Paul was a man separated to the purpose of the Gospel. He lived in faith as vision. He lived in the joy of the Lord. Even in chains, he let his life speak for the glory of Jesus. The measure of our spiritual strength is revealed by what causes me to lose my joy.
Romans 1:1, 10; Acts 28:16-28; Philippians 1:12-22

Speaker: Justin Schaller, Steven Scibelli

Date: 2023-11-19
Time: Sun 6:30pm
Sermon # 12618

P. Scibelli – Romans 1, are you with me? Romans 1:1. Can we put it on the screen? I can’t read my Bible. The
letters are too small. I like it. (Prayer). Romans 1:1 the word “servant” is like a bond slave. A little
bit different than some people might think of or be aware of. But it’s a bond slave of Jesus

Wasn’t that a great message on the gospel this morning? Hello? Yeah. I love messages on the
gospel. I went home and just started thinking about it and praying about it and really it’s
amazing. What a ministry we’re a part of. I’m really one of the great thanksgivings of my day
today is just thanking God that he’s placed me here in this church, you know, with these
amazing leaders and people here that really are – the first thing we want to say is separated
unto the gospel. The word is “APHARISMO” and it means God has placed me. He’s made
boundaries in my life.

There’s boundaries in my life and let’s speak about the church first of all because he’s speaking
to the church of Rome. And remember the church in Rome was they say about 140 people. And
they were in a city of 4 million people. And it was an empire that controlled the whole world. I
mean for 900 years Rome ruled the world. Now, what would you think of a church of 140
people up against that? Hello? In the natural, you say finished. It’s over.

That the end of that. It’s kind of like Spurgeon talked about a dream he once had and he saw a ring, like a boxing
ring, where people would fight, and it was round like a globe. And he saw inside of that ring a
roaring lion. Very large vicious lion. Very large and very vicious. And the fight was coming and
all of a sudden strolling up to the, to that little arena there was a small little lamb. And the small
little lamb went in and with one word the lion was dead. The lion was gone.

And so this church which I was with P. Stevens once and I said, well, we have a little church
somewhere and he rebuked me. He said there’s no such thing as a little church. Amen. You
know, we have a very large God, very big God and what not, so we’ve been separated unto the
gospel, the ministry and then us individually.

And I think that’s really amazing that I’m set apart to this message of the good news. And I’m
not set apart to my family. Love them. I’m not set apart to my business. I don’t have one. I’m
not set apart to my job, my profession. I’m not set apart to my culture. I’m not set apart to the
Baltimore Ravens. I’m not set apart to sports. I’m not set apart to so many things we could
mention there.

I am separated unto the gospel. Yeah. I love P. Pete Westera because he got that. It came a
point in this time when he made a decision to be separated unto the gospel. And that was
amazing. What’s happened in his life, and this is the kind of ministry we have. And this is what
we want around the world.

You know, Greater Grace has 800 churches. I had made a mistake one time. I think I was
corrected by P. Renaldo. I don’t remember. I think I said 770 something and he said it’s like
more than that. It’s like 800 or something, 800 churches in 80 countries with 33,000 people
coming to church. That’s incredible.

I mean we are here, and we see this, and this is great. It’s a base of operation but what’s going
on in the world is really phenomenal. And I had an opportunity to go to Nepal and Thailand.
Nepal, Bangalore India and then Mumbai and just to see what they’re doing over there. I had a
connection with 300 churches, 300 church leaders and it’s a privilege. I think I’m one of the
most privileged people around because that was October in Asia and then I do December in
South America. January in West Africa. February in Dominican Republic. March in Eurocon,
Romania and Budapest. April, South Africa, and East Africa.

Wow! I’m excited. I’m excited. You know, I can see me even doing this in a wheelchair. I don’t give a flying rip. That’s how it has to happen, that’s how it happens. You know, by the way, it’s happened before like that
when I had a bad hip.

