As we conclude our five-month study in the book of Philippians, we pause to remember the big themes of the book that are meant to give us hope as the church, together in Christ Jesus. This is a book to saints of the church about the everlasting hope we have because of Christ Jesus.
Paul's last instructions to the church in Philippi include important words that we all need to hear about commitment to the mission of God through the work of the church. By recounting the way the Philippians support Paul early in his ministry, we see the sort of selfless, constant, and joyful giving to one another that comes from our faith in Christ. We also see what this kind of commitment to the church and her mission produces in us and in the world.
Earlier in his letter to the Philippians, Paul urges his fellow believers to stand firm. As we begin to end our series in Philippians, we now see how we are to stand firm. And as with everything else in our lives, the answer is found in Christ. We are invited to find a firm and sure peace in which to stand as we rejoice in the Lord, pray to the Lord, and dwell on the Lord.
LIfe will press and frustrate us, and our sinful nature will want to respond with sin-filled groaning. But in his letter to the Philippians, Paul exhorts us to look away from our own circumstances and instead look to God. As Christians, we have sure and steady promises to rely on. Always.
No matter the circumstance we face, we should always be about the business of examining our priorities and refocusing our affections on God's grace through Jesus Christ. We should always be a people who desire to know him more, prize the hope of heaven, and wait eagerly for what he has promised. While we will not do these things perfectly on this side of heaven, we are instructed to start now. We should strive each day and in every way to pursue Christ fervently.
There is no room for our own effort in salvation. There is only room for the grace and work of God. Paul hammers this home in Philippians 3:1-9 as he beats back against those who would try to make human effort a part of our salvation. We must remember that in light of what Christ has done, we have nothing to offer on our own behalf. And since Jesus has provided all we need, he himself is all we need. We don't need to add religious performance or human effort. Rather, we need to embrace the grace of God through Christ above all else.
We continue or series in Philippians with a look at Philippians 2:19-30 -- a passage we might be willing to quickly gloss over. But as we will see (and as we celebrated with the ordination of deacons and elders), the sort of servants mentioned here are really the hidden heroes of the church. It is ordinary men and women who are called to serve the church that Paul is so often concerned with. We all have a role to play in the body of Christ.
As we wrap up our series on grumbling and the gospel in Philippians 2:14-16, we learn how to stop complaining. To let go of our complaining, we must first take hold of the Word of life. We must know God as he is revealed in Scripture by hearing it, reading it, learning it, and applying it. To be a church that rejoices and doesn't grumble, we must first be a people who hold to the Word.
As we continue our pause in Philippians 2:14-18, we stop this week to look at why our grumbling and complaining should cease. It's lingering presence has harmful effects on the church, on the unchurched, on us, and on the missions and glory of God. The Bible warns us of the effects on each and gives us reason to replace grumbling with joy.
We arrive at a text in Philippians on which we'll pause for a bit because it is a topic we all need to hear and heed. Paul, after ensuring the church in Philippi that God will complete the work he began, warns them not to grumble as God works. As we'll discover, this bent toward complaining is all too natural in a fallen world and often spreads like a contagion. Christians have to fight against the urge to complain with the good news of the gospel and a trust in God's sovereignty.