Category Archives: Philippians

The LR: Philippians 4

This Thursday The LR will be gathering in Dorsey Center instead of Davidson. Dorsey is located on the east side of campus next to the basketball and volleyball courts.

We’ll be wrapping up Philippians by zoning in on Philippians 4:8.

Go ahead and post any question or comments you have.

See ya’ll on Thursday!

Nick

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Philippians 3

College students are making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Over the past few months I’ve had countless conversations with students in VI about how to live in line with God’s calling for their life. What I’ve seen with many people is that there is always a contender to their calling. Comfort, success, acceptance, status, and wealth are a few of things that always seem contend with living through the gospel.

Paul lays out in Philippians 3 the reason of our calling, the purpose of our calling, and the contenders of our calling.

Reasons for our calling

  • The glory of Jesus Christ (3:3)
  • Jesus has saved us and made us his own (3:12)
  • Because we rejoice in the Lord and everything he has done for us through his Son (3:1)
  • All is rubbish compare to knowing Christ (3:8)
  • There are people who don’t know Christ (3:2-3, 17-19)
  • God is on mission through us (1:6, 2:13)

Purpose of our calling

  • So that we may have joy and rejoice in Jesus (3:1)
  • God uses us because there are people who don’t know Christ, who are religious, and who have walked away from their faith (3:2-3, 17-19)
  • So that we may continue the work God has started in us (1:6)
  • So that God is able to work through us (2:13)
  • So what we can continue the work God has started in the Church (3:17)

Contenders to our calling

Religion (3:2-7). Paul states all of his religious credentials and says that it all doesn’t matter because Jesus is greater then anything we could ever do. Jesus is our justification, not our own works. Paul also instructs us to stay away from the religious leaders (3:2) who are teaching justification by works.

The reason why religion is a contender to the gospel is because it brings the focus on you instead of on Christ. Your     works.   Your success. Your glory. When religious people have success the glory is theirs, they become prideful, and they feel a sense of entitlement. When religious people fail they feel guilt and shame. Either way, it does not lead to Jesus.

The religious person believes their calling is to be a good person and manage their sin. They try to do this on their own without Christ.

Anything that you value above loving and serving Christ (3:7). I spent the last weekend up at Men’s Retreat. One of the ongoing conversations with the guys throughout the weekend was, “what is contending with the calling of Christ?” One of the main contender for most of us was our own comfort. The reality is that you will constantly be making choices to live in line with your calling our in line with your comfort. Other contenders were personal success, wealth, status, and acceptance.


Reflect

Do I live missionally out of a joy for Christ, or a feeling of obligation?

Do I believe that God has began a work in me?

Do I believe that He is the one working through me, or am I just trying to do work for him?

What is my main contender to living out the gospel? Why? What does it give me?

Nick 

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Philippians 2:1-18

I thought we’d try something a little bit different for the blog post this week and have VIers post their own questions and observations about the passage. So go ahead and leave a comment with your own questions and ideas about the passage.

This passage is loaded with Gospel, community, and mission implications. I thought it might be cool if we all contributed to the blog this week…

Nick

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To Live Is (Fill In The Blank) (Philippians 1:19-30)

I remember vividly my first day of high school. The main goal at that point in my life was to be one of the coolest kids in my class. Everything I did revolved around that goal. Everything was for the cause. My clothes were cool, my hair had too much gel, and I could be smelled from a mile away with all the body spray I was drenched in. I was ridiculous. The words I spoke, the way I walked, the people I hung out with, and all of my time and energy were devoted to the cause.

The reality is that everyone has a main purpose or goal in life. And every area of a person’s life will be focused and geared towards that main goal. We will serve the deepest desires of our hearts.

Take a second to think about why you are living. What is the main purpose of your life?

To live is (fill in the blank).

We see the Apostle Paul’s purpose in this passage in Philippians. He writes it in a simplistic yet power way: to live is Christ (v21a). His main goal in life is Jesus. This is the only pursuit that is eternal. Pursuing financial success will fail because it is temporary. Pursuing the American Dream will fail because it is temporary. A life lived for Christ end with Christ. A life lived for anything else will end with death. Because of this Paul says “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (v21). The things of this world are temporary, therefore the pursuits of this world are temporary.

Paul goes on to tell the Philippians to “only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…striving side by side of the faith of the gospel” (v27). In other words: be a gospel-centered, missionally-focused community when you are here on earth. That is our purpose.

As we strive to live our lives for Christ, we can look to him and see that his purpose in life was to suffer the wrath for our sin and give us access to the Father. His mission on this earth was to grant us access to eternal life with him.

Think about the big pursuits in your life. Are they centered around the gospel of Christ?

Love Jesus for fulfilling his mission on earth so that we too can live a purposed filled life for him.

Live in a manner worth of the gospel of Christ. Know that this world is temporary, therefore our mission is temporary. Know that Jesus is eternal, therefore our worship of his is eternal.