But we’ve been separated to the gospel. Amen. And this is great to really understand that. The
devil comes with his accusation about our situations and things that might be going on in our
lives. The old sin nature has these reflections that come out of it and the world is always
evaluating me. By the way, the world’s not evaluating me. That’s it. Sorry about that. Bunch of
idiots. They’re not evaluating me at all.

Okay. Because I’m separated unto the gospel. Set apart.
There’s boundaries around our lives and boundaries around our church. I think that’s amazing.
The second thing here in this portion of Scripture is we have this vision. We have a vision, a
purpose, and a plan. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 1. A vision, a purpose, and a plan. We’re
not just separated unto the gospel and that’s something abstract and something very
generalized. But he says we’re going to reach all nations in vs. 5. Romans 1:5, he says to all

Then he says in vs. 17 I’m speaking to you at Rome. And then he says in vs. 18, the
whole world. Did you get me? All nations, you at Rome, and the whole world. This is, he’s giving
this vision to this group of people, and they might be looking at and saying like what is he
talking about?

I remember when Dr. Stevens was saying things like we’re going to go into all the world with
the gospel. We’re going to reach people. The gospel. And he’s up there up in Maine and there’s
this group of people and you’re thinking like how is this going to happen? Well, we, let’s just
call it God. Can we just say Jesus? Who? Jesus. So, we’ve got all nations. He’s telling them
you’ve got – there’s a vision and a purpose and a plan for all nations for the city of Rome which
was 4 million and for the whole world. Going into the whole world.

Sometimes, we talk about that with people, and they look at us like we’re something strange.
What do you mean we’re going into all the world? How many people do you have in your
church, 20,000? I said, no. You don’t need 20,000 people. Those kind of churches could end up
going the wrong way based on popularity. So, we’ve got a separation to the gospel, a vision of
the gospel.

Then, seven times in Romans chapter 1 he uses the word “faith.” Faith. And it’s not my faith. It’s
the faith of the Son of God in Galatians 2:20. Are you with me? Philippians 3:9, Habakkuk 2:5, Ephesians. It’s all
over the Bible. It’s the faith of the Son of God. He says live by faith. Faith gets me out of sight,
out of my emotions, out of evaluations, out of all these things that I’m told I should be doing.
Do you know what you should be doing? You should have been retired 10 years ago. Really?
You retire. Michelin is right down the street. What are you talking about, retire? No, we’ve got
faith, and that faith comes by the Word. We’ve got a pulpit that has the Word. We’ve got a
Bible. We’ve got faith and it’s the faith of the Son of God. It’s not something that I manufacture.
It’s not something that comes from man as a source. It’s God’s faith.

How many of you think Jesus has faith? P. Chris Arman? Yep. Jesus has faith. The Father has
faith. The Spirit has faith. What’s my problem? Just receive it, right? Just be a receiver of the
Father, the Son, and the Spirit’s faith. He says have faith. We can do this. We can take Rome.
We can take all nations. We can take the whole world. Oh, boy. Hyper-spiritual person
speaking. What he’s talking about, you know? It’s not reality.

Somebody once told me I had to teach – I was in, I was teaching in a university, Christian
psychology. And they told me I had to teach on reality therapy. I said, here’s reality therapy.
The Bible. If you don’t like it. I’m not teaching reality therapy. I’m teaching the Bible. If you
don’t like it, fire me. And they actually ended up paying me. I was getting $300 an hour to teach
in the university. Can you imagine? To preach the Bible. That’s amazing.

Faith in God. Amen. Got faith in God tonight. Have faith in me. Have faith in God. Faith in Jesus.
It’s amazing. And he’s saying this. Listen, you group of people in Rome in the middle of 4 million
people with an empire that’s controlling the world with idolatry, with wickedness. You think we
have an evil day today? You should read about Rome. In those days bestiality. Having sex with
animals. It was unbelievable. What was going there? Faith. Faith. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Then he says to him. Three things. First of all, it was about separated to the gospel. Then, the
vision of the gospel. The plan. Then, faith. And then, I want you to know who you are. I am
debtor. I have an obligation. Sometimes we don’t like that word, you know. Is that works, P.
Scibelli? I’m a debtor. I have an obligation. I am ready.

