September 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 4)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Help Those Women (Wade Webster)
  • Towards Spiritual Success (Cody Westbrook)
  • I Can Do All Things (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • The God Who Supplies (John Baker)
  • Farewell (Kevin Rhodes)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-women, #christian-worker, #encouragement, #financial-support, #philippians, #spiritual-strength, #success

June 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 1)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • A Harmonious Congregation (Kevin W. Rhodes)
  • I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance… (Cody Westbrook)
  • Let Love Abound (Mike Vestal)
  • Christ Is Preached, So I Rejoice! (Stephen Wiggins)
  • To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain (Randy Robinson)
  • Paul’s Plea (Dave Rogers)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#apostle-paul, #christian-living, #christian-worker, #fellowship, #love, #philippians, #preaching-christ, #spiritual-examples

May 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Noble Character of Philippians)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Philippians: An Introduction (Bill Burk)
  • The Progress of the Gospel (Cody Westbrook)
  • Joy in Philippians (Bruce Ligon)
  • Unity in Philippians (Todd Clippard)
  • Peace in Philippians (Kevin Cauley)
  • Spiritual Maturity in Philippians (Trent Kennedy)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#character, #christian-peace, #christian-unity, #christian-worker, #joy, #pauls-epistles, #philippians, #spiritual-maturity

What does ‘fellowship’ mean?

By Nelson Smith, commenting on Phil 2.1-2

What do we know of the “communion of the Holy Spirit?” Or the “fellowship of the Spirit?” What meaning does it have for us?

I preached for a church where they had a “fellowship committee.” Its primary work was to organize “fellowships” where the main topic (and activity) was food. Sometimes a little more than that but that does seem to be a common “vice” (?) of many whose taste-buds are out of control.

What does fellowship mean? Continue reading

#fellowship, #holy-spirit, #philippians

Joy and tears and the heart of Philippians

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is known, appropriately, as the letter of joy. The topic is an important keynote, all the more so because Paul was in prison when he wrote it. So it is noteworthy when, at one point in the letter, Paul says he writes “with tears.” Do you know what it is that causes his tears, and why the subject brings him to tears? Read Php 3.

Philippians is less known as a letter of mission cooperation. Paul opens and closes with thanksgiving for their participation in his effort. This literary technique, called inclusio(n), marks their financial gifts as a major theme of the letter. Perhaps we don’t notice it because we lack the missionary spirit the Philippian saints had, or because we’re reading commentaries whose authors don’t have it and therefore treat it briefly. Continue reading

#bible-versions, #christian, #corollaries, #philippians, #time

You didn't have to, but thanks!

In the context of stating that he had learned to be content in whatever physical state he had found himself, Paul relates this thought:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

We’re more than familiar with that thought. It’s been the theme of sermons, it’s been stitched on purses and it’s been painted on walls.

But how about the thought that comes immediately after. The one that says it’s more than just the thought that counts. The one that says:

Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.” (Philippians 4:14)

When it came to the help that was sent by the church at Philippi to the encumbered apostle who thought so much of them (Philippians 1:3-5), Paul, in a roundabout way, was saying that they didn’t have to do what they did, but what they did made him very happy.

Perhaps this thought should be the theme of as many sermons, should be stitched on as many purses and painted on as many walls as well.

The church at Philippi, along with Paul, had the right mindset – they were doing things out of love, and not necessarily out of necessity. And such a way of doing good works is still the model that will cause many more to say with a smile of their face, “You didn’t have to, but thanks!”

#gift-giving, #good-works, #love, #philippians

Is this one of the most abused scriptures in the New Testament?

I have a verse in mind when it comes to this topic that may not be close to what you’re thinking. It is a popular verse without a doubt; both with the church and the world – which may be why it’s possibly the most abused scripture in the New Testament. It at least has to be in the top ten!

Here it is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 – NKJV)

I’ve seen it on purses and in picture frames. I’ve heard it used in reference to football games and weightlifting aims. But are these the things that Paul that was talking about???

