One of the most painful things in life is a longing, a holy desire, left unfulfilled. It tests our faith like no other. It brings grief and confusion. How do we go on when the Lord sovereignly chooses to direct our lives down a path we do not desire? Can we trust the Lord in our sufferings? Can we have confidence in the Lord 'though he slay' us? (Job 13:15)
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.