The word “ready” in the Greek means I have a forward mind. I am ready. And I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believer. Are you with me? I’m debtor. I’m ready. And I’m not
ashamed. And this church is going to like make a difference.
Read about this church in Romans 15. The word “nations” is mentioned 10 times in Romans 16.
He mentions 36 people. See vision, purpose, gospel. I’m separated to it. I have a vision from it. I
have faith in it. And I have, I’m a person and we are people in a church who go forward as
debtors, as ready, and as not ashamed.

Let’s keep going. How about a thousand churches? What’s the deal, you know. What’s the deal.
I’d like to see us have a thousand churches before I leave, but I’m not leaving so in Jesus’ name.

P. Schaller –

Can you turn to your neighbor for a minute and go over a few of those things. Help
me out cuz I want to rehearse it too in my mind. It was like really good. All right. Go ahead.
All right. First, separated unto the gospel, right? That’s separated. I’m not going to get it all right
I think but separated unto the gospel. That was one, right? And then I have this faith. The word
faith seven times. What was the second one? Vision. Vision. Vision. I’m separated unto the
gospel. I have vision. And then the next one? Faith. Faith. He mentions faith in chapter one.
Living in faith.

And then I like the part about – I have a sociology professor who has an extrapolation – he’s a
Christian – of how many, how few Christians in the beginning of the first century. And then the
numbers and how by the third century it was like there’s a possibility that more than half of the
Roman Empire was Christian. Yeah. That was why it turned ’cause the temples were empty.
Temples were empty.

The ideas of the paganism were not as good as Christianity. Christianity took over by the
intellectuals. The intellectuals in the Roman Empire. So, when you start, it isn’t a matter of how
many there are. It’s a matter of is it true? Is it true? Does it work? It doesn’t have to be, it
doesn’t have to be a lot of people. It just has to be the real thing, right? And that, that’s what
happened. Anyway, thank you, pastor. We got something to chew on. I got to work on that
myself, Romans 1. What a good text.

Okay. Happy Thanksgiving. We’ve got the Healey family down here. That’s amazing. I thought of
you guys a few days ago. Did anybody tell you that? Did anybody tell you that I was thinking
about you guys? Thank you for coming. Yeah. Thank you. Good to have you. And then Viriginia
over her. Michael, right? Is it Michael? I know P. Tom Smith but Mike. He’s like a fan and is this
your family here? Okay. Good to have you. What’s your name? Cindy. Cindy. Oh, okay. I can’t
read sign. I can’t read it, but she’s signing her name to me. So, thank you. You know I am deaf.
You’re one of the few people that know I’m actually deaf!

At lunch time today, we served 725 people in 28 minutes. Yes. They got to eat. That was great.
There were Scott Dubay lead the charge. Three guys. Harold Bogardus, Bobbie Berinsky, and
Chris Reagan. They were the guys and then 60 volunteers. People cooked potatoes yesterday
and all kinds of you know. It was a great day. Amen. To be able to eat together and fellowship.
That was an awesome thing. So, what a beautiful day we had today.

Hey, how about – hey! With your neighbor just for a minute give two tips for having
Thanksgiving together as a family. We call these Thanksgiving tips. Okay. Do you have the love
in your heart, the wisdom in your heart, to give some advice to the person sitting next to you.
Example. Yeah. Thanksgiving. Be sure to control your tongue. Okay. Go ahead. Thanksgiving
tips. Be nice. Okay. How about it?

I have one. How about this one. Prayer. Prayer. Right? Another one. Anybody over here? Healey
family? Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. Another one. This area over here is very quiet. How
about – okay. Gratitude. How about the prayer. How about love. Just pour love on people.
Thanksgiving time in your family. Just love them up. Just love them up and give grace and pray
for the event. That’ll be just precious.

