Sermon Notes: 02/06/22 – Matters of the Heart1

Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:6-11

Blood Drive – Feb 13th, 12-4pm –

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”

“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two:  I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” Philippians 1:22-24

Link in Google Books:  In Jesus’ Strong Hands: Victors Instead of Victims

ILLUS: There’s a legend about a wealthy merchant who traveled thru-out the Mediterranean world looking for an opportunity to meet the Apostle Paul. After a time, he encountered a disciple of Paul’s named Timothy, and Timothy arranged a visit. But at the time (according to the legend) Paul was a prisoner in Rome, living in a jail cell.

  Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a frail old man. But as he talked with him (and they talked for hours) he found Paul to be a man of deep peace and power.

Finally the merchant left Paul… and outside the prison, he asked Timothy “What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before.”

  “Oh, didn’t you know?” replied Timothy. “PAUL is in love.”

  The merchant looked bewildered. “In Love?”

  “Oh yes,” Timothy answered, “Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.”

  The merchant scoffed. “Is that all?”

  Timothy smiled and then replied, “Yes sir. That’s all… but that is everything.”

Link in Google Books:  In Jesus’ Strong Hands: Victors Instead of Victims

Philippians 1:12-13 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ”

“All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” Philippians 4:22 


ILLUS: DARRYL BURTON: In 1984, a drug dealer was shot to death at a gas station in St. Louis, Missouri. The man who shot him was a light-skinned African American male, 5’5” in height. Police looked for suspects and even though Darryl Burton was dark skinned and 5’10” in height, he was summoned to a police line up. Two men came forward identifying Darryl as the murder. Both were awaiting trial, but were given a lighter sentence if they testified that Burton was guilty. Darryl Burton was assigned a public defender who spent only one hour with him before his trial and the jury convicted him in less than an hour. Darryl found himself being sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was assigned to the Missouri State Penitentiary, one of the most violent prisons in the U.S.  

Darryl remembers, “When I heard the jurors say guilty, I felt shock and disbelief. I just didn’t think, in America, an innocent man could be sent to prison, especially capital murder” explained Burton. He clearly remembers a huge banner that hung at the entrance of the penitentiary that said “Welcome to the Missouri State Pen. Leave all your hopes, family, and dreams behind.” “When I saw that banner, it deeply affected me and I lost all hope. I hated the place, the system, and anyone that had anything to do with it. It was hell on earth – filled with violence, evil, and hate.”

Darryl remained in prison twenty-four years from 1984-2009 and spent many of those days in the prison law library, dedicated to proving his innocence. He wrote over 600 letters to members of the government, nonprofit organizations, even Oprah Winfrey to plead his case. However, it was not until he allowed Christ into his life that he began to experience a change. Darryl discovered that anger and hate can be another prison, and that Jesus said we must love our enemies, pray for them, and forgive them. “Until I read that truth in Luke 23:34, I didn’t think that was possible,“ he said. Ten years prior to Darryl’s exoneration, he felt emotionally and spiritually freed. “God had to work something out of me (bitterness and hatred), in order to work something into me (love and grace), in order to do His work through me.”

After learning of a confession from a witness who admitted in 1985, “You have the wrong man, he’s too dark,” Darryl worked with Centurion Ministries to have his wrongful conviction overturned. Darryl often recalls a letter that he wrote to Jesus while imprisoned. It said “Jesus, if you’re real and help me get out of this place, not only will I serve you, but I’ll tell the world about you.”

Darryl now shares his nightmare story of adversity to help others and bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ. Since 2008, he has spoken about forgiveness, redemption, and hope at churches, conferences and lectures around the globe. Seven years after his exoneration, he never takes one day for granted. He didn’t just live for Christ when things were going well.

Philippians 1:29  “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12 

John 15:19 Jesus said: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”


Church Curmudgeon:
“Usually when the writing is on the wall, it portends the death of a culture. But hey, fine, throw out the hymnals and use a projector.“ – CM

Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ— to the glory and praise of God.”


CLOSE: KILL EM WITH KINDNESS  About 6 year ago, famous singer/actress Selena Gomez was going through some major challenges and catching a lot of tabloid criticism.  I love that she was in the midst of all that that she released a song that epitomizes Paul’s words on how to treat the world. Here’s the acapella version of “Kill Em with Kindness.”  Sung by acapella artist, Julia Westin.

The world can be a nasty place

You know it, I know it, yeah

See, we don’t have to fall from grace

Put down the weapons you fight with

And kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em, kill ’em, kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em with kindness

Go ahead, go ahead now

We’re running out of time chasing our lives

Everyday a small piece of you dies

There’s aways somebody you’re willing to fight, to be right

Your lies are bullets, your mouth’s a gun

No war and anger was ever won

Put out the fire before igniting

Next time you’re fighting

Please, kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em with kindness

Kill ’em, kill ’em, kill ’em with kindness


Leave a Reply