Philippians 2

 

phil 2

(Can’t see the video? View it here)

1. Read Philippians 2. Write out any observations, insights, and questions you may have.

2. Who is Jesus to you?

3. Spend some time in prayer this week cultivating your relationship with Jesus.

 

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Advertisements

To Live is Christ {Philippians 1:19-30}

Read Philippians 1:19-30.

Apart from Jesus and Job, I don’t know anyone else from the Bible who has suffered more than Paul. This man was nearly beaten to death more than once, was imprisoned for his faith, bit by a snake, shipwrecked, and a hungry vagabond.

Yet, you can see in his letters he has one ambition after coming to Christ . . .

To make Him known and bring Him glory.

arms upImage Credit: Bethan, Creative Commons

He is literally weighing out the benefits of staying on Earth and getting beat up again to labor for the LORD or leaving the Earth to be in Heaven with God. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Um, hello? Paul! You are crazy. People are trying to kill you and you still want to go out and proclaim Christ.

That’s passion.

Paul’s greatest aim in life is to see God glorified. So much in fact, that he tells the Philippians in verse 27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

This message is for us today as well. God’s greatest desire for us on Earth is to labor for Him, live in a manner worthy of wearing His name, striving in unity, side by side. Our greatest aim in life should be knowing Christ and making Him known.

Part of knowing Him is sharing in His suffering. If we learned anything from Chapter 1, it’s that suffering is a part of the Christian life. It’s the part all of us would prefer to do without, but I think if we’re honest, it’s suffering that makes us grow in Christ and lean on Him more.

Paul shows us the way to suffer well and find joy and peace in the midst of pain is by keeping an eternal perspective. When we can meditate on who God is and what He has planned for eternal life, our perspective for suffering on Earth will change. Remembering “to live is Christ and to die is gain” is how we can press on through hard times.

1. What are some of the things Paul lists in chapter 1 that should mark the Christian life?

2. What does it mean to life in a manner worthy of the LORD? Use Ephesians 5:1-21 as a guide.

3. Paul tells us that when we suffer well, it is a sign to non-believers of our salvation (v.28). What is your attitude in suffering? How can you be both honest in your pain and yet represent God and bring glory to Him?

 

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Advance the Gospel {Philippians 1:12-18}

Read Philippians 1:12-18

It’s hard to imagine that trials and our terrible circumstances would actually bring good. In the midst of hard times and suffering, we can’t see past the pain and so we stop believing God is with us or working in our suffering.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

For those that love God and are in His will, He works ALL things for good.

Terrible things.
Hard things.
Painful things.
Good things.
Bad things.

All work for good. This doesn’t mean all things ARE good, but that God can use even the most painful places in our life for good.

Do you believe that?

13691782_m-copy450

While I don’t know what it’s like to be wrongfully accused and put in prison, I do know what it’s like to have figurative “chains” that I can’t break out of.

My husband and I have walked through infertility for 3 1/2 years. Believe me, if there’s any circumstance we’re trying to pray our way out of, it’s this. Yet, like Paul, I can say “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” because I have seen this first hand. My suffering has allowed me to sit with others who are suffering in the same way and point them to Jesus. Do I want out, YES! Do I ask God to change my circumstance, YES! But in the meantime, I’ve learned that God is working all things for my good, even when they don’t feel good, and I trust that His plan and purpose for my life and those around me is bigger than what my eyes can see and my heart can feel.

I can grow bitter and weary or I can redeem the pain and use it to spread the Gospel.

I think that’s Paul’s point in these first 18 verses. He is showing us that even circumstances that seem hopeless can be used to bring God glory. We just have to be willing to look past the pain, and look up in praise.

1. What is the result of Paul’s imprisonment in verses 13-14?

2. What does it mean to proclaim Christ? Why is Paul comparing this between love and selfish ambition?

3. Is there a circumstance that you are praying your way out of? Have you grown weary? Bitter? Angry? What would it look like to ask God to redeem the pain rather than remove the pain?

This is a lot to ask of someone, and I honestly don’t think we can truly praise God in the midst of pain (not for the pain, but praise Him in the midst of pain) unless we truly understand the Gospel. So again, remind yourself who God is and what He’s done for you. Read here for more on “What is the Gospel” or visit the website “Self-Talk the Gospel” for resources on how to keep a Gospel perspective during suffering.

