by Eric Huber

During World War II Americans were galvanized around the mission to defeat the evil of that time. Every citizen had a shared part in the common goal, that common goal united them together.

If that is true of what is called the greatest generation, how much more true should it be for those united to Christ? 

We have been united to Christ.  We are part of Him and so part of one another.  And we have a common purpose in Him.  Jesus told us in Matt 28 to “go and make disciples of all the nations.”  That Great Commission was not just for the original apostles.  If is for the local church.  It is to be our gospel partnership, a shared responsibility given to us by Jesus Himself.

In Philippians 4, Paul rejoices that the church at Philippi is willing to partner with him.  He is thankful, not so much for their gift, but their willingness to be part of what God.  From the beginning they have shared in Paul’s ministry. Paul says in Phil 1:3-5, I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

The word for partnership, Paul uses again in Phil 2:1 where he speaks about participation or fellowship in the Spirit.  And again in Phil 3:10, Paul says he wants to share in or have fellowship in Christ’s sufferings.  This seems to be something deeper than just a partnership. The fellowship the Philippians have with Paul is a fruit of their fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. 

As Christians, we have union with Christ.  And in Him we are brought into the fellowship that He has with the Father and the Spirit. We are one with Christ as Christ is one with the Father.  And so in Him, we are part of each other.  And when we live out that unity, we show the world that the Gospel is true (Jn 17:20-23).

So what are some ways that we can live out our gospel fellowship?  The most basic way is that we can be active members of a local church. Our fellowship with the Triune God is a corporate identity.  The NT assumes a life of committed interdependent relationships in some specific church. When we commit to a local church, we give tangible expression to our fellowship in the gospel. Membership says I am responsible to and for these specific people.

The local church is the place where we use our gifts to serve and edify one another. To each believer is given some spiritual gift for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). Paul writes this to the local church and says gifts are given for the collective benefit of members of the church. 

Now, we can use are gifts in other good ways, but they are given to us first and foremost to edify other believers in our local body.  We each have a part to play in our church, and so we should seek to play our part well.

We give expression to gospel fellowship as our church partners with those outside our local church for gospel mission. To make disciples is bigger than a single local church.  Churches partner with other churches who share their understanding of the gospel and the church for the purpose of gospel ministry – in order to see pastors developed and churches planted.  We all cannot go, but we can all give, pray and help in any way that we can.

We express fellowship in the Gospel as we go to proclaim the gospel in our part of the world. 

We live Christ-centered lives. 

We pray for our friends and neighbors, seeking opportunities to speak gospel truth. 

We show hospitality. 

We invite people to church or our small group so that they can experience the joy of biblical community and come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Finally, we give expression to gospel fellowship by being regularly discipled our self.  We seek to grow in our faith and lead by our example. 

We come to church as an enthusiastic worshiper who wants to hear and apply God’s word. 

We commit ourselves to our church’s process of discipleship. 

We give ourselves to God’s Word and prayer. 

As we do, our hearts grow to love God and neighbor more, and we grow in our understand of the fellowship we share in Christ.



“Contentment is in Christ”


Philippians 4:10-13

Although grateful for financial support from the Philippian Church, Paul wants them to know he remains content regardless of help sent to him


1.  Paul is not bringing up a new subject as much as a new application

Throughout this letter Paul has exalted the surpassing value of life in Christ (1:21, 2:3, 2:14, 2:17, 3:8, 4:2, 4:4-6)

The common principle in these passages is that what we have in Christ is always a greater reality than our circumstances and struggles

2.  Paul applies our having Christ to our having contentment

Paul seems to be saying he didn’t need their financial help (v11a).

He does not mean he didn’t have good use for it

He wants to share a profound truth – that he is content regardless of need

We may have shortages in the things we would like and can use, but our soul should be filled to satisfaction by Jesus

Paul says this satisfaction can sustain us in “any and every circumstance” (v12)

Being content while still having legitimate needs doesn’t mean we are indifferent or unaffected

It means what we have in Christ is always of far greater value

To say it another way Christ and his gospel are always enough

Paul indicates contentment even applies when we have plenty.

