TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, August 21, 2022 | The World Didn’t Give It Series | Cause & Effect
I mentioned last week that. I get the privilege of launching a brand new message series this week, and it's simply going to be entitled The World Didn't Give It. Anybody else grow up singing that song? The world didn't give it and the world can't take it away. Well, in the book of Philippians, one of the things that Paul seems to make clear is that there are some things that the Lord has given you that the world will never be able to take away from you unless you simply allow the devil to have them.
And we're going to look through the book of Philippians over the course of four weeks. Because it is four chapters in the way that's going to work for us is we're just going to do a chapter a week. And so if you want to read ahead, if if you want to say, hey, I'm going to I'm going to read chapter two this coming week, that'll have you right on course for where we're going next Sunday. We do have some tools that are being made available to you in social media if you want to connect with the church also, Eric Gilbert dot org is just kind of a resource site that we've put up. It has blogs and different things that also kind of follows along with where we're going in these passages. And we want to take a little bit of time and just kind of see what it is that Paul is really trying to relay to this church.
The Apostle Paul is the author of this book. Paul wrote to thirds of the books in the New Testament. It was originally constructed as a letter, and now we consider it a book that has chapters and verses. And you're going to see today why it is that PHILIPPa actually had a church, like how did this church get started?
And now we're going to learn what that means for me and you in our faith, in our relationship with God, for our church, even maybe in your business or even in your approach to parenting, that all of that is going to be made valid and real today if we're to choose an anchor text out of chapter one, we're going to take maybe 2 to 3 versus verse 19 says For I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the spirit of Jesus Christ, that what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Remember Pastor Ethan's message last week that what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn it for your good. So what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. It's a powerful statement. You need to let it sink in that Paul is saying there's been some stuff.
Happen to me, but God's not done doing what He's going to do just yet. The next verse. Says, I eagerly expect.
And hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but I will, but that I will. Be able to have sufficient.
Courage so that now, as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Paul was actually.
Writing this letter while.
He is sitting in a Roman jail cell awaiting trial. In the very next verse for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. What an incredible perspective. Today we're going to talk about it. The world didn't give it and the world can't take it away. Father, I ask you to help me to preach. Help me to teach me to share your word.
Give me an anointing that only heaven can bring. God, I pray that hell would be plundered, heaven would be populated, and the Lord, each of us would be provoked by your Holy Spirit to take our next step in you, whatever that might be, Lord, let it be done in Jesus name. And this church said. Amen. You know, it's it's a whole lot easier to talk to people that you like that nobody's going to be honest this morning.
And it's just it's just a whole lot easier to talk to people that you like. It's easier to exchange text messages, it's easier to exchange emails. And what we found out from Paul is that it actually assisted his letter writing process in the fact that he is writing to people that he liked. He says that in verse number three, I think, my God, every time that I remember you.
The next verse, he says, In fact, in all of my prayers. For all of you as an entire congregation and as a community of believers across the city of Philip, I always pray for joy or pray with joy when I'm praying for you. Now, if you've ever had to pray for some people and it didn't bring about joy, you know exactly what I'm talking about right now in that sometimes you pray for people and you just feel so burdened and you feel so overwhelmed and you're just like men.
Are they ever going to get it and is God ever going to move in this situation? But what Paul is saying when it comes to the church, that Philip and these people got the goods and that even when I'm praying for him, I just have a joy about the fact this thing's just going to keep getting better and better.
In verse eight, he actually brings God into. The equation in regards to how much he likes these people. He says, in fact, God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
So Paul likes these people. In fact, we could venture to say Paul truly, sincerely, authentically.
Loves these people. He loves to worship with them. He loves to explore the Word of God with them. He loves to share the gospel with them. He loves to help grow God's church with them. He loves these people. And one of the reasons is because what Paul has experienced here is that God is up to something good. In verse six, he references it, being confident this. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the return and the day of Jesus Christ. And so Paul's making the statement, I like you. I really like you. In fact, you bring an incredible joy to my relationship with God just because of what He's doing in you.
