taking enemy territory. It is advancing and it will win and it's winning through my circumstances. And so, as the Gospel is advancing, Paul goes on in the next few verses to explain some of the aspects of how the Gospel is advancing. And we're going to look at three different aspects this morning of how the Gospel is advancing in Rome at this time. Number one, we're going to see in verse thirteen we're going to see the expansion of the Gospel, the expansion of the Gospel in verse fourteen we're going to see the encouragement of the Gospel and then in verse his fifteen through eighteen. I couldn't think of another word that began with EA. So we're just going to go with the supremacy of the Gospel. So the expansion of the Gospel, the encouragement of the Gospel and the supremacy of the Gospel. So first off let's look at the expansion of the Gospel, looking in Philippians, chapter one, verse thirteen. Look at what he says, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. He says the Gospel is advancing, because everybody I come in contact knows that I am in prison for Christ. The word imprisonment here literally chains. I am in chains for Christ. That's why the Jews got mad at him back in Jerusalems, because he was preaching Christ. That's why they started a riot and tried to beat him up. Is because he was preaching Christ. He ends up in prison because he's preaching Christ. When he stands before Felix and the other officials, he is defending himself for preaching Christ. When he appeals to Caesar, he goes to Rome. He goes to Rome for the express purpose of defending himself for preaching Christ. Everyone that he comes in contact knows that he's there for preaching Christ and when, whether it's whether it's is one of the Roman guards that he's chained to, which, by the way, maybe one of Caesar's of personal soldiers, where there's parts of Caesar's household, whether it's other prisoners, whether it's administrative people, whoever he comes in contact with when he gets this question. So what do he end for? His response will be I'm in for Christ, and he gives him a perfect opportunity to then share the message of Christ, a perfect opportunity to say I'm here for preaching the good news about Jesus Christ, and the good news about Jesus Christ is well, it starts with bad news. There is one God. There's not multiple gods, like like many of the Romans believe. There's one God and that God is holy. He's not morally corrupt, like many of the Roman gods are. We are the ones who are morally corrupt. He is holy and righteous and we have not done what we are supposed to do. We have not done what God wants us to do. We have not lived perfectly and because of our sin, because of our moral corruption, we deserve from this holy and righteous and just God. We deserve punishment, wrath, just good wrath for our sin. But God, here's the good news. But God, loving us, desiring to, as I've said many times, destroy the sin without destroying the sinner, sends his son. He sends Jesus, Christ, God in the Flesh, born of a virgin, and he actually lives perfectly. We couldn't live perfectly. He lives perfectly and after living perfectly, he goes to the cross and because he was lived perfectly, he didn't deserve to die. Yet he died. He died in the place of those like us who haven't lived perfectly, those who have not done what we should do and have done the very things we shouldn't do. And he was punished in the place of sinners and then three days later rose again, VIC torious. Death, like we sank, does not hold him. Death has lost its grip and lost its hold and he's been victorious over it. And if we will turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ, we will be saved, our sins will be washed away, our Christ good works will be attributed to us. We will be declared by the God of the universe innocent because of what Jesus has done. That's good news and that's what every single person that Paul came in contact with. Herd and the spirit caused that Gospel to expand and to move forward in advance. I'd be remissed this morning if I didn't say if you're watching this morning, if you're watching this live stream, and that's the first time you've ever heard the gospel, but that's the first time that you've ever understood the Gospel. I implored you believe...

