philippians devotional: week 2 SUMMER PREACHING SERIES AT MBC MONTGOMERY COUNTY CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE

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1 philippians SUMMER PREACHING SERIES AT MBC MONTGOMERY COUNTY devotional: week 2 CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE

2 MONDAY CHRIST OUR MOTIVATION PHILIPPIANS 2:1-8 1 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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! As the second chapter in Philippians begins, we see Paul s heart for the church in Philippi. He strongly desires that the believers there would complete or fulfill his joy by adopting a unified mindset as well as a tangible and evident love for one another. Furthermore, he desires that they would be selfless, and with humility, intentionally see to the interests of others beyond their own personal interests. Paul s desires for the Philippian church are certainly noble, but we know all too well that humbly seeing to the interests of others is something that is oftentimes very hard to carry out on a consistent basis. Thankfully Paul unpacks the solution for us beginning in verse 5. We see that this attitude of selfless, sacrificial love was actually in Christ as He came to give His life for us. He willfully abandoned the infinite and everlasting joys of heaven with God to come to a fallen earth, intent on fulfilling His mission to bring hope to humanity. The crucial point here then, is that we have a Savior who does not require us to do the things mentioned in verses 1-4 so that we earn God s favor or somehow become worthy of His love. Jesus already came and did this for His church so that we might have life and joy in Him! Therefore in response to this glorious truth, we WANT to go and emulate His example so that the world might also see and enjoy the extent of His love through the gospel. He even gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we might be empowered to do these things. As we seek to live out our calling to love and serve one another, we consistently strive to look to Christ as our perfect example. 1. Are any of the charges that Paul gives in verses 1-4 areas that I need to grow in personally? 2. What is one way, this week, in which I can strive to look out for someone s interests above my own? What is my plan to act on that? Lord, help me to identify specific ways in which I can begin contributing to the unity of your church, so that we might be used by you to advance the gospel. Holy Spirit, help me to meditate daily on the example of love that Christ displayed at the cross. 01

3 TUESDAY CHRIST OUR STRENGTH PHILIPPIANS 2: And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. In this section of scripture, Paul begins by describing in greater detail who the resurrected Christ is and why it s relevant for us as believers. Paul exclaims in verse 9 that in response to what Jesus has accomplished at the cross, Therefore, God the Father has exalted Jesus and given Him the name that is above all names and that before Him, every knee on heaven and earth, and every tongue will one day confess that He is the Lord. We discover in these verses an incredible picture of the power and the sovereign rule that our Savior possesses. But then we see another Therefore in verse 12 and again, Paul quickly goes back to exhorting the church, reminding us of the importance of obedience and even working out our own salvation (working out our salvation meaning to carry out unto completion the calling on our lives to know Christ and to make Him known). So what is the connection between these two passages (v and v )? We see in verse 13 that it is this God who is working in and through us to the completion of His will and good pleasure. So the incredible reality is that we are called to be obedient and live as the Lord calls us to, but that Christ ultimately supplies the power for us to do so! And what s more is that Jesus, who works through us, was not just a holy prophet, or a wise teacher with helpful tidbits on navigating life but the sovereign Lord who has conquered death, who upholds the very existence of the universe by His Word and before whom, every knee will one day bow and every tongue confess as Lord! 1. Do you sometimes feel like you re pursuing obedience by your own strength? How can we as believers abide in the presence of Christ and reflect on His unconditional love, so that our Christian disciplines (prayer, bible study, service, etc.) naturally flow out of our relationship with Jesus? Lord, I need you. Help me to know and understand more fully who you are and what you ve done for me at the cross, so that I might have an attitude of gratefulness to you and walk more consistently by the power of your Holy Spirit. 02

