#151 – PAIN IS A GREENHOUSE (20/7/20)
If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we will be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)
‘Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.’ (Philippians 1:12)
Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Paul’s life is full of great difficulty as he sought to follow Jesus and spread the message of the gospel. Paul revealed some of his autobiography, writing,
‘Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.’ (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)
Paul saw the difficulties of his life as the means by which God multiplies His work in us and through us. Pain and suffering are the ‘greenhouse’ of our growth and the growth in the spread of the gospel.
It’s during seasons of persecution that the church comes alive and the message spreads rapidly.
What is happening to you right now? How are you experiencing pain? Of course, we are to pray for an end to suffering, but, whilst we wait for our ‘release’, understand that the Father is working in you and, if we have a faith stance, will use it to share the gospel message.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – ADVANCING THE GOSPEL
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Opener/Ice-breaker (Please could we all do this, this week)
Who were influential in your becoming a Christian and what good lessons could we all learn from them?
Introduction - please share in your group
God is advancing the gospel in the world. His plans to take the gospel to the ends of the earth are unstoppable because they are God's plans! God uses us as he used the Apostle Paul.
'Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.' (Philippians 1:12-13)
Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Paul’s life is full of great difficulty as he sought to follow Jesus and spread the message of the gospel. Paul saw the difficulties of his life as a means by which God advances the gospel.
What difficulties do you have that you might see as barriers to sharing the gospel?
How could you view or approach your challenges differently so as turn them into opportunities to share the love of Jesus?
'And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.' (Philippians 2:14)
People's example is a great inspiration to share our faith more confidently. Those who are prepared to suffer in sharing the gospel are a particularly powerful example.
How are you doing at setting an example of sharing the gospel?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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