And one of the reasons the Paul saying, I feel this way is because God has done a really good work in you. And I just have this sense of anticipation and this sense of expectation that God is going to finish what he started a good work. But the question becomes what's what is some more detail associated with this good work? Well, I think it's important to note that the church that PHILIPPa actually started in a jail. You may remember the story.
It's recorded in the Book of Acts. It's roundabout chapter 16. And the Bible tells us that Paul is in this area, the city of Philippi, and he's preaching. And as he's preaching, many people in the city begin to be converted to Jesus Christ. And there's quite a crowd that has been assembled. And in one instance, there's this younger girl that comes in and she begins to disrupt the service. And she does it in an odd way, because we might be accustomed to someone saying amen while someone's preaching.
This girl took that in and escalated it into a place where that it was actually disruptive. She began to try and affirm Paul while he was preaching to the point that he couldn't deliver the word effectively. And so he calls her out and he puts a stop to it. And what he points out is that she's actually operating in a spirit that's not of God.
He he referred to it as a spirit of divination. Now, the rest of the story for this girl is that she wasn't just anybody. She was actually a somebody in the community. In fact, she was a very well known fortuneteller and she was an employee of a temple that was connected to a false goddess. And there were these businessmen that were using this temple and using this girl to make money off of people.
You might have seen the one 900 psychic lines. Well, she was the person who was going to read the poems and do the fortune telling. And people are going to pay her money. And these businessmen were making money off of her. And she was actually so into this that it is believed that she was connected to this goddess that was in this city that was connected to a python snake.
In fact, the word divination in the Greek directly translates in one interpretation as python. And the reason for that is because they would go into this temple and there was like this really big python, like snake that had died, and they were letting it decompose and they would take certain kinds of formulas and put it on and it would release this smell and it would cause them to become intoxicated.
And they would go into these incantations and they would start delivering these false goddess type prophecies. So this is a wicked mess. And Paul is stiff right in the middle of it, and he casts the spirit of divination out of this woman. And true to its python like form, it immediately tried to constrain him because the next place that you see Paul, is he's in a prison.
And so now Paul is in a Philippine jail cell. And Scripture tells us that it's round about midnight and he's with his partner in the gospel, a guy named Silas. And they decide it would be a great time to start singing a song, sing in praise under God. And I will forever believe they turn to page 236 in the read back hymnal.
He set me free. He set me free. They start singing, they start praising. And the Bible says that God showed up in inhabited their praise to the point that the whole prison started to shake and chains started falling off and bars starting splitting and doors started opening and prisoners started getting free. What you'll notice in that moment is that the world didn't get free until the church got free.
But even in their prison, even in their their constrained moment, even in this bad situation, they still feel like praising it. And God moves and it birthed the revival. Listen, we're most of us are familiar with intercessory prayer. We believe that we can pray for someone else. And that has an interceding effect that I'm here, but I'm praying for Brett and I'm impacting Brett through my prayer.
But what we forget is that this passage of text in Act 16 points to intercessory praise that you can be here praising God and somebody over there is experiencing the overflow of what the presence of God is doing in your situation. So never underestimate, even in a worship gathering, how your praise connected to the presence of God can impact somebody else that's in that gathering or even beyond that.
But what happens when all these prisoners start getting free? There's a jailer and he starts to freak out because he knew that if all these prisoners ran off, he would be killed for having allowed them to escape. That was the custom of that day. So he's getting ready to, like, take his own life because he knows that this is a really bad situation for him.
And Paul runs over to him. He says, wait a second, man, nobody's running off. They're just all getting saved. They're this all giving their life to Jesus. See, we're over here in a worship gathering. And you know what happened? Not only did the prisoners get free, but the jailer got free and everyone experienced the gospel. Everyone was saved.
And that was the foundational stages of this church. So this church was burst out of a revival that started in a jail cell. It's pretty significant. Don't forget it probably come back to it in just a moment.