In the midst of his closing statements to a congregation that labored in the gospel for Jesus, Paul thanks them from the bottom of his heart for the love that they had shown toward him during his trials for the Lord. And in the context of an exhortation concerning the physical condition of spiritual citizens, a content Paul reminds the church at Philippi that Jesus was his goal whether he was doing better than he deserved or whether he had seen far better days, but none-the-less their diligent gift which had surpassed the efforts of all other churches had lifted his heart and its heart-filling effect had actually reached the throne room in Heaven.

When Paul said he could do all things through the one who strengthened him he wasn’t talking about making it through the minor inconveniences of life whether we’re a believer or not. Paul was talking about making it through the circumstances that came his way because of his faith in Jesus who is the Christ of God. And I don’t believe people are recognizing Philippians 4:13 for what it’s really saying, and that’s why I say that this verse may very well be one of most abused scriptures in the New Testament that people refer to.

#abused-scripture, #philippians, #philippians-413, #religion, #scripture-study

Philippians: among the most beloved NT books

Among the most beloved books of the New Testament is the one with “joy” as the key word and theme. The Puritan poem, “Valley of Vision,” epitomizes Paul’s heart in Philippians. Truly, from the depths of the well (his prison cell), Paul seems to see God’s stars shining the brightest.

Speaking of vision, it was a divine vision, one in which Paul and his mission team were being summoned by a man of Macedonia, which led them to bring the gospel there (cf. Acts 16:6-10). Lydia and a band of religious women, along with her household, were the first saints known to this region (Acts 16:13-15). Always the opportunist, when Paul and his partner Silas were later imprisoned in Philippi for preaching the gospel, they converted the jailer and his family (cf. Acts 16:16-34).

Powerful and well-known are Paul’s words about death in the Lord (1:21), the humility of Christ (2:5-11), and the fact that Paul had suffered the loss of “all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (3:8). It was the upward call of God in Christ (3:14), the hope of the glorious resurrection body (3:20-21), that motivated him to face loss, turmoil, torture, — and even death — with no fear.

The Philippians saints were his “joy and crown” (4:1), and he encouraged their unceasing rejoicing in the Lord (4:4). That they might be whole in spirit, he encouraged them to be diligent in prayer, and pure in heart (4:4-9). And though he had learned to be content, he was ever grateful for their continual support of his ministry (4:10,15-16).

Saints are people of joy. They never regret the sacrifices they make for the sake of the gospel. We’re assured that God will provide for our every need – and richly so (4:19).

Rick Kelley, “Prestonsburg Informer,” Oct 6

#nt-introduction, #philippians

Great Little Outline for the book of Philippians

Here’s a great outline for the book of Philippians that I got in an email bulletin from the church in Plymouth, Florida. No author was given so the “credit” will have to stop right there (see the comment made by Gina at 9:48 am on 2016-11-10 for an update on the author information). The outline does a great job putting the focus on our mind (our affections and perception of life) and it could easily be preached or just studied for a little extra personal edification.

The Four Attitudes that Maintain Your Joy

 1. The single mind – Philippians 1: When a Christian is single-minded he is concerned about the fellowship of the Gospel (1:1-11), the furtherance of the Gospel (1:12-26), and the faith of the Gospel (1:27-30). Paul could rejoice in his difficult circumstances because they helped to strengthen his fellowship with other Christians, gave him opportunity to lead others to Christ, and enabled him to defend the Gospel before the courts in Rome. When you have the single mind, your circumstances work for you and not against you.

2. The submissive mind – Philippians 2: The Christian with the submissive mind does not expect others to serve him; he serves others. He considers the good of others to be more important than his own plans and desires. In chapter 2 we find four wonderful examples of the submissive mind: Jesus (2:1-11), Paul (2:12-18), Timothy (2:19-24), and Epaphroditus (2:25-30). Each of these examples proves the principle of Luke 14:11.

