#215 – GOD’S PEOPLE IN CHRIST (16/10/20)
What have been the top things that you have learned from this series in Philippians?
This series in Philippians is entitled ‘A life worth living’; the point being that a life worth living, and a healthy church community, is one that revolves around Jesus - knowing Him and imitating Him.
In Christ Jesus
‘Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.’ (Philippians 4:21-23)
Paul ends this letter by reminding them that they are ‘God’s people in Christ Jesus’; a life of worth comes from being in and remembering our union with Jesus. Through faith in Jesus, we have been united with Him by the Spirit. Paul wrote earlier in the book,
‘Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion…’ (Philippians 2:1)
As we end our studies in Philippians may we continue to grow in encouragement, comfort, love, sharing in the Spirit, tenderness and compassion that are ours by virtue of being ‘in Christ Jesus’.
God’s people…brothers and sisters
Another thing that I hope we go away with from our time in Philippians is a renewed passion for loving unity amongst God’s people. This has been a key theme of the letter and a life worth living is lived in pursuit of unity with our brothers and sisters, particularly expressed in the local church.
The phrase ‘God’s people’ repeated in verses 21and 22 (NIV) should be translated ‘saints’ - holy ones. Christians are holy - they have been chosen by God and for Him; they are holy in that they are justified in Christ; they are holy in that they are pursuing holiness. Such an idea has massive impact on how we live and relate as God’s chosen people. In the central text of this book (2:5-11) Paul gives us a portrait of Jesus and urges us,
‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…’ (Philippians 2:5)
Grace to your spirit
Finally, Paul expresses his prayer with the same idea that he began the book,
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.’
The aim of Paul’s life was that people would know Jesus and the grace that comes through knowing Him. Here, he is simply expressing, which, no doubt he regularly prayed, that they would know, in their spirit, the message of the cross and all the benefits that flow from this. He uses the term ‘with your spirit’ because he knows that they need to experience the presence of the Spirit, in their spirit, if they are to know Jesus who is with us by the Spirit.’
May you and I truly seek to live a life worth living - a life that revolves around Jesus. At the heart of this is what we read from chapter three about knowing Jesus. Paul expresses this ambition,
‘…I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…’ (Philippians 3:8)
To finish let’s pray and keep praying for ourselves and others Paul’s prayer in about knowing Jesus,
‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.’ (Philippians 3:12)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PARTNERSHIP IN GIVING
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever bought something in the past that turned out to be a complete waste of money?
Introduction - please share in your group
This week we finish our time in the book of Philippians by looking at Paul’s thankfulness to the Philippian Church for their generous gift to him in prison.
The secret to contentment
Paul shares a very important principle -‘secret’ in regard to contentment. He writes,
‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:11-13)
Following Jesus involves ups and downs in regard to income and what we would envisage as the ideal life. In a world that medicates on shopping and is constantly striving to get more, we must learn the secret of being content through trust and the strength that the Spirit provides.
Partnership in giving
‘Partnership’ (Koinonia) translated ‘share’ in our text today is a major theme in this book. Paul writes,
‘Yet it was good of you to share (partner) in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared (partner) with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.’ (Philippians 4:14-15)
Christian ‘fellowship’ (a word often used for koinonia) involves generosity to our local church and brothers and sisters whom we know to be in need. For us at CCP, this also involves giving to New Ground the family of church that we are a part of.
In the context of Philippians 4:10-23, giving is described as worship with the attendant promise of provision. We read,
‘…the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:18-19)
Like Paul, I’d like to thank you, on behalf of the eldership team and trustees of CCP, for you generous and faithful giving.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. Please read Philippians 4:12-13. What, according to Paul, is the secret to contentment?
2. Have you ever had a period of need when you have had to apply this principle?
3. What have been the major lessons that you have learned about giving during your Christian life?
4. What does God promise in 4:19 to those who will give as worship?
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?
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