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.
Progress is sanctification can be difficult. But regardless of it's pace, we know these two things to be true: our work toward it is commanded and God's promise to complete it is secure. These two truths can sometimes feel at odds. But in this week's message, we look at how Paul's message to the Philippians, as well as the whole of biblical instruction, assures us that these things are not enemies. Rather, they are the exact truths we need for proper biblical striving while resting in the sovereignty of God.
This week, we return to our series in Philippians by looking at what it means to be sanctified in our Christian life. As Paul warns the church to pursue Christlike holiness in Philippians 2:12-13, he gives us motivation, methods, and assurances as we try to live obediently like Jesus. We must heed his words and get serious about our pursuit of godliness.
For the first Sunday of Advent, we continue our study of Philippians with a look at what Philippians 2:9-11 and it means to know and enjoy the majesty Christ. At Christmas, we celebrate the humble arrival of our savior as a baby in a manger, but we do it toward an eye with something much bigger - the arrival of our victorious king. The humility and the majesty of Jesus Christ should both give us great joy, and Advent is the perfect time of year to consider whether we have properly responded to our king.
United, our series in the book of Philippians, continues this week with a look at what it means to have the attitude of Christ. The same selflessness, humility, obedience, and honor we saw in his life on earth should mark our lives today. It's one of the ways we make Jesus known right where we are. Paul's celebration of who Jesus is in Philippians 2:5-11 forces us to evaluate our own lives and ask God to reveal ways in which we are selfish, proud, disobedient, and dishonoring to him. Though this close examination of our heart is uncomfortable, it is absolutely necessary for the church.