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How to Thrive Spiritually During COVID-19 Isolation

Taylor Hinkle

Description

Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good, but could that be true even in the case of the Coronavirus? What if God was trying to develop different spiritual muscles in His people during this time. What would that look like?

Presenter

Taylor Hinkle

Pastor of two churches in Michigan Conferences and currently serves as the General Vice President of External Affairs for GYC.

Recorded

  • April 4, 2020
    12:00 PM
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Father in heaven loader so thankful that you have blessed us with the ability to be able to meet together on what we think of times past and people were quarantined or isolated they had no ability to connect with one another still and we thank you that we live in a day and age where we can and we can have a sense of church even though we can't gather in each other's presence Father we thank you for your word that still speaks to us especially in times of trouble you give so much advice and wisdom comfort and counsel and so Father we pray that you would help our hearts and our minds to be open to this Lord we recognize as we turn on the news and we read articles online we recognize that we're living in unprecedented times and people are scrambling to know how to relate to it and Father we don't know what the repercussions of all of this sickness will be its impact upon our own physical health or the health of others found it is one thing that we do know that you are a God who cares for us that you're consistent that you can protect us and Father you're one that we can trust and regardless of what happens in this life and Father I pray that during this time of uncertainty we would become more and more certain of our connection with you that you would use this time of difficulty to turn hearts and minds towards Jesus and to have a closer walk with you and a daily living experience crazy take time in your word this morning you would speak to our hearts and our minds that you would allow technology to not get in the way of worship but that we would have the ability to hear your word clearly from your scriptures in Christ's name we pray and then we're going to take some time this morning to look at the book of Philippians. And I want to invite you to turn a flip in for me to be looking at several passages to see morning and the reason why we're looking at Philippi into smarting is because we will recognize that the situation of the book of Philippians is very similar to the situation that we're going through today now there are differences obviously and there's not a direct comparison but there are a lot of principles that we find in the book of flippy em's that are similar to the impact that we're experiencing in our lives now Philippians chapter one flip in chapter one we're going to start by reading 1st 29 in just a moment what we find in the background of the book of flippin says the Philippians as written by a gospel writer or the the Apostle writer Paul and when Paul wrote the book of Philip in that was not his 1st encounter with the church actually years before he ever wrote this book Paul axis stablish the Church of Philip and you can read about the establishment of the Church of Philip in Acts Chapter 16 and getting a little bit more of the information of what was going on in the in the scripture what we understand about the book of polygamous is that when Paul is stablished the Church of Philip I Philip I was not a place that was friendly to true Christianity there was a person going around who was demon possessed a young girl the Bible says and when Paul saw her he cast out the demon of that young girl and you would naturally think that most people would be excited that this girl had been delivered from the demon possession but the people actually became so irritated that Paul would cast the demon out of this girl that they took Paul and they kicked him out of the city and they persecuted him and what then helps us understand is that Philip I was not a place that was friendly to true Christianity it was the correct in the sense that it was a challenge to be a Christian there because of the worldly influences that were going on. When Paula stablished the church and Philip Are you realize that they really needed a church they needed a place where they could gather together that they could fellowship they could experience spiritual blessing but one thing that we also know about the Church of Philip high is after Paul was there for a short period of time which was often his habit he would be there for a period of time to establish leaders like elders and deacons and after establishing that local leadership he would then move on to start work in other churches in other areas well after Paul left challenges started to come to the church of Philip on there were some people who found that it was easier to live a Christian life when Paul was around but when he was gone they felt like it was a challenge to be spiritual and I think this is something each person can identify with there are some people are some situations or some settings where each one of us find that it's easier to have spiritual one if you go to a Christian revival weekend it's an encouraging time but then you leave that weekend and you're back to just normal life and it's easy to fall off the wagon and this is what we see is taking place in full in the book of flippy and that will demonstrate that in just a moment when we come to flip in chapter one be told you that the Church place a fillip I was not a place that was conducive for Christian life and notice what Philip in Chapter one Verse 29 tells us happens with the Church of Philip there flip in Chapter one Verse 29 it says for to you it has been granted on behalf of Kronk's not only to believe in him but also to suffer for his sake. What is this appalls think that these people have now started to suffer for Christ sake what does that mean how do we put them in different words these people started to experience persecution so we realize that Paul in establishing the church did experience persecution and now he's saying hey look you're really joining with me in the same thing that I was doing the same thing that Christ and you are now being partakers and you are also to suffer for his think now we