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Message Monday: The Joy of Having Confidence in Christ

08 Nov

Intro:strong-confidence

  • This past week the Chicago Cubs made history as they broke a 108 year World Series drought and a 71 year deficit in bringing home the National League Pennant.
  • It was hard not to pull for the Cubs even if you are not a baseball fan.
  • That said, did you hear the story of one Cubs fan named Darel Sterner?
    • Mr. Sterner lived in Des Moines Iowa and was 85.
    • The reason he made the news was that he was a die-hard Cubs fan.
    • He was a barber for 61 years, where the Cubs were a constant topic of conversation.
    • He was a “ornery cuss” according to his son, always playing and telling jokes.
    • By game 7 he was in hospice care after experiencing declining health after a stroke.
    • There at his beside his entire family had gathered to watch the Cubs with his family.
    • Three hours after the win, Mr. Sterner passed away.
    • His son told the reporters, “We all believe he is in heaven, one of the first Cubs fans there to see them win the World Series before passing away.”
  • Let me ask you a question about Mr. Sterner.
    • What story does his life tell, confidence in Christ or confidence in the Cubs?
    • According to the newspaper story it would be hard to give any answer but confidence in the Cubs.

Hook:

  • So let me ask you a question this morning: Which kind of confidence does the story of your life tell?
    • Now not all of us have a devotion and confidence in a sports team, but all of us have passions and desires other than the Savior.
    • Not all of these passions or pass-times are bad, and most of the time they can be used as platforms for us to share the gospel.
    • The question I am asking is if anyone would mistake that your confidence is in Christ by the story your life is telling.
  • Today I hope to share with you three specific joys in knowing your story displays confidence in Christ.

Message Points:

  • If you read the first verse of this passage you will see there in the text the word rejoice.
    • Notice though that the joy is in the Lord.
    • The finally in this verse should be understood by us as “Now for the final things my brothers”.
    • So, First then among those final things Paul is mentioning is rejoicing in the Lord.
  • Therefore our 1st point: There is joy in having supreme confidence in the Lord. (3:1)
    • Before we go too far look to the end of this verse.
      • Paul mentions that he is not trouble to write these final things again.
      • He also mentions that this is a safeguard for the Philippians.
      • There is some debate about what Paul is referring to here.
        • Some say that he is primarily referring to         rejoicing in the Lord.
        • Others say that Paul is referring to his advice after verse 1.
        • Personally, I believe it is both since Paul is referring to the final things.
      • Why is this important?
        • It should never put those of us who believe out to mention the fact that we can rejoice in the Lord.
          • After all we have victory in Jesus right?
          • If you are a non-believer here today this may sound strange, but the reason that we believe that personal change is possible is through Jesus Christ.
          • The fact that he died and raised up from the grave fuels our belief that we can die to the old way of life and be raise up the newness of life with Him (Romans 6:4).
          • Further the comfort believer can experience as we face trials and troubling things in this life is that we believe that the same power that raised Jesus will raise our expectations, attitudes and hearts onto the things above instead of the things of this life (Colossians 3:1).
          • And finally, for those who have seen their believing loved ones die, it is not their confidence in a sports team that was not powerful enough to win a World Series in 108 years that raised them up to Heaven – It was the power of God who raised up the Lord that will raise us up to Heaven with him (Ephesians 2:6).
        • To know each of these ways that we have victory in Jesus along with many others is also something that safeguards us against attacks of the enemy.
          • Because Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father right now and we experience him spiritually rather than physically it is easy for our enemy to use worldly distractions to cause us to doubt.
          • Even so, the more confidence that we take in Jesus, the more we will write our story to be one that rejoices in Him.
          • Tell about Grams’ birthday popping up on the calendar this week and her death in 2013.
  • We could talk much more about our victory in Jesus, but we should look to what verses 3:2-3 tell us as well.
  • These verses give us our 2nd point: There is joy in having no confidence in the flesh. (3:2-4a)
    • Notice that verse two has three ideas that are basically equivalent.
    • Here Paul is pointing out that people like the first idea are also those who exhibit the following two ideas.
      • That said, when we read the first of those ideas, it may be a bit hard for us in this day and age to understand Paul’s point.
      • The reason being that we take our dogs to groomers to have “puppy pedicures”. Some of us spend untold amount on making sure our dogs have plush bedding and only the finest foods.
      • So when we look at this phrase we may be reading into it that we need to watch out for our pets’ feelings/preferences/ or best interests.
      • In Paul’s day, dogs were not pets, but scavengers who often were the scourge of civilized life.
        • Jews in particular called the Gentiles dogs as an insult.
        • Think of jackals.
        • They are scavengers who carnal desires have so controlled them that they seem to laugh at their destructiveness.
        • There is no scene in the entire movie Lion King as scary as the scene in the jackal den. That is the picture you need to understand.
      • Once you have that picture you can understand that these wicked people are dogging the righteous in Christ to pull them into their wicked deeds like mutilating their flesh as the pagan priest would in order to worship their God (1 Kings 18).
        • Do you see Paul’s point?
        • He is making sure that we recognize that confidence in the flesh is not a freeing confidence, but one that demands more and more from us.
        • It is a confidence that is never satisfied no matter how much of our flesh we give to it.
          • Friends this is the great danger that some of us may face when it comes to addiction.
          • There is a substance whether it be alcohol, an illegal drug, prescription pain killers, or even something like pornography that tells us it will save us from the pain we experience.
          • Once we give in the relief is only for an instant and then it is gone and the lie telling us now that we just needed more.
          • There is no joy in this life friends.
          • I personally believe that grief is like this as well friends. The more time that we devote to our loss instead of celebrating the memory of our loved one, the more crippled we are.\
            • Especially as believers we must never forget that for us the best is yet to come.
            • Though we grieve, let us grieve as ones who have hope in Jesus as the old hymn says…
              • SING: What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

