All of the sermons from the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference are available here. Over the next few weeks we will be posting the video from each sermon here at SBC Voices along with the text for that sermon from the CSB and some notable quotes from the sermon. Let us know in the comments what you most enjoyed and appreciated from each sermon.
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. 14 Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly. 15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice 19 because I know this will lead to my salvation through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of my coming to you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound.
The sermon in a statement: “The gospel loves to advance down the avenue of adversity.”
“The pastor’s suffering is not just vigorous, it is vicarious. We often carry the suffering of others.”
“Adversity is not a roadblock, but the avenue on which the gospel travels.”
“Despair doesn’t grow out of bad occurrences. It grows out of a bad outlook on the things that occur.”
Implication #1: If your hope is tethered to the gospel, you are provided with an unsinkable joy.
“Unsinkable joy comes from recognizing that the gospel advances down the avenue of adversity.”
One of the most powerful moments of John’s sermon was when he quoted Jupiter Hammon, a freed black man, who gave an address to slaves in New York in 1787. Here is the part of that address quoted by John:
Now, my brethren, it seems to me that there are no people that ought to attend to the hope of happiness in another world as much as we. Most of us are cut off from comfort and happiness here in the world, and can expect nothing from it. Now seeing this is the case, why should we not take care to be happy after death? Why should we spend out whole lives sinning against God; and be miserable in this world, and in the world to come? If we do this, we shall certainly be the greatest fools. We shall be slaves here and slaves forever. We cannot plead so great temptations to neglect religion as others. Riches and honors which drown the greater part of mankind, who have the gospel in perdition, can be little or no temptation to us.
“Look for something that will stop the advancement of the gospel and you won’t find it.”
Implication #2: If your hope is tethered to the gospel, you are provided with an unshakable resolve.
“Death robs us of everything except for Christ.”
“Joy doesn’t come by our own strength or resolve but by being tethered to Christ.”
“Circumstances are: inconsistent, unreliable, and unpredictable. Your Savior is the opposite of those things.”