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Lesson Seven


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Title: Lesson Seven

Title Page
Lesson Seven
Philippians 44-7
Philippians 44-7 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway
and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation
be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be
careful for nothing but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace
of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 48-9
Philippians 48-9 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever
things are of good report if there be any
virtue, and if there be any praise, think on
these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both
learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me,
do and the God of peace shall be with you.
Philippians 410-12
Philippians 410-12 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord
greatly, that now at the last your care of me
hath flourished again wherein ye were also
careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I
speak in respect of want for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I
know how to abound every where and in all things
I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need.
Philippians 413
Philippians 413 13 I can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me.
Focus Verse
II Corinthians 1210 Therefore I take pleasure in
infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake
for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Focus Thought
In this present world, we shall have tribulation.
We must keep the right spirit and attitude,
rejoice, and praise God in all things.
In his second epistle to the believers in
Corinth, Paul the apostle wrote Therefore I
take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for
Christs sake for when I am weak, then am I
strong (II Corinthians 1210). The idea of what
Paul was saying is fundamentally foreign to the
mindset of the modern-day North American culture.
Take pleasure in infirmities? Many people would
probably respond, Youve got to be kidding,
Paul was not kidding he was absolutely serious.
Pauls treasures were not anchored in this world.
He had discovered a greater treasure, and he
possessed a spiritual perspective that looked
beyond this present life and forward to a future
day when he would receive the remainder of his
eternal inheritance. He had received only the
earnest of his inheritancethe Holy Ghostand
based on the initial reward he had received, he
knew that an unimaginably awesome eternity lay in
store for him.
Paul also had discovered a significant key to
living a successful life in Christ Jesus when we
are weak, we discover our real strength, which
comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
From various places of confinementfrom house
arrest to the infamous Mamertine prisonPaul
humbly accepted his path. With a right attitude,
he continued praising God, exhibiting a positive
outlook on life, and doing what he could for the
Lord Jesus Christwriting at least five epistles
of the New Testament from prison. It pays to keep
the right attitude through every circumstance of
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
Pauls Suffering
If anyone could understand the extent of human
suffering in this life, surely the apostle Paul
could have understood. He gave a comprehensive
journal of his sufferings in his second epistle
to Corinth. (See II Corinthians 1123-33.) Paul
stated that he endured much labor, many stripes
on his body, frequent encounters with jail, and
even death (II Corinthians 1123)!
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
Perhaps he alluded to his being stoned and left
for dead at Lystra (Acts 14), about which some
biblical students believe he wrote in II
Corinthians 12 when he wrote of one who was
caught up into paradise and saw unspeakable
glories. What we know for certain was that he
suffered many things for the cause of his Savior.
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
Paul was beaten with rods, stoned, and
shipwrecked, and he spent a night and a day
lost at sea. He journeyed, encountered great
perils of many sorts, and experienced great
depths of weariness and pain. He suffered hunger
and thirst, fasted often, and had to deal with
cold and nakedness. Moreover, in addition to
physical suffering, Paul experienced emotional
stress from the burden of caring for the churches
(II Corinthians 1128).
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
  1. Persecution

The apostle Paul had visited both sides of Jesus
admonition regarding persecution of believers,
for he had been both persecutor and persecuted.
Jesus warned His disciples, And ye shall be
betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and
kinsfolks, and friends and some of you shall
they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be
hated of all men for my names sake (Luke
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
Saul of Tarsus, as he was known prior to turning
to Jesus Christ, hated the Christians and went to
great effort to destroy them. Following his
dramatic conversion to Christ Jesus on the road
to Damascus, however, he also tasted the bitter
fruit of the hatred of others. He had experienced
persecution from both perspectives.
Acts 81, 3
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at
that time there was a great persecution against
the church which was at Jerusalem and they were
all scattered abroad throughout the regions of
Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. . . . As
for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering
into every house, and haling men and women
committed them to prison (Acts 81, 3).
Acts 1350
But the Jews stirred up the devout and
honourable women, and the chief men of the city,
and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them out of their coasts (Acts
Acts 1419
And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch
and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and,
having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city,
supposing he had been dead (Acts 1419).
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
By his own testimony, Paul humbly admitted that
he was unworthy of his apostolic role in the
fledgling church, for he had persecuted the
church (I Corinthians 159). But Paul went on to
say that he had experienced the enormous grace of
God (verse 10). He seemed to be determined to
exert more effort on behalf of Jesus Christ than
he had exercised against Him and His disciples.
I. Pauls Suffering (A)
Jesus admonished His followers that they would
experience tribulation, or persecution, but He
encouraged them not to fear, for He had overcome
the world (John 1633). As it was for the
apostle Paul, so it is for believers today we
shall suffer persecution, but our ultimate
victory is secure in Christ Jesus.
Phillip Brooks
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger
men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the
doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you
shall be a miracle (Phillips Brooks).
I. Pauls Suffering (B)
  1. Religious Opposition