3. The spiritual mind – Philippians 3: The quest for “things” is robbing people of joy, and this includes Christian peoples. We want to possess things, and then we discover that things possess us. The only way to victory and joy is to have the spiritual mind and to look at things from God’s point of view. Like Paul, we must be accountants with the right values (3:1-11), athletes with the right vigor (3:12-16), and aliens with the right vision (3:17-21). “I count…. I press…. I look” are the verbs that describe the man with the spiritual mind.

4. The secure mind – Philippians 4: Chapter 4 describes the spiritual resources the believer has in Christ: God’s peace (4:1-9), God’s power (4:10-13), and God’s provision (4:14-23). With resources like these why should we worry? We have the God of peace to guard us (v. 7) and the God of peace to guide us (v. 9). The peace of God comes to us when we practice right praying (vv. 6-7), right thinking (v. 8), and right living (v. 9). This is God’s secret for victory over all worry.

#bible-study, #book-themes, #christianity, #mind-and-heart, #outline, #philippians, #sermon-outline

Studies in the Book of Philippians

A Series of lessons written by Ron Thomas

#philippians

Making light of small matters, &c.

A bad plan is better than no plan at all. A bad plan has a chance, however small, of going somewhere. No plan guarantees going nowhere. Likely, perfectionists will be the main objectors to this.

• “… one who makes light of small matters will gradually sink,” says Ecclesiasticus (not Ecclesiastes) 19:1 NJB. Methinks there’s a truth here, applicable to the slippery slope where men slowly slide into false doctrine. (All that alliteration was unintended.) Remember the old illustration (which is almost certainly false) of the frog in the pan?

• Epaphroditus was sent by the Philippian church to minister to Paul’s needs, besides carrying some financial help (Php 2:25-29). Instead, he got deathly sick. When he returned to Philippi, the saints might have thought him a failure, since instead of his ministering to Paul, Paul would have had to take care of him. But the apostle will have none of that. He gives him a rousing recommendation as he sends him home. Even shares his title of “apostle” with Epaphroditus, though of course in a different sense, of being the Philippians’ messenger or envoy. Some scholars think this passage is the heart of the book.

• The envoy who looks like a failure is really a success. Sound familiar? Read earlier in the chapter, verses 5-8.

• Anybody done any real work on the meaning of “work out” in Philippians 2:12? Obviously, it must relate to the obedience mentioned in the same verse. NLT has a definite twist in its rendering, making one wonder if this is accurate or slanted by evangelical faith-only doctrine. NCV sounds better to my ears (“Keep on working to complete your salvation”), but either might be right. Got an insight here into the contextual meaning?

• People love Fridays so much, because they can flee work for a couple of days. Is it a sign that work is not considered a legitimate means of service to God? Makes one wonder.

• Finally, a scrap of poetry, on a matter not so small.

Never did a human hope
Take quicker wing to headier heights,
Nor did a hand reach greater scope
Or covetous eyes see grander flights,

Than Eve before the Knowledge Tree
Of good and evil in Eden’s midst—
No harm so deep to humanity,
That fruit in her rebellious fist. —JRM

#philippians, #poetry, #slippery-slope, #sweat-the-small-stuff

Nudge: impressing others

Impress othersHere’s a Nudge for you, peeps. From today’s reading in Php 2, the NLT renders a thought in verse 3 this way, “don’t try to impress others.” I’m not here to discuss the accuracy of that rending, but it leads me to the nudging question.

Share an embarrassing moment when you witnessed someone (yourself, even?) trying to impress others. No names, please.

Or, if you prefer, when someone could have taken advantage of a moment to impress others, but showed the humility to which verse 3 urges us.

Just a thought, also: Is there an instance in Scripture of someone trying to impress others?

Fellows, please reply in separate posts. Visitors, feel free to reply in the comment area.