...in Jesus, turn from your sin, believe on Christ, trust in his perfect life, his atoning death, his glorious resurrection. Trust that alone for your salvation and you will be saved. And please let us know so that we might come alongside you and then we might help that we might well mean God becomes your father, we become your brothers and sisters, you become part of a family. Let us help you as your brothers and sisters. Please let us know. That's the message that every person that came Paul came in contact would have heard. But what's interesting is if you look at the phrase at the end of verse thirteen chains for is for Christ, prisonment is for Christ. How are your translation say it? That can actually be taken another way. Not only can that mean that Paul is in prison for preaching Christ, it can also be it can also mean that he is in prison for the purpose of Christ. That's what he that's what he alludes to in verse twelve. Right, I want you to know that what has happened to me has served to advance the Gospel. Notice what he doesn't say. He doesn't say what has happened to me. God has had to take and twist so that it serves for good. He's had to come up with plan B once I got put in prison. Somebody says, he says what's happened has really served the purpose behind my imprisonment. The divine ordained purpose behind my imprisonment is the advance of the Gospel. For the Gospel to advance in Rome, I needed to be imprisoned. Paul does not. At this moment, though, he's not giving specifics about how he's doing. He's not sweeping his suffering under the rug. Okay, we got we got a lot of talk about masks in our society today. Right, Paul's not putting on a mask that says, look at me, my life is all rainbows and Unicorns saw what he's doing, hiding behind his suffering, behind that mass. That's not what he's doing. Paul is suffering, he's hurting. There's no telling how this imprisonment is affecting him. He's been in prisoned many times, he's been beaten many times. There's no telling what infirmities that he already has is being aggravated by this. But Paul is saying, I'm hurting, but this suffering is for a greater and grander purpose. It is for the Advancement of the Gospel. It is for the glory of God and it has been ordained for that. And if it has that, I rejoice. This is mysterious. This is one of those moments where we contemplate this and and we use the logic and the brains in the thinking that God has given us, and we should, but we are probably at some point going to bump up against mystery, and that's also good. And yet we see this all throughout the gospels, we see this all throughout the Bible. We could turn to lots of different passages to to under try to understand this, to try to comprehend this, but probably the most well, the greatest maybe the most fame. Easy to understand is the cross itself. Every person responsible for the death of Christ was sending Herod Pilot, the Jews, Right Judas, all of them, were perpetrating sin, to use Joseph's phrase. In Genesis, they meant it for evil, but, to use God's term, God meant it for good. The Cross is both simultaneously the greatest evil ever perpetrated on the planet, the murder of not only an innocent man, the only innocent man ever to live, but the murder of the son of God. It is also the greatest good ever accomplished in the cosmos, because through it God has saved his people, he has redeemed his church, he has can he is brought in his his his his children, and through it he will ultimately redeem and and and completely renew the entire cosmos. Eden, we come back to eat in the curses reversed because of what Christ has done the cross. That's what we look forward to when Christ returns. The greatest good ever done in the universe. And yet when Judas in them did it, it was evil and this wasn't a thing that God just said. You know what I've been trying hard for to keep Jesus off of the cross, but it looks like they're just going to kill him, and so I got to come up with plan B. No, now, the Bible says that this was ordained from the beginning of time. And yet God, James was very clear. It's not the author of...

