The Line Between

Have you ever imagined what it would be like for a meaningful person in your life to suddenly be gone? What would it look like to cross that line between life and death, between love and loss?

In the year after my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, I spent a lot of time trying to imagine how it would feel for him to be gone. I tried to picture a world in which I could not simply pick up the phone and hear his voice. I tried to imagine how I would feel knowing he wasn’t at work at the car dealership anymore, that he wasn’t at work anywhere anymore, that he wasn’t sitting on the patio looking at his beloved back yard that he had selected every plant and tree for. Continue reading

The Humble Servant

Christ’s life of joyful, humble obedience gives us an example to follow. Phil. 2:5-11 is full of rich theological “soil” that will deepen and enrich your understanding of Christ and your walk with Him.

Part 7 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

Today’s passage of scripture takes the form of what many frequently call a Christological hymn. This means it has as its central object Christ, and speaks to His nature and to facets of His work of redemption. Other scripture likely to be thought of as Christological hymns can be found in Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:2-4, John 1:1-14. I will not be addressing whether Paul penned this content or inserted an existing hymn.

Verses 6-11 summarize the eternal Son in describing His pre-existence, constant and present divine nature, eternal equality with God, incarnation, humility, and exaltation. There is such a depth here that I will walk through it quite slowly as there is much to be learned and much to stand in awe of. I felt utterly inadequate to do full justice to these verses, but with God’s help have done what I can! Continue reading

Living Like Christ in a Hostile World

What does it mean to strive for the gospel and live as a believer in the face of a world increasingly intolerant to Christ? Paul exhorts us in Phil. 1:27-30 to push past our fear and remember our joyful privilege of truth-telling.

Part 5 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

Today’s study begins a section of Philippians in which Paul addresses the qualities of our behavior as believers, beginning with the spread of the gospel. I’ve split up the discussion, which extends to Philippians 2:11, in the interest of keeping post length relatively short and will continue this subject in subsequent posts.

A Life That Speaks of Christ

 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Although Paul hopes, as we saw in the last study, to be freed from his imprisonment, he exhorts the believers at Philippi to press forward in the gospel. Whether or not he is there with them or away on a subsequent apostolic journey, he says, he expects certain news of them. If you believe in the gospel, he tells them, then live like you do. Walk according to what you have been taught in Christ. Continue reading

In Life, Christ. In Death, Gain.

Paul writes in Phil. 1:18-26 of his conflict between bearing fruit for God in this life and departing to be with God for eternity. He rests in God’s sovereignty with joy and hope, encouraging us as believers to live a life set apart for Christ in all circumstances.

Part 4 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

Find the whole series in Philippians here.

18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

I included the entire verse 18 so that you could see where Paul has come from and where he is going next. As we saw last time, he rejoiced that in spite of opposition, imprisonment, and self-seeking preachers, in all ways the gospel was proclaimed. We have both a present rejoicing (I rejoice) and, at the end of the verse, a future rejoicing. I will rejoice, he says, because he is certain of deliverance. Continue reading