But there's something else that you learn about the Church of Philip II, and that is that it teaches us the power and the importance of a vision, because we just learned that Paul was preaching and Phillipi and fevival broke out in the jail. But how did he wind up in Phillipa to start with, to the point that a church could be founded that would ultimately later need a letter such as the Book of Philip Philippians written to it. And that's what you see in Acts chapter 16, verse six.
It says, Paul and his companions were traveling through a region and they were kept from the whole camp by the Holy Spirit, from preaching the word in a province of Asia. And then when they came to a border crossing, the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of Jesus wouldn't allow them to go any further in that direction. So they stop and they spend the night right where they're at, because God's saying you're not supposed to go any further.
But what it says is that during the following night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia. He was standing and he was begging him and saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us. Now, why that's important is because Philip II was in the region known as Macedonia. And so after Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave from Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel. And so you notice what's happening. Paul is headed one direction.
And it looks like he's doing a good thing because he's just preaching wherever he goes in that direction. And it clearly says the Holy Spirit stopped him. The Spirit of Jesus constrained him and said, It's a good thing that you're preaching, but it's not a good thing for you to head in this direction any further. It teaches us the importance of not just having zeal, but having wisdom, and that the way that that wisdom comes is as we submit ourself to the unction and the leadership in the direction of the Holy Spirit.
But but the way that this happens for Paul is that as he goes to bed that night, he has a dream or a vision that he sees this Macedonian man. Macedonia was a region that was in Greece, and Philippi was one of the major cities in that region of Greece. Y'all with me? So so it's it's a it's a Greek area.
There's a region of Macedonia and there's a big old city called Phillippa. And so now Paul is like, I saw it. There's somebody dressed in Greek clothing, Macedonian clothing, and they're saying, You've got to help us. And so Paul says, Now I'm going to go and I'm going to find that place. I'm going to go in that direction.
And what I wonder is, have you ever seen your Macedonian man? The Book of Joel Chapter two says that one of the ways that God is going to speak in the last days is through dreams and through visions. And what Paul found for his ministry was a blueprint. Through this vision, the Bible says, Where there is no vision, people will wander aimlessly.
And it doesn't mean that you're always going to see something. Sometimes you just going to feel an unction of the Lord that produces imagery of This is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing with my life, and this is exactly what God's next step for me is. I can tell you that three trees church next next month, Labor Day weekend, we will celebrate our 22nd year as a church man.
We're excited about that. And today, by the grace of God, we get to minister to a whole lot of people. But, you know, during the first 6 to 7 years of this church's ministry, we really struggled to be able to reach more than like a couple hundred people. And we felt like we were supposed to do more and we were supposed to reach more.
But it was like we couldn't find a realm of success. And I was praying about that. And I felt like God was explaining to me that we didn't really have our target audience clarified. And the way that he really brought it home for me was very spiritual. He showed me a cartoon. It was the Peanuts cartoon, and it was Charlie Brown and Lucy and Charlie Brown.
He would stand back and he would shoot his arrow. And when the arrow would strike the barn, he would go over and he would draw a bull's eye around it. And Lucy walked up and she said, What's wrong with you, Charlie Brown? You're supposed to like draw the bull's eye and then shoot the arrow. He says, No, I never missed this way.
And I feel like the kind of what we were doing as a church is we were just shooting arrows in every direction and praying we hit somebodies heart. And God began to deal with me about a bull's eye. And I began to pray out of this passage of text, God revealed to us the Macedonian man. And I saw a good old boy, and we made a rule you could drive an Escalade, but you had to put it on a four inch lift kit. so we just started pursuing good old boys.
And many of you've heard me reference this before, but one of the reasons you hear me reference it repetitively is because it's a part of the vision. And you have to make the vision plain so that people can run to it, even though it Terry's And maybe you're thinking, well, I don't feel like a good old boy, but the truth of it is we're all good old boys are you ain't hanging out in zip code.