Why does he need to say that?

Prosperity is a dangerous condition, because it easily becomes addictive

It breeds entitlement (I should have this) and discontent (I want something better)

Contentment in plenty means we are thankful, satisfied and recognize God’s right to what we have

3.  Contentment this pervasive, needs to be learned (vs 11-12)

How do we learn contentment in “any and every circumstance”?

Paul knows how to be content from what he knows about Christ!

Throughout this letter Christ is the reason for Paul’s perspectives (1:6, 2:10, 3:10, 3:12, 3:14, 3:20-21, 4:5-6)

These passages magnify: Who Christ is . . What he has done . . What he is doing . . What he has waiting for us

All this can be summed up by 3:8

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”

4.  Let’s dig into “contentment in Christ” more deeply

Christ saves us to make us complete so we can spend eternity with him

            We will become like Jesus in his perfect humanity (1 John 3:2)

            And even now, we are gradually being transformed to be more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Both passages describe seeing Christ as part of this process

This is not simply physical sight, it is a work of the Holy Spirit who enables our heart to see Christ

The more clearly our heart sees Christ “as he is”, the more like him we become  

This ‘seeing’ will not be perfect until we shed our sinful nature, then when our heart fully sees him, everything in us will want to be like him

Do you want to be content (satisfied) in Christ?

Then look at Christ more!

Read his word, talk to him, talk with others about him, praise him, and meditate on him

5.  We can do this through Christ! (v13)

We can “do all things” that he asks of us

This is not a blank check for us to use how we want

“This and every declaration in the Bible can only be understood by making them God-centered. Meaning all things are meant to serve him” (Matt Chandler)

 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” is God’s commitment to fully enable us to live for him – including our being content!



Extraordinary Joy and Peace

Philippians 4:4-9

by Pat Tedeschi

When we go through these verses slowly, we see a number of imperatives or commands, that when considered carefully can almost seem impossible.

Who can really live like that?

If you are in Christ, you can.

Now clearly this doesn’t mean we will never struggle with these things. We can assume that we will struggle- that’s why the verses are there.

But the truth of God’s Word is we can live out these seemingly impossible commands and experience a life of extraordinary Gospel joy and peace.

Here’s why; we have a Savior who not only models this sort of life, but is all powerful to enable us to live it out.  

So let’s look at each of these commands and look to the Savior who inspires and enables us to obey them.

1.  Rejoice in the Lord always (v 4)

We clearly see a theme of rejoicing throughout the book.

Biblical joy is not grounded in our circumstances, but in the Lord.

The Philippians have everything to rejoice about in Him!

If we ground our joy in our circumstances there may be very little to rejoice in.

But if our rejoicing is in Jesus and what He has done then we have reason to always rejoice.

2.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone (v 5)

Reasonableness means not holding onto your personal rights but dealing gently with others when you feel the right or need to retaliate.

How sweetly reasonable are you when others accuse or offend you?

Paul pushes us beyond our so called “rights” to look to Christ when he says “the Lord is at hand”.  

He is near and He is powerful to help. You have His resources to be sweetly reasonable and be at peace with others, as He has been reasonable with you.

3.  Do not be anxious about anything, instead pray about everything (vs 6-7)

Anxiety is a distressed, burdensome concern, where we trust in our own abilities to solve or avoid problems rather than trusting God.

Paul wants us to take the energy we give to worrying and use it instead to pray.

Prayer builds relationship with our Father and Savior – which is ultimately what we need most for a life of joy and peace.

Prayer that expresses our hearts to God with the mind of Christ has a magnificent promise to it.

Paul says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

This peace is not about the absence of trouble. God doesn’t promise to remove all of our difficulties.

