Church of the Nazarene – East RockLiving The Jesus Life
Living The Jesus Life
This series is the next in an annual practice of spending time focusing on one book of the Bible. In this case, the study is of Philippians – the letter Paul wrote from a Roman prison to the church at Philippi, the first church Paul started in Eastern Europe (see Acts 16). The people at Philippi were facing the resistance of Rome but remained a vibrant community of faith.
Philippians is an ideal manual for living life as a disciple of Jesus in 2023
Our journey begins today at verse 1 of Philippians.
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
What we call the book of Philippians, is really a personal letter written by the Apostle Paul.
The city of Philippi was a thoroughly Roman city, very loyal and patriotic to the Roman government as many retired Roman military lived here.
It’s believed there weren’t enough Jewish men present to start an official synagogue, so those wishing to pray simply went outside the city on sabbath to gather and pray.
When Paul and his companions went out to pray on Sabbath, they encountered a wealthy woman named Lydia and some others praying.
Beginning with Lydia, then her whole household, the Holy Spirit used that encounter to establish what would become Paul’s favorite Jesus Community.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
As we will see in the coming chapters, the church had commissioned a man named Epaphroditus to carry a gift to Paul while he was in prison.
The text we have today is Paul’s response to that gift. Epaphroditus would deliver back to them as an encouragement in their faith. You can already tell that the savor of this letter is different from some of the others that we find of Paul.
In Verse 4 he makes it clear that as he prays for them, he does so with Joy. Throughout this letter joy or rejoice will appear more than a dozen times.
Think about that- a man in prison, under arrest, possibly even chained to a Roman guard, unsure of his future, goes on and on about JOY.
During his first visit to Philippi Paul was harassed by a demon possessed woman, he was arrested, beaten with rods, thrown in prison, and then told to get out of town.
Within the first few verses of this letter, we see that Paul thinks a little differently about things- He is making the choice to view everything through the lens of Jesus and his Kingdom. His confidence is placed entirely in Christ.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
Paul likens his affection for them to the love that Christ himself would have.
You can only imagine how encouraging and heartwarming this portion of the letter was for them. To know that their gift was received, that they were not forgotten, even though it had been so long.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
He asks the Lord that the Philippians Love would abound more and more.
Paul is asking the Lord that they would be people known by, or characterized by their Love.
He concludes his prayer asking the Lord that as the Philippians would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
It may seem too simple, or too obvious, but the only way to live the Jesus life, is in and through the person of Jesus. Yet there are Christians all around us who are trying to live their lives with Christ as only an after-thought, or a Sunday morning visit.
There is never any doubt for Paul- The righteousness of Christ- right standing with God and right living- are only found through the person of Jesus.
The secret to living the Jesus life, is turning it all over to Him.
That’s what Paul is praying- That we would be filled with the fruit of righteousness (right relationship to God and right living) that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God
The focus of the letter of Philippians is on Christ- His righteousness, His mind, His love- Its about living the JESUS life. That’s the book of Philippians.
That’s the journey we are on together- to seek out and live the Jesus life, that only comes through faith in Him.
Will you commit to living the Jesus life?
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