When Joseph’s father dies his brothers are concerned about what will happen to them. They sold their brother Joseph into slavery, lied about their actions, and are a cause for Joseph’s hard days in Egypt. So, now that Joseph rises to power what will he do without their father to stand in the way? Why would Joseph let them get away with such horrible actions? Or does Joseph see something that Paul sees while Paul waits for his appeal to Caesar?
If you found yourself in prison for the sake of the gospel you would hope that the church and fellow Christians would encourage you. What if they did not encourage you, but rather made your life in prison more challenging? How would you cope? This is what happens to Paul, and so how does he cope with men slandering him while he is in jail for His Lord as Christ’s slave?
Paul knows that the reality of his appeal could be death. As a Christian there can be a freedom in death because we go to be with the Lord, and the challenges of this life are finished. How can Paul speak about the positives of death, but still be one who desires to live for Christ?
Sometimes we can read the New Testament letters and think that they are only for the immediate church. Other times we can read the letters and not have any sympathy for the original context always asking what this might mean for me. Why would it matter that Paul was in prison when he writes his letter to the Philippians? How does Paul being in prison make it easier for us to hear Paul exhort us to live as Christian sojourners?
When we think about our current Christian context we might think that we are not in as beneficial of a time as the first century church. They were able to receive direct letters from the apostles, but we have to deal with the hand me downs that are ours today. Is it really fair to think that our letters are just hand me downs? How is Paul’s exhortation for the Philippians church to make his joy complete just as forceful and personal today?
(Sorry, but the file got corrupted and the full sermon was not recorded)
The Lord is one who has every right to demand that we live as a servant people counting one another as better than ourselves. We should do this because we are the Lord’s people. However, if we are honest, the motivation of just saying, “Well, God demands it,” does not always motivate us to conform to the Lord. Is there another reason we should want to live as slave people for the Lord? If there is another reason then what is that reason?
The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:32 let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. This is something strange because Paul seems to be encouraging the church a glutinous philosophy that we just live for today and today we live to the fullest. So, why would Paul say such a thing? The reason is that if Christ is not raised from the dead then it means that this life is all we have. So, how do we know that there is more to this life than just eating and drinking? How do we know that our suffering will all be worthwile?