Philippians 4:21-23, II Thessalonians 3:17-18, Acts 28:16 & 28-31, Philippians 1:12-14 and I Corinthians 3:5-9
Pastor Steve wrapped up his series from Philippians with “This is Fine,” based on the last three verses (21-23) of chapter 4. He noted that Paul wrote this letter while chained to a Roman soldier 24/7, with guards rotating every six hours—which he said was important to the sermon. He then had us turn to Acts 28:28, where Luke quoted Paul as saying to let it be known this salvation was sent to the Gentiles.
At this point, Steve explained that Paul wrote Philippians during a two-year period of home confinement. In Philippians 1:12 Paul said that what happened to him was to advance the gospel—namely, the Roman guards. As proof, verse 22: “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.” In other words, there were Christians in the emperor’s home. Paul’s ministry brought all kinds of people, including those in the emperor’s home. The emperor at the time was Nero, a ruler who was out of his mind.
“They were corrupt and sinful,” Steve said of people in that era. “They would make perverts today blush. . . . In the midst of this sinfulness the gospel penetrated the mouth of someone chained to a guard. Christianity grew so powerful that Nero decided to blame Christians for the fires he set (around Rome). It’s exciting that the gospel spread in this environment. We are one in Christ. Paul’s saying the believers in Caesar’s household say hello.”
Then, using the whiteboard to illustrate, he focused on the drawing of a house on fire. Despite the danger, everything is fine because God orchestrates our lives in such a way that a house on fire is what our life feels like. Even when Paul had in effect to pay rent for his own confinement—a set of circumstances that would have us protesting: “That’s not right!”—he said what happened to him was to further the gospel. This means whatever we are facing, even cancer, it can be an opportunity to advance the gospel. Christians consumed by a passion for Christ can feel this way.
Steve said there are three primary points to this passage:
1) We should look at our location as God-ordained. Where we live, work, the community we live in, the people we associate with, and even the hobbies or leisure activities we like are directed by the Lord. Whether it is a sports game, pizza or family, we should enjoy everything to the glory of God. If we see everywhere as places we can influence for God, we can make an impact for Him.
2) View everything as an opportunity for God. That’s what Paul did; he said being chained to prison guards was an opportunity to advance the gospel.
3) Trust God to be the Master Gardener. Steve mentioned 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, which concludes with Paul’s note that while he planted and Apollos watered, God gave the increase.
“God put you in your job, in the neighborhood you live in, or whatever,” he said. “Whatever it is you’re doing and whatever you like, you are there for Christ. Recognize it as an opportunity. It is for Him. Enjoy it, but enjoy for Him. You are God’s field, God’s building. Live like you are where you are on purpose.”