Let Us Maintain a Positive Outlook (Phillippians 4:13)
1. To fully appreciate this statement we must keep in mind that Paul was in prison when he wrote it. 2. Even when he served the Lord under difficult circumstances, Paul always maintained a positive outlook. 3. According to Philippians 3:17a, we are to follow his example. 4. Since we are to follow Paul's example, we are concentrating on a number of passages and principles that will help us maintain a positive outlook. 5. In dealing with this subject it is necessary for us to approach it in a negative as well as a positive sense.
I. TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE OUTLOOK, WE MUST ELIMINATE MURMURING
A. The opposite of having a positive outlook is being negative, critical, and pessimistic. B. This kind of disposition is often demonstrated by murmuring. C. The Bible teaches that murmuring is a sin. 1. (Philippians 2:14) "Do all things without murmurings and disputings." 2. 1 Corinthians 10:10 a. This admonition is based on a mistake made by the Israelites. b. (vs.1-4) God blessed the Israelites as they traveled to the Promised Land. c. However, vs.5 shows how God was not pleased with many of His people. d. Some of their sinful activities are listed in vs.6-10. e. One sinful activity was "murmuring." D. Let us examine several occasions when the Israelites murmured. 1. Keep in mind that the Israelites had seen God demonstrate His power by afflicting the Egyptians with the 10 plagues and by parting the Red Sea. 2. Even though they had seen God demonstrate His power, the Israelites: a. murmured at Marah because the water was bitter (Exodus 15:23-24) b. murmured because they were hungry (Exodus 16:2-3) c. murmured because they were thirsty (Exodus 17:3) d. murmured after hearing the report of the spies (Numbers 14:2, 26-29) e. murmured after God punished those involved in the rebellion led by Korah (Numbers 16:41). 3. Their murmuring indicates that the Israelites did not maintain a positive outlook. a. They did not trust that God would take care of them. b. They were lacking in patience and perseverance. c. They did not look ahead to the blessings they would receive in Canaan. d. They developed a bad habit of constantly complaining. E. We need to learn a lesson from the Israelites' mistake (1 Corinthians 10:11).
II. TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE OUTLOOK, LET US IMITATE PAUL'S EXAMPLE
A. Paul faced many difficult experiences, but he did not react like the Israelites. B. Instead of murmuring, Paul maintained a positive outlook. C. Let us examine several occasions when Paul faced difficulties (Acts 14:19-22; 16:22-25; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Philippians 4:11-13). D. Unlike the Israelites, Paul's reactions indicate that: 1. he trusted that God would take care of him 2. he had an abundance of patience and perseverance 3. he looked forward to receiving a home in heaven 4. he had developed the custom of constantly giving thanks 5. he maintained a positive outlook (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
1. People in the world need to see us as maintaining a positive outlook. 2. If we will imitate Paul's example, we can face each day with the positive outlook expressed in Psalm 118:24.