Where is our focus?
Joy in 2020 still has the same foundation as it always has. It doesn’t come from economic strength or good politics or healthy nations. It comes in people who are willingly made useful to the lord with their eyes on Him in the service they provide. God has called all believers to be influential in their own ways towards the same end goal of glorifying him and furthering His work in this world.
1. The Potential for Influence (15)
a. Preaching the Good News, the Gospel
b. 3 John 1:9-10
2. The Focus of Influence (15-16)
a. “Some preach Christ from envy and strife” – think of jealously and rivalry
b. “Some from good will” – desire to be kind. Godly mindsets focus on the biblical goal, whereas ungodly mindsets focus on the return.
c. Making a name for myself or making a name for Jesus as it relates to me.
3. Discerning the purpose of Influence
a. Carnality/potential wolves in sheep’s clothing – no security from great self-focus
1. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3: envy, strife, selfish ambition, insincerity are marks of carnality
2. 2 Corinthians 2:17
3. 1 Timothy 6:3-5: knowing nothing, obsessed with argument, godliness for gain
4. Romans 1:28-32: losing awareness of God, behavior is a punishment for unrepentance.
Consider this, sinful behavior brings punishment, but punishment in part is also to be absorbed in sinful behavior. It is a two-sided coin. Somethings the immediate lightning bolt for deviant behavior is to live in the rut of deviant behavior.
b. Godly believers – security in Christ from focus on Him
1. Romans 12:10-18: behavior transformed by biblical mindset
2. James 3:16-18: peace-making
3. I Corinthians 9:19-22: winsome, not to myself, but to the Lord
4. The Joy of God-led influence (18)
a. Negatively (misery)
1. Envy, rivalry, selfish ambition and a desire to undermine others creates misery.
2. Refusing to entrust yourself to God creates misery
3. Therefore, it is imperative that we put those thoughts and behaviors off.
4. But this is not enough; we are only creating a vacuum by focusing on what not to do.
b. Positively (joy)
1. Setting our focus on Christ, serving in love with the intention of not being a hindrance but a bridge to the Gospel – this creates joy, deep profound gladness.
2. Taking our eyes off ourselves or other people is the grounds for joy.
3. Being a vessel made useful and considered worthy by God in His grace to cause change in other people is foundational to joy.
c. Note Paul’s mindset (18)
1. He could rejoice in the Gospel going forth regardless of intentions.
2. He could rejoice in the Gospel regardless of his circumstances.
3. He rejoiced in what the Gospel could do: save people even if that wasn’t the real intention of the messenger.
4. Remember: joyful people serve to save; miserable people serve to enslave.