Home » Sermons » Move Past » Adversity

Auto Generated Transcript

There’s just a couple things I want to accomplish with us this morning as a church family. And I’m going to invite you to turn to the book of Philippians in order for us to do that in chapter three, I’m going to make just two sort of pledges or goals. We’ll say goals. I’m going to set out for us together as a church as we dive into today’s message is one is next week I’m going to see you £10 heavier. Right? You think I’m joking? But last night I ran six miles in preparation for this coming week, so I’m working that off already. And, uh. And then the other is this I. I, um, I want us to feel strengthened and refined in our walk with God. And the reason is because of the series that we’ve been going on together and it’s it’s called Move Past. And the reason we’ve been going through this series together is we recognize there are things that we encounter in life that can affect our relationship with God and not in a positive way. And we’ve gone through those those discussions together as we’ve looked at pain and temptation and forgiveness, and we’ve talked about some of the pitfalls that we experience in those and how how it can isolate us and our relationship with God. But but how to overcome those and to move forward in our walk with the Lord. You know, the reality is we can’t talk about everything that we may encounter as people through this series, just specific details of everything that you might walk into that would present adversity in your walk with God.

But the good news is, is that we know the God who will walk with us through all of it, right? And we can encourage one another that that as we’re going through something. Sometimes. We don’t always realize that God is also taking you to something. And in all that we experience in life, some of the heartaches, some of the the difficulty, the adversity, maybe we haven’t touched on a topic that you feel relevant to you over this series, but you may be in a place where you feel like quitting and if not quitting, your your spiritual walk with God has become dull. And the world has a tendency to do this to us. You find excitement in your relationship with Christ and and just a few months down the road, you’re wondering where that went. And this morning my desire for us is just to be strengthened and refined in the relationship in which God has called you to in him. Philippians chapter three sort of has this theme or this idea painted over it, through some of the things the Apostle Paul says around verse 12. Many of the people, some of your Bibles may even have this something about winning the race or or running the race in Christ or being victorious in that race.

And and in verse 13, we’ve used what the Apostle Paul has had, has said as sort of the theme or the backdrop to, to to what his desire is and walking with Jesus. And he says this, brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. You know, if you read just the context of Philippians chapter three, you get from verse seven just this individual on a mission in his relationship with God, who’s counted the cost. Listen in verse seven he says, but whatever things were gained to me, those things I have counted as lost for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be lost in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Paul’s got this idea that he is just ramping up in the speech that he’s given. This is this is a statement that Paul is sharing that’s really written through a life that’s demonstrated a desire that wants to walk in Jesus. I think Paul has written these statements in Philippians three and in Philippians four, in his blood, literally. Of what the value is of Christ in his life. And I read chapter three, and it’s an exciting chapter in the Bible to read, and it gets me excited and I start clapping my hands and cheering with enthusiasm when I see Paul writing this way.

But then there’s a piece of reality that says. And it’s not always easy. Paul, where do you get that kind of strength? In the midst of some of the hardship that he faced. How how do we find that strength? Truth is in the adversity I face in life, and I’m sure it’s the same with you. I don’t want to be the victim of my circumstances. Rather, I want to be the victor over my circumstances. Paul in chapter three just gives the singularity identity of his mission and life as it relates to his relationship in Christ. And if you see that with enthusiasm, like I see this morning and and just seeing how he counts it all but garbage for the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord. If maybe in your heart you’re thinking. And as I move forward, I’m going to encounter hardship. Where do I find the strength? Well. Chapter three ties beautifully into chapter four, and I’m going to invite you to just look at chapter four. We’re going to pick up in verse six as Paul, Paul begins to outline for us the strength to not be the victim of circumstance, but to be the victor over his circumstances. It begins to dialogue with us, revealing to us where he finds this strength to walk with the Lord and the singularity of his relationship to him in this world.

He says in verse six. Be anxious for nothing. But in everything by by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Be anxious for nothing. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I tend to be a worrywart. Like this past. This past week, my kids were wrestling on the floor. And my son, I don’t know what he was thinking, the youngest one, but he jumps off the couch on my back and he kind of flips over my back, lands on the ground. I hear a loud noise and he immediately starts crying about his hand. I’m thinking his finger is broken. I’m like, oh my gosh. And I just start spasming. Anything happens to my kids, man, I’m a spaz. So I got to I just got to call Stacy because I immediately just throw him in the car. We’re on our way to the hospital. We’re getting this sucker fixed, whatever. You know, and and my my oldest son is very compassionate, and he, uh, I’m not even looking because I’m spazzing so much about my little my littlest boy and and my oldest son. He he feels pain with people. And he’s sitting on the couch, and I look over a few minutes after I’m spazzing about this finger, I’m looking at it.