And you know, don’t carry in your heart things that frustrate you. That you want to correct in
the other person, so that now you’re going to get them, and it’ll be right when they’re passing
the gravy over! I got it all planned out in my mind. I’m going to tell them exactly what I think.
You know. Hold on. Pray about it. Right? Deal with it in your heart maybe. Like don’t ruin the
holiday, right? Why are you looking so guilty suddenly?!! All right. Let’s pray for the offering,
shall we? (Prayer).

P. Justin Schaller –

Okay. So, let’s just open up with prayer. (Prayer). Hey! Great choir. That was
amazing. They faked me out there, because they finished, and I got up to preach and they kept
on going again. And I was thinking, oh no! I got to sit back down here and then I just, I hid. Jump
in the gun.

Romans 1, I’ll just go off of just for a few minutes here this evening just go off of what P. Scibelli
was just speaking of with the Apostle Paul and his calling to the gospel. Being set apart to the
gospel. His heartbeat was the gospel, and the gospel really means that people will be affected
by salvation. That people will receive Christ and people will be saved and churches will be
planted. That was his focal point in his ministry.

And we know that over the last few years actually, I’ve been preaching from Colossians and
Philippians and Ephesians, and I’ve really been exercising myself just in those books and really
seeing the Apostle Paul’s life. And knowing a lot of these things but at the same time, my
spiritual eyes opening up and the one takeaway that I have with the Apostle Paul’s life is that he was a man of joy. And that spiritual strength is really determined by where your joy ends,
where your breaking point ends with your joy.

Ministry should be filled with joy, but circumstances obviously can cause hardships in our lives,
and it can rob our joy. But the Apostle Paul had unbelievable spiritual strength because even in
the face of great opposition, he never lost his joy. And I just want to bring that out just in a few
verses this evening.

Romans 1:10, going off of what P. Scibelli said. He says this, vs. 10. He had a vision to go to
Rome. Like P. Scibelli said that he wanted to get to the epicenter of the pagan empire and that
was in Rome.

And at the end of the book of Acts, we see that the Apostle Paul wanted Rome to really be his
center point. How could we say it? His home base where he could launch out into Europe and
be able to do his ministry. He has now done his ministry in Greece. He’s done it in Turkey. Now,
he wants to get to Rome. And he wants to establish a foundation there in Rome with a solid
church and send out some missionaries. And his desire was he wanted to get to Spain
ultimately to preach the gospel, but it’s interesting here in Romans 1. He says that I want to
have a prosperous journey. Don’t we all want to have a prosperous journey to get to where
God wants us to go? Of course, we do.

We never set out on a trip and say hey, honey. This is going to be great if we have a hundred
problems on this trip or this will be an amazing trip if like the car like catches on fire or we
break down on the side of the road or we run out of money. Won’t that be great? No, what’s
our prayer? We want a prosperous journey.

But we know in Isaiah 55 that God has a sovereign plan. But his ways are not our ways. His
thoughts are not our thoughts. His game plan, his playbook is much different than our
playbook. So, Paul has a desire like all of us would let this be a prosperous journey. But God had
a different plan, and we know that plan is laid out in the sense that he did get to Rome, but it
wasn’t prosperous.

In Acts chapter 21-28, that is really Paul’s journey to Rome. And just in a nutshell, Paul wanted
to unify the believers in Jerusalem with the Gentile believers, and we know that at that time in
Jerusalem, they had a famine and many of the believers in Jerusalem were poor and starving
and they needed help. And Paul saw this as an opportunity that the Gentile churches could now
pitch in with an offering and they could bring it to the church in Jerusalem. And he was going to
bring some of his Gentile disciples with him to show the Jews. Look at these guys are your
brothers in the Lord. So, he did that journey. He went to Jerusalem.

