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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Thursday-And In The End

 

Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

 

Philippians 4:21-23

 

Everyone’s special. Everyone deserves to be treated well. Everyone you meet was made in the image of God[1]. They were all handmade by God[2]. He died for the whole world[3]. We are to love everyone we run into in this life[4].

 

And that’s all good. It should be our goal to do this each and every day. We should go out of our way to look at and treat people like God wants us to. We need to lift up the poor and those in need[5]. And we shouldn’t treat the rich any different than anyone else[6].

 

But no matter how hard we try, we’ll always have our favorites. There will always be those people that we just have to give a little bit more attention to. For some reason, we just get alone with some people more than others. Something clicks and we connect with them.

 

As Paul ends his letter to the Philippians, he says his goodbyes. He lists all sorts of different groups that need to be mentioned. He sends his greetings to all the Philippians. And he sends greetings from everyone who’s with him. But he only mentions one group in particular. Caesar’s household is the only specific group that the Apostle Paul goes out of his way to mention in his farewell. I’m sure that there were other groups that he had contact with. Others who deserved to be mentioned as a group. Or mentioned by name. But Caesar’s household was it.

 

Now, we have to ask how Caesar’s household heard about Paul. How they met him. How did the most powerful and influential household in all the world get connected with Paul. It wasn’t through their social media feed. No one posted one of his sermons online and they happened to watch it. I’ll tell you how they connected. It happened because Paul was in jail. He wasn’t preaching at The Colosseum where up to 50,000 could hear him preach. It wasn’t that there were billboards with his picture all over Rome.

 

No. They discovered their newfound faith in Jesus because Paul was in chains. He got there because there was a plot to kill him for his faith. And after being arrested, he waited in jail for two years[7] till there was a meeting to figure out what to do with Paul. When asked if he’d go to Jerusalem for his trial, he appealed to be tried in front of Caesar[8]

 

It was through his imprisonment that Paul somehow connected with people who worked for Caesar. Perhaps they met him while he was in chains. Or maybe the guards told them about this guy that they were guarding. Or through some other connection.

 

But no matter, because they did meet Paul, and through Paul they met Jesus. Now Paul wasn’t this beautiful and popular public figure. He didn’t have his own podcast with thousands of followers. He was a prisoner who was guarded 24-hours a day[9].

 

Just imagine what’s happened. God didn’t need for Paul to have a perfect life where everything went his way. It wasn’t because he won the Super Bowl that people heard and listened to him. They didn’t get to hear the good news of Jesus because everything was well organized and things happened without any problems. Just the opposite. It was in and through suffering and imprisonment that he came to Rome. It was because things went wrong from a human perspective that God used them to reach Caesar’s household.

 

So, as we end the book of Philippians, what are the difficult things that God has allowed into your life that he’s using to bring glory to himself? Are you looking at the pain, sorrow, and disappointment as the end of the road? Or could they be an open door that God is using to reach so many new people?

 

If God isn’t God, then there is no hope. No future. Nothing to look forward to other than more pain, suffering, disappointment, and loneliness. It’s a life full of just one awful day after another until we die.

 

But with God, we were made in his image. For a purpose. To have home and meaning all the days of our life. And when this life ends, there’s life everlasting where we’re reunited with the God who made us. Who loves us. Who, in Jesus Christ, died for us.

 

I can’t speak for you, but a life full of hope and joy because God’s in control sure sounds a whole lot better to me than the alternative. So, why not join him now and forever? Right now, where are you reading these words. now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation[10]. What’s stopping you?

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • What makes your special people so special? What do they have in common?

  • Describe how God changed your thinking about something painful in your life.

  • Are you more hopeful now than you were a few years ago? Why? Why Not?


[1] Genesis 1:26,27

[2] Psalm 139:13

[3] 1 John 2:2

[4] Matthew 22:39

[5] Psalm 41:1

[6] James 2:1-3

[7] Acts 24:27

[8] Acts 25:10,11

[9] Acts 28:16

[10] 2 Corinthians 6:2

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