Gospel Perspective (Philippians 1:12-18a)January 16, 2022 | Brandon Cooper
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Well, good morning and go ahead, grab your Bibles open up the Philippians chapter one we’ll be picking up in verse 12. This morning as we continue in our series, as Attorney Mary Samuel Branko was a mish minister with the Salvation Army, his background 1900 or so and as he passed a saloon one day, a ruffian in the saloon, hurled a brick at his head. And with pretty good aim, I might add, so knocked him out cold nearly killed him. And he was in the hospital, actually, for more than a year as a result of that. Now, that sounds like an objectively bad day, really an objectively bad season since he was there for more than a year. You know, if this had happened to an acquaintance of yours, they posted on Facebook, this is what just happened in their lives. You can read you can read the comments without reading the comments. That’s just awful. I’m so sorry. How terrible all that we would lament appropriately. But is it objectively bad? That’s a question. Because that’s all a matter of perspective, really? What matters most? And how could or how did this contribute to what matters most even, you know, let’s let’s strip the spiritual out for a moment here. Even if you’re only most concerned about your health, there is a sense in which that could be a good day. Because if in the process of doing scans on your brain, because you had a brick top of your head, they discovered that you had a brain tumor, and they were able to get to it in time to save your life. You might go. Alright, I’ll take the brick, I guess it worked. Or what if something else matters more, though, that’s what we’re going to pick up this morning. Paul is in a brick in my head sort of season right now he is in prison in Rome, as we talked about last week. And that sounds objectively bad, but not so fast. Because it’s all a matter of perspective, what matters most. We started looking at this last week. So last week, I gave us kind of our theme statement for Philippians as a whole, to advance the gospel, we must emulate Christ. And Paul, by the way, despite opposition for our joy and God’s glory. Well, what matters most what’s the aim in that statement? That first part is to advance the gospel in order to advance the gospel? Could bricks advance the gospel? Could bricks advance the gospel in us? As we love Christ more and through us, as more love Christ as a result of our ministry for his sake? Because if so, maybe it would be cause for joy? Even so the question we need to tackle as we dig in, so we’re gonna look at two sets of bricks this morning enemies outside the church, enemies inside the church. Let me read verses 12 to 14, first of all, as we talk about the enemies without now I want you to know brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me is actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard to everyone else, that I am in chains for Christ. 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. Okay, now let’s remember that Paul is here he’s writing a friendship letter. And there were set forms for friendship letters in Greco Roman society, like you would study this in school very different from what we learned today, right? But here’s the art of letter writing. And so he’s been following these social conventions so far, Paul, he just, he’s doing it in a way that’s been transformed by the gospel we saw that last week with the greeting for example, he doesn’t say greetings he says Grace instead we saw that with the Thanksgiving not thanks for the money you sent me but I think my God for you. Well, what happens in a typical friendship letter after that prayer or that wish remember it would normally go something like I pray this finds you in good health. What happens right after that the next thing you do is you catch them up on your life. What’s going on? This is like a Christmas card. We just did Christmas card season. Some of you by the way, still haven’t picked up your Christmas card. So we’re still waiting Christmas card season apparently. This is what you do you say Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful blessed season. Charisse is doing ballet Addy does figure rollerskating dad gets more handsome with every passing a year. Just I’m in charge of the Christmas Card Writing obviously, in my household.