4 WEDNESDAY PURSUING HOLINESS BY LOVING ONE ANOTHER, THE WORLD, AND GOD S WORD PHILIPPIANS 2: Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. [a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. The message of this text is extraordinarily clear. We are to pursue holiness and be blameless, so that others might look at our lives and see the light (v. 15) of Christ in us. This builds upon last week s devotional where it must be the power of Christ working through us (v. 13) and we must emulate and obey Jesus not for the sake of seeming holy on our own behalf, but in a spirit of humility such as Jesus displayed in going to the cross (v. 8). Another important aspect to this text, and often times overlooked, is that we must have a love for lost people in the world. The unconditional love of Christ seen earlier in the chapter is very much at work here, especially as we read of Paul s command to shine like lights in the world. Going against the grain of what culture tells us to do is very difficult. And pursing Christ in the midst of this crooked and twisted generation was never meant to be an easy task. But the unconditional love for people (that the Holy Spirit places within us) is what gives us the ability to forgo our personal preferences and live (even when difficult) in a way that causes people to see Christ in us, so that they may see our good deeds, and ultimately glorify our father in heaven (to quote Matt. 5:13-16). We want people to come into the soul saving joy and grace that we ourselves have found within the family of God, and that s a big part of our motivation. Finally we have one last exhortation from Paul on how we persevere in this endeavor to love others: we are to hold on tightly to the truths that God reveals to us through His Word. As we feast on and immerse ourselves in God s truth, it will naturally transform us in a way that will give us a kingdom focus and gospel awareness in all of life s circumstances. 1. How can we move towards loving the lost like Jesus? 2. What does it look like for me to cling to God s truth on a daily basis? Lord, give me a heart to love the world just as you have. Help me to seek hard after your truth through Bible study and biblical community so that I might know you more as well as be equipped to walk in obedience to what you command. 03

5 THURSDAY THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP PHILIPPIANS 2: I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. Verse 19 opens with Paul expressing his earnest hope to send his beloved disciple Timothy to the Philippians. He spends the next couple of verses praising Timothy for his genuine concern for the welfare of others as well as his proven track record of service for the sake of the gospel. In this passage specifically, we get a glimpse of a helpful reality that is good for us to see as a church that is seeking to proclaim the gospel and advance the kingdom: the fruit of discipleship. Paul intentionally mentored, shepherded and cared for Timothy in a way that would lead to him being one of the primary people used by God to help plant the seeds of the early church. And it s awesome to see that because of Paul s investment and trust in Timothy, he could then send him to the Philippians (as well as other churches scattered around the ancient world) to point them in the way of the gospel. This is part of what encompassed Paul s hope in verse 19 that Timothy, a disciple, would go and help foster a culture of disciple makers in the churches he would visit. We are given a glimpse at Timothy s spiritual maturity (the fruit of Paul s investment) so that we might see how relevant and how urgent the call is on the church to be making disciples and to be sending them into the world with the love of Jesus. 1. Am I helping to make disciples in my church? 2. Who is one person that I could intentionally begin to disciple or mentor? Lord, show me one person that I can begin to invest in spiritually. Help me to remember that the time is short, and that we are called to invest in people so that the gospel might be proclaimed throughout the world. 04

6 FRIDAY AN EXAMPLE WORTH FOLLOWING PHILIPPIANS 2: But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. Similar to last weeks devotional, we now see Paul praising his faithful disciple Epaphroditus. Paul writes to the Philippians that Epaphroditus had very much longed to see them again and was delighted to report that the Lord had delivered him from an illness that apparently almost cost him his life. So he is all the more eager to send him to the Philippians so that he might be able to minister to them and that they too might rejoice in seeing him again. Paul lands on the crux of this passage in v. 29 where he encourages the Philippians to not only receive Epaphroditus with joy, but also to always honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ. What Paul wants the Philippians to see with extreme clarity is the example of the Christian life and mission that is lived out by Epaphroditus, a mission that Christ calls every believer to when He makes us His sons and daughters. Paul obviously explains earlier in the chapter how Jesus sets the ultimate example of how are to be humble and to serve others, but no doubt, Paul knew that one of the greatest aides in the Philippians sanctification would be for them to see and to be around real people, broken people, whose lives had been drastically transformed by the power of the gospel and who were now giving their own lives, even to the point of death, to make Christ famous. Some of the greatest times of growth in my personal walk with the Lord have almost always been directly related to seeing another brother or sister walking faithfully with the Lord through difficulty. We are commanded to honor such men, and to learn from their example as they look to Christ. 1. Do you surround yourself with godly men and women from whom you can learn and grow with spiritually? 2. How can you more intentionally get connected to other men and women who love Jesus and live out their faith? Lord, help me to remember that we re all in constant need of your grace. Help me to understand the importance of Biblical community and to set in my life people who love you and can help point me to your example. 05

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