Audio Excerpts: 2011 Spring Conference
This conference covered the matter of joy in the Christian life, especially as it is seen in the book of Philippians. As Christians, we should be the most joyful people. This does not mean that we are merely happy, but that we live in a state of joyfulness.
Where does our joy come from? The real joy comes from living a life in which we are one with God, with His servants, and with all the saints for the carrying out of God’s purpose.
What a life we have been called to live! No one has such a blessed life as we do; no one has a life that is so meaningful as ours. Realizing that we have been called to such a high existence, and working together with God to fulfill His desire, should surely fill us with joy.
- More Information
CONFERENCE TITLE Joyfulness: The Highest State of a Healthy
VENUE Meeting Hall Number One of the Church in
DATES April 9-10, 2011.
|Download All Excerpts in MP3 Format
If you’d like to listen to these training excerpts online, click on the links below. However, you are also welcome to download the excerpts in MP3 format to listen to them offline, such as on your iPod or other MP3 player, or in your car.
To make it easier for you to do this we’ve combined all of the MP3s into a single zip file that you can access below. (It also contains the synopsis of the excerpts from this conference.)
|Message One, Excerpt One
Joy in Struggling for What God is After
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
Why does Philippians so much stress the matter of joy? It is because in Philippians, we see the apostle and the church struggling together for what God is after. Only when we have such a struggle can we really experience joy.
In Proverbs 8 we see God carrying out His purpose of creation in time, with much rejoicing. Whenever we experience God’s working in our life, such as his provision for our practical needs, we should receive it with eternity in view.
3 minutes 0 seconds • 0.9 megabytes
|Message One, Excerpt Two
An Example of Enjoying Grace
The more we serve the Lord, the more mistakes we’ll make. But, as we repent and deal with our failings before the Lord, He comes in to encourage us. This experience is very sweet, and fills us with grace and joy. What a privilege it is that we can follow the Lord and serve Him in spite of who we are! Through this process we become joyful Christians because we have experienced God’s grace.
3 minutes 20 seconds • 0.9 megabytes
|Message One, Excerpt Three
Joyfulness and Our Struggling Together for God’s Economy in the Realm of the
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.
The fact that the Lord, His servant, the saints, and the local church as a whole are struggling together for the Lord’s testimony is so precious, and it produces joy on the part of both the apostle and the saints.
Paul rejoiced because of the fellowship the Philippians had with him in the gospel. The gospel is not merely something we preach; it is actually a realm for us to abide in. In this realm Christ is our King, we possess salvation along with so many divine blessings, and we are with so many saints. How rich is this marvelous realm of the gospel!
So today we are fellowshipping in the realm of the gospel. This means that we are growing and bearing the Lord’s testimony; we have Christ as our King, we experience salvation, and we have the church life as our enjoyment.
9 minutes 15 seconds • 2.7 megabytes
|Message One, Excerpt Four
A Personal Testimony
In this excerpt Brother Titus gives his own testimony, stating that his life is filled with joy, even though there are also tears. This is based on the fact that as a young man, in 1954, he began to love the Lord, and he had a definite consecration to Him, telling the Lord, “I don’t want anything else in my life besides You and Your economy. Your purpose must control my living and my life all the way!”
Even as we grow older, we will realize that such a life is so meaningful; we will always have a feeling that we have not lived our lives in vain. Even though there are hardships and disappointments, grace always comes, which results in joy. Who else besides those of us in the church life can live such a meaningful life?
4 minutes 55 seconds • 1.4 megabytes
|Message One, Excerpt Five
Why Do We Preach the Gospel?
Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill; the former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
It is easy for us to become competitive, even in our preaching of the gospel. When we preach the gospel it should not be just to gain people for our group, but because we want them to be saved.
However, we should also feel sorry if the ones saved through us go to meet elsewhere, because we realize that in doing so, they have missed the best portion. We are not the Lord, so we can’t tell believers where to go, but we do know what is best.
9 minutes 45 seconds • 2.9 megabytes
|Message Two, Excerpt One
Living for the Church
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
Paul’s view was that if he were to continue to live on the earth, it was solely for the profit of the churches he served. His fate, whether he would live or die, was in his own hands, and he considered what to do in the light of what was most profitable for the churches.
Very few can truly say, as Paul did, that they have “a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil 1:23b). But the crucial point is for us to live for the church; as we have already seen, this is the source of the real joy. As older brothers, we may be bothered by many things, but we must ask ourselves: are we for our retirement or for the church? We should be clear, as Paul was, that our existence is for the profit of the saints and the local churches.
11 minutes 55 seconds • 3.3 megabytes
|Message Two, Excerpt Two
Loving for the Church
To love the church does not mean that we are good brothers or sisters, but that we give our life for the church and for the saints. We may not have the ability to do much, but we love the church and the saints to the point that we live and die for the Lord’s testimony. This is far beyond how good we are.
If we pursue other things we will never be satisfied. But, if we pursue what God is after, we become so joyful, with a life that is full of meaning, and we will also have the sufficient grace of the Lord to make us joyful.
2 minutes 25 seconds • 0.7 megabytes
|Message Two, Excerpt Three
Luminaries in this World
Therefore, my beloved, 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; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
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 lights in the world.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Although salvation is ours already, we still need to work it out.
The church is a light, a “luminary” (Gk.) in this dark age. Even if our meeting is quite small, we can still shine out the Lord’s light to this world. Even if others do not want to receive this light, our light can still not be hidden.
2 minutes 50 seconds • 0.9 megabytes
|Message Three, Excerpt One
Three Negative Things
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
To be joyful is not a condition, but a state. In this state we need to beware of three things, both from others and from ourselves.
First, Paul warns us to “beware of the dogs.” Just as a dog likes to be with his owners, yet does not have the same life, so in the church life some do not focus on God to partake of His life, yet insist on being a part of the church life. If any Christian group focuses on something other than Christ, such as entertainment, it becomes a place for the “dogs.” Our gatherings should only focus on, minister, and supply Christ. The “evil workers” are those who produce the things other than Christ in the church life, while the “mutilation” are those who attempt to overcome their weaknesses by their own effort.
11 minutes 15 seconds • 3.3 megabytes
|Message Three, Excerpt Two
Focus on the Things that are Eternal
I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
— Philippians 4:2-3
How can we come out of our small concerns? It is by focusing on the things that are eternal. If we focus on the things of time, we will always be offended, but if we have eternity in view, we will realize that everything we insist on means nothing.
4 minutes 10 seconds • 1.2 megabytes
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