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Consider It All Joy!

"27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're all here with us today.
And, we would like to welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ from Cyprus, Poland, France, Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan and Argentina! 

I would like to ask all of you to share the website with anyone, you feel comfortable with sharing the Word of God with, all for glory of God.

I don’t know if any of you ever think about the reason for your ministry. I have recently been contemplating this same question myself, searching my soul and the definitive answer I arrived at, was it is for joy. Joy. It brings me great joy to study the Word of God, it brings me immense joy to serve the God, to exalt Christ, and share what the Holy spirit has revealed to me with all of you. And if for some reason I could no longer do any of these things, I'd just as well be with the Lord, after all isn't that the goal? Isn't that what we're all striving for?

If I were to walk into many of the churches today, as an unbeliever, I honestly cannot say that I would conclude that it’s marked by joy. There's so much passionless preaching, joyless praising, spiritless singing. Its like being in The Holy Church of the Living Dead. Where's the joy? Where's the joy? I just don't hear a lot of pastoral joy these days. And I don't see a lot of congregational joy

The Christian life, the Christian life is supposed to marked by joy. It begins with joy, good news, unsurpassing joy, and it really all ends with joy, doesn't, when we see the Lord. The kind of joy caused by something exceptionally good. 
I have blessed to experience joy in nearly every area of my life, I have a wonderful family, my parents, sister, nieces and nephews, cousins, whom I dearly love, my wonderful children, whom I can't imagine my life without, and all of you, my church family. 
I remember growing up, the smell of turkey and glazed ham being prepared by my grandmother, the table was set just so, even the 'fancy tablecloth, china and silverware' were brought out. It was a cause for celebration and joy. After it was all done, my grandmother, mother, aunt, great aunt and cousin would gather in the back of the house, singing Christmas hymns. I remember it like yesterday. You know, sometimes, I long for those days.

Years later, I had the joy of my children be awaken by the sound of reindeer's hooves on the roof, Santa, talking to himself as he carefully doled out each present under the tree and stuffed the stockings, then belting out a Ho Ho Ho and a Merry Christmas to all as my son's ran to the window just in time to catch Rudolph's glistening red nose. Then screaming at the top of their lungs to wake me up, after that glorious 5 minute nap, to see the expressions on each of their faces as presents were opened.
The first time, I preach a sermon and someone told me "Pastor, I was so moved by the message. It's as though you were speaking directly to me. The Spirit really touched me" Yes, I have had much joy in my life. However, I have experienced no joy greater than the day I trusted my life to Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. That was the day I experienced the joy of the Lord.

Let us bow our heads.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for You Word for us today, we pray that You would, through Your Holy Spirit, grant us the necessary wisdom and discernment needed that we would be able to apply the truth revealed to us in our lives. Father, we thank You for the great joy, we have experienced while on this earth, and for the promise of the joy yet to come. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, through Whom, we have learned what true joy is all about.

Lord, we pray for those who are facing difficult times, and ask You embrace them, that might feel Your presence and that they would show that love to others. We pray for those who have had problems with Christians, that they would encounter a true Christian, to point them to Christ, rather than turn them away. We pray for Christians, who, over petty issues, are experiencing problems within the body, that You will give them an eternal perspective on what’s truly important. For those of you who have been living for everything other than Christ, will draw them to Yourself, make the necessary changes, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that You need to make in them. 

Father, this has been a tremendous, enriching study, so rich, bind it to to all of our hearts. And give us all an eternal perspective in our lives and make us JOY-FULL people! 
We ask and pray this in Jesus' name
Today's Message: Consider It All Joy!
As Christians, God gives us so many reassurances in Scripture that we couldn’t possibly cover them all in one worship service. It’s God that began the "good work." Not only should He alone receive glory for His loving initiative toward us, but that gives us the basis for our reassurance. Let's face it, if man had initiated the work of salvation, it would likely have not been completed. Or if would've have been for profit. Salvation at a price, rather than at a cost. 

In God's plan, our salvation may cost us something, however, Hid grace, mercy and forgiveness are free to all who would believe, and accept Christ's atonement for sin. If you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I'd like to invite you to do so, today, while there's still time. You know one day, very soon, Jesus will return, "in the twinkling of an eye," and the earth as we now know it, will be changed. When the Holy Spirit is removed, and Satan has been given free reign, the result, will be nothing less than catastrophic. We're all going to spend eternity somewhere, I pray that YOU will consider spending with Jesus Christ.

