Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 2:12-18 discusses what it means to be a proactive disciple of Jesus Christ, what motivates disciples, and the key to faithful discipleship.

Philippians 2:12-18 Encourages Pro-Active Discipleship

Discipleship requires balance. Because on one side it invites God’s Spirit to work within you. And letting him transform you from the inside out. However, on the other, it’s engaging in spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible Study. And striving to apply God’s truth to your life. But leaning too much either way causes trouble.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe the discipleship balance in your spiritual life. What does out of balance look like? What does a healthy balance look like? How balanced are you at the moment?

V. 12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

At the start of chapter one in Philippians, Paul calls his audience “saints.” Which means they have all responded to the Gospel and are followers of Jesus. And in many of his other writings, Paul teaches that salvation is by grace. It is not earned or deserved. Is he saying something different here?

No. The Greek word for “work out” is katergázomai and means to overcome, work at, prepare and equip. So Paul’s not saying work FOR your salvation. He’s telling the Philippians not to put their spiritual life on cruise control. Sit back, let the Holy Spirit guide you, and enjoy the ride. But that disciples should actively participate in their own spiritual growth.

Philippians 2:12-18 Discusses The Motivation That Promotes Discipleship

V. 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Even though discipleship involves a personal effort on your part, it shouldn’t be a drudgery. A list of religious duties you perform or else you feel guilty you’re not a “good Christian.” It’s focusing your activities on things that please God because you want to. Like a child doing things to please his parents. Or you wanting to please a spouse or other loved one.

Jesus did this too. In Matthew 3:17, following Jesus’ baptism, God spoke from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And the Greek word for “well pleased” is eudokéō–the same one used here for “good pleasure.” Did Jesus need to be baptized? No. Because he was without sin. But he did so as an act of obedience. In order to please his Heavenly father. It is this desire that should motivate Christ-followers today.

If following Jesus feels like a burden to you, perhaps you should ask yourself why?

Philippians 2:12-18 Reveals The Key To Faithful Discipleship

V. 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain

The Greek for “word” is lŏgŏs and generally indicates something said. In Jewish thought the sayings of God were of great importance. And in John 1:1, lŏgŏs is used to describe Jesus Christ as the living Word of God. Which represents the entire theme in the Gospel of John.

And while we absolutely should cling to Jesus as disciples, the context in this passage suggests Paul means the word relating to the truth of the gospel, rather than specifically Jesus. In other words, hold on to the words of the gospel as your source of truth and spiritual nourishment.

This encouragement is especially true for disciples of Jesus today. We are bombarded with competing voices, messages, and talking points from all directions. How do we identify what is false? By knowing and holding on to God’s truth revealed in scripture.

This is how you stay the course and run the race to the glory of God.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:19-24.

I’ve received another positive review for Finding Grace. Click here to read it. Or check out my Christian detective novels Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace for yourself. I’ve also published non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5-11 supports the Bible’s Gospel message. God came to earth as a human to accomplish what we could not do for ourselves. This passage discusses the deity of Jesus Christ, his humanity, and his final exaltation.

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the deity of Jesus Christ

REFLECT AND RECORD

In what ways does power and privilege affect a person’s attitude? Why do you think it is corrupting? What is the anti-dote?

2:6 though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped

The Greek word for form used in V.6 is Morphe. It means outward manifestation and relates to the essence that doesn’t change. In other words, as a human, Jesus was the same in essence as God the father.

But Jesus didn’t let his divinity corrupt his attitude or use it to further himself.

The Greek word for grasped is harpagmos, which means to seize, snatch violently and hold fast. It presents the idea of holding a privilege that you take advantage of in the future.

Paul’s exact meaning is unclear. Is he saying that Jesus Christ surrendered his equality with God by becoming a man or that he could have asserted his divine essence as a man, but chose not to?

It is clear however, that Jesus carried out his mission according to God’s will. And it’s a game changer for those who respond to him.

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the humanity of Jesus Christ

2:7-8 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

In V.8, the word for human form is schema. It refers to the outward appearance that changes and may be temporary. In other words, Jesus physically grew and matured like every other human. It’s a radical idea. And what separates Christianity from all other religions. That God, the creator, came to earth as a human.

