INTRO: There were - and are those for whom life is a succession of crises of ever worsening severity. Once the course begins they see no ray of sunshine, no means of extrication, no cause for anything but dismay. Yet, others can take their crises and turn them to blessings. Paul's imprisonment would be ruination for others. They'd feel that life had truly caved in upon them and that there was just no point in going on. In our text Paul sets a marvelous example of dealing with adversity.
I. HOW CAN A "BAD THING" BE SPIRITUALLY BENEFICIAL? 1:19
A. Do we tend to become impatient, frustrated?
1. when things don't work exactly as we expect?
2. do we forget that out of nothing God can create something? (1 Cor 12:27-29)
3. what "secret" did Paul have which we can learn?
B. He had an unswerving confidence in God
1. "For I know ..."
2. he didn't know the exact outcome for himself - life or death? nor can we always know!
3. but he knew his experiences would be spiritually beneficial because of his confidence in God (2 Tim 1:12)
C. He loved God
1. had written to Rome magnificent Rom 8:28
2. now he must believe and experience what he preached
3. his love for God assured him that God was not the source of his troubles - his love for God permitted his finding blessings where others found none (Rom 8:35-39)
D. He had partners in prayer - "through your prayer"
1. he knew others were praying for him
2. note: 2 Cor 1:11; Philemon 22; Rom 15:30-32
3. to know others are praying for us motive to weather storms; strength to overcome weakness
E. He had the resources of God - "supply of the Spirit"
1. I'll not speculate on God's providence -- I believe it
2. but I know God's power -- I know God's love -- I have God's promises
3. Ps 23:4 God does help us through
II. SO, GOOD THINGS OR BAD, KEEP PREACHING 1:20
A. He was not sure of his earthly fate
1. "whether it be by life, or by death"
2. but intended to keep preaching - that was his mission
B. He could keep on for two notable reasons:
1. "earnest expectations"
a. from word which is really three words ' - "away from" - "head" - "to look"
b. it is "eager, concentrated, intense look which turns its gaze away from everything else to fix it on the one object of desire" (Barclay)
c. Col 3:2 here was the object of his concentration
2. "hope" -- not expressing uncertainty - but certain things which are his in anticipation (Rom 8:24,25)
C. Whatever happens: do not be ashamed of the gospel
1. Rom 1:14-16 eh recognized the grave possibilities - he knew how that fear could cause faith to waver
2. but he must set the example for others who will be tempted to be silent when personal risk is involved
D. Share the gospel, then, boldly
1. "boldness" may truly be missing quality in discipleship of our time
2. perhaps this explains why borders of the kingdom are not spreading any more than they are ... we have become so passive in our evangelism
III. ONLY KEEPING ON MAGNIFIES CHRIST
A. He is not magnified by fallen saints
B. He is not magnified by sin, neglect in our lives
C. Concerning his being "magnified" in us:
1. telescope "magnifies" the stars - which are really much larger than the telescope, but that instrument brings them into our view
2. for many Jesus may only be a distant, hazy figure in history - but through our lives in Him, He is brought near and made real to others ... "magnified"
CLOSE: Nothing will so magnify Jesus as our being able to keep on joyfully even in our adversity. Nothing will make Him so real to others as our "one eyed keeping on" when others would have stopped long before.
Cecil A. Hutson
02 January 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)