As we conclude our study of Philippians chapter one, we come to the last four verses of this marvelous epistle, verses 27 through 30. I don't know about you, but I have immensely enjoyed our time together in chapter, and it is with great anticipation, I look forward to digging into chapter two. I have believe the apostle Paul, will continue to impact our lives, as we wrap up chapter one. I would now like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read Philippians 1:27-30, to get our text set in our minds.
"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me." 
I'd like to begin by saying Jesus is worthy of our worship! The Paul knew that there was a chance he wouldn’t ever see daylight again. So, in verse 27, Paul writes "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
Everything we say and do affects other people. It is especially true, in the body of Christ. We know that the church of Jesus Christ is to be a united church. An attitude of self-centeredness, selfishness, or carelessness does not belong in the church. It is like my one hand deciding for itself, that the mouth doesn’t need to be fed, and so the entire body suffers. What is it that the body chooses?  
Unity: Unity is so important in the Body of Christ. That is way believers who imagine their place in worship or Bible Study can be filled by somebody else, behave. However, unity can only be a reality if the entire body is working together. 
The church also chooses to honor Jesus Christ! I know, this sounds as though we need not even mention this, but you would be surprised, the number of churches, I've either been in, or heard about through others who left, where this is not the case. 

I believe, that every member has some contribution to make to the body. The opportunities to get involved are virtually endless. There's greeters, ushers, welcoming committee, et cetera. If you really want to help you can surely find a way. If you have trouble finding a way to help - ASK! Nothing gives a pastor more pleasure than members of the body wanting to become involved in serving Christ.

That brings us to the next choice the church makes.

Willingness to serve. The measure of your willingness to follow Jesus on HIS terms, rather than yours. The theme of this entire message, just in case you’ve fallen asleep, is Christ-likeness. Jesus suffered, and so will His followers. Therefore, we must be willing to choose following Christ, in spite of the cost or we cannot be considered worthy to be called His disciples. Jesus said, in Luke 9:23,"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
The crux of the matter is, are you willing to serve Christ, whatever the cost? To suffer? Paul was, and he warned the church that one of the great gifts God had entrusted them with was the privilege to suffer for Him. 
Verse 28, "in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God."
It has been said that Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world, once prayed, "God, kill me before I do anything to shame the name of Christ." We have a great challenge before us. How many Christians today, would pray something like that? My guess is very few. Have we become a culture of "Christians, more concerned with worldly comforts, tolerant to sin and injustice, seeking the acceptance of men rather than living for Christ, no longer longing to hear God speak to you "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest." Or are we so sure of our selves, that we believe that God will somehow overlook our unwillingness to serve Him on His terms? 
Paul is saying to us, don't be startled, don't be bolted or jolted by your adversaries, because their hostility toward you is a sign that they're going to be destroyed. And a sign of your salvation, that you're going to saved in the end. If they're attacking those proves whose side their on, as well as whose side your own. We must be bold and courageous for Christ, speaking truth with love and grace, offering forgiveness through Christ. We are called to live an empowered life, obey with fear and trembling, and have a Christ-like attitude so you can eagerly wait for the day He will find us faithful. The worlds hostility towards the truth, is a sure sign of their destruction and your ultimate salvation. Both of those things are the work of God, that's what the end of verse 28 is saying.
Verse 29, "For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" I know some of you are saying to yourselves, "What? Suffer? That's not what I signed up for!" Well, if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, that is exactly what you've signed up for! It is a gift of grace. He has chosen you not only for salvation, He's chosen you for suffering. Paul uses the word "ekcharist," from charis, "grace." "He has graciously gifted you with faith but with suffering."
Suffering is a gracious gift - when you suffer for hostility for the faith, persecution, animosity, rejection, it's a gift. How beautiful is that, I just love that.

I'd sure like for all the prosperity teachers today to take a look at verses 29 and 30, wouldn't you. Can you just hear it? "God wants you to have not only health, wealth and prosperity... but...SUFFERING. Yes, God wants you to suffer, for hostility for the faith, persecution, animosity, rejection, all for Christ's sake." I wonder how fast those mega churches would clear out with that message!

I'm sure some of you are probably asking, "A gracious gift huh? What's so good about it?" Well, let me try to explain that to you, why suffering for Christ's sake is a gift. Suffering assures your salvation. It provides union with Christ. It produces the hope of heaven. It leads to your eternal reward. I've saved the best for last, are you ready for it? It glorifies God. It glorifies God. That's the crux of it.

Remember the early church in Acts 5. "After they called in the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name. Every day in the temple complex, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah."

Take a look at verse 30, "experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me." In others words, there will be suffering, just as you saw me suffer. Expect it! Expect it. It will come. Christ Himself suffered for you. The day will arrive when you will be called to suffer for Him. But do not fear it.. it's a privilege, a gift of grace.

And James said in chapter 1, verses 2 through 4, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."

In Closing...

I have a lot on my heart today, its heavy. Whether I remain on this earth, or God decides to call me home, I want to believe that you are behaving yourself, that you're living in a manner that is worthy of the gospel. The same gospel that we know and believe, that you have heard me preach and proclaim to you since the beginning. I want you to always be thankful for what God has done, and confident in His ability to complete that work in your life. I love you all.

May it always be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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