Sermon:  A Godly Disposition  

Summary:  There are many challenges to our faith that can paralyze us with fear 
and doubt, but if we make God the center and basis of our life, we can have an 
unshakable joy in him, a settled and peaceful disposition regardless of life's 
circumstances, and can think positive and excellence in all things because God is 
bigger than our struggles and will not only see us through them, but use them for 
his purposes.  

Know:  Our attitude and disposition is directly connected to our relationship with God 
and our faithfulness to Him and his mission.

Feel:  Confidence and joy in the Lord as he works through us

Do:  Evaluate the place of God in all areas of your life, and how your disposition is 
related to the place God occupies in your life.  Discuss how disposition is related to 
mission and faithfulness in the life of a congregation.  Identify obstacles in the disposition 
you are to have as a Christian, and initiate a plan to remove those obstacles.

Text:  Phil 4:4-9

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 98:1-4

1.  How many of you like fish?
	a.  Comes in many forms - Fried catfish, baked cod, sushi, etc.
	b.  Some fish does not look edible - Who though of eating shrimp, lobster?
	c.  Then there are some really strange fish you really wouldn't want to eat
2.  The Moses Sole - Ever seen what they look like?
	a.  Calm looking fish that lives in the Red Sea
	b.  There is a myth that while Moses was splitting the Red Sea, this poor 
	      fish was caught in the middle and was split in half.
	c.  Pardachirus marmoratus, also known as the finless sole or the Moses sole 
	     is a small fish from the Red Sea that secretes a milky substance from the base 
	     of its dorsal and anal fins. This substance is known to repel sharks. This poison  
	     is known to freeze the sharks jaw. Dr. Eugenie Clark discovered this fact, and  
	     carried out much of the research on this fish. It is now known that scientists are  
	     trying to make a man made version of the fish's defensive toxin, as a spray-on shark  
	     repellent, with the man made version known by the chemical name pardaxin, derived 
	     from the Moses Sole's 'Pardachirus' general name. They appear similar to a flounder.
	d.  Sharks cannot go anywhere near it as much as they want to - Has an 
	      invisible shield around it - so it is a peaceful looking fish
3.  Talk about peace (Mk 1:15, 17; 8:31; 9:31; 10:32; 14:50)
	a.  Confused, fearful, they ran
	b.  Need disposition of the Moses Sole
	c.  What can you do?
4.  (Phil 4:4-9) - Tells us how we can have peace

I.  (v.4) - Rejoice in the Lord Always
	A.  Greek Syntax says that this is a continual rejoicing
		1.  Paul says "always" to emphasize it
		2.  Then he repeats himself
		3.  Our very lives should be characterized by joy
	B.  Is it possible to do this?
		1.  What if…You lost your job, Failed a class
			a.  Car wreck on the way home, broke your nose
			b.  Insurance expired
			c.  House burned down, dog ran away, bad hair day
			d.  Your preacher says to you, Rejoice always!
		2.  Was Paul overly idealistic?  Out of touch?  Did he understand?
			a.  Where was he when he wrote this?
			b.  (Phil 1:12-13) - Paul writes this from prison!
		3.  How was Paul able to have this disposition?  
			a.  Basis of his joy -- In the Lord
			b.  Did not merely say, "rejoice"
			c.  Joy was in the Lord
		4.  (Phil 1:12-18) - Joy based on God, not life's circumstance
			a.  Even in prison, God was working through him
			b.  Didn't have his own agenda, only God's
			c.  His agenda matched God's agenda
			d.  No matter what, he was able to rejoice in the Lord
	C.  ILL:  I knew a Christian named Randy
		1.  Most prominent feature was…his smile - always seemed happy
		2.  Been through some really rough times in life
			a.  Lost a parent
			b.  Often an outsider
			c.  Financial difficulties off and on
		3.  He was full of joy because he allowed God to use him
			a.  Always bringing people to Christ
			b.  Part of it had to be his disposition
		4.  If God's will was not central to his life, probably no joy
			a.  If he wasn't focused on doing God's will, no joy
			b.  If he didn't bring people to Christ, no joy
			c.  He would be wrapped up in himself
			d.  BUT, that was not Randy.  His joy was in the Lord
	D.  The same is true for us
		1.  We are to rejoice IN THE LORD
			a.  Not in a big paycheck, having lots of things
			b.  Not in having lots of friends or popularity
			c.  Not in anything of this world
		2.  Our agenda needs to match God's agenda
			a.  Need to say, "my joy is in serving God, & serving others!"
			b.  Even if in prison, I can still rejoice
				- God can and does work through us there
				- God works through us anywhere
		3.  Can say, "Look at what God has done in my weakness!  Wow!
		4.  ***If this happens, then we can do what Paul says next…  

