Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Oct 18, 2015 Sermon

“Hands that Give”
Philippians 4:10 – 20
Ted Jansen October 18, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Paul is writing a letter to the believers in Christ in Philippi and he has a choice.  What will he write about?  Will he complain about his prison experiences and suffering?  Will he write to this church that has limited financial resources and discourage them from giving?  What will Paul choose to write as he thinks about his life and the lives of believers in Philippi?    
 
2.)        We get a chance to write each day a story about our life and about the church we are a part of.  We have a choice to focus on the circumstances that are negative in our lives and the situations in our church that are challenging and discouraging. 
We ask ourselves each day is the glass half full or half empty?  How have we written the story of our lives and the story of the church?    
We can change our story into a positive one if it has been negative.  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.   Say that after me.
 
3.)        Paul chose to write to the church in a positive way.  Paul and the Church at Philippi saw each day as a new day, a new day that the Lord is alive and working.   
            Paul shares a word in this scripture that is a key point.  Paul expresses his heart and shows the Church that the glass is half full.  
            Paul said in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” 
In the New Testament language, Greek, the word, content, means confident in God’s provision.  Paul has learned to be confident in God’s provision in his life.  He know about times of plenty and time of need.  Contentment is an important quality that transforms life from looking at a cup that is half empty to one that is half full. 
We have confidence in God when we have assurance of God’s love and presence in our lives.  We gain confidence in God, contentment, in part by finding joy, according to Paul.
 
4.)        We might be in a prison or have limited resources but you can have confidence in God.  When you have confidence in God you will write a positive story about your life and church. 
Yet, we all struggle at times and see the glass half empty.  We might compare ourselves, judge others, be jealous, angry at ourselves, or depressed, or generally without joy because of things we have or don’t have.          
            We have to find joy in our lives because of God’s work in the church and in our lives. 
 
5.)        Paul wrote a joy-filled and positive letter to the Philippians because he saw God at work. This was the church the Paul was writing to in 2 Corinthians when he told the church to be like the churches in Macedonia.  The Philippians church was a giving and joy filled church of people who serve and love and give.    
            This church gave its heart to the Lord and had confidence in the Lord.    
            Paul gave them an insight into how they can be content, have confidence in the Lord.  Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4,“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!” 
            Paul is telling them to keep joy abounding in their heart as they focus on the Lord.  They needed to “re – joy” their lives.  Repeat, repeat, repeat joy in their lives in all that they do. 
            Rejoice means to repeat what gives you joy.  The more joy you have the more positive you are and this gives you more confidence in God.  When you are content you don’t focus on what you don’t have and the circumstances you are in. 
 
6.)        Do you find joy in taking a walk, eating, being with a good friend, coming to worship.  Repeat joy and let it fill you again and again. 
            If you don’t have joy in your life you will get weak, tired and find life draining out of you.  You will be focusing on the negative and seeing that the glass is half empty.     
            What part of worship gives you the most joy?  Does the message, hearing the scripture, singing the music, giving the offering, seeing each other in fellowship, joining in prayer give you joy? 
 
7.)        I thought of the song, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart.  I wanted us to sing that a few times this morning a reminder of the importance of getting our lives “re-joyed!” 
 
8.)        Paul had joy in his life because the Philippian church had given him money to help with his ministry.  Paul said in Philippians 4:14 – 18, “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.” 
            Paul is joyful with appreciation with the money given to him again and again.  Paul found joy that this church gave to the church in Jerusalem as well.
            Paul faced challenges but he had joy as he wrote this letter. 
 
9.)        As you think of joy and the chance to give to God I don’t want you to be like the guy in this video who decided not to give God anything.  (Video of God’s Pie)     
 
10.)      One of Jesus’s disciples, Thomas, was stuck on the negative in his life.  He saw the glass and it was half empty.  Thomas did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.  Thomas did not have any joy in his life.  He was down and discouraged.    
Thomas said in John 20:25 “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails where and put my hands into his side.  I will not believe it.” 
Thomas had some challenging expectations for Jesus.  Jesus’ hands needed to be touched by Thomas hands. 
            Thomas needed to use his hands to see and touch Jesus’ hands and side.  The joy had left him when Jesus died and because others had seen Jesus it did not make a difference in Thomas’ life. 
           
11.)      You might be stuck in your life on the negative.  You might have a word for Jesus that is bold and desperate.  You might need Jesus to do something in your heart that has never been done before so that you can have joy anew and afresh. 
 
12.)      A week after Jesus had died and been placed in the tomb we read from John 20:26 – 28 these words, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
            When Thomas could see and touch the hands of Jesus with His hands he found joy.  Thomas was able to have his life “re – joyed!”   
 
13.)      I invite you to touch the hands of Jesus who out of love for you comes to you and says, peace be with you!  Jesus invites us to try out His love and call to Him and let His presence give you hope and blessing.    
Let us give our gifts to the one that loves us with an everlasting love.