Instead it is like calm in the middle of a storm. Like Paul and Silas singing songs of joy at midnight in the Philippian jail.

4.  Think Godly thoughts, Follow Godly examples (vs 8-9)

Paul gives us two other elements to stand firm in living out the Gospel- godly thoughts and godly practices.

He lists a number of distinctly Christian virtues to fill our minds with in this pursuit of Gospel joy and peace.

That is what we think on – but our thinking must move us to action.

So God gives us living examples we can follow right in our churches- men and women who seek to advance the Gospel according to the mind of Christ.

But we can’t stop there. Their lives and practices should lead us to be godly examples for others to follow as well.

There’s much to do and to think about from this passage. It can seem impossible.

However, the focus is not on our own ability to do these things. Instead Paul consistently points us to the One who models and empowers us to live them out.

With Jesus as our example and enabler, we can live out these seemingly impossible commands and experience a life of extraordinary joy and peace for the advance of His glory in the Gospel.


‘Reconciliation is not Optional’       


A major theme in Philippians is unity with one another and in mission (1:27). In chapter 4 Paul addresses two leading women in the church whose conflict threatened both of these

Philippians 4:1-3


We Don’t Know the Reason for Their Conflict

But it was serious: it is a rare step for Paul to correct people in a church by name

And it was affecting the whole church: this correction is addressed in a letter to the whole church

When members of ‘the body’ are in disharmony, the church will be weakened

The women were living in contradiction to the heart of the entire letter

1:27 tells us to live worthy of the gospel – but they were not

2:4 says don’t look out merely to your own interests – but they were


Look How Paul Approaches Reconciliation

1.  Paul approaches them with an abundance of grace (v1)

This is how God approached us in order to reconcile us to himself and it continues to be how he deals with us

We are acting hypocritically when we brush graciousness aside

The reality of the sin in these women didn’t override the reality of how Paul loved them; and the reality that Paul loved them didn’t override the need to confront their sin

Our approach to reconciliation doesn’t imitate Christ, if it is not filled with grace

2.  Paul addresses the women equally and earnestly (v2)

Paul didn’t pick sides, or even deal with the outward issue

The rightness of one or other was secondary to the wrongness of their conflict

Each had a heart condition that needed be addressed – they were holding on to an offense

Each had an attitude to change – they thought the other was unworthy of fellowship (grace)

Each had actions to take – to forgive completely and forever

Biblical reconciliation requires careful biblical self-examination

3.  Paul wants them to see their “situation” in its true context (v3)

This was a gospel issue – they were gospel recipients (“names in the book of life”)

Mission of church issue – gospel workers (“labored side by side in the gospel”)

All who are ‘in Christ’ are gospel people; reconciliation is now in our DNA (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)                  

The world needs us  not to allow anything to dilute “the ministry reconciliation”

The glory of Christ’s work in the gospel deserves that we live out “the message of reconciliation”

We are inconsistent with the gospel, if our heart is not reconciled


Paul Gives 3 Commands For Reconciliation

1.  Stand firm in the Lord (v1)

This is the same command he gave in 1:27 to “live worthy of Christ”

If they are to respond correctly, it will be because they are rooted “in the Lord”

They have to lay aside their offense, and take up Christ

They need to refocus how they see each other, and use “the Lord’s” perspective

If we don’t approach each other “in the Lord”, instead of “standing firm”, we are drifting

 2.  Agree in the Lord (v2)

This doesn’t mean we have to agree with the other person

It means we agree that what we share “in the Lord” should keep us in fellowship

We remember that we share the same standards of love and humility (2:1-4)

We recognize that we will share the same eternity that will be completely free of disharmony

3.  Help them to agree (v3)

The verb “help” indicates strong action. It is elsewhere translated ‘seize’ and ‘grasp’

Whether the “true companion” refers to a person or the church community, it lets us know that we have a role to help reconcile fellow-believers