But we know when he went to Jerusalem, he had a few prophets that told him: Paul don’t go
because if you go, you’re going to be bound. You’re going to be imprisoned. You’re going to be
beaten. But it says that Paul was led by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, and he did.

I love the man because he even saw the opposition and he still went forward in it, being led by
the Spirit and the power of the Spirit to fulfill the will of God. So he ends up in Jerusalem.
It doesn’t take very long for the Jews who hated Jesus and crucified Jesus to find Paul, because
they hated Paul and wanted to crucify him as well. And they arrested him in the temple
because they said that he brought a Gentile into the temple which was a false charge.
The Romans at that time had a dilemma on their hands because they knew that Paul had great
influence in Israel and into the Roman Empire. And if the Jews took Paul and killed him, they
would have a riot on their hands.

So, they decided, hey. We better take this man and they found out actually he was a Roman citizen, so that was even more of an opportunity for them to say we’ll take him. So, they take Paul from Jerusalem, and they bring him to this city called Caesarea right there in Israel on the Mediterranean and Paul is there for two years. This is an amazing period of time really if you look into it because Luke the physician is with him at this time. And a lot of where
Luke gets his gospel is during this time in Caesarea when the disciples are coming up to visit
Paul and Jesus’ mother Mary must have gone up, maybe, possibly, to Caesarea to visit Paul. And
this is where Luke gets the account of the gospels of the life of Christ.

And after two years in Caesarea, Paul says I need to stand before Caesar. I’m a Roman citizen
and I need to stand before Caesar. So, they put him on a ship and some of you, many of you
know the story. They set sail and it was not a prosperous journey whatsoever but throughout
the entirety of it, you see that Paul is meeting disciples. He meets disciples. He meets disciples
when they land in different ports and Paul is doing his ministry.

Paul is doing his ministry so much that there’s one point when they’re on the ship and the ship
is about to break into pieces that the captain in the Roman guard looked at Paul and said Paul,
what are we supposed to do? Even in that situation as a Roman prisoner, Paul was still in
charge because they knew that Paul had God on his side.

But let’s just look in the book of Acts. In Acts chapter 28, we see when Paul lands in Italy they
bring him to Rome and in vs. 16 of chapter 28. It seems that Paul had some level of favor with
the Roman Centurion that since Paul was the one who was really leading them on this journey,
the word maybe got back that this man, maybe give him special treatment. We don’t know but
we do know that it was a part of God’s plan. He’s a prisoner. He’s in Rome. But he is in vs. 16 by
himself and we see in vs. 20 that he had the opportunity to call people to himself.

So, he was meeting with the Jews in vs. 17. He was meeting with the Jews in Rome, and
whenever Paul would go into a city, he would always go to the Jews. He would go to the
synagogue because he had a heart for the Jews in Romans 9.

So, he gathers the Jews together and what is he saying that I’m in chains but that is not going to
stop me from preaching the gospel. In vs. 30, we see that Paul was given a hired house or a
rented house and he received all that came in unto him. So, here we have the Apostle Paul
getting to Rome but getting to Rome on God’s timetable by God’s plan and it’s in chains.
But he’s in this house and we see in vs. 20 he is chained in the custom, the Roman custom
where you were under house arrest. You were chained to a soldier, and they actually have
found these chains that these people who are under house arrest chained to soldiers.

They found them in their digging, their archaeological work and these chains are like handcuffs and
the handcuffs are chained to the prisoner. And then there is a chain that is a little bit longer and
then there’s another set of handcuffs that the guard would be wearing as well to keep the
prisoner captive.

So, Paul was in house arrest chained to a centurion Imperial Guard and the Roman custom was
that they would work six-hour shifts. So, you would have a guard for 6 hours and then another
guard for six and you would have four Centurion or Imperial Guard soldiers chained to the
Apostle Paul in one day.