I’m like, looking at my wife. It looks like the, I don’t know, the Vulcan sign or something. I’m like, is it broken? I can’t tell, and I look over my son’s just tears running down his eyes because he thinks his brother’s hurt. And my wife comes upstairs and she says she just looks at me and the the finger that I think is broken, which isn’t. And she goes over to, to our other kid first, and she sits down and she goes, listen, daddy’s a spaz sometimes, you know, like he goes overboard. Nothing’s wrong. Don’t worry. I’m looking at her like, wait, we got a broken finger. What are you doing? I listened to her kindling our son. I realized, oh, yeah, I’m. I’m kind of a spaz by nature. Um, Philippians four six is written for me, right? And the reality is, it might be written for you to. Because the truth is, sometimes within our lives, especially when we’re learning to walk with Jesus, maybe for the first time, we’re used to trying to shoulder everything ourselves, right? And in fact, when anxiety becomes what is driving you, it really becomes an immobilization to doing what God has called you to do. We think about the fear of just stepping out for God and the concerns. And what if I fail? What if people look at me, you know? The anxiety starts to build within you, and you allow the anxiety to take control from where God has called you to.

The truth is, none of us know what tomorrow holds. It all rests in God’s hands. And so when it comes to this thought of being anxious, Paul recognizes that that while you may not know what tomorrow holds, your God does. And he has called you to it. And before you get there, he is already present. And how important is it in your life to recognize the significance and power of the gospel, not only working in you, but as it works out of you? So there’s a couple of ways in this world that we can view the message in which God has given us. The first is, is to sort of protect it and hold on to it, like like something might damage it. Legalism tends to work that way. Religion tends to work that way sometimes where you get this gospel message, and I think it’s a beautiful thing, and I think we need to be purified in it. But the gospel is also a lion. And God has called us into this world to release it. As he leads you just to to stand up on it and let it go. Don’t be anxious for anything. Yes, the Bible tells us our heart is weak and and yes, our flesh is weak. And and yes, the Apostle Paul talks about a thorn in the flesh.

With the power. Of the Christian life was not really found in us to begin with. It’s in him. And so regardless of the but what ifs. If I want to rest in that power. I pursue him. And that’s what verse seven says. And the peace of God. Which surpasses all comprehension. Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. You know, we’ve talked about it together and ways of pain and temptation and forgiveness. And as you walk with Jesus, you’re going to encounter things where again, you’re tempted, and again you may experience pain and you may encounter someone you have to forgive. But trust in a God who’s big enough to walk with you through it. Don’t let the anxiety hold you back from where God has called you. You don’t want to be the victim of your circumstance, but the victor over. And Paul’s statement in verse seven, uh, maybe there’s a better way of putting this, but in a way he’s saying it’s like magic. That it’s beyond comprehension. That this God in step with him, he guards your heart. And it’s coming from a guy who has been through it all. There’s just something about in the midst of adversity, aligning yourself with Jesus that Jesus gives you the strength in that adversity. In fact, he goes on in verse 11 and 12 and he says this. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity in any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, but of having abundance and suffering need. When Paul is talking about his relationship with God, there’s there’s a couple of important words I just want to lean into in verse 11 as he’s communicating to us his journey. He says, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I’m in. This this word for for learned doesn’t just mean it’s knowledge that he he understands, but rather it’s this word that means he’s learned by experience. He’s learned that as God has led and he has followed, he has learned that in that he has found his God who supplies. And the result is content. You think about walking with Jesus for us in this room this morning? When God calls you to him, when you embrace him for the first time in your life, you’re now learning in a process of learning about a God who is there to supply your needs as you walk with him. It’s an experiential statement, Paul says. That is, you are in line with Jesus rather than holding on to the anxiety. But going with him. You will learn by experience that God is there to meet you in the circumstance.