Hopefully we can help informally through prayer and encouragement

But if this doesn’t work, then church leaders are required to step in

If we ignore infection in the body, then biblical community will fail


“Watch What Guides You”


Philippians 3:17-21


There is a lot of misdirection around us

The Apostle Paul was deeply concerned about these influences on believers (v18)

The “enemies of the cross” he describes are not just persecutors, it includes all who distract us us from gospel truths

We are surrounded by deception, from the subtle to the outrageous, the Bible is filled with warnings to us


Paul gives 4 qualities to watch out for in people (v19)

1.  When they follow what is headed for destruction

He wants us to keep in mind how things end

Yet, true Christians often ignore biblical warnings about what is condemned or empty

Any person, idea or activity that is not submitted to Christ, is condemned

Is your life engaged in what makes it harder to love God more?

 2.  When they serve their own desires

Paul uses the phrase “their god is their belly” to describe living for our appetites – it is living for ourselves

Do you prioritize what makes you happy over what makes us holy?

We miss the deep truth, that holiness leads to our greatest happiness

 3.  When they take joy in their rebellion

Those who think modern thinking is better than biblical truth – it is living by pride  

Do you heed influences that cause you to doubt the fullness of God’s authority and wisdom?

4.  When their thinking is shaped by the world

In Romans 12:1, Paul calls this being “conformed” instead of being “transformed”

You are being touched by earthly thinking, so how are you being protected from it?


Paul gives 3 protections against misdirection

#1  Be connected to those who are faithful to Christ (v17)

Paul is not telling the church that he is their standard (he has already made the point in chapter 2, that we are to imitate Christ)

He is encouraging us to be impacted by true Christ-followers

Only those who love Christ can lead us toward him (Parents we must be mindful of this reality)

What is the example of a Christ-follower?

They are serious about Christ’s role over us

They are faithful to apply what God’s word says

They are enthusiastic in their love for Christ and his gospel (vs 14-15)

To sum it up, we are to “imitate” those who clarify what it means to live for Christ and encourage us in it!

Each of us is an example to others. How wonderful if that example is as a Christ-follower

Even a new Christian can be an example of intensity and direction in following Christ

And an imperfect Christian can be an example of persistence in getting up and following Christ

#2  Keep in mind where we are going (v20)

We are “citizens” of a “heavenly” kingdom. Paul wants this reality to be a reminder of what to live for – or not

Our goals, success and measurements should be connected our future kingdom

This in contrast to the selfish and prideful agendas described in v19

Paul wants us to remember we are part of something glorious!

Don’t lose sight of the worthiness in living fully for Christ

Don’t settle into a life that leaves us empty handed (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

#3  Remember who is coming! (vs 20-21)

Live in the realization that Christ is coming for you!

This brings accountability to us, which is common theme in Jesus’ parables

This brings hope to us, the assurance that salvation’s entire promise will be fulfilled

Yes, we struggle, and life can be difficult

Yet, amidst all this, v21 tells us Christ ‘will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body’

This means he will also transform our life, our sorrows and our forever!


 “Worthy Examples”

Philippians 2:19-30 

by Paul Long

What if your pastors were to write a recommendation letter for your life as a Christian?  How would your pastors describe you? 

Paul ends Chapter 2 by giving the Philippian church the example of two men: Timothy and Epaphroditus. 

These men are living examples of lives that are worthy of the gospel of Christ.  They are men who are models of all Paul has been talking about.  They are men whose lives we should take time to examine.  

These men are not sensational or flashy; they don’t have big ministries or crowd gathering sermons.  They are just pictures of regular faithfulness. 

Consider both of these men, why they are here as examples, and how we are to imitate them. 

The Example of Timothy  vs 19-22

Phil 2:[3] Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. [4] Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Timothy is a living example of these verses put into practice.

He has a genuine concern for the welfare of the Philippian church.  His interests are Christ centered.  His intentions are gospel focused.  v20

Timothy learned this selfless humility from Paul.  Paul trained Timothy to lead with humility in the Church. 