Paul lost all liberty, all freedom to be able to move about like he had in his ministry. He has lost
his ability to plant churches. He has lost his ability to go out on a public square and preach the
gospel or go to a synagogue, but now the Apostle Paul is under house arrest, chained to Roman
centurions for 24 hours a day.

In vs. 30, for two years now there was a church that supported the Apostle Paul, but you have
to think at this point in Acts 28 it’s been four years since Paul has been arrested. Four years.
There’s many churches wondering where is Paul? How is Paul doing? What is Paul up to? Is he
dead? Is he alive? Has he given up on the gospel? Has he given up on this expansion of the
kingdom of God throughout the entire world? Has he given up?

But they got word and the church in Philippi gets word and they get word that Paul’s alive.
Paul’s in Rome. Paul’s not only in Rome but he’s is in house arrest. So, they say together, the
elders in the church, or they have a little meeting after church. We have to send somebody to
go see how Paul’s doing. They wanted to know two things. How was Paul doing? And how is the
gospel doing? Those two questions are the book of Philippians. How is Paul doing? How’s the
gospel doing? Well, if it’s up to God, they’re both doing very well.

So, let’s look in Philippians 1 now. We know the book of Philippians is about joy, but now that
we understand that joy is not based on circumstance because this is probably one of Paul’s
worst positions he’s been in. And we know in 2 Corinthians 11, he’s receiving beatings. He’s been
stoned. He was apparently killed. He says all of Asia turned their back on him. He says that not
one person in Asia is standing with me. We know in 2 Cor. that the whole church in Corinth had
turned their back on him. And he said in 2 Corinthians 11 all the physical beatings are one thing but the
anguish of the separation of relationship with the church is the thing that causes me the most

But Philippians is about joy. This man has spiritual strength. Again, our spiritual strength is
determined by where we lose our joy. Finances aren’t good. I might lose joy. That is the limit of
my spiritual strength. Now, we’re all growing in that, and Paul is going to say in Philippians 1
that the Spirit will supply everything that you need to fulfill the calling that God has given you.
And he will give you that strength, but Paul is just an unbelievable example of a man who is
weak like us but filled with so much joy.

Look at what he says in vs. 12. I’m reading King James. I never read King James. Sometimes I just
run out of the house. I grab a King James Bible. I don’t like that translation. What does that one
say? Same thing. Do you have ESV up there? Do you got ESV? Okay. There we go. “I want you to
know.” Isn’t that – come on. Isn’t that how we talk these days, but I want you to know in the
Greek. In the Greek it’s beautiful because he says this is very important. Pay attention to this.
He wants them to know how he is doing, vs. 12. What things? My arrest. My imprisonment. My
house arrest. Remember, they haven’t heard from him.

Now Epaphroditus is with him, and Paul is saying Epaphroditus take out a little pen and paper
and jot this down. I want you Philippians to know this for sure. I want you to understand this
because this goes against any kind of human reason. That I am in the position that God wants
me to be in because if we go down in the chapter, there’s people that are preaching the same
gospel and they’re saying that Paul’s in prison because of a hidden life of shame. There’s people
saying that he’s in prison because he’s a sinner and God is judging him. Paul says I want you to
know and understand this that God works differently. This is how God is working. It has all
these things have happened and have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel. I
want you to know that I am in this position that God wants me to be in.

I don’t know if I’m going to lose my head or not, but he has placed me here for the furtherance
of the gospel. How has the gospel furthered? You’re under house arrest? You can’t move
around. Look at what he says in vs. 13. Can we have the ESV? Better. So that it has become
known throughout the whole Imperial Guard.