What I love about Paul, is that Paul, when he turns to this point in the letter, he is so caught up in gospel work that to talk about his life is to talk about God advancement. That seems significant to me, because you see what matters most to people, when you hear them talk about their lives. So somebody comes up to you you haven’t seen in a while, how you doing? I’m doing great. I had my best quarter yet. Okay. So we’re driven by performance at work, or maybe profit or something like that. Yeah. How you doing? I’m still single. Okay. We’re focusing on relationships here. How am I doing Arsenal was just dumped out of the FA Cup in the first round. How do you think I’m doing? Direct quote from my household this week? Look at verse 12. Because what does Paul say here? He doesn’t say, Woe is me, somebody just tossed a brick in my head. No, what he says is, hey, the Gospels advancing. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. It’s all a matter of perspective. A lot like Joseph, what Julie read for us earlier, what we read together, really, you intended this to harm me, but God intended it for good to do exactly what he’s doing right now, which is a lot of good things. Now, it took Joseph a while to see that good, you know, as he’s rotting in prison for decades, and slavery before that might take us a while might actually never see it until glory. But In Paul’s case, he can actually see this good unfolding in real time. And that’s what he talks about. So we see two results here, the two ways that the gospel is advancing one’s inside the church, one’s outside the church. So the first result outside the church, it has become clear to all of the palace guards, that he is in chains for Christ. So all the people in charge of his imprisonment, realize this is about Jesus. It actually reads literally not that I’m in chains for Christ, but I’m in chains in Christ. I think that’s significant, actually. Certainly, Paul is in prison because of his faith because of his mission work. But more than that, he’s saying I’m in chains. Because I am in Christ, his chains he sees as a manifestation of His disciple ship. As long as we’ve been talking Bonhoeffer already today, cleric, we could talk about the cost of discipleship, which is what Bonhoeffer wrote all about. When Christ calls man, he bids him come and die. So this is an expression of discipleship. Right here, he has taken up his cross, Paul, or to borrow a phrase he’ll use later in the letter, he’s participating in the sufferings of Christ. That’s part of what it means to be in Christ. So these trials, this suffering on behalf of Christ is an expression of discipleship. And how we respond is how we show how we trust. If we’re responding well, in these trials, when we suffer on behalf of Christ with boldness and with love, we can advance the gospel uniquely. Part of that I’ve said this before, but it’s still true. Look, when you’re going through something, like a really hard time people have to listen to you. Right? Like you just earned that right? For sure. So you’re going chemo treatment or something like that. And people say how you doing? If you want to talk to them about Jesus, guess what? They will have to listen. Nobody’s gonna say, Well, hang on now. You’re like, kind of coming at me strong here. When you back off. I
didn’t ask about your faith, you can be like, Okay, if that’s what’s getting you through this, I’m happy to listen in this moment. So there’s this unique opportunity that we have an A willingness to suffer for Christ, specifically to suffer in Christ demonstrates as well, the the genuineness of our faith, how firmly we hold it was Richard Wurmbrand, he founded voices of the martyrs. He was a prisoner in Romania, under the the Communist rule there. And he had very much a Philippians. One sort of experience, like all these guards kept coming to Christ, because he was there. And so the higher ups kept coming to him and being like, Look, if you keep this up, we’re going to kill you. That was meant to scare him. What he said instead was, Oh, that’d be great. Why? Because he’s got all of these messages going out to all of Romania, and really all of Eastern Europe at that point. And he said, If you kill me, you will baptize that message in my blood. And people who might have been interested in what I was going to say, will be wrapped, because they will know this matters so much. I was willing to die for it. And they’re gonna take it seriously. And by the way, the communist decided not to kill him as a result. They didn’t want that to happen. But that’s the perspective that we have. If what matters most is gospel advance, that changes our perspective on trials. It’s not that the trial is good. I’m gonna keep saying that. It’s not that the trial is good, but it’s that God will use that trial for good. It’s exactly what Joseph said again, that’s Paul’s point. In Chains. Yes. Okay. He’s in chains bad. Okay, sure. But now everybody knows about Jesus. And every new guard that has changed me as a new opportunity for me to tell somebody about Jesus. This is his oil, cause we use that language here that Greek word for sphere of influence, right? So who are the people that God has placed in your life, so that you can share the gospel with them? Well, In Paul’s case, it was really easy to see the guy that was chained to him that day, that was his only cost right then and there, but that’s what he’s doing. I’m making it sound really easy. But put yourself in Paul’s place for a moment. Like, let’s not romanticize or spiritualize, this moment, he’s in chains, like picture, the bruises, the raw skin, on your wrists, and on your ankles. What it would do to you to have no change of scenery as you’re under house arrest for all those months, the meager meals and all the rest. Right, your unfiltered Christmas card that year. Do you sound like Paul? And if not, why not? Because we could. Paul doesn’t have anything that we don’t have the gospel, the Spirit, the Word of God. We have it too, because it’s all a matter of perspective, what matters most is the gospel advancing? Because if so that is caused for joy. So that’s the first result. The second result, just inside the church. Let’s read verse 14, carefully, because verse 14 is crazy. I’ve told you this before I love this book, because this book is filled with crazy things that make you stop and think for a moment. Here’s verse 14. 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. That should shock us, right? There’s a growing boldness in evangelism because Paul is in prison for doing evangelism. You see what I mean? Crazy. The guy preaching the gospel is now in prison for preaching the gospel. So what comes next? We started preaching the gospel. That’s not what you would expect here. But that’s exactly what happened. Why? Because in God’s providence, persecution, often emboldens the church. It’s almost as if you’re seeing people count the cost, and you go, I can count that cost, too. It’s like it’s what God uses to stir his people to action missions so often explodes after a martyrdom, think back to when Jim Elliott was killed along with his colleagues. And what happened, people were like, Okay, I can do that. They signed up to go on the mission field, you read through gates of splendor, the account of their martyrdom, and people go, that’s what God used to call me into missions.