Paul and Timothy model Christ as they put the interest of gospel ministry ahead of their own needs and desires.  Phil 2:5-8

Timothy has proven himself to be faithful as he cared for and ministered to Paul as a son with his father.  v 22

Who is your “father or mother in the faith”?  When you get discouraged or frustrated – consider their life, their example.  Consider how they model Christ. 

The Example of Epaphroditus vs 25-30

Paul calls Epaphroditus- “my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier”  v 26

Through the gospel God adopted Paul and Epaphroditus as sons to be his forever children through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. 

Remember who these men once were:

Paul was Saul, a Jew and a persecutor of the Church.  Epaphroditus was Greek and probably had a pagan upbringing.

The wonder of the gospel is the power to change any life and unite the most unlikely together as brothers in Christ. 

Fellow Worker

Paul and Epaphroditus labor together on the same mission.  Paul doesn’t place himself in a position of superiority over Epaphroditus, they are co-laborers. 

As your pastors – this is our heart as well.  Yes, we are called to lead this church, but we view ourselves as co-labors in the gospel.  We want to be united and working together to accomplish all that God has given us to do. 

Fellow Soldier 

They are not just working together; they stand side by side and fight together.  Paul loves to use this picture of a soldier for the Christian life.  (2 Tim 2:3, 1 Tim 6:12, Eph 6:10-20)

A lone soldier can do little good. 

Epaphroditus’ Sickness

Epaphroditus had fallen seriously ill during his trip to minister to Paul. 

Instead of being concerned about his own health, Epaphroditus was distressed because he heard the Philippians we concerned about him.  v 26

Even in his suffering he is counting others more significant than himself, he is looking to the interest of others.  Phil 2:2-3 

Death, but God.

Paul credits Epaphroditus’ recovery to God having mercy on him. 

He faced death, but God had mercy.  Isn’t that our story too? 

Because of our sin we faced death, BUT God had mercy on us by sending Jesus to face death for us. 

If it wasn’t for God’s mercy to us in the gospel, we would have no hope. 

When we face suffering or death, what do we really have but God’s mercy? 


Timothy and Epaphroditus are examples of servants without parameters.  There are no qualifiers to how they serve or what they are willing to do. 

There is more grace and power in one person with a willing, loving, servant’s heart than in a room full of grumblers or complainers. 

We are to show honor to servants of the gospel like Timothy and Epaphroditus.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

The book of Philippians is full of good teaching, rich doctrine and gospel truth.

Timothy and Epaphroditus are held out to us as examples of that doctrine and gospel truth lived out. 

These were men who followed Christ –these were men worth following. 

Look around our church; it is filled with men and women who live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ!

Follow them, consider their faithfulness, get close to them, observe their lives, and imitate their example. 

But don’t stop there! 

We can’t just look AT Timothy, Epaphroditus or any other example in our church; we need to look THROUGH them at Jesus. 

We need to see them model their Savior. 

See His grace that is at work in their lives and worship Jesus. 

We don’t worship our heroes and examples; we worship our Jesus.  Jesus is the perfect model of selfless love and willing sacrifice. 

So what about you, are you like these men?  Are you like Jesus? 

What kind of example is your life showing to your church and to the world? 


Live in Response to the Glorious Christ

Philippians 2:12-18

#1  Put God’s work in you into practice (vs 12-13)

Paul has the big picture understanding of salvation in mind

Our ‘salvation’ is more than our justification (being made righteous):

Ephesians 1:3 “(God) has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing”

The gospel brings comprehensive and wonderful transformation to us (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We routinely minimize what salvation has done, and so minimize Christ!

Faith picks up these truths and lives by them

To ‘work out’ our salvation is to live according to all our salvation contains

Think of this as your muscles, you already have them, but you need to develop them

In all responsibilities and circumstances, how do we live out our salvation?

