Grace Baptist Church

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Rejoicing Through Suffering

Rejoicing Through Suffering

Jun 19, 2016

Passage: Philippians 1:12-20

Preacher: Jared Longshore

Category: Sunday Evening

Keywords: gospel, joy, suffering, trails


Pastor Jared Longshore preaches from Philippians 1:12 – 20 about honoring Christ through our suffering. Paul faced trials in his ministry and life yet he was able to rejoice even in the midst of them. The Bible, and this passage in particular, teaches how this is possible both for Paul and for the saints today. Christians committed to honoring Jesus are Christians who can rejoice in trouble.

Paul provides the believer with a great example. Paul was faced with troubling circumstances, troubling people, and a troubling future yet he continued rejoicing. Paul wrote this letter from prison. His incarceration was the result of his preaching the gospel yet we have no record of his ever questioning God. He recognized opportunity, for example, in his trials as he was uniquely positioned to preach to the imperial guard who otherwise may never have heard of Jesus Christ’s work on the Cross. Paul’s example of joy and reacting to opportunity should encourage us when we are faced with hardships or ridicule from non-believers. We, like Paul, need staying power in troubling circumstances. Staying power proves the truth of the gospel. As other Christians witness confidence in this staying power they too will be emboldened to go forth with the gospel (v. 14).

Troubling circumstances were compounded by troubling people. Some men were preaching the gospel for their own status within the churches. This should have been troubling to Paul, taking advantage of his imprisonment to further their own positions within the church. Yet Paul was not troubled. Looking at the big picture, he rejoiced in the furtherance of the gospel, leaving the pride or standing of these preachers to God. The advance of the gospel had taken precedent in Paul’s thinking over his own position, his comfort, even his needs. No complaints were heard from one who was sold out to proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Finally, Paul’s life was rife with troubling future concerns; in fact, his very future was uncertain at best. The deliverance Paul writes of (v. 19) is not an earthly deliverance such as a release from prison. Rather, continuing with Paul’s big-picture understanding, he takes the long view knowing his ultimate release will be the salvation he has through Christ. Even facing the possibility of death, Paul rejoices for he believes in due course the gospel will be furthered.

This long view is possible for believers today and enables rejoicing in trials. Paul’s hope (v. 20) was that Christ would be honored whether through Paul’s life or death. When believers focus first on glorifying and honoring Christ their hope is not in this world’s comfort or ease. God uses his people as He sees fit. His people should surrender control of their lives to the One whose plan for them is perfect. To those surrendered, God provides sustaining ability through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is a sufficient Savior. He is able to save those who turn to Him. For his children, He is able to provide strength in time of trial so they can live bringing glory and honor to Him.