In Uncertain Times

In Uncertain Times

Sermon Notes

We are facing uncertainty at all levels of our human experience.

  • Uncertainty about international politics and war
  • Uncertainty due our climate/weather patterns
  • Uncertainty about the current health crisis
  • Uncertainty about relational challenges
  • Uncertainty about your career
  • Uncertainty about your family relationships
  • Uncertainty about our own identity and place in the world

Some of us are wrestling with uncertainty about God?

Consider this:

  • Having incomplete information (uncertainty) does not mean we are stuck in complete stagnation.
  • Lack of certainty does mean we are forced into a lack of discernment. In fact, uncertainty is what makes discernment so important.

Key Question:

What if I told you that the Bible actually anticipates your uncertainty? What helps your confidence in the Bible?

Background Information on Philippians

  • Paul planted the Church in Philippi and then moved on (c. AD 50)
  • Paul is in placed in prison (c. AD 60)
  • The Church of Philippi is being persecuted (c. AD 62)
  1. Discernment is available to you (even when evil is all around you, Phil 1:27-29)
  • But Paul has a strange path to discernment (1:9-11)

Paul wants some things for you that lead to discernment

  • A growing love (v. 9, that is, love for others inside the community, cf. vs. 3-5)
    • Notice the pronoun “you” and the phrase “all of you”
    • Consider the three people God used to start this church (Acts 16:11-40)
      • A jailer with suicidal tendencies
      • An extremely wealthy female business owner,
      • and a formally demon possessed girl who was enslaved as a clairvoyance

At the Church of Philippi, weird people were welcomed.

  • A growing Knowledge and Insight (vs 9)
    • Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις) – technical knowledge, often about Scripture, Jesus, or right living.
    • Depth of insight (αἴσθησις) – only used here in the New Testament, has to do with perception of the sense and the mind. This is where intellect and instinct come together.
  • This past results in discernment (Phil 1:10-11)
    • Discernment (δοκιμάζω) – to test a metal, or interview someone to see if he/she is fit for office.
    • What is best
    • What is pure
    • Fruit (results) of righteousness

Review:

Do you want discernment?

Paul’s answer: Invest in loving relationships, and pursue knowledge and insight that is in line with the teachings of Christ.

Application:

Would you consider taking a step to live out Philippians 1:1-11 here at Concord?

  • Join us next Sunday
  • Connect with us online
  • Participate in a class or mission project
  • If not here, please re-connect with a church somewhere

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Rusty lists several things which are uncertain in our present world. What uncertain thing currently creates the most stress in your life?
  2. Sometimes when we’re overwhelmed with uncertainty, we begin to feel a sense of uncertainty about God. Pastor Rusty notes that incomplete information tends to produce uncertainty. How does knowing an all-knowing God understands and anticipates our struggle help us better deal with uncertainty?
  3. In Philippians 1:27-29 the Apostle Paul says we can have discernment even when evil is all around us. How can understanding this reality strengthen our faith and increase our discernment?
  4. Pastor Rusty makes the point from Acts 16:11-40 that God used very unusual people to start the Philippian church, these included: a suicidal jailer, a wealthy female business owner and a formerly demon possessed girl who had been a clairvoyant. What does the fact that God used these three suggest about God using people who may seem “a little weird” in His kingdom today?
  5. How does the reality that God used these three people demonstrate He often uses regular people like us, people who don’t have all the answers?
  6. The Apostle Paul wrote that “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” How can love for others lead us to discover greater knowledge and deeper insight? How can understanding this progression give us you hope amidst the uncertain times in which we live?
  7. Pastor Rusty encourages us to invest in loving relationships and pursue knowledge and insight. Why is it that as we invest in loving others more we can discover peace and discernment even though life’s challenges remain a reality?

LIVE IT OUT

  • Pastor Rusty invites everyone to take a step toward living out this progression of love, knowledge and insight at Concord. Would you consider making a commitment to join us next Sunday in that pursuit?
  • Classes and mission projects offer practical ways to demonstrate love and develop relationships with others which Paul has suggested leads to greater knowledge and insight. Would you make a commitment today to get involved in a class or mission project at Concord during September?
  • Ask God to show you His plan for your life and make a commitment to follow it.
  • Ask God to help you find your place at Concord or at another church?