 

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Paul’s Prayer Life {Philippians 1:9-11}

Read Philippians 1:9-11

I don’t know about you, but Paul’s prayer life messes with me. Do you remember where he is while writing this letter?

In prison.

When was the last time you were in prison? Okay, maybe you’ve never been in prison so when was the last time you were in a circumstance that felt like prison?

Locked up, no way out, feeling hopeless, alone, and dark.

What was your prayer life like?

httpswww.flickr.comphotosanandham

Image Credit: Anandham, Creative Commons

I can tell you when I am in a circumstance that seems hopeless, my prayer life does not look like this:

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 for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (v9-11)

It looks like this:

God GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?? Have you forgotten me? Why are you allowing me to stay in this prison for so long?

What about you? What is your prayer life in times of suffering? Prison? Circumstances that won’t seem to change?

Paul is not even focused on God changing His circumstance. In fact, in the midst of his circumstance, he is praying for others to know and love God more. He is praying that others would grow in their discernment, be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness. Then, he closes his prayer “to the glory and praise of God.”

It’s as if Paul’s greatest aim in life is to bring glory to God, even if that means sitting in a prison cell for days on end, trusting that God will use his circumstance for His purpose and His glory.

I want to learn to pray like that. I want perspective like that. I want to trust God in the midst of my prison sentence because above all, I want His glory above my own comfort and my own plan.

1. List the things Paul prays for.

2. What does it mean to be filled with the fruit of righteousness? Use Galatians 5:22 as a guide.

3. What is your prayer life like in comparison to Paul’s? Is there a circumstance that God has you in right now that is hard to see past? How can you begin to pray with God’s glory in mind?

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Completing the Work {Philippians 1:1-8}

Read Philippians 1:1-8.

Have you ever had a friend who encourages you and loves you in a way that lifts you up? Pushes you forward? Helps you endure?

I think the apostle Paul would be a friend like this. He is writing this letter, in prison, in chains, and writing with JOY. He is so grateful that while he is chained up, his friends are out doing the work God has for them to do.

You can feel Paul’s affection for his friends in Philippi. He is so grateful for their partnership, their love for God, and their sharing in God’s grace with him (v.8). If there’s one thing I have learned about the Christian life, it’s that it is not meant to be lived alone.

12134476_m

We need each other. There will be days when we want to give up and crawl in a hole, and we need each other to help us out. We will have circumstances that make us feel chained up and we’ll need others to help us live free. There will be days when we’ll want to shy away in fear or doubt from what God has called us to do, and we’ll need friends to remind us to be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (v.6)

We need others to lift us up and push us on. Do you have others to lean on and grow with? Who are the people you would trust to help you in a time of need? Do you have partners in the Gospel? Who do you share in God’s grace with?

1. List some of the reasons Paul is thankful and joyful from these verses.

2. Who is it that completes the “good work” we are doing? Why is this significant?

3. Is there something God has put on your heart, a good work to be done, that you’re not doing out of fear, doubt, insecurity, etc.? Write it out below. Who can you share that with and let them partner with you to help you move forward?

If you are in need of community and others to help you grow, let me know. We are launching a bunch of life groups in September that cultivate these types of friendships or you and I can just go grab coffee 😉

 

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Philippians 1

 

phil 1

(Can’t see the video? View it here)

1. Read the first chapter of Philippians. Record any notes, questions, observations you had from this chapter.

2. How many times is the word Gospel repeated in this chapter?

3. What is the Gospel? When did the Gospel become real to you? Write it out or share with someone in your life this week!

 

Just joining us? Check out the rest of the Philippians series HERE and sign up to get these articles in your inbox!

Introduction to Philippians

 

intro to phil

(Can’t see the video? View it here)

I’m so excited to start the book of Philippians with you tomorrow! Here’s a little overview of what we can expect. For now, try and read through the book (Chapter 1-4) today, it should take less than 10 minutes. Then tomorrow, we’ll jump in to chapter one!

Keep track of the Philippians series HERE and if you want to sign up for this series and have the posts delivered to your inbox, click here.

Can’t wait!