also know that in suffering it's not an easy thing we wouldn't call suffering suffering if it was a joyous experience it's an experience but difficult for the Church of Philip why is experiencing difficulty from without pressures from without that's causing their Christian life to be challenged but then there's also pressures from within and the interesting thing about the Church of Philip is there's no one phrase specifically that says exactly what the challenge is going on there but there are simple phrases that help us to get a picture of what's taking place flip in Chapter 2 plebeians chapter 2 and beginning in verse 2 notice what Paul tells these people it says fulfilled by joy being a like minded having the same love being of one accord and of one mind why would you encourage people to be like minded to have the same love being in one accord one of one month could it be that this is the experience that they don't currently have maybe there's disunity going on will notice but I will get clear verse 3 let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. They were needing to military because they were lacking that in their daily life will flip over to flip the instructor to risk 14 flippy in chapter 2 verse 14 gives us a little bit more of an understanding of what's taking place there and so upon it says do all things without complaining and disputing are you starting to see a pattern here and verse 2 These people were told to be like minded having the same love being of one accord and verse 14 they're told to do things about complaining and disputing will notice Philippians Chapter 4 verse to Flippy in chapter 4 in verse 2 it says I implore you Dia and i am ports to t.p. to be of the same mind in the Lord are you seeing a consistent theme throughout here being of the same mind putting away disputing putting away these these challenges that are coming in a personal way but we start to recognize that Paul gets a little bit clearer with that including Chapter 2 we're going to read that in just a moment is that when Paul was close there the Christian love and sell the ship was was wonderful they were growing and crunch but when their spiritual leader was absent from their present they started to fall back into old habits and to fall away from God. Now I recognize that there are things that are similar in that scenario to where we are today and there are things that are dissimilar number one is that you and I live in a time where we are not only separated from maybe the spiritual leader so to speak the elders and the pastor of the church but you and I are actually separated from each other we're not even able to come together in the congregation and what happens sometimes is when we don't have spiritual fellowship is it easy to drift away from God keepers Chapter 10 verse 23 to 26 brings us out you can take time to read that afterwards but it tells us not to for sake the assembling of ourselves together and the reason why it tells us not to sake the assembling of ourselves together is because there's a natural drift away from God when we don't have that spiritual encouragement what do we do when we don't have the spiritual leadership that brought us so much blessing Well that's really what God gets to and addressing in the church of Philip how is it that they could have a consistent Christian experience even when they don't have the core group of believers or at least their spiritual leader present like they wish they could live in chapter 2 verse 12 I believe God to give the answer very clearly for how it is that they could have a strong spiritual experience even in the absence of their spiritual leader notice what the Bible says here put in chapter 2 in verse 12 it says Therefore my beloved as you have always obeyed not of in my presence only but now was much lower in mine absence now this is interesting why is Paul saying it this way. These people were obeying in his presence but now he's encouraging them to obey even much more in his want and his absence what he recognizes is that now that he's absent from the church that their obedience to Christ is waning but what's the solution that he gives them we actually have passed by the 1st principle that Paul gives them to being able to have an obedient Christian experience even in the absence of their appreciated spiritual leader and notice what is the 1st word of flip in chapter 2 in verse of verse 12 what does it say that says Therefore what is there for indicate therefore is not the way that you start the 1st word of a new book right therefore is the idea of the concluding statement for this reason so what we find here is policy therefore my beloved brother and as you've always obeyed not in my presence only but now much more in my absence whatever he said before was what was going to give them the ability to obey not just when Paul was present but also even after when he was absent so the question is what is that therefore concluding what is it that Paul was pointing to that should be the ability for each Christian to stay faithful to God even when spiritual leadership is lacking turn back to Philip in chapter 2 in 1st son just a couple verses back few verses back. So Libyans chapter 2 and verse fun this is what Paul had just finished saying to the church before he said therefore In other words before he got to the reason as to why they could stay faithful in their Christian experience clip in chapter 2 in verse 5 it says Let this mind be in you which was also in who Christ Jesus who being in the form of God did not consider robbery to be equal with gun but made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bomb servant and coming in the likeness of men now this is interesting we're going to continue reading from verse 8 on words but just so far what we've seen is Paul is encouraging them to have the mind of Christ Jesus and when he encouraged them to have the mind of Christ Jesus in other words think like Christ thinks allows his mind to become your mind to live his life to become your life be filled in consumed with the lives of crimes what part of the life of Christ does Paul highlight to these people. Highlights the humility and the self sacrificing spirit of Jesus notice that what the incentive to it being in the form of God did not consider robbery to be equal with God and other words he was God and it was not something that he was robbing God of His power