This process is ‘work’, but it’s not drudgery

God himself is at the center in every moment of our labor (v13)

This gives us reason for celebrating and persisting even if we do so weakly

Paul adds that we are to put God’s work into practice with “fear and trembling”

Fear of God is a response that has awe at one end (for the believer) and dread at the other (for the unbeliever)

Christians should fear and tremble that the person of vs 9-11 is working in us


#2  Protect gospel unity and gospel mission (vs 14-16)

There are many sins we are to do without, but Paul here continues with the themes church unity and gospel mission

If we live with conflict in the church, we are not in fear and trembling

We all need accountability and correction, as described in Ephesians 4:15 “speaking the truth in love”

But complaining and arguing are corrosive responses that lack humility and grace

Paul reminds us that church life takes place before the world’s eyes

The world is a crooked and twisted place, we should be distinctly different

We are lights which are meant to shine

2 Corinthians 5:20 “God is making his appeal through us”

However, the gospel is not being revealed when we complain or argue

Paul’s use of the phrase “a crooked and twisted generation” is from Deuteronomy 32:5

He is describing the people of God who acted as if they weren’t

Grace abounded to them, but difficulty brought bickering from them

We fail to recognize that fighting and complaining are serious sins against God

The work of the gospel is a desperate need for every person, and the agenda of the gospel is our only God approved response

“Do all things without grumbling” is a biblical mandate

It comes down to whether or not we want biblical ways more than our own (v16)


#3  Take joy in Great Commandment living (vs 17-18)

Paul rejoiced when his life was entirely submitted to Christ

He compares it to being ‘poured out’ as a drink offering

Drink offerings in ancient religions involved pouring a cup of wine onto the ground to honor the gods

The idea is that once poured out, it can no longer be kept for us

This is Great Commandment living!

Why does Paul want us to rejoice with him over it? Because Great Commandment living is entirely good!

Every hesitation we have about Great Commandment living comes from deception

How can we know God and think that giving less of our life to him is better?

Paul was in prison facing the real possibility of execution

These realities made no difference to his conviction about joy

This is because his joy was in Christ and the trajectory of the gospel

If we see the glories of Christ, let us live by the glories of Christ


“Gospel mission needs gospel unity”


Philippians 2:1-4

Chapter 1ends with Paul declaring the gospel of Christ is worthy of our unity in the face of opposition. In chapter 2, he adds the gospel is worthy of being guarded against disunity within church


Paul gives 4 reasons why unity should rule in us (v1)

1.  All believers are in Christ

Our common salvation and bond in Christ should encourage us toward fellow-believers

2.  All believers know love (Great Commandment living is all about love)

3.  All believers have the Holy Spirit – who works to bind us in community

4.  All believers have new character – which draws us to what is God pleasing

Any of these is sufficient reason for unity, together they are overwhelming!

How influential are these reasons to you?

If we don’t see one another (or ourselves) by these truths, are they true of us?


Gospel unity drives us to gospel mission (v2)

Paul has gospel mission in view (he uses the same language as the previous verses) 1:27

(1) Gospel unity gives us “the same mind”: that the gospel is everyone’s great need

(2) Gospel unity gives us the “same love”: our hearts value Christ above all

(3) Gospel unity brings us into “full accord”: we labor for the same purpose

It is important to recognize that biblical unity is gospel unity

Questions of church unity are often misapplied

Some too easily create disunity out of differences in secondary doctrine and practice

Others go the opposite way and claim unity is sacred regardless of belief

Some want peace at any price; rather than deal with heart issues, they sweep disagreement under the carpet

Disagreement among believers will happen

Sometimes it’s for reasons that are important for truth and godliness

However, as believers, we can have disagreement without disharmony (Romans 14-15) 15:1

The gospel is wonderful enough and powerful enough to keep us in unity

v1 the gospel is powerful enough

v2 the gospel is wonderful enough

With our common reality in the gospel, the Church should not allow anything to keep us from our common gospel mission


