Sunday, March 3, 2013

Philippians 2

I shared last month how I teach a Bible study the first Friday of every month in my home. We are working our way through the book of Philippians. Of course all of God's Word is applicable to the home educating mother, but there is so much good stuff in the second chapter of Philippians since its main theme is about humility and thinking of the needs of others above and before our own. I find I am the most weary when I get focused on myself, rather than lovingly and humbly serving my family. There is much freedom and peace when I choose to live out verses 3-5. Lord, help us all to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus. Help us to lovingly consider others and their needs above our own and may we do nothing out of selfishness. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Christian Unity and Christ’s Humility - Philippians 2:1-11
Verses 1-4 Describes how we as believers should act.

  • Unity + Humility = Christ-loving church (There is no unity apart from humility)
    • Reasons why Christians should have greater unity 1) encouragement in Christ, 2) Comfort of Christ’s love, 3) Fellowship in the Spirit, 4) Show tenderness and compassion (vs. 1-2). Paul is saying if you have these things (and all believers do, then we should be unified.
  • What does humility look like (vs. 3-4)?
  • Is humility an easy character trait to possess and live out?
Verses 5-11 is the ultimate example of how to be humble. These verses give us a picture of Christ and His humility and how we should strive to be like Him.
  • What kind of attitude should we have?
  • How did Christ demonstrate a life of humility?
  • As a result of Christ’s humility, what did God accomplish through Him?
    • What do you think God could accomplish through you when you choose a life of humility over selfishness? What about a humble church body?

Shining for Jesus (Not Self)
Verses 12-13
  • Do you obey only when people are watching or do you obey when no one is watching (when no one will even notice your obedient service)?
  • What does it mean “to work out your salvation”?
    • This is not a reference to attempt to earn your salvation by works (Eph. 2:8-10), but this is referring to serving/working hard FOR Christ until the very end (death). “Salvation is not merely a gift received once for all; it expresses itself in an ongoing process in which the believer is strenuously involved” (NIV Study Bible Notes).
    • We are not driven to work out our salvation due to fear, worry, doubt, or anxiety, but rather out of our love and fear of who God is and all He has done for us.
  • And who is working in and through us anyway (vs. 13)
    • God is working in us for His good purpose (pleasure).
    • It’s never about us (prideful). It’s always about Him (humility).
Verses 14-18
  • I think it’s interesting and important to notice this passage about not complaining or arguing immediately follows the passages on humility and service to others, as well as “working out our salvation.” It’s one thing to be humble and serve, but it’s another thing to complain and argue as you serve. That just doesn’t make sense. Is it really humble service if you complain and argue as you go along?
Two more examples of humble servants (Timothy and Epaphroditus)
Verses 19- 30
  • What proof is there in your life you are a humble servant of Jesus Christ?
  • Are you more prone to look out for your own interests or the interests of others and Christ?
  • Do you strive to honor men and women who obediently serve the Lord - no matter what the cost?

In Philippians 2, we saw 4 examples of humble servants (models for ministry): Christ, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus
Christ - not equal with God (v. 6), empty, slave, fully God, yet took on human nature, humble obedience, which resulted in death (v. 8).
Timothy - Show deep concern (v. 20 and 21), advance the gospel (v. 22)
Epaphroditus - soldier, messenger, messenger (v. 25), risked life (v. 30)
Paul - in prison, yet still ministering for the Lord.

Application - How does God want me to respond?
  • The thread of humility runs through this entire chapter, not just verses 3-11.
  • Am I living my life focused on myself and my desires (pride) or am I living my life focused on God and His desires (humility).

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