when he was claiming to be God himself when he was equal with God but because he was equal is gone but the same verse 7 he made himself no refutation taking the form of a bomb servant and coming in the likeness of men we see Jesus humbled himself and he was sacrificing for the good of others. Well known verse 8 and being found in the appearances a man He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even to the death of the cross I mean isn't that some dedication that you and I can learn something from Jesus was so faithful to God that he was willing to lose his life in order to be obedient to the father you know there are some people today who I think would be I think there's probably an increase of people praying in our world today some who may not have prayed for many years and they realize that when dangerous close they start to reach out to God and some people are willing to follow God as long as long as God can prevent difficulty from coming upon them but what we see demonstrated in Jesus is he was willing to follow God even if the difficulty impacted him and took his own luck a great submission to God in His will notice 1st a being found in the appearance of man as we just read he humble himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the Cronk therefore God also has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above everything that is the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of those in heaven and those on the earth and of those under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father and then what's the next word in verse 12 they're for. Therefore my beloved brother and as you have always obeyed not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling now we're going to continue to impact this but let's understand this 1st point vs 5 through 11 Paul points to Jesus the humble self sacrificing obedient loving Jesus is what he shows us the Jesus who is willing to sacrifice himself not because he did any evil but because of the sins of each one of us and what Paul says is he drawled the mind of people back to what Jesus had gone through and then he says this powerful short phrase in verse 12 he just says therefore and other words because of what Jesus has done for you because of Jesus's humility my beloved as you have always obeyed not as in my presence only but now much more in my aunts and you work out your own salvation with fear and trump my friends here's the reality of what God is trying to help us understand our obedience to God in our connection with God our faithfulness to God should not be based on a preacher It should not be based on a spiritual leader our obedience to God should not even so many did based upon a church our obedience to God should be based upon what Jesus has done for us and our appreciation for his sacrifice in our behalf in other words. If we're separated by circumstances from those that we love Paul when he writes the book of flippy and he's in a Roman prison he can't go visit the church of Philip I mean they run into difficulty but even though he couldn't be there he doesn't say well you can't have a spiritual experience because I'm not there with you know he says you can be faithful even much more in my absence because as you reflect upon the faithfulness of gun to you it will cause you to then walk faithfully with him now this is an important point for us to understand because there are many people actually some people who have even messages of them last week who admit that you know it's been a struggle spiritually even since church has been closed which we all can relate to and some people said look I just I missed the spiritual fellowship and I need the help you know the the pressures around the art are all in a worldly pressure and they're all pushing me away from God You know my family isn't really connected with God or my workplace isn't conducive for spiritual growth or what I see on the media isn't helping me to become more holy and we can often blame our spiritual lack upon the missing spiritual element in our life but what Paul says here is that it's important for us to make sure that our spiritual life is not based upon circumstances it's not based upon proximity to other spiritual people even though that's essential when we can happen but what he tells us is that our spiritual experience must be based upon what Christ has done for us and we can find our stability because God is the one who works with us on the same point look back to Philip instructor one of or 6 flippin chapter one and verse 6 Paul continues to help people understand the very similar idea to what we just read he says Being confident of the very thing in other words he's absolutely convinced that this is true being competent at this very thing. That he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ let me ask you question who is it that began the good work in the people of Philip are some people might be tempted to say Well that was Paul who began the good works that Paul's going to continue to work with them until the day of Jesus Christ but Paul's absent years in prison he can't work with them but notice as we look even at that personal pronoun there it's a vain confident of the very thing that he did say that word he there and it has a capital h. indicating that the translators of this understood the same thing that we're discussing now is that the person that they were who had begun the good work in them that he was not just any he but it's the capital he God Himself and if God had begun a good work in them then even if another spiritual leader left or a pastor transitioned or if someone lose that they appreciated that they didn't have the spiritual fellowship that they needed that see God in connection with him he could complete the work that he had started. My friends we can never underestimate the value of church and we realize that all throughout the pages of scripture we can look and see the value of church repeated over and over again Jesus Himself in Luke Chapter 4 verse 16 tells us that as his habit was he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read in other words Jesus was in church every Sabbath keepers Chapter 10 verse 34 and 35 tell us that we shouldn't for safety assembling of ourselves together but the question is what happens when we are not able to meet together it's not just not able to go I don't feel like it today but