Four to 7 to 8 that there's a there's an there's an unction that there are families that are waiting to be won unto the Lord. And there's a man who is today not in church because he thinks that church is what women do on Sundays. But we've made a decision that this church is going to be as full of men as it is of women, and we're going to reach both men and women and children of all ages from the north to south, the east and the west.
And we're going to plunder hell and populate heaven. Can I get a witness from somebody this morning? And you look around this room and you just see good old boy after good old boy and good old girl after good old girl. Because we're just doing our best to walk this thing out for Jesus Christ. And so one of the things we talk to our kids about, we talk to Natalie, who is your Macedonian man that your believe in God will someday become your spouse?
We talk to Dodson, who is your Macedonian woman that you believe in. God will someday become your spouse and become your wife. Have you made any attempt in prayer to get clarity about who you're believing God to someday, like 25 years from now, spend the rest of your life with? My wife tells the story that she was just a young kid and her parents didn't even go to church at the time, and they started dropping her off at the youth ministry and she gave her life to Jesus Christ.
And she realized pretty quickly that she needed to get some clarity about relationships in her life and in the Lord led her to start praying over what her husband was going to look like someday. And she says that she drew a picture of me. And my question is, why didn't you draw something a little better looking? But I can tell you that as my parents coached me in the same way, they didn't use this terminology, they didn't articulate it this way.
But there was a clarity like you need to to be careful about who it is that you're dating and who you have a relationship with and who you're thinking about spending the rest of your life with. And my dad would I would start making the wrong decision. He'd take me for a drive out in the field and we get out and work on offense fence to work on a game.
And he would say, Now, is that really who you will spend the rest of your life with? Boy? And then through that, it began to bring clarity of exactly what God is now allowed, mainly now to spend the last 22 years together. We started a church and a marriage at the same time. Crazy is not a strong enough word for it. But because there was a vision, it didn't perish. But there was clarity. Some of you, maybe the reason your business is struggling is because you've never defined your Macedonian man. Some of you. Maybe the reason that your business is excelling is because you've clarified your Macedonian man this is who we serve, this is what we're good at, and we're going be the best there. Is that it? Clarity. A macedonian man changed everything for one city, but he saw the vision. He saw the man. He went there. Revival broke out and he woke up in prison. Some of you are thinking, I found my Macedonian man. I'm in prison. Oh, Lord, help me. I'm not making sense to anybody like God's spoke, he's following God's will and something still went wrong. You know what's interesting is that Paul started this church from a prison cell, and now years have passed, and he's left this church under the care of another pastor, and it's growing. And now Paul finds himself in prison again. I wonder if he saw another man. And he's in prison, but it's so cool that he writes to this church and this is the way that he tells them his story. He says, I want to let you know, brothers and sisters, that what's happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. You know, it's almost like he's reminding them, hey, a lot of y'all wouldn't be in church today if I hadn't got in jail a long time ago.
In fact, some of y'all were the inmates. And so, yeah, now I'm in prison again. But the same way God worked in Phillipi when I was in prison, he's working again. Where I'm at right now, God has a way of taking with the enemy men for evil and turning it for your good. He goes on to further explain it and say, As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and everyone else that I haven't changed for Christ.
This guy's in prison. He's trying to do what God's called him to do, and it doesn't matter who walks up to his prison cell, he starts letting them know I am here because Jesus Christ has put me here and I do not like everything surrounding my circumstance right now, but I don't care whether you're the person that's doing me right or you're doing me wrong, or if you're from the palace guard himself, I'm going to speak to you about the goodness of God and his grace.
You know, what Paul came to understand is that when you get your purpose figured out, it'll motivate you. Like when you really begin to understand your purpose. And Paul came to realize it didn't matter where he was placed. He had the same purpose, and that was to make Jesus famous. He made a decision that his life was going to be about Jesus, all about Jesus and always about Jesus.
And that motivated him despite whatever was happening around him. In many of us, the reason we have no motivation is because we have no sense of purpose whatsoever. You won't understand why there's an entire generation that doesn't want to get off the couch and all they want to do is push buttons. All day long because they have no sense of purpose whatsoever and the church has failed in helping them with that purpose.