So that’s what happens here as well. This is why by the way, I’m popular as I am, as a result, why I welcome some of the cultural changes that we’re seeing today to cultural pushback against Christianity and against the church, because it means we’re gonna have to count the cost and in counting the cost, we’ll see, okay, we can count the cost. It’s gonna like trim the fat from a very cushy and lazy church, we’re gonna get fit when it comes to evangelism. One of the thing I love about verse 14, too, is the Bible’s realism. Like, it doesn’t lie to us. Notice that it doesn’t say all the brothers and sisters became confident, just most of them. Some got scared. Okay, that’s what happened. It’s real. The Gospel advances. Nevertheless, I need to say one more thing before we press on to the next point, though, Paul here is not just reporting. Okay, Paul is not just saying, Here’s what happened to me last year in my Christmas card, something like that. Now he’s setting himself forward as an example, to imitate. And that’s part of our theme for Philippians as a whole, to advance the gospel, we got to imitate Christ, we got to imitate Paul, as well as Paul imitates Christ. The Philippians are also suffering. I mentioned this last week, we’re going to see it in the text in two weeks. But for now, you just got to trust me on this. Nero is persecuting Christians in Rome. And remember how tied Philippi is to Rome, like a lot of emperor worship there and stuff. And so this is significant, it would be very easy to become quiet. In the midst of persecution like that, like the the self preservation instinct kicks in, almost automatically. Let’s not talk about Jesus our Lord and Savior to a group of people who like to call the emperor that this could cause conflict. Let’s just be quiet instead. But no, Paul saying it’s all a matter of perspective, what matters most. Like Paul, we need To view our circumstances through gospel glasses, so that when people ask us, How are you doing? The question we actually hear, especially when we’re talking to Christians, but to non Christians, as well as how is God using your life circumstances, to advance the gospel in you, as you love Christ more and through you, as you help more people to love Christ, because you could complain in trials, you could grow better. You could doubt God’s goodness or his power, you could grow insular, a lot of us do that. Or you could look at the bigger picture, and what’s happening in the kingdom of God. And by the way, when I say this, again, I just want to be so clear here, I’m not saying this as easy. It’s easy to say very, very hard to do. But possible, in Christ is the gospel advancing. And that’s good. We can rejoice even when it’s hard, even when you got a brick bouncing off your head. So there’s the enemies without second point then enemies within the opposition Paul’s experiencing from within the church, we read verses 15 to 18. A, it is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry but others out of goodwill, the latter do so out of love knowing that I’m put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I’m in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true Christ is preached, and because of this, I rejoice.
