These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.
Wow! May it be said of your church, Lord!
Along the lines of Phil. 1:28, yesterday I was meditating on that passage and had 2 situations it directly applied to:
- I was talking to a co-worker who might claim she’s a Christian…but it is nothing active with her. She’s a supporter of Pride Month and yesterday, on the basis of Phil. 1:28 I decided to bring up how I was really sad to see a certain “Christian” library supporting pride month so brazenly (though it’s since been torn down, as I understand). This led to a good conversation about the Bible, God’s love, God’s holiness, the gospel, etc. She usually stops those conversations pretty quickly, so I was surprised she was into this one as long as she was (still only a few minutes). But at least we were able to talk some and she could hear a (hopefully) more biblical response to it. She did say at one point, “don’t you think to be more inclusive you sometimes have to overlook parts of the Bible?” On many levels an interesting statement. I didn’t really get to respond to that, but at least she recognizes that it is going against Scripture.
- I was talking yesterday to a sister in the Lord whose husband seemed to doubt the trinity a few years back. It became a little contentious with him, and it never got resolved. So the sister in the Lord was visiting us yesterday from out of town. There was a point in the convo where it made a lot of sense to talk about God’s Trinity (versus the counterfeit trinity of sin, Satan, system of this world). So on the basis of Phil. 1:28, I made the plunge. I’m so glad I did! She was really touched by all of that. Then asked this morning if I could share more with her on things on my heart. This ended up being a longer conversation on the Trinity and how God as 3-in-1 is at the center of all we do in Christ. She seemed really touched by this.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
This seems like an impossible task, but I love that Paul relates this to what God did for us when he sent Jesus to save us. Sending Jesus was the ultimate act of selflessness.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
I love this passage from Philippians because it really hammers home the importance of relationship over religion. Paul shows that a works based gospel is essentially trash compared to having an interactive relationship with our creator.
Paul lived an extremely devout life, but it did not produce any fruit in him. Meeting Jesus, however, completely transformed his life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
This really stuck out to me this time around:
- He says it as a command. Thus it’s something we can will (with the help of God’s Spirit)
- There is a double emphasis: “always”— not sometimes. And then he had to repeat himself to make sure they get it. I can’t think of other times Paul adds that in his commands. He really wants them to get this and do it all the time. What a good God who commands us to REJOICE in Him!
I’ve been enjoying these shorter books by Paul- some of my favorites. They have allowed me to just listen daily to them each time through on my way into work and really meditate on the words. It’s much harder to do that when we are in those longer books.
Anyhow, specifically in Philippians I really appreciate Paul’s perspective on life after all he has endured. It challenges me and inspires me. It’s eternal. “My desire is to depart and to be with Christ for that is FAR better, but to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (1:23-24)
I catch myself quickly drifting into this temporal perspective a lot of living for this world. Yet, Paul is very focused on the fact this world is not his home and that he would much rather be with God (he understands well his power), but knows he has a purpose here to complete (v 25- “convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in faith so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus because of my coming to you again.”