And what a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit

Oh, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

  • It is to that joy we can have in Jesus that Paul turns next.
  • Verse 2:3 then gives us a life of joy when it points out four different ideas that Paul also makes equivalent.
    • Paul says that Christians are the realization that the Old Testament symbol of circumcision was pointing to.
      • Christians cut the old way of life out and put it to death.
      • Then the only thing people could see was their new way of life in Christ.
    • He emphasizes this by saying that Christians prove this by worshipping in the Spirit of God.
      • The word for worship can also be translated as minister.
      • It is a reminder that all of our service as believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit is worship to God.
    • He also says that he glories in Jesus Christ.
      • To glory in Christ means that when we boast or talk we lift Jesus up on high as the reason for all of our goodness.
    • He finally says that Christians put no confidence in the flesh.
      • Notice that Paul mentions that he has reasons to do in verse 3:4 so but he does not.
    • The point in all of this is that a Christian chooses to put his confidence in something other than the temporary, fleeting things of this existence.
  • Before we move on to our next point, let me ask you to examine yourself for just a moment.
    • Does your schedule tell the story of your confidence in Christ or the things of this world?
    • How about your bank account? What story does your bank account tell about your confidence?
    • Maybe you should think about your text-messaging. If someone were to pick up your phone, what story would your text messages tell.
  • Let’s also think for just a moment for these loved ones that we have come here to remember today.
    • What did their life story tell you?
    • Was their confidence in their own fleshy accomplishments?
    • Or was their confidence in Christ?
    • Can I suggest to you that your presence here today to honor your loved one in a Christian church testifies to their confidence in Christ.
    • Can I also recommend that all of us stop telling the story of our lives without including at every point our joy in Jesus Christ?
      • LIST SEVERAL SIMPLE WAYS TO DO THIS.
  • So finally today we turn to our 3rd reason for joy: There is reason for joy when we consider our current story as a platform for the telling of our eternal story. (3:4-7)
    • Look for just a moment at verses 3:4-6.
    • As far as a resume for Jewishness, Paul’s credentials were exceptional.
    • I would dare say that before he came to Christ Paul would have told this version of his life with great pride.
    • Notice though that every one of these parts of his story were external and temporary.
      • At death friends how many of us will be able to carry with us any of the temporary things of this life?
      • For a very short time as our obituaries appear in the newspapers or online people will remember our accomplishments and the details of our story.
      • All too soon the things that people on this side of glory remember about us will be a name attached to two dates on a headstone.
    • However notice that Paul says he considers every part of his current external story as loss for the sake of Christ.
      • What he is making sure that we understand is that his eternal story is much more important than his current story.
      • It is not that his current story does not matter.
      • It is that the only meaning that story has comes through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
      • For Paul this meant that people could marvel at the change Christ had made to turn him from a persecutor of the church to a preacher of Christ.
      • While we will talk about our eternal story more next week, know this right now, whatever your current story is, it can be a platform for rejoicing in Christ.
      • To make your current story a platform for rejoicing in Christ, begin today by admitting that nothing in your current story will last beyond the grave.
      • Then, turn to the eternal salvation and life available in Jesus Christ by looking for the reasons Jesus gives you to rejoice in your current situation.
      • And begin to share those reasons with others!

Conclusion:Image result for cubs for christ

  • Allow me to share with you one more World Series story.
  • Ben Zobrist, the series MVP already won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals last year.
  • For some reason they decided to trade him to the Cubs.
  • Far from shrinking back in disgust or in disappointment to be moved from one team to another, he has now helped bring the championship to the Cubs.
  • Listen to a quote from this player, “We know that as a Christian athlete people are watching, and so we want to be the best example we can be and show that we are different – that Christ has changed our lives. But at the same time, I want people to know that grace is for everyone. We all need grace. We all need Christ.”
  • Let me ask you, in whom does Ben Zobrist’s story tell you he has confidence?
  • Today friends the same can be true of you if you will turn to Jesus, away from your selfishness and sin and experience the joy in a sure salvation.
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Posted by on November 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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