Philippians 1:1–2 (ESV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the
overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Chris opened this new series on the book of Philippians with the theme of Contagious Joy. Central
to the message is understanding what pure joy is, where it comes from, and how we can live in it daily. By way of contrast, Chris alerted us to the constant tug of our society, which seeks to replace joy with happiness. He shared a revealing quote from an investment banker: “We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture…People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Men’s desires must overshadow their needs.” – Paul Mazur of Lehman Brothers
This mentality of materialism has been part of the human condition since the fall, as revealed in scripture: 6) Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. Psalm 39:6 (NIV)
Chris shows us that the antidote to this ‘pull to consume’ is understanding which master we serve. In the book of Philippians, we are reading a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in that city. He and Silas have been on a missionary journey, the full story of this is found in Acts 16. They are preaching the gospel and doing miracles – one of those lands them in prison. Here’s where it gets interesting! While they are locked up, both men sing songs to God, rejoicing in their suffering for Christ. Despite their circumstances, they exhibit true joy. As a result, God uses and earthquake to open all of the cell doors and on their way out they prayed with the jailer, who invited them to his home where the men of God baptized his whole household and they were saved. They found true joy in serving, humility, and blessing others!
Three Elements of Attaining True Joy
- True joy is found “in Christ Jesus” – serve as Jesus served (Matthew 20:28)
- If you are in Christ, you are a Saint – made holy by His death and resurrection, devoted to God,
serving Him only (Romans 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:2, 1 John 5:4-5)
- If you are in Christ, you are called to Serve – Bondservant: a willing slave who is happily and loyally
linked to his master whom he loves and respects (Romans 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 1) The absolute truth is that everyone is a slave to something! To be a Christian is to be a slave to Jesus Christ. For those not
- surrendered to Jesus, they are a slave to sin and the world.
- Slavery to Sin – Titus 3:3
- Slavery to the World – desires of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17, James 4:4)
- Slavery to Jesus – He’s in charge, we do what He says, we listen to Him, we follow, and we obey
Consider, and evaluate your own life, and ask God, “What am I a slave to?” and “Is it a better Master
than Jesus?” You will discover that the world and sin did/can not save you, care for you, intercede for
you, die and rise for you, or love you.
- What do you suppose prompted Paul and Silas to sing and rejoice after being falsely accused,
beaten, and wrongly thrown in prison?
- What did you learn about the “great lie of our time” from the background on consumerism?
- How do you determine which master you serve? What are the signs?
- What does the master called Sin say to its slaves?
What does the master called the World say?
What does Jesus say to His bondservants?
- Who is your master?
- What might make you a slave to sin? What will you do to replace it with Jesus?
- What might make you a slave to the world? What will you do to replace it with Jesus?
- Ask God to help you find true, pure joy – this is His plan for you!