To have this unity we must eliminate what hinders it (vs 3-4)

Pride and selfishness are the great hindrances to unity (and godliness)

We see these at the root of sin and conflict throughout the Bible and life

Pride and selfishness relentlessly seek to erode what God wants to do

Our pride may not openly reject God, but it distorts how we serve him

Without humility, the gospel is not possible

It was necessary for Jesus leave heaven, stay on earth, and die in our place (vs 5-8)

Jesus’ every moment on earth required him to exercise humility

For us to receive the gospel, our hearts had to be humbled

If the gospel is to rule over our lives, we must embrace humility

So, how can the Church clearly go forth in the gospel without humility? This is why v3 so emphatic!

Humility frees from the bondage of pride and selfishness

Think of your experience with people: those who are extremely selfish are in bondage to it and they are miserable!

Our weaknesses and limitations are not in the way of gospel mission, it is our pride and selfishness that distract us, and muck up our lives

Where is selfishness and pride getting in your way?

Do you become offended, rather than look for people’s true intention

Do you pull away, rather than seeking to care for people’s weaknesses

Do you want members to meet your expectations, rather than look how to serve them

Are you going through life in self-pity and disappointment, rather than encourage others with gospel truth



‘What determines how you live?’

Philippians 1:27-30


What Determines How We Live?

The gospel of Christ should be our answer

Paul wants how we live to be based on what is “worthy”

The gospel is the greatest thing that has happened to us – nothing else is close

Fulfillment of gospel promise is the greatest hope we have

If gospel realities don’t rule our behavior, then something ‘unworthy’ does

Gospel realities include our new identity, our eternal destiny, our spiritual nature and our relationship with God

The phrase v27 “manner of life” uses a word that implies citizenship

Philippi was a Roman Colony, which gave them the significant privileges of Roman citizenship

Paul wants them to realize they are “citizens” of Christ’s kingdom

We are not just people living under a moral code of do’s and don’ts

We belong to a kingdom; we are part of, and responsible to, something important

Our kingdom is not our home, our career, our pleasures or being respected, etc.

Paul introduces this appeal with the word ‘only’

Paul gives a variety of instruction, but there is a priority, a ‘big thing’

This starts as the ‘big thing’ in the ordinary routines of life

What is our Big Thing when we get up, when we write checks or when we have a family fight?

What the Apostle wants to see most in the church is gospel living

Gospel living is outward: we represent his agenda in all relationships and actions

Gospel living is inward: we live by and preach the gospel to ourselves


Paul Addresses Behavior in the Context of Community

Why do we emphasize biblical community so much at Greentree? Because the Bible does!

We are so used to individualizing the Bible; we miss how often its context is communal

The Bible’s instruction on Christian living is saturated in community

The nature of our triune God has eternally been communal

Our eternity will be communal with God and one another

We can be a Christian without practicing community, but we will not look like one

Paul gives the Philippians three practices he wants to see in them (v27)

1. Stand firm – in one spirit

The world opposes Great Commandment living; we are continually pressed to be less zealous

When we are rooted in biblical community, it helps keep us from giving ground

2. Strive side by side – with one mind

Christians don’t always agree, but in our mission we always should be like-minded

The word “striving” has the sense of athletic competition; like a team striving for a common goal

We best fulfill gospel mission, when it happens together

3. Don’t be frightened

The word for “frightened” was typically used for a startled horse

We face frightening things, yet we have assurance of Christ’s total victory

Since God is always greater than, we can keep striving

Our striving is not by force of will, but through reliance on the Holy Spirit


Suffering Should Not Distract How We Live

This is because they are ‘granted’ by God (vs 29-30)

“Granted” to suffer could also be translated “graced” to suffer

Paul points out that for believers, our sufferings are “for Christ’s sake”; he uses them all for gospel promise (Romans 8:28)

Never look at struggle or suffering as if it is isolated from:

. . our good Father and sovereign God

. . the Cross and what Christ has accomplished for us

. . Christ’s return to make all things right

Someone in mid-surgery never looks good, but it is accomplishing good things

Paul says they were engaged in the “same conflict” that he was

Ephesians 6:10-13 reminds us that we battle not against flesh and blood, but spiritual forces

Every struggle is a heart issue, a God issue, and a worthiness of the gospel issue

Whatever the battle, the opponent, or struggle, Christ and all who are with him are victorious!