To be content. This word for content, it does not mean complacent. And sometimes I think that we get this idea that contentment is you just have to lose the ability to care all together in order to find that. And that’s not what it means. It doesn’t mean complacent, which is I don’t care. Content means you rest in peace and confidence as you’re going through the experience. This word for contentment literally means contained. Greek philosophers would often use this word to describe the self sufficiency of the individual. But as the Apostle Paul is describing this word for contentment of the self-sufficiency of the individual, there’s something the Apostle Paul knows that is unique about the Christian life. And that is within you. The power of God dwells. Because within you is where the Spirit of God dwells. The first John chapter four and verse four says, greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. The reason to be anxious when your circumstance is smaller compared to a God who is greater. And so the Apostle Paul is saying, I have learned from this that that that in this I by experience I am, I am becoming content, because within me I’m finding a strength that rests in the Lord. There is a depth of God’s grace that comes out to you that you have not known before. On the basis of this. Paul then gives probably one of the most famous statements in these passages of Scripture, he says.

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. So the reality is, you’re stronger when you learn to embrace your weakness and take it to Christ. Um. I heard it said once of Christians that Christians are are weak people, and in one sense it’s accurate. What Christianity means as a person in Christ is this we come to a place in our lives where we recognize we don’t have the strength, right? We don’t have the ability to forgive ourselves. We don’t have the ability to overcome. We don’t have the ability to do what God has called us to do, because our hearts will often stray. It will often walk away. It’ll give up. They’ll faint. God does. And the reality is, is the Apostle Paul said. When I am weak. Then I am strong. It’s in the encounter of the grace of God through the strength of Jesus, that in our weakness we receive strength because of what Christ has done for me. And the truth is, the source of our greatest sufferings and our greatest weaknesses can become the springboard into your most powerful message in Jesus. I know I’ve said this before, but. I grew up as a kid with not a lot. And when it came to time to go, go into public school and, and to to do the assignments within school, if there was anything that came my way that required me to stand up in front of people.

I was a bookworm, 4.0 student, you know, I would I would do the project. But if the teacher said, now give your report, I’ll be like, and I’ll take the F on that, please. You know, not public at all. In fact, today, unless it’s really talking about the Bible, I prefer to stay. Not that in public giving any sort of speech or comment. Um. God’s strength. When you lean into it. When you find it. It gives you the, the, the opportunity to learn by experience of the goodness of God who upholds you and walks with you in the midst of adversity. I heard someone translate this passage like this I am ready for anything through Jesus who transfuses me with his strength. It’s a loose rendition of the Greek text, but the idea is this as we are with God, as we are walking with with the Lord, and in fellowship with the Lord, the Lord has this supernatural ability to transfuse me with the strength that I need for where he has called me to be. When you look within the context of this passage. You see, as Paul is interacting with his thoughts and walking with the Lord, he’s also remarking. About the church in Philippi. And through their example we see an example of strength being lived out as well.

It says in verse ten and to the church, but I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me. In verse 14. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction in verse 18, but I have received everything in full and have an abundance. I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. You see this picture of this church that not only Paul living in the strength of the Lord, but this church that’s coming alongside of Paul and demonstrating a strength in the Lord. You just pause and think about this text for a minute and maybe ask what? What makes them do this? Why? You know, one of the things I’ve learned about life is some of the most helpful, giving, loving people in the world. Are people who have been refined by a fire with Christ. I’m looking at this church of Philippi and just wondering, asking the question, are we looking at a church in Philippi? Giving to Paul as being a church that has been refined by fire. Is this a church that has learned a heart of giving and loving, because they have gone through a need in their life where they they needed someone to give to them and love. In First Thessalonians chapter two, Paul writes to the Thessalonians about Philippi. Listen what he says in verse two.

We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi. In acts chapter 16 and starting in verse nine, it describes the scenario which takes place in Philippi for the rest of chapter 16. And you see the church in Philippi birthed out of adversity. Now think about. Alpine Bible Church. How we exist. You need to get our church started here. And even to this day, we’ve depended on believers from around the United States, great people who love the Lord and want to see God’s name proclaimed all over the world. A lot of people behind us, from Florida to Ohio to from, I think it’s far west as Missouri, all the way to the East coast, on the coast. A lot of people behind our church family. But can I tell you, out of all those great people that give, um. The people that have tended to be the most generous towards our church. Have been church families in some of the most economically depressed areas in our country. I think there are people refined by fire. Who have learned the goodness of God in the midst of adversity. Maybe you can even think about people like that in your life. The reality is, when we experience trials within our lives, we come to a fork in the road. And the ingredients that you put in determines what comes out right. If you decide it’s bitterness, then it’s bitterness. But if you decide it’s it’s the goodness of God as he ministers to you in that time of need.

