#114 – PAUL SERVED GOD WHEREVER HE WAS PART 1 (28/5/20)
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Joseph, like many of heroes and heroines of faith in scripture, teach us that we must learn to serve God wherever we are -in the good and bad. In the New Testament, Paul sets us an outstanding example. While Paul was in imprisoned in Rome, he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Each of these letters seeks to draw the congregations closer to Jesus. Whilst in great difficulty, Paul continued to serve others.
We will look briefly at two letters today and two tomorrow, seeking to draw out some lessons on serving others whilst we are in difficult circumstances.
Written from imprisonment in Rome in around A.D. 62, Paul begins Ephesians by reminding them of all that they have in Jesus.
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’ (Ephesians 1:3)
RESPONSE - Whom can we serve by reminding them of the blessings that they have in Jesus? Does anyone come to mind that the Holy Spirit wants you to reach out to?
Paul ends the letter in this way,
‘Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.’ (Ephesians 6:21-22)
I’d like to draw your attention to two helpful things in these verses. When, like Paul, we are in difficulty, it’s really helpful to find people whom we can tell how we are doing. Secondly, when communicating in verbal or written form, Paul’s ambition is to encourage.
RESPONSE - Who do you talk to about your difficulties? Maybe you feel that you don't have anyone who cares enough to listen to you. The devil loves to make us feel isolated and isolate ourselves. Please do reach out to a leader in the church - one of the elders, their wives or your Community Group leader.
Probably written from house arrest in Rome in around A.D. 62. The aim of this letter is thank them for their generous gift, reassure them that he and their friend, Epaphroditus, were okay. He writes to urge them to remain united, and encourage them to rejoice in Jesus. Paul begins this letter,
'I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…’ (Philippians 1:3-5)
RESPONSE - Paul serves through thanks, thoughtful news, correction, teaching and by praying for others. Are these a part of our service to others? Specifically, when was the last person you thanked for who they are and how God is using them? Of course, no one is perfect, but let’s make it a habit to thank people for the good things that we are seeing in their lives.
We’ll look at Colossians, and Philemon tomorrow.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – DREAMERS SERVE GOD WHEREVER THEY ARE
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News
Whose service to God has most impressed you and why?
Introduction - please read in your group
Please read Read Genesis 39:2-4
On Sunday our message was entitled, ‘Dreamers serve God wherever they are’.
Joseph had to wait around 13 years for his dreams from God to come to pass. In the meantime, even in dire circumstances, he served diligently. He wasn't to realise that it was through his faithful service, as he interpreted the dream of the cupbearer to the king, that he was to enter into the fulfilment of God's will for him.
Discuss together (Before getting into smaller groups)
Please read Colossians 3:23
What does it mean to 'work with all our heart as if for the Lord'? And how can we do this in our lives?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message)?
What will you do in response?
How can we pray for you?