#126 – A LIFE WORTH LIVING REVOLVES AROUND JESUS - PATTERN AND PROMISES (15/6/20)
If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)
Philippians is a very affectionate letter written in around A.D 62 to the church that he had planted in the Roman colony of Philippi. The book’s teaching all reflects and revolves around the sublime poem (probably an early Christian hymn) in chapter 2; we will look at this section in detail when we come to chapter two, but, in essence, Paul - and God - is urging us to live a life that revolves around Jesus who laid aside glory, became a man, became a servant, died on the cross for sinners. Like the eight planets in our solar system, Christians are to orbit around Jesus.
At this time when racial injustice has been brought to our attention, Christians are to strive to marvel at the gospel and then to live the gospel in our relationships. Of all people, the church should reflect loving harmony that reflects the nature of our God.
This week we will look at the 8 Ps (planets) - the key themes of the book of Philippians (as I see them anyway). All of these themes are briefly alluded to in the introduction (1:1-11) which acts as a kind of overture or trailer to the whole book.
The eight themes or Philippians are:
1. Pattern - on Jesus - ‘Servants of Christ Jesus’ (1:1)
2. Point to promises - ‘saints in Christ… grace and peace’ (1:2)
3. Pray (with Joy) - ‘I thank my God…pray with joy’ (1:3-4)
4. Partner - ‘Partnership (Koinonia) in the gospel’ (1:5)
5. Progress - ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on…’ (1:6)
6. Persevere in persecution - ‘Whether I am in chains’ (1:7)
7. Pursue unity - ‘My prayer… your love may abound’ (1:8-9)
8. Parousia (Jesus’ coming) - ‘until the day of Christ Jesus’ (1:6b,10)
‘Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.’ (Philippians 1:1)
The first attribute of a person or community that revolves around Jesus is that they look at Jesus as their pattern.
Helen, my wife, has recently started doing embroidery. She orders patterns that she follows. Likewise each Christian and the church is to follow the pattern of Christ.
Christians look at the cross as their pattern of how to be reconciled to God; Jesus’ death for them is their complete answer to how can I be forgiven and restored to God?
Secondly, they look to Jesus as their pattern on how to relate to others. They are peacemakers, they forgive, they love, they don’t take revenge…
POINT TO PROMISES
‘Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Philippians 1:2)
The second attribute of those who revolve around Jesus is that such Christians are quick to encourage all of their brothers and sisters by pointing to the promises that we have by virtue of being in Christ. Paul opens by telling them that they have ‘grace and peace’. In a world of pressure and grief, we need to be reminded of the grace and peace that are ours. Too often the message is that we have to earn our worth; the world is full of broken, warring relationships; the overriding message that we need to hear is that we and all Christians have grace and peace from God.
Meditate and pray out of Philippians 1:1-2. What is God teaching you through His word? How are you admiring and imitating the pattern of Jesus? How are you doing at pointing people to the promises that we have, or can have, through Jesus?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – GOD'S HOLY PEOPLE IN CHRIST JESUS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News
Particularly, talk about our upcoming online Alpha Course.
We all have to make various choices each day. What do you find it hardest to make choices about and why?
Introduction - please share in your group
This week we began a series in the book of Philippians. The bible is always relevant and I particularly want you to notice that in these trying times of lock down and racial tension, Philippians speaks into both of these contexts.
Please use the devotionals each day for fuller consideration on the themes of this book, but today I want to think about the words of Paul in Philippians 1:1,
'Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons'
Christians are 'God's holy people in Christ Jesus'. To be holy means to be chosen and set apart for God.
Let's briefly look at the planting of this church to shed light on this idea.
Please read Acts 16:14-15
How does Lydia become a Christian and how does this help us to understand what it means to be God's 'Holy people'?
To be chosen and set apart by and for God means that we live entirely for Him. In Philippians 1:1, Paul describes himself as 'Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus...'
How do we become Jesus' servant (slave) and how does this affect your life?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?