‘Life is about what Christ is doing’


Philippians 1:12-18

When we are in a place of hardship, limitations or uncertainty, our impulse is that we NEED to get out, because nothing good can happen here. However, when we serve what Christ is doing, every situation becomes fruitful


Paul Describes His Imprisonment (vs 12-14)

We can imagine the concern and interest of the Philippian Church

Yet, the only details Paul is interested in sharing are about gospel mission

The central issues for Paul are how he is serving the gospel, and how the gospel is “advancing”

Paul’s tone is not just positive, it’s victorious

We are not to have a ‘success model’ that is separate from Christ’s kingdom: our success and his kingdom success should be the same concern and joy for us

“But what if my life is in a bad place?” How are you defining ‘bad’?

  • A bad place is when we are in sin and pushing God away
  • We may be in unpleasant place, but can still be a Christ advancing place

In Paul’s hardship, limitations and uncertainty, gospel mission is advancing in two ways

(1) The gospel was advancing to unbelievers

The Imperial Guard was an elite force, and Paul was a mere prisoner, yet he has gotten the attention of this “whole” group

From 4:22 we know the gospel had advanced into Caesar’s household

(2) The gospel mission was advancing in believers (v14)

The church could have slunk back in fear, but Paul’s example led them in the opposite of “boldness”

Paul was limited, but the Holy Spirit was not, because God is all powerful, ever active and fully sovereign

Until the “day of Christ” arrives, the gospel will not stop advancing, because God has people to save

The gospel was not advancing despite hardship, it was advancing through it!

The Philippians may have wondered if their continuing support was being wasted

In v12 Paul lets them know that that the opposite is happening

No effort for Christ and his kingdom is wasted because He reigns


Sadder Than Paul’s Chains, Were the Actions of Some Believers (vs 15-18)

First, we need to piece together what is taking place

  • They are among the “the brothers” mentioned in v14
  • They are not false teachers, because Paul always confronts and condemns them
  • These are believers preaching out of envy (v15) and selfish ambition (v17)

It seems that they are Christians who want to be known for having bigger ministries than the famous Paul

Once again, for Paul this situation is seen through the eyes of gospel mission

He didn’t approve of the heart in these believers, but he approves of the gospel being declared

There are churches we may not want to attend, because we disagree with their approach to ministry

But if they are clear with the gospel, we should take joy in that reality (v18)

Last week, we saw Paul’s joy was rooted in the progress of the gospel rather than circumstances

We never lose our reason for joy, when our reason is the reign of Christ

If your reason for joy is in other things, then your joy will come and GO


Paul Wants the Church to Be Encouraged

His circumstances included chains, but his words include “advance, confident, bold, without fear and rejoice”

This is because the key phrase in Paul’s heart is “for Christ”(v13)

In vs 1-18, Paul refers to Christ twelve times, God four times, and the gospel four times

As Christians, we need to grasp that everything is meant to be about Christ!

v21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”

  • He is worthy of this being true for us
  • It is wise and good when this is true for us
  • God is serious about this being true for us

As a Church family, we want to show grace toward one another as we struggle to grow, but we also want to be zealous to grow

None of us live for Christ in everything and at all times.

But we all can be moving in that direction

1. Live by God’s word; it incessantly points us to Christ

2. Pour your life into gospel mission “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21)

3. Be a worshipper! Your love for Christ and your interest in his kingdom will increase