It is interesting that much of the persecution of
the early believers came from established
religion. Perhaps there is no greater measure of
insecurity than that which exists in people who
are insecure in their faith. Insecurity causes
one to resist anything that might challenge his
belief system. On the other hand, when a person
is secure in his faith he does not fear the
challenge demonstrated by opposing ideas or
systems of thought.
I. Pauls Suffering (B)
The proponents of Judaism so feared the new sect
of individuals who followed Jesus Christ that
they openly resisted them and persecuted them at
every opportunity.
John 515-18
The man departed, and told the Jews that it was
Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore
did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay
him, because he had done these things on the
sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father
worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews
sought the more to kill him, because he not only
had broken the sabbath, but said also that God
was his Father, making himself equal with God
(John 515-18).
I. Pauls Suffering (B)
As the Jews continued to resist the believers
following the death of Christ, there was one wise
man by the name of Gamaliel who obviously was
secure in his Judaism. He was a learned scholar
of the law and an educator among the Jews. He
counseled his fellow Jews to leave the men alone.
(See Acts 534-39.)
I. Pauls Suffering (B)
He reminded them of two other men who had arisen
with variant views that conflicted with Judaism,
but their work had come to nothing. If this new
way is of men, it will come to nought, he
assured them. He went on to say, But if it be of
God, ye cannot overthrow it lest haply ye be
found even to fight against God (Acts 538-39).  
II. Ambassador in Bonds
Ambassador in Bonds
Ambassadoran official representative of a
sovereign or state. . . . an authorized or
appointed representative or messenger
(Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary).
II. Ambassador in Bonds
Paul saw himself as an ambassador for Jesus
Christ. The fact of his arrest and imprisonment
did not change his status as a representative of
Christ it only changed his field of labor and
means of representation.
Ephesians 619-20
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me,
that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known
the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an
ambassador in bonds that therein I may speak
boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 619-20).
II. Ambassador in Bonds
If only we could comprehend that our
circumstances do not change our position, status,
or calling in Jesus Christ and His kingdom!
Rather than bemoan circumstances about which we
may have absolutely no control, we should seek
the direction of our Master. Lord, how would You
use these circumstances to direct my path as an
ambassador for You? The Scriptures assure us
that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose (Romans 828).
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
  1. Opportunities to Minister

Since he viewed himself as an ambassador for
Jesus, Paul went about his work from within the
jail cells he occupied at various times
throughout the rest of his life. He refused to
see his times of incarceration as obstacles or as
an end to ministry his circumstances simply
opened new doors of opportunity for him to
minister to others from jail.
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
1. Philippian Jailer (Acts 1616-34). Paul and
Silas dramatically affected the jailer in the
Philippian prison where they were confined. They
were thrust into the deepest parts of the prison,
and their feet were secured in leg irons. The
authorities were able to take their freedom from
them, but not the song from their hearts! At
midnight, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing
praises to the Almighty. Not only did they cause
a stir among the prisoners who heard them, but
they also stirred the portals of heaven!
Acts 1626
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so
that the foundations of the prison were shaken
and immediately all the doors were opened, and
every ones bands were loosed (Acts 1626).
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
The jailer awoke and saw that the prison doors
were open. Assuming that all the prisoners had
fled, he drew out his sword and prepared to take
his own life (Acts 1627). However, Paul called
out to him not to harm himself, for all the
prisoners were present. Because the jailer was so
deeply moved by all the events, he inquired of
Paul and Silas how he could be saved (Acts
1630). He was baptized that very night!
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
2. Felix, Festus, and Agrippa (Acts 24-26).
Because of his confinement, Paul had the
opportunity to witness of the gospel to several
prominent men. In Caesarea, Paul had several
opportunities over two years to share his faith
with Felix, a Roman procurator of Judea. He also
spoke before Festus, the successor to Felix.
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
Finally, Festus took Paul before Agrippa, the
ruler over Judea at that time. Paul gave a moving
defense before Agrippa as well as a testimony of
his faith in Christ. So moved was Agrippa that he
confessed, Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian (Acts 2628). Agrippa found no guilt
in Paul and would have set him free had it not
been for Pauls appeal to Caesar. So Agrippa sent
Paul to Rome.
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
3. In Rome (Acts 2816-31). In Rome, Paul called
together the chief of the Jews, which Jamieson,
Fausset, and Brown Commentary says referred to
the rulers of the synagogues and others of
position and influence. After he explained his
circumstances and spoke the Word of God to them,
there was much discussion. When they left Paul,
some believed and others did not.
II. Ambassador in Bonds (A)
Apparently because of the political sensitivity
of dealing with Paul, the authorities of Rome
took no immediate action regarding him. Rather,
they kept him under house arrest for two years,
during which time he was able to receive all
visitors who came to him. Further, he apparently
spent much of his time writing epistles to the
II. Ambassador in Bonds (B)
  1. Letters from Prison

