Paul experienced joy in suffering, contentment in every situation, and peace that surpasses understanding. He rejoiced in difficult circumstances, encouraged others from a prison cell and remained humble despite being used by God in prolific ways. How was he able to do all this? We learn his secret through the book of Philippians.
This week we kick off our new sermon series in the book of Philippians. Planted in the middle of a strategic city, the believers at Philippi were challenged to live out their faith in a culture whose values and morals were quite contrary to the Kingdom of God. Yet, the Philippian church was an example of God's faithfulness to complete the good work He had started in them.
In Philippians 1, the Apostle Paul assures the Philippian church that his imprisonment is advancing the gospel. The Lord uses his marvelous providence to work through suffering and difficult circumstances so as to advance the gospel and strengthen our faith. Resulting in our ability to rejoice in Him!
Even though Paul did know with certainty the outcome of his impending trial he had a joyous confidence in Christ. His desire was to honor Christ through life and death. We too are called to live with joyous confidence regardless of the circumstances we face. That confidence only comes through living for Christ.
Paul’s charge to the Philippian church is to stand firm amidst difficult trials and be united together as a body, with one mind. As the church remains steadfast, two spiritual fruits emerge: assurance of salvation for believers and conviction of the coming judgment for the world.
Upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is simultaneously celebrated and misunderstood. Many thought Jesus would come and overturn the Roman rule or shake up Judaism's leadership. But Jesus' coming to Jerusalem was for a far greater purpose. The incarnation and sacrifice of Christ was about to fulfill it's purpose, to bring glory to God through the redemption of sinners. Jesus came to Jerusalem to establish a new Kingdom by overthrowing sin and death.
The appeal to unity continues by examining the humility and exaltation of Christ. Jesus freely gave up being God, and showed perfect obedience by not seeking to re-take a God nature. This mystery of the incarnation shows us two forms of humility which addresses the entitlement we steal by putting others down, as well as our perception of being right. Instead Christ gave up what he had as God, and obeyed to death on a cross, to make it possible for us to live in unity and joy.
In Philippians chapter two, Paul continues his call for unity in the church. And he describes what this unity looks like, a Christ-like humility that counts others worthy of service and a genuine concern for the interests of others.
In light of Christ's obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross, Paul challenges the Philippians to work out the salvation that they may be lights in this world amongst a crooked a depraved generation.
The local church exists to display the glory of God to the nations. One of the ways we do this, is by communicating the good news of the gospel, taking the message of what Christ has done and bringing it to the lost and unreached peoples of the world.