First Christian Church
November 15, 2020 1st Service
- Bible Trivia
- Surely Goodness And Mercy (#691)
- Glorify Thy Name
- Make Me A Blessing
- INTRODUCTIONI believe one of the most difficult times to be happy is when times are stressful and tough.Lord knows we are going through some tough and stressful times right now, and I hope it does not get worse.We were told we are going to go through a dark winter. LOLWhen we are stressed over life we tend to quit focusing on what is important and we center ourselves on the negative and the problem.In our nation, we are bent on destroying those who do not agree with us. Our politics are poison, our communities are poison.People are trying to tell other people how to life, even warning them about getting together on Thanksgiving.Our social media, especially Facebook, are increasingly negative.I do not even turn on the news much anymore, it is so negative and the media has been weaponized now.Even sports are getting hard to watch because of the negativity.I saw a post by a person who simply said they were switching to the MeWe social app.The folks on Facebook ripped into the person, accusing her of all kinds of bad things, evening implying she was a racist for going to MeWe?She made no pronouncement as to why she was going to MeWe by the way.When we get stressed we tend to allow that stress to cause a rift with other people as well as with God.By the way, I added my two-cents worth for the lady on Facebook.I simply asked why the person’s choice to move to another platform is a problem, and why are folks assuming the worst, and why on earth cannot we just agree to disagree at times?All the things that are happening around us as a result of the virus has caused a lot of stress.Job losses, toilet paper shortages, lack of things to do, so much negative stuff to focus on.So, that begs the question, as a Christian, how are we to handle all this negativity and stress? How can I be happy when things are super stressful?Our Big Idea of the Message is this: When times get tough, don’t let stress create a rift between you and God or others.We are going to look at how we can accomplish this feat!Let’s turn to Philippians 4, we will be in verses 2-9, but we will begin with verses 2-3.2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life.SERMONI. Be Happy in your relationships.The church was facing some difficulties, Paul was in prison, times were stressful.Within the church there was a problem large, that Paul calls out two ladies who have worked with him before.Euodia (YOU OD DI A) and Syntyche (SENT TA KEY) were in the middle of a spat of unknown origins.The word URGE is a ward that means to beg or encourage.Why does Paul care about a spat that two ladies are having?One reason is it looks bad for Christians to not get along.Second, a small spark can cause a huge fire, the animosity these ladies were dishing out toward one another had the potential of spreading throughout the church.These ladies had worked together in the past, but now were at odds with one another.Each woman is given equal responsibility to make an attempt to live on harmony with each other.18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.When things get stressful around the house, what do we do? We go at each other, we forget that God blessed us with our spouse and we go on the attack, focusing on every negative thing we can focus upon.Paul is asking his friend to help fix the situation.In the church when things get stressful, what do we do? We start ripping into one another. Mack, no mask, church open, church close? Rd carpet, purple carpet!When we lose focus on who we are and who we belong to, and who the person we are going after belongs to and who they are, we forget how blessed we are that the person is a part of our life.We need to focus in on the blessings that our relationships bring to our life.It breaks my heart when I see a married couple come into my office hating each other, ESPECIALLY Christian couples.Life is too short for us to not get along. If you want to happy when times are tough, cling to those around you (FROM AN APPROPRIATE SOCIAL DISTANCE OF COURSE).The journey through life is better with people around us, focus on the love and friendships you have with other people!Let’s move to verses 4-6.4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.II. Be happy and celebrate the Lord.Rejoice in the Lord, HOW OFTEN? ALWAYS! Then Paul repeats the command!The word REJOICE is used 10 times in this short letter. It is a predominate theme throughout the book.Verse six is one of those verses I am not too happy with at times. REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS!When things go south, it is easy to forget who we belong to and who our father is and what He can do!How big is your God?When we face problems and stresses in life, many times our God becomes the incredible shrinking God, or Ant man.He is big and powerful until we face difficulties, then he shrinks like cotton candy dipped in water. (THERE IS A FUNNY VIDEO OF A RACCOON DIPPING COTTON CANDY INTO WATER THEN WONDERING WHERE IT WENT).Rejoicing in the Lord is not hard to do; however, to do it ALWAYS is a challenge.One of the ways I can remain happy is to rejoice in the Lord!Because we rejoice in the Lord, we are called to let our graciousness be known to everyone.The Greek word we translate “graciousness” is a difficult word to translate and still catch the flavor of what it means.If we did a literal translation we might translate it SWEET REASONABLENESS.This denotes a person who is willing to listen to reason and the willingness to yield one’s personal rights for the benefit of another.There is true joy found in generosity and gentleness. Ultimately, there is no joy in selfishness.
A gentle person would even be willing to bear unpleasant treatment if that were warranted. This was not a cowed attitude, showing lack of courage. Rather it was a response of strength, inspired by the relation to Christ.I wonder of Paul has the two ladies in mind. By the way. How embarrassing would it be to be called out publically by Paul, to be known for your issue forever in the pages of the Bible!Since the Lord is near, we can rejoice and we can be gracious toward others!Without going deep into verse 6, we are giving a formula that can help us to rejoice in the Lord always!If you know the Lord is near, and if you know that God is bigger than anything you face, then you can stop worrying!We are called to make our requests be made known to God!WE do this through prayer, petition and thanksgiving!Are you worried about your country? Pray! Speak to God! Spend as much time as we do complaining on Facebook praying and petitioning God!Prayer is a request made to a deity. Petition is a more urgent request.What are you stressing about in life? Do you spend as much time in prayer as you do in worry? GUILTY at times!We can rejoice in the Lord because all things are possible through Him!NOTHING IS BIGGER THAN GOD!Whatever you are anxious about, give it to God!We still worry because then we worry about HOW God will answer. In my time, my way?Let’s go to verses 7-9 now!7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.III. Be Happy and live the life.Guess what happens when we do what the previous verses tell us to do?Look at verse 7 again!7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Think about those words for a moment.How would you like the peace of God to guard your heart?The word guard refers to an armed military guard that protects you!When we try to go it alone, we do not experience peace.You cannot hold on to everything, you cannot try to control everything and be experience peace.Ever see a person who is a control enthusiast? Do they look at peace?Verses 8-9 unlocks the way we can enjoy life and live the life we were called to live!Look at verse 8 again with me.8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.I am not going to dig deep into each of these things we are to focus our hearts and minds upon.I know there are times when I have not placed enough focus on these things.You become what you dwell upon.When we are disgruntled in life, maybe we are placing our focus on the wrong things?We can enjoy life if we focus on the right stuff.If your life is in turmoil all the time, it is hard to enjoy life.Let’s change our focus so we can enjoy life.Paul finishes up with verse 9 where is tells us...9 Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.This goes back to last week when we talked about being an example.Humbly and unashamedly, Paul invites the people to follow his example and then he has the strength of conviction to tell the folks that the God of peace WILL be with them!I hope we can all develop a faith that we want others to emulate!CONCLUSIONIt is your life, and your decision. Do you want to allow circumstances dictate your life or do you want to take charge of your life in Christ?When we meditate on righteous things, it changes our outlook to one of joy.
- Softly And Tenderly
- Living For Jesus (#605)
- Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord (#64)
Let us get to know you!
Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
How did you hear about us?