Sin. Sin Didn't come from him and somehow, mysteriously, will God works all of that Together. Your head may heard right now. That's okay, because here's the truth of it. Here's the thing that we can get out of that. Paul is saying, I am hurting, this is sinful, people are sinning against me, but God is using this and he has ordained it for a greater good. You know what that means in our lives? Evil can't win. Can't win, no matter what Satan wants to throw at you, no matter what evil someone perpetrates against you. Know many well what happens. It will not thwart God's plans. Evil cannot win. God Wins, God triumphs. That's what it means. We have confidence in knowing that it's where's for pulse, confidence was does't mean he wasn't hurting. Be rejoiced in what God was doing through him. For this and sistors. We serve a crucified savior. God Most gloriously, most powerfully displayed his power, his love, His mercy, his justice. The greatest display of God ever was the cross. Today, God's greatest display of his glory many times is through us, as we take up that cross and follow him. Look, we can, we can praise God on the mountain top. Absolutely. We can bring God glory when everything is going good. Absolutely, but the world around US looks at it and says, yeah, I understand why you're praising God. Everything's going great for you. Of course you're going to praise God. But when everything falls down around us, when the world caves around us, when we get that call that we don't want, when everything is just falling around us, when we look up and say, God, I don't know what's going on, but you're enough, you're my portion, you're my strength, you're my you're my God, you are good, you are working this out. I don't understand it, this hurts, but God, you are my my rock, and I will, like Peter say, where else could I go? You have the words of life. We do that to the watching world. That makes God look glorious, that makes God look glorious. As a first point, the expansion of the Gospel. Let's look then, at the encouragement of the Gospel. Philippians one fourteen look at what the verse says, and most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the war bird without fear. Not only has God ordained that Paul would come to Rome and the Gospel would advance, advance through he himself proclaiming the Gospel, he is also ordained that it would advance by Paul being there encouraging others in the Roman church to go out and share the Gospel. Him being there has given them encouragement and empowerment to then go out and share the gospel more than they have. That means, apparently, that the Gospel Fervor, the evangelistic fervor of the Roman church, had waned for some reason. Now we don't we don't really know why that. The text doesn't tell us. Now, if you'll allow me, I will make an educated suggestion. Hopefully it's an educated suggestion. If Paul is riding when we think he's riding, which be roughly two D that means that the Caesar that he is going to go before is Nero. Give heard a nero. He is considered at least, one of the most violent and brutal caesars of all time. Now Bear with me if you know the story, but just to give you a glimpse into his head, we have to actually go forward a little bit. I have to go a few years after Paul writes this letter, a few years after Paul Riesis let her Rome Burns and it burns in not a way that was natural. Somebody set the fire, and most believe Nero himself set the fire, or ask somebody told, somebody ordered somebody to do it, and a significant account of Rome Burns. Have you ever heard the saying fiddling while Rome Burns? You may ever heard that. If you're under like forty, you may never have heard this phrase before, but I'm over forty. So so hopefully, my older brothers and sisters, we're with me. Hopefully that comes from this instance, because it is reported that while the Rome was burning, Nero went to the top of his palace and played a liar or a harp and song about the beauty of the flames. This is just a picture into the mind of this man.

It was obvious that the fire wasn't set or wasn't done by natural me. So he eventually had to blame somebody. He tried to placate with with gifts and things like that, but eventually had to blame somebody. So he decided to blame a group of people that were already very disliked in Rome, a group of people who were referred to as, quote, a wretched cult, a group who many believed a felt a foreign and deadly superstition, a group who were considered traitors because they wouldn't worship Caesar. They were considered atheists because they wouldn't worship the Roman gods. They were considered cannibals because they ate the flesh and drank the blood of their master. He blamed the Christians and it was an easy target because they already were not liked. Here's what Fox's book of martyrs says about what Nero did. I will warn you it's a little gruesome, so if you have young ones, you may not want them to hear this. You may want to cover their ears for a second, but listen to this. Nero, even refined upon cruelty and contrived all manner of punishments for the Christians that the most infernal imagination could design. In particular, he had some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts and then worried, which means not on by dogs until they expired. Others he dressed in shirts made stiff with wax and fixed upon axel trees or poles and set on fire in his gardens in order to eliminate them. This is the Caesar as Paul is writing. It's no wonder that the Roman church may have shirked back from sharing the Gospel. But then Paul arrives. Paul gets there by choice. He has said, I want to stand before Caesar, I want to plead my case, I want to, as he says in Verse Fifteen, Defend Our Sixteen, defend the Gospel. He is going to stand before Caesar and not simply defend himself. He is going to share the gospel with this tyrant. Why? Because of his faith in the Lord. That couragement doesn't come from Paul. That courage comes from the spirit of God. And the Roman Church