Alright, so we wrapped up the last point by saying many more are now boldly proclaiming Christ without fear. But Paul has to admit that not all of them are doing it for the right reasons with the right motivations. Some of these brothers and sisters see an opportunity with Paul’s imprisonment. So these are Christians. I mean, he did just call them brothers and sisters, but they are opponents at the same time. This is a bit of a challenge. Now remember, Paul’s setting himself forward as an example to imitate not just in how he responds to the trial, but also in terms of unity in the church, and there is disunity in the flippin church, we will get to that. So how do you respond? How do you respond to disunity? How do you pursue unity? What is going on here? Most likely what’s happening here in Rome? What Paul is talking about is it’s a question of how much of the Jewish law the Gentiles have to keep. That was certainly the fight that was going on. You can read about it, you know, an axe, especially early on chapter 15, things like that. But you also see it in Paul’s letter to the Romans G would have written just a little while before this. So probably what’s happening at this point, but you can see then that these are truly factional lists. And this is a significant issue. I mean, Paul rebukes Peter publicly, because of a disagreement on this point. So this is significant. Galatians is all about significant issue, real factionalism. At this point, it’s tough to think of an example that would be maybe more current, but maybe something like the difference between those who see the church is under the authority of Scripture, and those who see the church as an authority alongside Scripture, the difference between, say Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, for example, that’s a significant difference is going to lead to some really different places. And so you can understand there’ll be people going, No, I would prefer that this view gets advanced than not that view. Or maybe if you want to feel a little bit of the divisiveness of this discussion, a good example today, although I don’t think it would rise to the same level of importance would be critical race theory, and what role does it have to play in forming disciples? Do we need to be drawing from this to understand some of what our culture engages in? Or is it a pernicious evil, springing from an atheistic route? Not gonna answer the question, but you can understand, like, people got opinions, they’re right. Okay, so people got opinions here. That’s what Paul’s talking about. And some of these people are going great. That guy’s gone so we can advance our view at this point. In fact, they probably read Paul’s imprisonment as a vindication of their view. Paul’s being judged for preaching a false gospel, and now our view can prevail seems to be what verse 17 is about. So most likely, that’s what’s going on. Honestly, it could be pettier than that. Like, no need to dig that deep. This could just be somebody who’s going. There’s a charismatic celebrity off the scene. Somebody’s got to fill that void. That just means I get the book deal now. You hear I hear from veteran pastors. regularly some of my friends who are further along this path than I am, who just despise past oral conferences, just hate them. This is a little things have changed, but especially at the height of the Church Growth Movement, this was this was very true that every conversation always began with how big is your church? Because that’s the measure of how fruitful you are as a pastor, you know that right? How big is your church, and then everybody’s just either envy or delight, envy because I can’t believe that person has got a bigger church than I do, considering he’s an idiot. And then delight because that person that I never really cared for sure enough, got caught up in scandal, or his churches suffering or whatever, whatever, whatever. Just shocking, but very real. I’m not immune to this, by the way, speaking as your pastor, especially if I’ve got disagreements with somebody, absolutely, I can feel envy. Success should be mine. He’s an idiot. I’m much smarter than he is. Or a little bit of light. See, I told you, he was an idiot. This explains it. I’ve got the proof now. So I’m not immune to this. But here’s the thing. You’re not immune, either. You’re not immune. It might not be ministry that we’re talking about here. But it is still a matter of gospel perspective. on whatever issue it is that we are talking about. Maybe it’s career, maybe it’s relationships, maybe it’s parenting, that one would never happen, right? Those kids are doing well. And my kids are
envy or delight or, or it could just be ease of life. God does not measure out trials equally. And so you sometimes look at people you’re like, how is your whole life just smooth sailing? And me? I’m like, Oh, thank goodness, it’s only a squall today. And so you start to feel that envy or delight. I deserve whatever they have more. But But no, it’s a matter of perspective, what matters most. Is this trial, or even just a lack? You know, just as well, they got more good stuff than I did is that maturing you in Christ so that the gospel is advancing in you if so, you can rejoice. This is exactly what Paul does. He says I’m rejoicing. Because of this, I rejoice because of, even though he’s in chains, with a group of divisive preachers trying to undermine him and his gospel. I can rejoice. Goodness is bad. What they’re doing is bad. It is truly bad. We got to be clear about that. I know it’s easy to read this and go I guess it doesn’t matter your motivations when you’re preaching Christ. No, that’s not what Paul is say. We know that because we have the rest of the New Testament like read Jesus on religious leaders who are there for personal gain. Read First Peter, Second Peter, Jude about those sorts of things. Like clearly this is actually bad. It is bad for them what they are doing, they will be judged for this, but it’s still good for the gospel. That’s the point. Let me give you an analogy. Maybe that would help what Judas did in betraying Christ was wrong. kFS Pilate, the people who crucified Christ is executioners. That was bad. And it was really good for us that they did it. Because that’s our salvation. And there’s a Paul saying, Bevin, we want to talk about them. Like the letter I’m gonna write to them sounds different. But you