Parents have failed and helping him with that purpose. But I believe that one of the things that even God is trying to do today is to wake you up to an understanding that you have a purpose that is beyond just going through the motions and breathing in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. That's your science class for today.
Understanding purpose will also help you keep your priorities straight. Paul's in prison, but he still understands what his priority is.
It also helps him to be empowered to live in the present. He's not sitting here, like, fretting over whatever it was that put him in prison and worrying about how he's going to get out of prison. He's like, I'm in prison and I'm going to make the best of this situation to do as much as I can to help as many people as I possibly can until I get out of here. That's right. That's what you come to learn about a personal sense of purpose, is that the first thing is that we work on it. We're figuring it out. Okay, this is my Macedonian man. This is who God's called me to. This is the purpose the Lord is revealing in my life. But then it works on you. We work on it, and then it works on us because you start to get to the point that you don't allow circumstances to govern your passion.
There's something going on in you that is beyond the circumstance. One way of saying it is that purpose can fuel your passion regardless of your circumstance. Like when you when you really begin to come to an understanding of your purpose, it has a way of just bringing this incredible passion into your life that even when you have the circumstance, you see it is an opportunity to further the purpose, which is exactly how Paul was talking.
And I learned a long time ago that you can surrender to a circumstance or you can surrender to a cause, and your cause can become so great that your circumstances don't matter. Right? Right.
So I have a confession I ever said. Those moments were just really, really tired. And you just like your brain is just, like, fried, and you're like, all I want to do right now is just, like, sit in front of a TV and just watch something stupid, like, you know. So yesterday was one of those days for me.
I just a long week, really tired had went from very early Saturday morning to late Saturday night, working in some construction stuff and then prepping a message and returning a ton of emails and making phone calls and just charting logistics. And it got late in the evening and I was just like, you know, I'm just going to sit down and just see what's on TV.
So I sit down and the first thing that pulled up in Netflix was this show called 60 Days in. And I'd never seen it, don't really know what it was, but I was like. My limited understanding of one episode is that it's, it's a show that is evaluates jails that are having a culture problem or they've got things that are going wrong from the inside. And so what happens is this production company helps to select people who are going to go in and they're going to pose as inmates. And they're going to help to figure out how they can make the jail.
Better, how they can change the problems. And so they had this guy and he's talking this big game and he's going to go in and he's going to be a part of bringing change and he can't wait. And when they get him there, they take him into this thing that's known as the intake, and that's where they're processing him and get ready to put him in jail. He gets in there and he starts. "Oh man, I'm just really worried about my wife and she's really worried about my kids. And I'm just, you know, really starting to feel some anxiety. But I don't know whether this is for me or not. I got to fix health problems and maybe this is not the best." And and then all of a sudden he starts like giving them the emergency signal of, come get me. And they thought he was scratching his shoulder because the one rule is no one comes to get you during intake because there's no emergency that can happen in the intake. Finally they come and get him and he goes through everything that I've just went with through with you.
And he's just explaining all these things that he's worried about in regards to his own self and all these things that are a challenge with the circumstance and why this isn't the right thing. Because for him, because of the circumstance. But then a few minutes later in the episode, they're showing us to people who've been in here days, who've been in here weeks, and they're going through difficulty, like extreme difficulty, a lot of challenging stuff.
And they bring him in are like, okay, so do you want to go home? Do you want to leave? You're like, No, no, there are problems in this jail and I am not leaving until we get them fixed. And I realized in that moment it was the difference between a cause and a circumstance that anybody that was just focused on the circumstance was going to quit the moment that it got difficult.
But someone who understood their cause didn't really care about the circumstance because they realized there was a higher purpose that was to be fulfilled. And I get it. Some of you are still trying to figure out what 60 days in is. And those are the ones that you've been watching. I'm just trying to get a message for you, trying to help right about here at home, like cause and circumstance.