says, if Paul is going to come here and the God is in God is going to empower him and encourage him to go share it face to face with Caesar, then we can go out and share it with our neighbors. Not by trusting in Paul. Look at what it says, by trusting in the Lord. Their confidence is in the Lord. The FIT, the the without fear comes from the Lord. That's what he says. This is a glorious blessing that God has done. Throughout Church history we have story and story and story and story of people in persecution, in hard times, in struggle, going and sharing the Gospel without fear. We talked about William Carry and how he how he inspired a generation in generations and generations. Even today still inspires people to go to the nations for Christ. But William Carry himself was inspired by another man before him named David Brainerd, who was a missionary to the native Americans in the British colonies. Over and over and over, God has worked through people to to to boldly share the Gospel and Proclaim The Gospel and hold on to Christ and the hardest of circumstances and over and over again and that has not crushed the Gospel. That has actually caused the Gospel to advance. This is why the early church Father Toldtllian could say the blood of the martyrs is the seat of the church. You've heard this phrase right. Another way that that phrase could be translated is as often as we are mowed down by you, the more we grow in number. The blood of the Christians is the seat the you know what the word martyr actually means, but we hear the word martyr, martyr, we normally think of martyr is someone who dies for their faith, who dies for the sake of Christ. Right, but the actual word martyr, the literal translation of martyr, is witness. Witness in the early church. Many of the main ways the early church witnessed about God is by giving their lives, by showing everyone around them that Christ was more precious than the air they breathed. The Christ is better, that Christ is is is, is supreme above all else, including themselves. I think of the martyrdom of POLYCARP. You may not have ever heard...

...the word polycarp. Not a name we usually name our children today polycarp. Maybe we should, I don't know. Pollycarp was actually a disciple of John The apostle and in one hundred fifty six he was brought into a Roman arena. You ever seen the movie gladiator. It's amazing how many movies I reference when I preach. If you ever seen the movie gladiator, the huge arena of gladiatorial games and just people everywhere. I'm this is this is the cowboys stadium of its day, just people all over the place. That's where POLYCARP was taken. In fact, polycarp was actually take it there by Marcus Aurelius when he was caesared and he was told and commanded over and over and over again to recant, to deny Christ over and over and all kinds of things he was threatened with. Here's what polycarp said. Eighty six years have I served him and he has done me no wrong. How can I blasphee my king and my savior? They would tie him to a stake and burn him and as he was burning, he reminded them that the fires that they are about to set are temporary. When they are extinguished he will be in the bliss of his savior, but the fires that they are in danger of our eternal. POLYCARP said, Christ is better, Christ is supreme. And through that, through that instance, we're talking about it today. It's inspiring us today. God is worked through that in all kinds of other people in Church history, to inspire people to not only come to Christ but to go and share Christ with the nations, not only with Paul but even with us, the encouragement of the Gospel, because we know no evil can stop the Gospel. It will complete its purposes. Lastly, let's look at verses fifteen through seventeen, first part of eighteen to see the supremacy of the Gospel. Look what he says. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the Defense of the Gospel. The former proclaimed Christ out of rivalry, not sincerity, but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. Paul says I've come to I've come to Rome. The Gospel is advancing, first of all by Paul Sharing The Gospel. It's also advancing because it's encouraged brothers and sisters to go out and share the Gospel. But those brothers and sisters that are going out to share the Gospel are actually divided into two separate camps, one that are preaching it out of sincerity and one that are preaching it out of rivalry. There's actually a group of people who are preaching for the wrong motivation. They're preaching Christ for the wrong reasons. They're doing it out of envy, jealousy, rivalry. They don't like Paul. In fact, they don't like Paul so much that they are actually hoping that them preaching Christ will add to his afflictions while he's in prison. I could speculate to say that means that they may actually hope that when he stands before Caesar that he gets his head chopped off. That seems to be their motivation. Completely wrong. And yet what does Paul do? In Verse Eighteen? He rejoices. How can you rejoice? These are people that are doing something, that are trying to make his already suffering worse. How can he rejoice? Here's why he rejoices. Christis preached. Lots of people have tried to figure out who in the world are these people, because it's a very unusual group. Because Paul seems to say that they are. He seems to include them in the word brothers. He seems to include them in the umbrella of actual Christians. They may not like him, but he doesn't say that they aren't actually saved by Christ. I don't know if this is one of those, you know, ones of apolous ones of Paul One's seface. I don't know if it's one of those kind of things. We simply don't know, but we do know this. Paul Rejoices, as Paul's rejoicing because, regardless of their motivation, the message that they are preaching is the Gospel. They haven't changed it, they haven't watered it down. It's the Gospel. If it wasn't, Paul wouldn't rejoice. Have your regulations. If it was that the Gospel,...