#humility, #impressing-others, #philippians

A Reflection of God’s Glory

Paul said that for him to live is Christ, but to die is gain. This is an interesting remark. How many of us look forward to leaving this life and going on to the next? Many of us will answer the question in the same way that Paul did, and why shouldn’t we? Yet, Paul knew that he would continue on in this life when he wrote what he did to the Philippians. Since he was convinced that he would continue on in this (his) present physical life – even while he was currently in prison – he knew he was doing so in order to benefit the Philippians (among others). Our life is a benefit to, and for whom? Let us all, as Paul told the church at Philippi, have our lives reflect God’s glory.

#glory, #philippians

What I do know

Yesterday, I immersed myself in the study of Philippians 2:1-4 for our Sunday Bible study in Taubaté. So many amazing things to discover! And what a blessing is the Internet, which brings so many resources within our grasp! I’ll never look at this letter the same again. Here’s a little outline for that pericope from David Alan Black:

  1. The bases of Christian unity (v 1)
  2. The results of Christian unity (v 2)
  3. The expressions of Christ unity (vv 3-4)

• Here’s another item to chew on: Two scholars suggest a structure for the letter and say the pericope perhaps least appreciated in Philippians is actually its center and main section: 2:17–3:1a. If they are correct, it wouldn’t be the first time that what we thought was of least importance turned out to be the Main Point.

• Did I mention the Christian Poets group is rising from the dead? Join in, if you’d like to contribute, and I’ll add you. Sorry if I repeat myself. Take it as an extra reminder. The world needs thoughtful works to prod the mind toward wholesomeness and toward God. Two new items today are already posted at the link above.

• Matthew 18 is that fourth discourse of Christ’s on life in the Christian community. Jesus speaks often of the little ones. Note that in Matthew 10 part of that group are evangelists and missionaries. It would appear that indeed they often don’t, in Rodney Daingerfield style, get much respect in established churches. I’m thankful to see many exceptions, and to be the recipient of those who honor little ones.

• Is the Occupy movement the last gasp of dying Socialism and Communism, or the beginning of the end as America slides into permanent decline? I know little about politics, less about economics, and absolutely nothing about the future. I do pray the Lord will bless my countrymen and family in the US, but I don’t know how that prayer will best be answered. I do know that God cares for his own.

#gospel-of-matthew, #philippians, #poetry

Philippians

Bro. Guy N. Woods preached a sermon summing the book of Philippians giving the theme verses of all four chapters. His was the best overall lesson on the book I’ve ever heard and has been a source of study to me for almost two decades.

He began the lesson calling the apostle Paul a “Christ-intoxicated man.” Paul’s mind was so filled with the Lord Jesus and with his word that he really didn’t have any competing thoughts. How much better would we do in this life if we lived the example Bro. Woods brings to mind? So often, we’re caught up in worldly matters that matter little.

Bro. Woods listed Philippians 1:21 as his first theme statement. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It is said Paul wrote the book  of  Philippians in Rome, chained to a soldier on each side. Paul might have looked like the captive, but the soldiers were the captive ones. They were a captive audience. Paul constantly lived and talked Jesus Christ.

The next theme he presented was Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Christians need to think like the Master, not like people of the world. Christians need to think as servants, not as lords. Christians must always be busy “working out their own salvation with fear and trembling.”

In chapter three, Woods chose verse 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Pity, there’s not enough space to discuss everything this verse, as well as the context, contains. Suffice it to say that a study of the verse takes into account not only the context, but also the prepositions used in the sentence. Gems await.

The final theme verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” The people of Paul’s day were keenly interested in how to achieve contentment (and so is this generation). The major philosophies of the day, Stoicism and Epicureanism, sought to answer this longing with their peculiar ideas. However, Paul knew how to be content. He had been so whether in want or in plenty. His contentment sprang from Jesus Christ.

Paul was a man whose mind was filled with thoughts from and for Jesus. He was a man whose own life so well reflected the mind of Christ.

#jesus-christ, #mind, #philippians