Now, who’s the Imperial Guard? Julius Caesar had the Imperial Guard because he was so afraid
of insurrection, of being overthrown that he created his own secret police. And at the height of it, there was 10 to 12,000 of these soldiers that they were the Imperial Guard or the secret
service that protected the Caesar. And Paul was commissioned to these guards, four of them a

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I go soulwinning, to keep somebody in front of me for
30 seconds is hard. Imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul for 6 hours and then another one
comes in. His eyes are like this. And he’s saying good luck in there. And they’re dealing with a
man that is so on fire for this Messiah. So on fire for this man who is called the Son of God that
the old Paul who was a scholar in the Old Testament, goes back to the book of Isaiah, goes back
to Jeremiah, and talks about how the prophet spoke about the Messiah and he was going to be
born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, come out of Galilee, be a man who healed. A man of grace.
A man of mercy.

And ultimately, he would be the sacrificial lamb that was spoken about in the book of Genesis.
That this lamb came for the salvation of the world and this lamb came to me in Acts chapter 9
when I was killing Christians, soldier. I was killing the Christians. I was persecuting the church.
And this Messiah was so gracious that he set me apart for this gospel so that I could be a vessel
of his grace. You’re a pagan Roman Imperial Guard barbarian but so am I. But that didn’t stop
the limitless of this Messiah’s grace that it could be given to you.

So what happens in vs. 13. I got to go to the ESV. “Throughout all the whole Imperial Guard into
all the rest…” Who are all the rest? Well, they would go back to their barracks at night. Not only
would they go to their barracks, but they’re in Caesar’s house. Who’s the Caesar at that time?
It’s Nero. You see the colosseums. You know what Nero did to Christians. He would tar them.
He would impale them, and he would light them on fire to light the streets at night. That’s how
much he hated Christians.

But guess who is getting saved? Look at Philippians 4:22. Vs. 21. Who’s getting saved? The Imperial
Guard are getting saved. Who else is getting saved? Vs. 21-22, Who’s getting saved here?
Nero’s family. Nero’s guards.

Now, I like to think if the Apostle Paul wanted to get to Rome on his own accord and he found a
street corner, would he ever be able to get the Imperial Guard and into Caesar’s house? Are his
ways better than our ways? Are his thoughts better than our thoughts? Paul is saying, guys,
you’re not going to believe it. I know it looks bad from the outside, but from the inside if you
knew that people are being strengthened. People are being saved and I’m just here in chains.
Can the gospel be bound?

I said to the church a few weeks ago preaching this portion of Scripture, what do you chain to in
your life that you think that the gospel in your ministry is limited? Are you chained to a job? Are you chained to a relationship? Are you chained to a place? And you have this attitude. No, no,
no. I’ll get to the gospel when I go on the mission field. I’ll get to the work of God when my
situations are right. I’ll get to God when I’m physically and mentally strong. And Paul’s saying
no, no, no, no. The situation that you are in the Spirit will supply the grace and the power so
that you could fulfill the commission of preaching the gospel.

Where are you chained? Vs. 14. So, those are the believers like P. Scibelli said in the church in
Rome. They have 120 believers but they’re seeing now it seems as though in Philippi they were
starting to feel a little bit of pressure from the Roman Empire because when Nero was there, he
was putting pressure on the church. So, they were maybe backing off a little bit. And in Rome,
they seem as though they were backing off a little bit from going out and sharing the gospel.

But when they see Paul’s situation and that he’s about to lose his head but the joy that he has
and how God’s using him to save the Imperial Guard and Caesar’s household, they are now
emboldened. Aren’t you emboldened when you see the work of God in other people’s lives?
Paul is saying guys, this is great. I couldn’t have planned this better myself. People are looking
at my situation and saying if Paul could do it, maybe God could use me to lead people to Christ.
Vs. 15-16. Not only did Paul have joy in his situation of being in prison, but now he has people
that are in the church in Rome that are speaking poorly of Paul and the reason why we know
they’re speaking poorly of Paul is because in vs. 19 – and this could maybe be for your own
study – in verse 19 he says this for I know that this shall turn to my salvation. That is a direct
quote from Job 13.