Nick

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Pointless Rivalry (Philippians 1:12-18 Part 2)

I grew up hating Phoenix Christian High School. Naturally, as an athlete from Valley Christian High School (home of the fighting Trojans baby!), I simply could not stand our rival school. I remember pranks that the students of the two school would pull on each other the week of a big game. Most of which are far too inappropriate for this blog. I remember just wanting to beat their brains out in soccer.  I can still remember each game we played against them, every goal scored between the two teams, every taunt, every slur, every yellow card, and so on.

Today I can look back on my high school years and reflect on how vain a Christian high school rivalry really is. The sad reality is that rivalry between believers does not stay in the sporting arena.

In Philippians 1:15-18 Paul is writing about fellow believers that are doing ministry, but personally opposing and criticizing him. Believers who, are suppose to be on the same team, are shooting against each other.  All too often we are convicted of the same thing. I have personally had repent of my criticism towards other ministries striving to do the same work we are.

Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself lately:

Do I criticize or pray for other college ministries?

Do I rejoice when I hear about success in other ministries, or become jealous?

Am I committed to building up God’s Kingdom, or my own kingdom?

Am I humble or arrogant when speaking about VI and other ministries?

Will VI be known for being that ministry that is equivalent to a clique of junior high gossip girls? or a ministry that loves, prays, encourages, and enables other ministries to proclaim the gospel?

Nick

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A Life Worth Living (Philippians 1:12-18 Part 1)

Last week I attended the funeral of the father of one of my closest friends. His father was a godly man, committed husband, loving dad, and devote apostle. He spent the last year and a half of his life battling cancer while his family, friends, and church vigorously prayed. The church was packed for the funeral as it was apparent that his man had truly completed the work God has planned for him.

Through his loosing battle with cancer my friend’s father held fast to the purpose of glorifying God and advancing the gospel. His main prayer was that God would be glorified through his circumstances no matter what.

The other day my friend was telling me a story about a car ride he had
a few weeks ago with his father just before his death. The song “Blessed Be Your Name” came on the radio. His father began to weep as he told his son, ” No matter what happens, I will live to glorify God.” And he did. His entire life was lived lined up with God’s plan for for him.

This is the type of man I want to be.

His life was committed to advancing the gospel of Christ. And it truly showed through his suffering. His faith in God and commitment to His Kingdom granted me the boldness to live a life on mission.

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi from prison. His life, like my friend’s father’s, was devoted to glorifying and serving Christ… even through suffering. Like my friend’s father’s, Paul’s church (in Philippi) was deeply sorrowful for his suffering. And like my friend’s father, Paul uses his circumstances to glorify God and advance the gospel.

Paul tells them that through his imprisonment the gospel is being advance (1:12-13). The believers, instead of becoming fearful when hearing this, become “much more bold to speak the word” (1:14).

God used Paul’s life to strengthen the church with boldness.

God used my friend’s father’s life to strengthen the church with boldness.

I’ve been reflecting over the last few weeks on what a life worth living truly looks like. The reality is that the most admirable lives are the ones mark with suffering for a greater purpose. The apostle Paul, my buddy’s dad, and Jesus Christ all lived lives marked with suffering for a great purpose. And that purpose was for the glory of our Father.

I pray that VI would be strengthened with the boldness to speak the word without fear.

I pray that VI would continue to be committed to glorifying Christ and advancing the gospel in Tempe to ASU.

Nick

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Philippians: Encougament to a Gospel-centered, Missional Church

133162846_tpPaul’s letter to the church in Philippi is loaded with verses that we like to turn into wrist bandbible_verse_coffee_mug-p168342433544827423qzje_400s, put on coffee mugs, and insert into framed pictures of flowers that hangs in our bathrooms (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about). What if  verses such as “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (1:6), “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21), and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4:13) were not just words of warm encouragement, but rather words of extensive empowerment?

Paul most likely writes this letter while in prison around the year 62 A.D. The Philippians were the first European church Paul founded (Acts 16) and were very close to his heart. The apostle is not sure if he will be able to visit the church again because his execution may be in the near future. Therefore, he writes to them with a sense of passion and urgency. Imagine the words of a coach before the championship game, or the last words of a father on his death bed to his family.

Most likely Paul’s last word of pastoral counsel to the church can be boiled down to 3 intertwined themes:

  • Living through the gospel of Christ (1:12, 25, 27, 3:12-16, 3:7, 4:4-9)
  • Encouragement, comfort, and unity within the community (1:4, 7, 2:1-4, 19-30)
  • Empowerment for the mission (1:6, 12-13, 21, 2:12-18, 4:13)

As we end the semester in the book of Phillipians I would encourage you to wrestle through the following questions:

  • What did Christ die to save your for?
  • How would you define community?
  • How are you engaging in community?  active member, or passive user?
  • What does “to live is Christ, to die is gain” (1:21) mean?
  • Is mission temporary or eternal?
  • How does mission play through community (Living Rooms) and ministry (VI)?

I pray that over these next few weeks we will come under Paul’s encouragement and empowerment to continue the work God has started in us, continue to be rocked by the gospel, and continue to live in messy, genuine community in Christ.

Nick

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