It’s saying that don’t don’t let the world use a fire to change you. Let let God use the fire to refine you. And that’s that’s what Paul says in Philippians four. Look at this in verse eight and nine, knowing that we’re all going to encounter something at some point he says this finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things, the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Look. Let the strength of God fill you. Let him refine you in the midst of that, that the purity of who he is counted all as dung. Look unto Jesus in this adversity. Don’t let your circumstance have victory over you. Get victory over your circumstance. First Peter one, verse seven. It says this. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold. Though your faith is far more precious than mere gold, so when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor. On the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You know some of. The most hurtful things that you. Can experience in life can come from the very people that you love and care about. I’m not short of that. Relationally. This past week was somewhat of an adverse week for me. I even at one point had an individual tell me that they’d been watching me for years and wondering when I was going to fail, like. I have no idea where that route comes from, or why you would even utter that to someone that you might care about. But you know, the anxiety inside of me would just say. Oh, man. What if they’re right? Or what if you know. What and think of all the bad things that could happen. And and I could let that work in my heart. Choose the seed of doubt and bitterness and resentment. Or I can do this. And you said that, and that’s stupid, right? God doesn’t call me to be concerned about my failures, right? I’m not going to live my life concerned about failing. And I tell you, I’m going to at some point and and I have. But I’m not living my life worried about it. I’m not living my life thinking about, you know, the concern about just being the mother hen all the time, just protecting everything and protecting everything and trying to have control over things that I can’t even control. What I want to do is I want to let go of it all and trust in the Lord and just move forward as God has called me to move.

When I was a new Christian. One of the first biographies I ever read was about a man named Jim Elliott. Jim Elliott wrote just this phrase that resonated in my mind. He says this he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. I think it’s a phrase that echoes Paul’s writings in Philippians three. But when Jim Elliott was a young man, he went to Wheaton Bible College thinking about the ministry, and that’s where he he read the words wrote in Luke chapter nine and verse 23, and it says this. Then Jesus said to them, whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. And when Jim read those words. He reflected in his journal, and I believe it. Jim went on to the country of Ecuador to to minister to tribal groups with other missionary families. He and his wife and other missionary families went with him, and on one one day he and the the male missionaries went to the Waodani tribe to try to minister to them. And before they are even able to share the gospel with them.

Those men were killed. For demonstrating their faith in Christ, trying to reach these individuals. One of the beautiful things that happened from the story is that it gained such popularity, and I can show you on the screen the individuals that lost their lives. I think it was in 1956. That their story gained such popularity that not only did the wives then go back to this tribal group to try to reach them, other missionaries began to hear the story of what happened to these individuals, and they began to flood into this region to reach these people for Christ. One day, a young man was moving into this area. And a bush pilot was taking him to his place of ministry. And he looks at the pilot and says, when? When we pass over the place where where Jim Elliott died, will you? Pointing out to me. The pilot said, I can’t take you there. The young man was confused. Why not? And Pilate looked back at the young man and said, Jim Elliot didn’t die in Ecuador. And this young man was confused at this point. And he looks back and and he says, I know Jim Elliot died in Ecuador. And the pilot said to him, young man. You may think Jim died in Ecuador. But Jim Elliott died long before he got to Ecuador. He died as a young man in his dorm room in Wheaton College.

When he read the words of Luke nine and gave his life to follow Christ wherever he may lead, no matter what the cost. Sometimes as believers, we read the stories of radical Christians and we think, wow, incredible. Can I tell you? I don’t think Jim Eliot was a radical Christian. I think. He lived a biblical Christian life through the power of a radical God. I don’t think he should be the abnormal. I think he did what Jesus calls us to do. And laying down our lives and just trusting in him and recognizing, yes, this, this world could go awry and things may have adversity, but but he he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. Philippians 3 to 4. It’s a passage written to us to say, don’t give up. Listen in verse eight. Just listen as Paul says this in Philippians chapter three and verse eight, as if, as if it’s Paul’s letter to you. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, and consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God. On the basis of faith. I want to know Christ.

Yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or what already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet as have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, I forget what is behind and I strain towards what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to the prize. The prize for which Christ has called me heavenward in him. Because God’s people. To not be the victim of circumstance, but the victor over the circumstance. Paul says in Philippians 413, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I think we move past. When we learn to give up. And give over to Christ as he leads our life. To be anxious for nothing. That’s what it means to be strengthened and refined. And Jesus is worth it. Don’t give up on following him. I think it’s a it’s a display of his beauty. When we show the significance of Christ beyond our challenges. My hope for you this morning. Let’s do this passage. God uses it to strengthen and refine you.