Just a quick overview of that. Job 13 is where Zophar, his friend, comes to Job and says Job,
you’re being judged because God is judging you based upon your hidden sin. Job is like I’m
innocent. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t sin against God. God said that I’m a righteous man. No,
no, no, Job. No one gets judged like this if they’re a man of God. No one does and Zophar even
goes as far in chapter 11 to say you’re judgment isn’t even worthy of what you should deserve
because your sin’s that bad.

So, imagine being falsely accused. Imagine being in prison and your motive is strictly so that
Christ will be manifested wherever you go through your body, through the preaching of the
gospel. In vs. 15, look at what he says. Now, I think Paul is writing this to the church in Philippi
because he knows that this word is going to get back to Philippi. Hey, did you hear about Paul?
He’s in prison. You know why he’s in prison? Because he all along has been living a hidden life
of shame. Therefore, everything that he taught you, you really can’t really believe it.

Do you see how that works? They were never trying – Paul never really cared about being
discredited in his own reputation. He just didn’t want the message to be discredited. So, when
he was in prison, he can’t go out and defend his case. He can’t go out and vindicate himself, so in vs. 19, he says this will turn out for my salvation or another Greek word is “vindication.” That
God, people would realize that I’m in here based upon the plan of God.

But look at what he says about these people that are preaching from envy and strife. I love this.
He goes on, vs. 16-18, he says this, what then? The Greek, you could translate it like this. So
what? They’re preaching the gospel. That’s what he says. These men are speaking ill of me, but
it doesn’t rob me of my joy because the gospel is being preached. Wow. Wow. Can you wrap
your head around that just for a minute?

I know we’re talking about the Apostle Paul, but he was a human being just like us. This man’s
eyes were so far off of himself and on Christ in his calling that if that calling was being fulfilled,
he was happy about it even at his own basically attack or they were belittling him.

But look it. He says this. What then? So What. “Whether it’s done in pretense or in truth, Christ
is preached. And therein do I rejoice. And yeah will rejoice.” Paul’s life was always summed up
in this that he wanted to glorify Christ in vs. 20 through his body by the preaching of Christ.
What does that mean to glorify Christ in your body? It means to make Christ as glorious, as
satisfying, as beautiful as you possibly can.

And he goes on in the chapter to say this. I want to go home and be with the Lord because
that’s far better, but for your sake I will remain so that your joy in Christ will increase. You know
why the only reason why Paul didn’t want to go to heaven? So other people can enjoy and see
Christ for who he is. He wanted to be a part of the magnification, the glorification in Christ in
every nation all across the globe.

When our eyes are outside of ourselves, and our situation and our perspective is a heavenly
one knowing that God is sovereign. God is providential meaning that God will provide
everything that’s needed to fulfill his sovereign plan and you’re a part of it. You’re a piece in it
and you can relax in the fact that he’s going – if he started a good work, he’s going to complete
it. You can just relax. He’ll provide every part and every piece and it's going to blow your mind
away that his plan of doing things is so far better than if we try to control our own life. When
we realize and we settle in that, and Paul was so settled. And he says I want you guys to know
God is sovereign. God has a plan. The gospel cannot be thwarted. It can’t be changed.

And like Jesus said this. Last verse. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. Now, sometimes
you can think gates are offensive, right? Gates are offensive like it’s a missile. Gates are
defensive weapon. So a castle has a fence around it to keep people out. What Jesus is saying
the gates of hell are not offensive against the gospel. The gates of hell are trying to be
defensive against the gospel, but they will not prevail against the gospel. And Paul was so
settled in that, that he could say I could have joy. My reputation is being ruined. So what?
They’re preaching the gospel. I’m in prison. So what? It’s going to be delivered.

It’s either I’m going to lose my head or they’re going to release me. He had such a divine perspective that
gave him such a settled, peaceful, joyful heart that it was so contagious that these Roman
pagan soldiers were saying I want some of that. Isn’t God’s plan beautiful? God’s plan is so
wise. He uses the foolish things of this world to confound Caesar’s house. Amen.


Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.