II.  Have a Forebearing Spirit
	A.  Other translations:  Gentle, forbearing spirit, considerate
		a.  Idea is a patient, settled disposition
		b.  Your cage doesn't get rattled 
		c.  Why?  The Lord is near
			- If he "feels" far away, remember this passage
			- Don't rely on your "feelings" but on the promises of God
			- God has promised never to leave us or forsake us!
		d.  So, we can have a forbearing spirit because we know He is near
	B.  How do you let this disposition be known? (v.6)
		1.  Be anxious for nothing
			a.  Anxiety is:  Obsessive, incessant worry
			b.  Useless preoccupation about what you can't control 
			c.  ILL:  Like woman who worried about dying from cancer
				- Lost many nights of sleep worrying about it
				- Died at age 82---- of pneumonia!
			d.  What is the problem with anxiety?
				- Other than stealing your joy, or your health, etc.
				- Demonstrates lack of faith in God, it is godless
				- (Mt 6:25) - Birds and lillies no stress illness, etc.
				- ILL:  One bird to another - What is wrong with these 
				   stressed out humans?  Other bird - Perhaps they 
				   don't have a God to care for them like he cares for 
		2. Pray with thanksgiving
			a.  In EVERYTHING by prayer & supplication
			b.  Even when making your requests
			c.  God cares and knows
	C.  ILL:  Prayer of serenity:  
		1.  Serenity another word for peace, a "settled disposition"
		2.  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
		    the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know 
		    the difference.
		3.  That is the disposition to have
	D.  Anxiety fights against your faith
		1.  Keeps you from talking to lost people, from serving God, from 
		     trying and failing, from getting hurt
		2.  Keeps you completely "safe"
		3.  Anxiety doesn't keep you safe, only God does
		4.  **It is a matter of godly attitude…
III.  Think of Excellence
	A.  List of things to let mind dwell on
		1.  Some dwell on the opposites of these.  What are they?
			- Mind on whatever are lies, dishonorable, wrong, impure, 
			  ugly, bad things, nothing worthy of praise
		2.  Result is a sour disposition - Look like weaned on dill pickle
		3.  Christians are to think of excellence
	B.  ILL:  Two birds - Hummingbird and Vulture
		1.  Both fly over nations deserts
		2.  What do they each see?
			a.  Vulture only sees rotting meat, death
			b. Hummingbird sees colorful blossoms of desert plants
		3.  Why?  It is what they look for
			a. Vulture fill self with what stinks, is rotting, is dead and past
			b. Hummingbirds lives on what is now, on freshness, life
		4.  We find what we are looking for
	C.  If true, then why a problem with rejoicing, forbearance, excellence?
		1.  Doubt
			a.  Doubting your relationship with God
				- Once saved always saved wrong
				- But once saved barely saved is wrong
			b.  Doubting the power of God
				- You have the Holy Spirit to empower you
				- God not ask you to do something without helping
			c.  Jas 1 - “he man who doubts is like the surf of the sea, 
				      driven and tossed by the wind...being a double 
				       minded man, unstable in all his ways”
			d.  One reason people not share faith or serve is doubt
		2.  Dread - A cousin of doubt.  Many things people fear.
			a.  Fear difficulty, persecution, etc.
				- Do not fear them
				- God is bigger than they are
				- God will bring you through any difficulty you face
			b.  Fear failure - A type of perfectionist
			     Knew someone wanted to get it right/perfect
				- Paralyzed him, second guessed everything
				- No room for grace in his life
				- So, usually did nothing.  
				- Do nothing, never fail right?  
			c.  We will not get it perfect - That is why God gives grace
				- God more pleased when try and fail, then not try
				- Look at the Apostles, they tried and failed a lot
		3.  Paralysis
			a.  Doubt and Dread can bring paralysis
			b.  God wants us on the move
			c.  Scripture often says that God goes before us
			d.  Implies that we are on the move
	D.  Always look on the bright side
		1.  God is light, and the light overcomes the darkness
		2.  Bright side always will trump the dark side

