Joy to the World is a popular Christmas song but a recent study found that 88 percent of people feel stressed during the holidays. Philippians, written by Paul while in seemingly unjoyful circumstances in jail, teaches us how God, not our circumstances, should be the greatest source of joy – at Christmas and all throughout the year. In this first sermon in the “Joy to the World” series, Pastor Mark will teach from Philippians 1:1-14 and Acts 16 on how to find joy even when you’re lonely.
Find Joy Even When You are Lonely: Acts 16; Philippians 1:1-14
U.S. Dec of Ind- all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Joy to the World?
88% of people feel stressed during the holidays
56% of people bite their lip with family during the holidays
Top 3 topics avoided with family – politics, personal matters, religion.
The average couple has seven arguments during the holidays
Top 5 holiday arguments – where to go, money, family, cleaning up, cooking
85% of people overeat during the holidays
42% of people unbutton their pants after a holiday meal
Lk 2:10-11 “the angel said…“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Philippians is God’s Guide to Joy
- First church in Europe (Acts 16)
- No Bible – 10 men for synagogue
- Planted by Paul 10-12 years prior after walking 9 miles
- Started with women’s prayer meeting, Lydia, & possessed girls
- Does not say “apostle”; Perhaps the best church in the NT (“sin” omitted)
- 4 chapters 104 verses – read 15 minutes
- “joy” theme 19X; & Jesus 61X
1:4 my prayer with joy
1:18 Christ is proclaimed…in that I rejoice.
1:25 joy in the faith,
2:2 complete my joy by being of the same mind…the same love
2:17-18 I am glad and rejoice with you all… be glad and rejoice with me
2:28-29 rejoice at seeing him again…receive him in the Lord with all joy
3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.
4:1 brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
4:10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly
- Our problems are big – illegally arrested, imprisoned Rome, awaiting trial
- God’s joy is bigger
Servants and Saints
Philippians 1:1-5 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
#1. Who is God?
- Jesus Christ – 7x first 11 verses, 61/104 verses
#2. Who are you? – Paul did not start as servant or saint
Servant – focused on others, requires humility (vs pride)
- We serve Jesus because He served us (Isaiah 40-66)
Matt 20:25-28 “…whoever would be great among you must be your servant…even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Pals: “Paul & Timothy”, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” =serve together
- Prayer: “my prayer with joy” = focus on God & others is good for you
- Partnership: “your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” = $
First Catholic saints honored martyrs
1. Be a Catholic 2. Die 3. A local devotion grows up around your memory 4. Your life is investigated
5. Your local bishop sends your case to the Vatican 6. Pray for a miracle 7. The Vatican investigates the miraculous cure 8. The Vatican declares you, “Blessed” 9. Pray for another miracle 10. You’re a saint!
Can be venerated – holiday, patron saint schools & churches
- Over 300X Bible refers to “sinners”
- Only 3X does Bible “possibly refer to XN as “sinners”
- 0X “sin” in Philippians
- Over 200X Bible XN saints/holy/righteous
1. Sin may describe some of your activity, but does not define your entire identity in Christ.
2. You will sin some of the time, but you are a saint all of the time in Christ.
3. Sin is some of what you do, but not the totality of who you are in Christ.
4. There is a big difference between having sin and being sin.
5. Because you have a new identity as saint you can have a new victory over sin in Christ.
6. As a sinner, you have a dark past. As a saint you have a bright future.
1 Bible step – Jesus “grace and peace”
God is Faithful for You, in You, and Through You
Philippians 1:6-11 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
1. God is faithful for you – Jesus finished His work for you, & began the work in you
2. God is faithful in you – Holy Spirit brings more love, knowledge of God, life discernment
3. God is faithful through you – “your love may about more and more” – best church gets better
Your pastor: “I hold you in my heart”, “I yearn for you…w/the affection of JC” -TONE FITS
Find Joy Even When You are Lonely
Philippians 1:12-14 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic = 15 cigarettes day
· Paul – Roughly decade of ministry, walked avg 20 mi day, hated, beaten, single, future??
- There is big difference between isolation and solitude
- You may not get new circumstances, but you can get a new mindset (11X Php. “mind”)
- Behind enemy lines, 9000 soldiers, one always chained to him
- You need a purpose bigger than ur pain/problem – “gospel” more % verses any NT book
Appreciate Jesus suffering for me? Become more like Jesus through suffering? Ministry?
Lk 10:21 [Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit; Gal 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…
Php 1:19 through your prayers & the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance
1. Your joy is your responsibility 2). Cheerlessness is a bad advertisement