...he'd be toetotoe with them saying exactly what was wrong with it. But he's rejoicing because it is the Gospel and he rejoiced. Is Not simply because Christ is preached. But what we can infer from that is he's rejoicing because not only is Christ exalted, but them preaching, even with wrong motivations, has the potential, through the power of Christ, to bring people to faith in Christ and build the church. There's something glorious here. The power of the message of the Gospel is not tied to the Messenger. The power is tied to the one whom the message is about. Ultimately, we all want to preach with right motivations. We want to go out and preach with right motivations. Absolutely we want to encourage people to preach with right motivations. We don't want people out there doing what these people are doing. But the effectiveness of the message isn't about my presentation. The effectiveness of the message is about the God whom it is proclaiming. Even through muddled words, even through wrong motivations, God's spirit is the one working through the message to save people. Do you realize how glorious this is? God Has Chosen for his Gospel to go forth by people preaching. He's chosen for us, the church, to be the lights of the world, to go out into the world and share the Gospel. He does it through us. He's chosen us to go do it. That's responsibility, that's big, but he is the one who has made he will make it effective. He is the one who saves. It's not our presentation, it's not our sincerity, it is Christ who saves. And so they should give us confidence, number one, to go share the message because no, we know God is working for us and it also challenges us to rejoice when we see people preaching the Gospel, even if we don't necessarily like the way they're doing it. Deal Moody had a very famous quote. I love it. It's been quoted many times. I've heard it quite a bit lately from one particular individual and I think it's great, so I thought I'd share it. Deal Moody one time was getting accosted for the way he shared the Gospel. And we, some of us, may even love the Way Deal Moody Share The Gospel. Some of US might not like the way deal Moody Share The Gospel. I don't know. I don't know where you are on that, but here's what he said. His response was it is clear that you don't like the way I am doing evangelism. You raise some good points. Frankly, sometimes I don't like my way of doing evangelism either, but I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it. Brothers and sisters, if someone is proclaiming the true Gospel, they if it's not the Gospel. Surely, surely we need to help. Surely we need to try and share the right Gospel. Of course we need to be diligent and how we per share the Gospel. But if someone is sharing the Gospel and it's the True Gospel, and and and we don't like how they're sharing it, we should rejoice in the fact that it's being shared and it should im courage us to then share, because sometimes we criticize like this person, when we're not sharing. We rejoice because the Gospel goes forward. We rejoice because the gospel of vansays. Rejoice because God builds his kingdom through US broken people, and we know we have shared the Gospel with wrong motives. But old, glorious God who is perfect, he brings his church to fruition through the message of the GOSPIP proclaimed through jars of clay like us, and so we rejoice whenever the Gospel is proclaim so we've seen this morning calls report of the Advancement of the Gospel and encouragement to the Philipp is. The Gospel is advancing. It's advancing, it's encouraging its supreme and there are a lot of different ways that we could then take this and be applicable to our lives. Lots of different ways, in fact. I'm hoping that the growth groups, when they meet, that they will be able to talk about this little more and put legs on this little bit more, but I did want to before we end today, to give a bit of an application for us as a church, because we are going through a unique time as a congregation, are we not? I mean every congregation is going through unique...

