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5 Lessons from the Philippians

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5 Lessons from the Philippians

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers

and deacons.” Philippians 1:1

1. Joy - Regardless of the circumstances, believers can have profound contentment, serenity, and peace. This joy comes from knowing Christ personally, depending on his strength, and trusting in his plan for our lives. (1:3–6, 12–26; 2:1–4, 17–18; 3:1; 4:4–13) Paul highlights other joy stealers: selfish ambition (1:17; 2:3), complaining and arguing (2:14), self-centeredness (2:21), hedonism (3:18–19), anxiety (4:6), and bad thoughts (4:8).

2. Humility - If anyone had the right to boast, it was Paul. Yet he continued to lay aside personal ambition and glory in order to know Christ (3:7–11) and to glorify him (3:12–14). Paul knew that Jesus had left glory to come to earth in order to live as a man and to die on the cross. Paul held up Jesus as the example to follow, urging the Philippians (and us) to humble themselves as Christ had done. (1:15–18; 2:5–11; 3:7–14)

3. We naturally worry about ourselves first, making sure that we are comfortable and that we get the credit and glory we deserve. But as Christ’s representatives, we should live as he would. This means putting others first and renouncing personal recognition. It also means serving others and looking out for their best interests. True humility is a by-product of seeing ourselves from Christ’s perspective and recognizing that we are nothing without him.

4. Self-Sacrifice - Christ suffered and died so that all who believe might have eternal life. Following Christ’s example, with courage and faithfulness, Paul sacrificed himself for the ministry, taking every chance to tell others God’s Good News, preaching and teaching even while in prison. For Paul, living meant opportunities for serving the Lord, but dying would mean going to live with the Lord (1:20–24). So Paul lived with his goal always before him, motivating him to forget the past and press on to win the prize (3:13–14). (1:15–26; 2:4, 17, 25–30; 3:7–14; 4:14–19)

5. “Sacrifice” seems like a dirty word these days. Instead, people want to indulge themselves and do everything they can to have a comfortable and easy life. Unfortunately, this cultural attitude can carry into the church. But reaching people for Christ involves personal sacrifice. Christ gives us the power to do that. We must follow the example of Jesus and of godly leaders like Paul who demonstrate self-denying concern for others.

6. Unity - In every church, in every generation, controversial issues, personality conflicts, and other divisive issues arise. Paul encouraged the Philippians to get along, agree with one another, stop complaining, and work together. (1:15–18, 27–30; 2:1–4, 14–16; 4:2–3)

7. Christians should contend against their common enemy—Satan and his work in the world—and not against each other. We need all our resources, focus, and energy for the battle. When we are unified in love, Christ works through us, and we can make a difference for him. We need to keep before us the ideals of teamwork, consideration of others, and unselfishness.

8. Christian Living - We should be careful to live the Christian life (work out our own salvation—2:12). We can be confident that God is with us and in us, changing us from the inside out (2:13). Certainly God will complete his good work in us (1:6). (1:6, 9–11, 21–29; 2:12–13; 3:12–21; 4:4–13)

9. Paul also explained the steps these believers could take to live for Christ: be unified with other Christians (1:27–30), remember Christ’s work on the cross (2:5–11), rejoice in God’s work for them and in them (3:1), keep focused on the goal (3:12–14), guard their thoughts (4:8–9), be content with what they have (4:10–13), and help those in need (4:14–19).

10. In this day of media evangelists, celebrity Bible teachers, and articulate preachers, it can be easy to depend on others for our spiritual nourishment and motivation. Yet the Christian life always depends on the relationship an individual believer has with the Lord Jesus. Instead of relying on others for our “faith,” we must depend on Christ and the Holy Spirit working within us.

(1) Who or what steals your joy? Rely on Christ within you to give you joy, not on what you own, who you know, or what you experience.

(2) What can you do to see yourself and the world from Christ’s point of view? What can you do to give your life for others?

(3) What will it take—what sacrifices will you have to make—for you to be an effective witness for Christ in your neighborhood? at work? What will it take for your church to make a difference for Christ in your community?

(4) What tends to break your unity with other believers? What issues threaten to divide your church? Keep your focus on Christ and our unified mission; don’t be sidetracked by petty jealousies, competition, hurt feelings, or minor irritations. Work together with your brothers and sisters in Christ to make a difference right here at GracePointe.

(5) On whom do you depend for your motivation to live for Christ? Where do you find your spiritual nourishment? Christian living depends on Christ living in you and you then living in obedience to him.

GracePointe Baptist Church

2209 N Post Road

Oklahoma City, OK 73141

Phone: (405) 769-5050

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