Go read Philippians 1:7-11
I love the phrase Paul uses in Philippians 1:7. Paul references the two main environments he has been finding himself in recently: 1.) prison and 2.) defending and confirming the gospel. And then he says that in both environments the church of Philippi has shared in God’s grace with Paul.
<> What are the main environments you find yourself in?
Remember the way we talked about grace one week ago on Wednesday. We briefly touched on the fact that grace is a much bigger, much more inclusive concept than just accepting the fact that God has erase your sin from His memory and covered it with the blood of Jesus Christ (sidenote: WHICH IS FLIPPIN’ HUGE IN ITS OWN RIGHT.) Paul just expanded the realm of grace to two specific areas:
Suffering and Ministry
Here’s what Paul’s saying, “This time while I’ve been stuck in prison – GRACE. Oh yeah, and when I’m out there on the streets preaching the gospel of Jesus – Yeah, that’s grace too.”
<> Have you ever suffered for the gospel in any way?
<> Have you ever felt persecution or pressure to stop believing and ministering the gospel of Jesus?
While we’ll get into more details later in the book, Paul just called his imprisonment for the gospel the grace of God. That doesn’t connect with our brains at all. Our American brains are so centered around the idea that we are central to the universe; God’s grace is only that which makes our lives easy, comfortable and pleasant. THIS IS NOT A BIBLICAL IDEA.
(sidenote: If you like this idea, you can tune into any number of televangelists regularly and listen to them confirm this lie in you over and over. God wants you to be wealthy and healthy. Blah, blah, blah; lie, lie, lie.)
<> In what regards have you experienced ministry in your life?
<> Have you vocationally or personally taken intentional effort to pour into people you love and see them grow closer to Jesus?
<> Was there any hardship or frustration in that process or was it a cakewalk?
<> How often do you check out and remember the fact that it’s God’s grace to be involved in His ministry?
<> Do you regularly take time to re-center on the initial grace God showed you as your motivation to continue in ministry?