Do you understand that when David ran into a battlefield to take a giant while everybody else stood there, that he led the way with one question. He stuck his finger up under the nose of his brothers and said, Is there not a cause like you all are focused on the fact that there's a circumstance of this really big giant?
And I get it. He's big and he's bad and he's a problem. But is that going to cause the thing that David understood is that God has a way of empowering anybody that'll fight for a cause. God has a way of showing up in the life of someone who understands their purpose. David led the way into that battle with Is there not a cause if you don't figure out your cause, you're always going to quit in circumstance. Why is it that we don't quit parenting? Because there's a cause. Why is it that you don't quit as a school teacher? Because there's a lot of reasons to Did that kid really just flip me off? Did they really just roll their eyes at me? Did did they did they rip?
But when you realize there's a cause, if I may not be able to change everybody, but I believe by God's grace, I can change somebody. There's a cause. That's right. My son loves sports. I talk to him all the time about if you're just playing ball because you just want to be this, that or the other, you're wasting your time. You're going to quit. But when you realize that you can use your platform for a cause, you keep shooting when everybody else goes home. That's right. You stay on the weights when everybody else is ready to goof off because there's a cause. And the thing that Paul says in Philippians chapter one, verse 14, is and because of my chains, because of my chains, it's a it's a circumstance. But because of my circumstance, most of the brothers and the sisters had become confident in the Lord, and they dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
He was saying, like, I'm not going to let this circumstance determine what's going to happen in my life. It's not going to govern my passion. I've got a purpose. And the result is going to be that it is it as true. Yeah, that some people preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but other people still preach Jesus out of good will.
So what he's saying is, I'm over here in prison and I'm in these chains and I'm seeing some things. I'm seeing some people are becoming more bold for Jesus because of my example. But I'm also seeing there are some people out there that are not doing this the right way and they're trying to take advantage of the fact that I'm gone.
So the ladder, they do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel. But the former they preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I'm in chains. What's this? But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether false motives are true, Jesus Christ is preached.
And because of this, I rejoice and yes, again, I say I rejoice like some of us have got to have that internal conversation with ourselves. Yeah, they posted something else and yeah, they sent you another mean text message and yeah, they deemed you something that hurt really bad. But what does it matter? What does it matter? It's just another opportunity for you to show what it looks like when somebody yields to Jesus in the earth. Rejoice in the circumstance.
And again, I say rejoice. What he's saying is the world didn't give it and the world can't take it away. I grew up saying it like this. This joy that I have the world didn't give it to me. This joy that I the world didn't give it to me. This joy that world didn't give it to me The world didn't get it and the world can't take it away. You know why? Because joy is not a thing. It's a person. And his name is Jesus. Could you just take one moment and rejoice in spite and the circumstance?
Paul in one place and two in Scripture, he wrote second Corinthians and he talked about he'd been shipwrecked, he'd been beaten, he'd been put in prison, all this stuff. And he got to the end of he said, But yet I'm going to keep praising God. You might be amazed at what could happen in your life if you would begin to repent of having been cynical and negative and toxic and try and find in the negative and find in the wrong.
It's not God's will for your life. That's right. It's not God's plan for your situation. What God wants to do is take what the enemy meant for evil and make it for your good. And I can't tell you that if you follow the vision of God, they'll never be a problem, that they'll never be persecution, that they'll never be change, that they'll never be issues. But Paul teaches us, if you follow God in, you can follow God out. And it all just becomes a greater example through your life of how incredibly in charge God really is to take even the bad and make it for good. That's right. Paul went on to tell the church at Phillipa. He said, I'm praying for you. And one of the things that I'm praying is that in spite of all the stuff that you may go through, that you'll keep growing and your love for one another.
It's literally what he said that you keep growing and your love for one another. What's this, he said? And that you will that you will become increasingly pure and blameless, or that's not most of us, is it? I mean, we have a tendency just to become less and less pure and more and more full of blame and more sin for more bad decisions.
But, man, I'm telling you, there's the chance to experience God in such a way that your attitude, your mindset and your heart is transformed.