it's not able to because we recognize the rapid spread of disease what do we do when we can't meet together is this a time where God calls us just to tank spiritually or to kind of coast to try to get through it or maybe Is this a call for God to remember that the core of our spiritual experience must be based on a close connection with him and the blessing we have that even as we spend that time with God we live in a day and age where we can still connect with other spiritually we can have calls like this we can call other spiritual friends or believers and pray together and encourage each other but the point is this an order to live a Christian consistent life and not to have a roller coaster that discos up and down depending upon who your spiritual influences are in order to be consistent spiritually The key is that we have that principle that therefore it's because of what Christ has done for us and because of his faithfulness and as we dwell and think upon that as we spend time in His Word and prayer that's the thing that will keep us faithful even in the absence of other spiritual leader now I think this is very important this is why we've been courage this daily Bible reading plan as a church not saying that you don't have the own things your own things that you're reading but we understand is that unless we're spending intentional daily time in the Word of God It is so easy to drift away but what if we during this time were not able to meet together develop the spiritual habit. Daily and tensional Bible study and prayer you know even on the Facebook site and the web page we're going to have some videos of how do you get more out of your Bible reading what are some principles to Bible study what are things that we can do to gain the blessings that God is intending us to during this time and what if Gun Use this time of the absence from others for us to learn to connect with Jesus while other distractions are removed I think that's the principle that we're finding in flip in chapter 2 verse 12 so far and notice what else we find implicit in chapter 2 verse 12 we want to see 2 more principles and the next 2 verses that help us understand how can we live consistent Christian lives even when we are separated from the spiritual experiences that we greatly appreciate what in chapter 2 verse 12 says Therefore my beloved as you have always obeyed not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence now we're going to look at this next phrase work out your own salvation with fear and trembling now this quest or this phrase has been a challenge to some people who read it so what does it mean to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling my fearful thinking that God won't save me and I have no assurance of that doesn't mean I work out my own salvation that now I'm the one responsible for gaining forgiveness for my sins and doing acts of pendant Well obviously that's not the meaning of this passage because the same one who wrote these words than done inspired to write these words also wrote of seasons chapter 2 verse 8 and 9 who said For by grace you are saved through faith so we're saved through faith but why is it that you and I each individually are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling here's the reality the faith of a single individual can save no one else other than themselves in other words. My faith cannot save my children my wife's They cannot save me my mother states couldn't save my family you know there's no faith that anyone experiences that can offer salvation to someone else but it sense I believe and I have faith in God and in what Christ has offered to me and the grace of forgiveness as I believe then I experience the transforming influence of salvation and God's transformative power in my life there's no nothing that we can do to stave someone else by our own fate now I'm saying we should pray for them we should work for them sure there's those things we can do but just because our names are registered upon certain church books I'm a member of whatever church it might be that doesn't save us our salvation is based upon your decision and my decision to believe in God by Satan to accept the conditions of salvation that's very clearly why the bible tells them Joshua chapter 24 verse that team that we are to choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve. At other words it's not choose for someone else who they will serve but we must make that individual choice and what Paul is pointing people to hear you say number one your faith must be routed to come Jesus but also you need to take that time and you need to meet with Jesus and you need to make sure that your life is right with Him My friends this is something no one else can do for you no preacher no spiritual leader no church members no friends no husband no wife no one to make sure the heart is right with God except our own personal decisions and during this time when we don't have the ability to get out and about as easily as we used to before maybe God wants us to be a time when we can allow him to search our heart where we can ask God to look into our hearts and our minds and to see what we can if we've accepted the conditions of salvation if we really believe in Him by faith if we grasp hold of his promises and believe his work my friends you and I can't depend upon someone else for our spiritual line we have to depend upon Jesus and we have to understand that Jesus is the only one who can give us the strength that we need to look at the last principle done Philippians chapter 2 verse 13 plebeians chapter 2 verse 13 you say well this has been such an encouraging message you're basically telling me that I'm on my own for spiritual life and spiritual growth and that's the encouraging but here's the reality it's encouraging because the pullup in chapter 2 verse 13 it says For it is God who works in you both to will or to desire and to do of His good pleasure my friends the beautiful thought is that yes you and I are on our own for our spiritual decisions no one else can make a decision to save up. But what we also know is that God is earnestly striving to work in our lives he wants to help us he want to come beside us in a system to help us to desire and to do what he wants us to do is the beautiful thing that even though we might feel separated from others we might feel separated from all other sources of