know what, at least the gospel is going forward Christ is being preached and that is the key to his joy. Don Carson makes a great point about this, quote them a little bit longer quote, but he says Paul’s example is impressive and clear. Put the advance of the gospel at the center of your aspirations, our own comfort, our bruised feelings, our reputations are misunderstood motives. All of these are insignificant in comparison with the advance and splendor of the gospel. As Christians we are called upon to put the advance of the gospel at the very center of our aspirations. So what are your aspirations? Take a moment to reflect here. It’s not a rhetorical question. What are you hoping to get from life? More money, fall in love, raise a family. leave a mark in your vocation. None of those are bad aspirations in and of themselves, of course. That is unless they become primary aspirations. If they squeeze gospel advance to the periphery, in which point it’s idolatry. This is why Jesus taught us to pray very carefully. Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your kingdom come, then we can talk about my little fiefdom. Afterwards, I’d love some daily bread, that kind of stuff. Your kingdom your will. First. This is a question we need to ask ourselves. As individuals, what our aspirations really are, it’s a question we need to ask as parents as well. I see a trend in parents that we often wish lesser things for our children. That is, we’ve reached a point in our maturity where we know that certain things don’t actually matter that much. And yet we raise our kids to pursue those first and foremost, things like money, which can cannot buy you happiness. The difference in happiness levels between a 1200 square foot house and a 3200 square foot house is nil. In fact, statistics would seem to indicate you’ve actually got a better shot of happiness and a 1200 square foot house. And yet here we want our kids got to get the best grades, get the best college get the best career so that they can do the thing that will not bring them everlasting joy. The question we got to ask ourselves as parents the question for churches, too, isn’t it? Like, what do we is this local expression of the Body of Christ want most?
Want our attendance to go up? bigger budget, reputation in the community? Are those bad aspirations? No, still no. Hey, if more attendance means more people are hearing the gospel. That’s a good thing. The bigger budget means we get to be more generous, compassionate to those needs. It’s a good thing if our reputation is because we’re actually doing gospel work and community and community recognizes that and they’re willing to listen to the gospel as a result. Sure. But if we pursue attendance as the aim or the budget as the aim, and the gospel advances sort of a well, that’s how it gets done. Alright, but if not, no big deal, but we’re way off track now. So when we start to ask ourselves questions like that, then that takes us back to an earlier question two, like how, how do we know how we’re doing? How do we know what we value? Most? How can we actually evaluate if the gospel and gospel advance is at the center of our aspirations? Check your prayers. That’s one place when you’re in a trial is your first prayer, Lord, get me out of the circumstances? Or do you sound more like Jesus and get seminary we talked about this last week, Lord, if it’s possible, take these chains from me. Get not what I will, but what you will be done. And if the gospel is gonna advance through my chains, then Lord strengthened me to endure. So check your prayers, course check your schedules. seems like an obvious one, check your bank statements. Another obvious one, check your habits, as well. These are the places where we can go okay, I can claim that the gospel advances at the center of my aspirations. But is there any evidence that would convict you of that statement, and a court of law that let’s try and pull it all together that what we’ve learned in these just few short verses here? I think the takeaway is that we need to learn to read your circumstances through gospel lenses. Read your circumstances through gospel lenses, and speak of them that way as well. So we have a problem, right? It’s the problem that Paul’s talking about here that we’ve got enemies without an enemies within, that are threatening gospel advance. Of course, they’re not actually threatening gospel advance because God’s Kingdom wins. Again, we’ve talked about this, alright. So but they seem to threaten gospel advance and maybe worse still, they also threaten my sunny disposition. That is, there’s a little of an existential crisis here as well. I don’t care about the gospel advanced because this is just no fun at all. That’s the problem. The Gospel solves that problem. How because what matters most can’t be lost. Doesn’t matter how many bricks get tossed at your head, if you are in Christ, no brick is going to put your in Christ SNESs under threat, no chains will keep you from the Father’s hand. So what matters most can’t be lost. And by the way, can actually even spread despite trials or maybe even especially during trials, as the gospel advances in us and through us. That changes my approach, remembering that, and even helps me keep my sunny disposition, my joy, no longer under threat like Paul knowing that it’s a matter of perspective, what matters most? What is happening to the Gospel, in my circumstances. I mentioned that we should learn to read our circumstances that way, but to learn to speak of them in that way. Also, I check your speech to in part because the gospel advances through our proclamation. And so the way we talk is going to matter a lot when it comes to gospel advance. It’s not just a question of inward attitude. But again, when people say how are you doing? Like, let’s see how you answer what determines your answer in that moment, by the way I’d want to be really clear here. I don’t think pious platitudes are the answer. Like it’s very easy to just go rejoicing in Christ. And people are just like, okay. That’s not helpful. Like, I know what you just went through. Speak honestly, because Paul’s perspective here doesn’t mean that pain doesn’t hurt and sorrow isn’t sorrow. Jesus wept. God has a scroll the psalm say, in which he records our tears. Not every tear is wholly not by any means. But a lot of them are, God cares, God pays attention to them.
