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Genuine Fulfillment
07/08/2012
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Philippians 4:1...
Track 10 of 15 in the Paul: Grace & Strength Mixed Together series
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That statement rest on a critical foundation of reality, from genuine fulfillment comes the strength to bare and deal with the extremes in life. Paul testified to the Philippians that in his ministry he experienced the extremes in life that comes to every person intent on sharing the Gospel to others. There were good times and then there were the evil times. In both situations, he was able to do his job because of the genuine fulfillment he experienced through Jesus.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Genuine Fulfillment

Have any of you experienced in your life genuine fulfillment? Is it even possible to experience…it is only a goal and not something that can be accomplished? Do any you know what that even means? From the world’s perspective? From God’s perspective?

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Of course, the next verse that follows is the great statement by Paul that everyone knows, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That statement rest on a critical foundation of reality, from genuine fulfillment comes the strength to bare and deal with the extremes in life. Paul testified to the Philippians that in his ministry he experienced the extremes in life that comes to every person intent on sharing the Gospel to others. There were good times and then there were the evil times. In both situations, he was able to do his job because of the genuine fulfillment he experienced through Jesus.

What do you think it takes to achieve or experience a fulfilling life?

Charles Swindoll in his book on the Apostle Paul wrote that there were three essentials necessary for a fulfilled life:

1. A clear sense of personal identity
2. A strong sense of mission
3. A deep sense of purpose

It is clear that when Christians understand and know who they are, understand a clear sense of their mission and understand God’s plan and purpose for their lives are people who experience genuine fulfillment. This doesn’t mean that we will be spared from facing obstacles and problems, it means that when we do face them, instead of stumbling over them, we press on through them.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal”
Henry Ford

How many of us are afraid of doing something daring for Christ only because we are aware of the dangers that are around us? The obstacles might not even be dangerous; they just include “change” outside our comfort zone. In the grand scheme of things, what changes are you totally unwilling to make?

In Acts 13 and 14 Luke records for us the extremes Barnabas and Paul experienced while they were out on their first missionary journey. The extremes were so difficult that John Mark decided to quit. I don’t know about you but I would be hard presses to stay in the game if I endured what they did. I can’t fault Mark for doing that. But it left Paul and Barnabas in a tight spot. As we read some of the situations, we will see Paul’s responses were mixed but his responses were mature. What kept him moving forward in spite of all the obstacles, a clear sense of purpose.

Last week we left Paul and Barnabas on the island of Cyprus. This was a place that had the message of Christ for almost 15 years from people who fled persecution and took the message of the Gospel with them. The very first obstacle Paul ran into was a false prophet named “Son of Jesus”.

Acts 13:6-8 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.

Here is a case where an official on the island was interested in hearing more about the message Paul and Barnabas preached. But the proconsul had a side-kick who was a sorcerer and was successful in keeping the proconsul away from the truth. It is interesting how Paul respinded to this situation.

If you met someone and they invited you to talk with them about Jesus, how would you hand the situation with the spouse blocking your opportunity? In our culture today, what role does tolerance of others opinions play? What about the church, what role does tolerance play in our message? Are we tolerant of multiple ways to Jesus and heaven? What role does righteousness have in our Christian lives today?

Acts 13:9-11 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.”

What is fascinating is what happened to the proconsul, because of Paul’s reaction, he believed in the Gospel. Every one of us are faced with similar opportunities to confront enemies of truth. They come in many different forms. Some are not as bold as the one Paul confronted and some will be more insidious. The question is, what will we do when faced with the opportunity to defend the Gospel? Will we express the truth to those proclaiming falsehoods or will we sit back and be quiet using the excuse that everyone is entitled to their opinion?

Is what Paul did possible for us today? What cause him to be so confident in what he did and expecting the result to happen the way he commanded? Should we expect the same things?

What about when someone quits and leaves you holding all the responsibilities in your ministry? How do you respond to desertion?

Acts 13:13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.

There is not a lot said from Luke on what happened. Luke doesn’t say what made Mark leave but it was not looked upon by Paul as something okay. Latter when it is suggested that Mark go on the 2nd journey, Paul absolutely refused to allow Mark to come. We will see that this desertion didn’t stop Paul from pressing forward. It almost didn’t seem to faze him. There was a job to do and that job had to be completed. Just get it done, no complaining.

Here is something for everyone to understand who is in ministry, there will be people who come and go, who leave for various reasons. It can be very frustrating but it is a reality and can’t keep you from attaining your goal. For Paul, there was way too much to do and little was said to Mark as he left. There were no long drawn out goodbye’s, just move on and keep going. Once you said goodbye, move on and don’t look back.

Acts 13:14-16 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!

Too many of us don’t spend enough time learning about the places the scriptures talk about. We don’t give much thought about them and unfortunately miss so much in what Luke is trying to tell us. The trip to Perga was tough and getting there was not easy. From the coast the trip is straight up over the jagged cliffs on which Perga sat. From there they travel to Pisidian Antioch looking for an opportunity to preach the Word of God. It was a tough climb to get there and Paul wanted to get there in time to preach in the synagogue.

What was Paul’s plan of attack when he entered a city to preach the Word of God? Why did he do this? Do you have a plan of attack and do you have a well defined message when you get a change to speak to someone about Jesus? How do you start off the conversation?

If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure you would go to heaven? Would you like to know?

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

If you were to die tonight and stand before God in heaven; and God asks you this question, why should I let you into my heaven, what would you say?

Paul always started with the Jews. They knew God and they knew what the prophets spoke about. Paul used that message to introduce Jesus to them as the promised Messiah. From there he worked with the Gentiles giving them the same message using the questions we just discussed.

The point to all this today is simple, are you living a fulfilled life; a life that is fully focused on your mission, your ministry? Do you have the three essential elements necessary for a fulfilled life and if not, what are you going to do about it?

Plato once wrote, a life which is unexamined is not worth living. To put it another way, the ministry which is unexamined is not worth continuing. The challenge to all of us is to get serious about what God has called us to do and then do it. Time is wasting and there are souls waiting for you to introduce them to Jesus.