spiritual help I believe that we have a God who is able and willing to give us all the strength and grace necessary that we need to experience spiritual victory in our lives look at what the efficient chapter 3 officials Chapter 3 looking at this beautiful promise that Paul also wrote to the Church of the fusion and people have often said that this passage or this a pistol was wrote written during a similar time to the book of Philip eons of seasons chapter 3 notice but the Bible says inefficiency chapter 3 in verse 20 it says now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in a to him to glory in the church but in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever amen my friends here's the thing you might feel discouraged looking at your own spiritual lack or the struggles or the difficulty or discouragement or whatever might be coming the fear that you might be going through but what God wants us to remember is what verse 20 says now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think by friends do you think God wants us to grow spiritually do you think he wants us to have a closer connection with him than we've ever had before I think he wants our faith to be strong Well absolutely and as we ask God to give us those spiritual blessings the promises that he will give us even more than we could ask or even think to ask. And the Bible tells us that it's that power that will work enough and it's that power that helps us to will and to do of His good pleasure and the reason why we share this warning as we realize that it is difficult not being gathered together in the same building maybe finding isolation the devil creeps in and tries to bring discouragement into the spiritual life but just like the people of Philip God believe that he could do something powerful in their lives even in the absence of their spiritual leader look at what God wanted to do as these people grasp hold and grab hold of these principles to believe in Jesus and His sacrifice and come closely connected with him through bible study and prayer as they took individual responsibility for their own spiritual life and as they reflected upon the power of God to work in them both to will and do it because His good pleasure notice what God promised to do in their lives look at verse 14 do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as the lights of the world holding fast the Word of Life so that I may rejoice in the day of crime that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Frontiers was beautiful to me God tells us that if these principles take place and take root in the life that we by His grace will become blameless and harmless children of God In other words that word for blameless is perfect we will walk before God and a beautiful way not because of the presence of the spiritual leader but because of our connection with Christ and it says it will be children of God without fault and we think well you know to be without fault maybe I have to be isolated in the monastery away from all other people because there is no way that I could be without fault in the middle of my circumstances but notice that's not what he says he says that they would be without fault in the mitt in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation my friends we might have influences that are pulling us away from spiritual growth and away from spiritual line and we might be grasping for spiritual leadership in this time but we must remember that our main spiritual leader is Christ and that he's able to give us the strength that we need regardless of what we go through and then it tells us if this is our experience that we can be without fault the myth of a crooked and perverse generation Bersih 15 among whom you shine as lights in the world my friends I believe Jesus truly wants us to be a witness to others in this time that there are many people who are anxious and they're paranoid and they're not finding any hope or light and what God wants us to experience is not only the blessings that come through him but he wants to stand to be a light to others to be able to be a blessing to those who are in need and I believe that as we spend time contemplating the life and sacrifice of the love of Jesus that our hearts will be warm but that that as we take that personal daily time to see what's our connection with Christ and to to look in to working out our own salvation with fear and trembling in other words taking responsibility for that spiritual one. And then as we remember that it's gone who works in us to will and do of His good pleasure I believe that the Lord will give us help and grace that we need in this time of difficulty one of a time where we can pray together and ask God to help these principles to be experienced in our law father in heaven longer thankful for your mercy for your grace and your forgiveness father are thankful for your power and your ability to help us in our time of need so that we're thankful that this coronavirus didn't catch you by surprise you weren't anxious about this you knew what was taking place so that we understand that you did not devise this virus that only sin and destruction comes from the devil nets what we're seeing today but Father you tell us that all things can work together for good and we believe that even then you tell us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials because the trying of our faith produces patience and other words what Satan this intends for destruction and distress but you can actually turn that around and use it for our spiritual blessing. The you don't promise us that we will be without affliction in this life actually your promise that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution father we might even be afflicted by the virus that comes you might protect us we believe you have the power to do that but father what we know is more important than physical protection is that you can protect our souls that you can give us strength that you can help us through this time that we can actually grow closer to you during the difficulties than we could if it was just an easy time Father help us not to waste this opportunity but we pray that you would draw nearer to you than ever before in Christ's name we pray and then. This media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave visit w w w audio or.

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