The apostle Paul wrote at least five epistles
from prison Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians,
Philippians, and II Timothy. He could have
withdrawn into a cocoon of self-pity, feeling
that both God and his fellow Christians had
forsaken him. But Paul chose instead to rejoice
that God had counted him worthy to suffer for the
cause of Jesus Christ. What a difference Paul
made through his anointed writing that has
ministered to untold numbers of people around the
III. Praising God
Praising God
We can learn from Pauls determination to worship
God in every circumstance. It was prayer and
praise in the midst of a trial that led to an
evangelistic opportunity in the Philippian jail
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang
praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. .
. . And the keeper of the prison. . . . brought
them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be
saved? . . . And he took them the same hour of
the night, and washed their stripes and was
baptized, he and all his, straightway (Acts
1625, 27, 30, 33).
III. Praising God
Had Paul and Silas been mired in their own
self-pity, they probably would not have had the
opportunity to minister to the jailer and see him
and his entire house receive salvation.
III. Praising God
How can believers today make the greatest impact
on the unsaved world all around them? Perhaps the
three greatest actions they could take are the
three things Paul continued to do from the midst
of his trials rejoice, pray, and be thankful.
I Thessalonians 516-18
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every
thing give thanks for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians
III. Praising God (A)
  1. Rejoice Always

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To
write the same things to you, to me indeed is not
grievous, but for you it is safe (Philippians
Philippians 44
Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say,
Rejoice (Philippians 44).
I Peter 412-13
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the
fiery trial which is to try you, as though some
strange thing happened unto you but rejoice,
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs
sufferings that, when his glory shall be
revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy
(I Peter 412-13).
III. Praising God (A)
Human nature causes a person to feel singled out
and alone any time he experiences difficult
circumstances. It is natural for one to feel that
nobody suffers like he does and, consequently, to
believe that life is unfair. How often we hear
children complain, But thats not fair!
III. Praising God (A)
Believers experience a new, redeemed nature. They
do not lose their human nature, but when they
receive the Holy Ghost, the Spirit affects their
human nature, empowering them to approach life
with a more positive outlook and attitude. Still,
it is a choice that every believer must make for
III. Praising God (A)
To rejoice in the Lord is the best choice a
believer can make in every circumstance of life.
Christians will experience the same problems,
hurts, disappointments, sicknesses, and
difficulties as every other human. However, when
he chooses to rejoice in the Lord, the believer
defuses Satans power to use lifes challenges
against him.
III. Praising God (A)
Satan understands that his greatest power against
anyone is through that persons thoughts,
emotions, and attitudes consequently, he uses
the normal activities of life to discourage an
individual at every opportunity. When we rejoice
in the Lord, however, Satans barrages against us
become completely impotent.
III. Praising God (A)
There is power in praising God! Further, one also
receives spiritual strength when he prays and
gives thanks to God in every situation.  
III. Praising God (B)
  1. Pray and Be Thankful

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with
thanksgiving withal praying also for us, that
God would open unto us a door of utterance, to
speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also
in bonds (Colossians 42-3).
III. Praising God (B)
Paul exhibited an attitude of prayerfulness and
thankfulness. He never seemed discouraged by his
suffering but appeared to be thankful that the
Lord would honor him with such a high privilege.
He wrote to the believers at Philippi, But what
things were gain to me, those I counted loss for
III. Praising God (B)
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss
of all things, and do count them but dung, that I
may win Christ, and be found in him . . . that I
may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made
conformable unto his death if by any means I
might attain unto the resurrection of the dead
(Philippians 37-11).
III. Praising God (B)
Paul had one supreme, overarching objective in
lifeto attain unto the resurrection of the
deadand nothing else seemed important against
the backdrop of that pursuit. He wanted to spend
eternity with Jesus Christ, and he was ready and
willing to give his life in the pursuit of that
goal. Nothing else really mattered.
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude
Keeping a Right Attitude
There hath no temptation taken you but such as
is common to man but God is faithful, who will
not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are
able but will with the temptation also make a
way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it
(I Corinthians 1013).
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude
Paul recognized that temptation is the common
thread that runs throughout all humanity, and
none can avoid it. However, he maintained a right
attitude and proper perspective toward suffering.
He knew that God is faithful, and with every
temptation there is a means of escape and the
strength to bear it until relief comes. His
positive attitude enabled him to keep his focus
on the eternal prize without wavering in his
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (A)
  1. Think Positively

