Summary: Paul, currently imprisoned in Rome, is writing this letter back to the Philippian Church after receiving the blessing they sent by Epaphroditus. This Church is particularly close to Paul because this was the first Church he had established in Europe. In this letter, Paul makes the case that joy is found in Christ alone. He uses his imprisonment to show us that when our hope is in Christ we can find joy in the worst of situations. That joy then manifests itself in our lives in the form of loving & serving others (ch. 2 v.3-8).
(V. 1-3) Paul opens the chapter with therefore, meaning because of the promise of a resurrection with Jesus we can stand firm with him. Paul is reminding us that the ONLY place we can actually stand firm is in Christ. He then moves on to point out that we should all be of the same mind. He reminds the two women and the people around them that even though we all have our differences, we will always have our faith in Christ to unite us. We should be sure to remind others of that especially in times of dispute.
(V. 4-9) These passages are a recap of the entire chapter. We are reminded to rejoice in the Lord in all circumstances. A lot of times, our joy depends on our circumstances. If things are going good in our life, then we are fired up for Jesus and thankful. However the moment things aren’t going the way we think they should our joy begins to fade. Paul says to be anxious about nothing, meaning no matter how things seem right now, our joy is constant through all of it. In verse 9 we are reminded once again to look to Paul and other spiritually mature people for advice and as an example of how to live.
(V. 10-23) When our Joy is found in Christ, it can’t be taken away by losing or gaining anything here on earth. In a math equation, the one thing you can always count on is the constant. Christ is the constant in our life, everything else is a variable and we look for joy in a variable, it will be up and down. This joy should drive us to become more generous. We shouldn’t practice this generosity out of reluctancy, but do it with joy because as Paul says it is a “sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God”. Generosity is just another form of worship!
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-3) What does it actually mean to “stand firm in the Lord”?
(V. 1-3) How can a common faith in Jesus overcome a dispute between people?
(V. 4-9) What things do we stay anxious about and what creates that anxiety?
(V. 4-9) Of Paul’s qualities, which ones do you show most? Which ones do you lack?
(V. 10-23) Do you press into God more when things are easy, or tough? Explain why.
(V. 10-23) Why is our generosity a sacrifice that is “acceptable & pleasing” to God?