1.  Why did Paul say to have joy, forbearing spirit and think of excellence?
2.  Not just so we can feel better - That is self-centered
	a.  Can talk about how it makes you better husband, wife, parent, student, 
	     co-worker, neighbor, etc.
	b.  But want to focus on the strength it gives
3.  Neh 8:10 - Joy of the  Lord is your strength - We can strength
4.  Verse 9, or verse 7 - Peace of God  (like the Moses Sole)
	a.  Gaurd our hearts - Emotional well being
	b.  Minds - Intellectual Doubt
5.  So easy to get worried
	a.  Remember what God did with bunch of slaves in Egypt
	b.  Remember what God did with 300 men and Gideon against the 
	     Midianites (not 300 Spartans who lost)
	c.  Remember what God did to Goliath through David
	d.  Remember what God did through rag tag 12 apostles
	e.  Remember what God did through a Jewish carpenter, suffering servant
	g.  Remember what God did through the early church, poor, marginalized
6.  Doesn't matter how little we are, but how big God is
	a.  So what if we have limited resources
	b.  If God can accomplish his will through slaves, through 300, through a 
	     boy, through uneducated fisherman, through a suffering servant
	c.  He can accomplish much through us
7.  Take away resources, what do you have to rely on?  FAITH!
	a. (1 John 5:4) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this 
	     is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
		- Not our money, building, education, skills, etc.
	b.  If you lose everything and left with nothing but faith - It is more than 
	c.  Ask selves - What does God want me to do?   
		- Perhaps it is to come to him in obedience (invitation)
		- Perhaps it is to help one in need, to be a friend, to show Christ, to 
		  save a lost person

Small Group Questions:  A Godly Disposition

Summary:  There are many challenges to our faith that can paralyze us with fear and 
doubt, but if we make God the center and basis of our life, we can have an unshakable joy 
in him, a settled and peaceful disposition regardless of life's circumstances, and can think 
positive and excellence in all things because God is bigger than our struggles and will not 
only see us through them, but use them for his purposes.  

Open:  (choose one)
- What was the most joyous event or time in your life?
- When you are joyful, who are you most like?  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, 
Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Foghorn Leghorn, Fred Flintstone, Other…


1.  What is the nature of the disposition that Paul instructs us to have in this passage?  What 
is it?  What is it not?  Where does it come from?  

2.  How did Paul model what he instructs in this passage?  (See also 1:12-18) 

3.  What appears to be the source or reason of Paul’s attitude and disposition? 

4.  In what way(s) did this disposition appear to affect Paul in his life?  How might things have 
been different for Paul if he did not have this disposition?


5.  Describe the place God has in your daily routine.  Is it conscious, unconscious, intentional, 
accidental, an afterthought, etc?

6.  Describe your typical disposition, attitude, temperament, etc.  How does the way God fits in 
your daily routine affect your disposition?  

7.  What are some possible ways that your disposition might affect God’s mission through you?

8.  List and describe the obstacles to the disposition you are to have as a Christian.  What would 
it take to deal with those obstacles?

9.  What is God calling you to do right now?