...time, because all of us are having to deal with covid nineteen and the challenges that that raises week to week, day today, the challenges that that raises both for the church but for you as individuals, for your jobs, for your home life, for your relationships with one another, for your relationships with the community. This is hard, it is a challenge and we can many times during covid nineteen feel like we're in prison, feel like we're right where Paul is. And yet if the Gospel advances while Paul is in prison, the Gospel will advance while we're in quarantine. Look, Nero couldn't stop it, Marcus Aurelius couldn't stop it, Hitler couldn't stop it, Joseph Stalin couldn't stop it, Satan can't stop it. Covid nineteen is not going to stop the Gospel. It's not going to stop the Gospel advancing in your life, in my life and in this church's life and in this community's life and in this world's life. Covid nineteen is not going to stop it. The Gospel will advance. In fact, I would even say, like Paul, that what has happened to us has really served to advance the Gospel. It is not just that God is going to work once we all get back together. Or let's talk about the other struggle that we're going through. We're struggling through as a congregation, looking for a new pastor not having a lead pastor. God is not going to start working the moment that the search team comes and says here's the new guy. No, that's not when God's going to start working. God's working now and he's not simply turning this for good. He has ordained this for good. He is working through this. This is where we need to be. This is how God wants to work in our lives right now. Right now, he is ordained this. So the Gospel move forward. So then we'll move forward in our lives and your lives, in each other's life and in the community. The question isn't whether the Gospel advanced, it's how do we advance it. God's doing something miraculous now. We're not just waiting for it, and he has ordained this for a reason. We may not know what the reason is, but we are here because God has led us here and we have faith. We have trust in him, we have trust in the Lord that we are where he wants us to be and that the Gospel will advance, that God's kingdom will advance, that his will will happen in our lives right now because of where we are. And so then we can look to others, whether it's in church history, whether it's to each other, whether it's someone that you know that inspires you, and we can be inspired and encouraged by one another to go share the gospel. Brothers and sisters, God has not simply saved us by ourselves. He has brought us into a community. Paul refers to the flipp of this. Brothers and sisters, we are a family, not held together by the blood in our veins, but held together by the blood that ran down the cross. That's what brings us together. We are a family and we can encourage one another to go out and share the Gospel and see the Gospel advance in each one of our lives. We even have a specific group of people that we've set aside in the church to help us do that. The GO team. They'll team's been on a little bit of a hiatus. The GO team has some new leadership. You do not know. Chris Michelle CACHURIAC are going to be leading the go team and we're going to be start ramping that up and hopefully, as they begin working together again, they can help us know and inspire us and give us ideas of how we can advance the Gospel in our community right where we are, whatever that looks like. The Gospel is encouraging and ultimately, we trust not in our plans, we trust not in our programs. We trust in the God who the message is about. Remember, he's the one who began the good work. He's the one is continuing the good work, he's the one that's completing the good work. He's the one that causes this to happen without fear, not us. As we trust in him, we ask to be empowered by him and then we go forth to serve one another, to serve our church, to serve our families, to serve our community with the life giving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, nothing can stop it. It will advance because God is the one advancing it. Let's pray together. Most gracious God, we come to you this morning and we have spoken about some hard things, maybe even some confused, using things, but we have talked about some glorious...

...things because ultimately we are speaking about you and what you are doing in our mids what you were doing for Paul, you are doing for us. Your Kingdom continues to advance. The Gospel continues to advance. Lord, help us to know how we might today, in our circumstances, because of our circumstances, see the Gospel advanced where. We ask that you would advance the Gospel in our midst, in our individual lives and our families, life and our churches, life and the lives of each other and ultimately, in the world around us, whether that be here and gatheful, whether it's in McGregor whether it's in hew it or whether it is around the world. Help us to know how we might participate even now in the advancement of the Gospel. God, this is all of you and, just like William Carrey, just like Paul, let us not focus on us being exalted. Let's focus on you being exalted. Let us not focus on us the servant. That's where that that's when our eyes are placed in the wrong place. Father, empower us to lift our eyes to focus on the savior. We ask all of these things in the Glorious and strong name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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