So we don’t want to pilot joyful speech means we can’t express grief or anguish or anything like that. No, it’s just that no matter how deep the river of sorrow goes, the Gospel joy is still the bedrock on which that stream flows. So put on your gospel glasses, because that transformed vision will lead to transform speech, and a gospel advance in shocking ways. Quick word to those of you who are here who may be skeptics or seekers, not been a ton for you in this sermon, I will grant because if you’re not convinced of the truth of the gospel, probably not overly concerned about the advance of the gospel. That’s a fair point. So what can you take away from this, I have thrown down the gauntlet for us. So here’s my challenge to you is listen to what we say. And so church, I hope you’re listening to what I just said to that means that they’re listening to what you say. I hope that you see an abiding joy among the Christians, you know, even in desperate circumstances, and then that joy communicates the essence and power of the gospel. I go look around this room, some that aren’t here right now. And I know that we have people in this church who are going through it right now. Like it is a hard, hard time. Listen in. And then just consider what that says, remember Richard Wurmbrand. Remember those tapes, you know, baptized in His blood, it’s that same field, look how seriously, we take the gospel, that we could speak like this, and circumstances like these. So Samuel Granville gets a brick toss that his head almost dies, laid up in hospital for 18 months, I’m sure early on, he’s probably just sleeping. But you know, eventually, this is a lot of time to think, to reflect, and eventually to write, as well. And so he writes this little book helps to holiness, that sells 1000s of copies. And already, that’s a pretty big good coming out of this. So his wife actually kept the brick that was tossed at his head, and had it inscribed with Genesis 50, verse 20, you intended to harm me, God intended this for good for what is now being accomplished the saving of many lives. I love that, by the way, because I find that I can often have a gospel perspective towards my trials, but not necessarily towards the trials of my loved ones. So to look at what your husband just went through, and still to have that perspective is tough to look at kids going through that, like you put my kids under threat. I’m praying to a God a wrath in that moment. That’s just my level of Redemption at this point, going to need help. In that moment, God will give me grace, I’m sure in that time, and yet his wife is able to look at it that way. And go, I see the good that God brought, even from this great harm that was done to someone I love after Branko returned to preaching people would come up to him, of course, and thank him for this little book that had made such a difference in their lives, and he would always respond had there been no little brick, there would have been no little book. That’s the idea. That’s Paul’s point exactly. Had there been no chains, there would have been no gospel advance in the Praetorian Guard. There wouldn’t have been that growing confidence and boldness in the church of Christ, Christ would not have been preached in the way that he is. If a brick tossed at your head, is the cornerstone of a new gospel work? Well, in that we can rejoice? Let’s pray. Father, we know that we will go through trials because we live in a broken world. And some of those trials will be immensely difficult. And it will be easy to fall into despair and bitterness, complaining. And so Lord, we pray in those moments that you would give us grace, to see through gospel lenses to remember what matters most and to remember that what matters most cannot be lost, because it is ours in Christ. no circumstances can threaten it. And remember that our trials that you subjugate them to your will even the evil that is done us you subjugate to your will and make it serve our good in your glory. So, Lord, when we go through trials would you strengthen us, glorify yourself, and may your gospel advance as we preach Christ boldly and confidently and lovingly, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.