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report if there be any virtue, and if there be
any praise, think on these things (Philippians
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (A)
Every individual encounters unpleasant and
unfortunate circumstances. However, focusing on
all the disappointments and painful experiences
in life is counterproductive. To be absorbed by
ones problems and focused on ones hurts always
saps a persons physical and spiritual strength.
On the other hand, it is so empowering to think
on good things!
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (A)
Which is more edifying to the psyche of a person
to think about things that are true, or to think
about things that are false? The apostle
mentioned eight themes around which a believer
should focus his thinking in order to achieve
positive results
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (A)
  1. things that are true
  2. things that are honest
  3. things that are just
  4. things that are pure
  5. things that are lovely
  6. things of a good report
  7. anything virtuous
  8. and anything praiseworthy (Philippians 48).

IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (A)
Thinking on these kinds of things will surely
revolutionize any persons thought patterns, and
he will certainly feel better and experience
better results in life. On the other hand, were
one to focus on the opposites of these positive
themes, he surely would live a depressed, gloomy,
and miserable existence.
Sally Pook
Ten percent of the British people believe they
would be better off dead, according to a survey.
One in four people said they were unhappy in
their jobs, while one in three felt exhausted,
unappreciated, or underpaid. Christine Webber,
the psychotherapist who carried out the survey,
said Sadly, it comes as no surprise to me that
so many people are unhappy at home and work. It
seems that peoples lives do not live up to their
extremely high expectations. It is particularly
worrying to see so many people dwelling on morbid
thoughts, with a large proportion just plainly
exhausted by life (Sally Pook, London Daily
Telegraph, 10-16-2000).
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (B)
  1. Be Content

Paul encountered many experiences in lifeboth
positive and negative. However, he had learned
that one of the keys to successful living
involved having the right attitude, whatever
circumstance befell him. He had lived at times
with plenty when all his needs were cared for in
abundance, and at other times he had lived with
less than he really needed. Still, without
complaint he had learned the power of living with
Philippians 411
Not that I speak in respect of want for I have
learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to
be content (Philippians 411).
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (B)
Perhaps one of the most serious conditions of
modern North America is the lack of contentment,
which often leads a person to covet the
possessions and privileges of others with envy
and jealousy. Many people in this contemporary
culture never experience satisfaction. They buy
the latest product based on its promises to be
better than the last version, only to realize all
too soon that the purchase did not satisfy them.
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (B)
Consequently, they set their sights on something
else and appear to think that the key to
satisfaction and contentment can be purchased
from the shelf of a store. Sadly, they will never
find contentment through materialism or human
Dan Erickson
I often think of what one of the Dallas Cowboys
said after winning the Super Bowl one year. As he
sat in the locker room an hour after the game, he
asked, Now, who do we get to play next? Even
our most magnificent achievements seldom bring
total satisfaction (Dan Erickson).
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (C)
  1. Trust God

True contentment and satisfaction come through
learning to trust Godcoming to depend completely
on Him in every circumstance of life. He is the
source of all spiritual strength and true joy in
Philippians 413
I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me (Philippians 413).
IV. Keeping a Right Attitude (C)
Only when we learn to rely on Jesus Christ and
trust His ways for our life can we truly
experience the depths of satisfaction.
Saul of Tarsus was a ravenous persecutor of the
early Christians prior to his conversion to Jesus
Christ. Following his Damascus Road experience,
however, he became a new believer in Christ,
destined to become Paul the apostle. As one who
had once persecuted the church, he tasted the
same bitter cup of suffering at the hands of
those who persecuted him. Moreover, he discovered
that the most intense persecution came from those
who claimed to be religious.
Paul had experienced both sides of suffering, but
he obviously viewed his future destination as
worth every trial, every temptation, and every
experience of suffering. Nothing in this life
compared to his hope for eternity.
When Paul was arrested, he refused to become
discouraged and depressed over his circumstances.
Rather, he looked for ways to continue
ministering for Christ from prison. He impacted
many individuals in a positive way by testifying
to them of Christ Jesus, but one of the greatest
means by which he dramatically influenced the
world was through the epistles he wrote from
jail. From prison, Paul penned at least five New
Testament books.
Paul was determined to keep a right attitude, or
spirit, even when he was suffering for the cause
of Christ. He continued to rejoice in the Lord,
pray, and give thanks to Him. Moreover, he
disciplined his thoughts to focus on positive
themes that edify and build up instead of themes
that tear down or discourage. Through every
circumstance he faced before finally dying as a
martyr for Jesus Christ, Paul learned to be
content and trust God in everything.
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