The Greek word for taking is labon and implies an addition, not an exchange. In other words, Jesus didn’t stop being God to become human. He added humanity to his divine essence. He was fully man and fully God.

So from what did Jesus empty himself? This question has sparked an extensive theological discussion around what is called the kenosis’ theory. And is beyond the scope of this article. But I like what a number of scholars suggest. That Jesus chose not to exercise the full extent of his divine privilege.

And he humbled himself at 3 levels:

  • In taking on a human form
  • In sacrificing himself for our sin
  • In accepting the most horrible, humiliating death of the day–crucifixion

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the final exaltation of Jesus Christ

You have a will. A choice. And you’re free to believe in, disbelieve and to accept or reject Jesus Christ.

V.9 Therefore God has highly exalted him…

The Greek word for exalted is hyperypsóō and means to raise to the highest position. After Jesus humbled himself to redeem mankind, God raised him up. It’s a message passed on to Christ-followers as well. That God encourages and rewards humility.

V. 10-11so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

But Paul says a time is coming when everyone acknowledges him. Not because you are forced to. But because you will be overwhelmed in the presence of his glory.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:12-18. Have you checked out my Christian detective novels Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the topic of church unity. Paul identifies the motivations and qualities that promote unity along with the importance of an outward focus.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the motivations that promote church unity

Church is not simply a building. Or a weekly worship service for your religious fix. It is a group of Christ-followers who meet regularly and relationally. Who do life together in the name of Jesus Christ. But they are all still sinners. So problems within a church are inevitable. And unity is an important, but difficult challenge.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some church conflicts you’ve experienced? Describe them, their cause and the result? What motivations fueled or diffused them?

We face different challenges in life. And often, our success or failure depends on the level of motivation. How bad do you want it? In this passage Paul begins with a discussion on motivations.

And he frames it with an “if” and “then.”

V.1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy

In other words, IF you have these motivations. Let’s break them down.

Encouragement in Christ—Encouragement in Greek is paraklēsis, which means to exhort. Literally, a calling to one’s side, or to one’s aid. Christ-followers should encourage and come alongside one another both physically and in their faith journey.

Comfort from love—The Greek for comfort is paramythion, which also means consolation. It infers a sense of constraint and speaking to other Christ-followers in a friendly manner. As Paul advises in Ephesians 4:15, it’s not just what you say, but your tone of voice in how you say it.

Participation in the spirit—Participation is the Greek word koinōnia discussed in the study on 1:26-30. It is the unique sense of community fostered by the presence of the Holy Spirit when Christ followers gather. He is the spiritual super glue that holds the church together.

Affection and sympathy—Affection is the Greek word splanchnon which also means compassion. In other words, genuine caring for others. As Jesus demonstrated compassion and caring, we are to follow his example. Especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ at church..

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the qualities that promote church unity

V. 2 complete my joy by… being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Okay, Paul doesn’t actually say “then” but it’s implied. Notice also, he doesn’t demand compliance from a position of apostolic authority or guilt them into submission. But persuasively suggests it would really make him happy to see them demonstrate these qualities. It would make the joy he expressed for them in chapter 1:3 complete.

Same mind and one mind–Both use the same Greek word phronéō, which means to think or plan. Share the same opinion. A church must move together in how it thinks. And this is directed by God’s word and the leading of his Spirit. So it’s important for Christ-followers to individually and regularly pray and study the Bible. There will always be differences in interpretations, but there can be agreement on fundamental truth and important doctrines within a body of believers.

having the same love–The agape love that motivates Christ-followers should also be expressed among them. It includes support, encouragement, and accountability. And a willingness to seek and extend forgiveness.

being in full accord –The Greek word for accord is sumpsuchŏs and means similar in sentiment and like-minded. In other words, a synonym for phronéō.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the outward focus important to unity

REFLECT AND RECORD

What comes to mind when you consider people that demonstrate humility? How is it expressed or lacking in your own life?

V.3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jesus warned about humility posers. People who showcased virtuous acts to demonstrate moral goodness. And he told stories that exposed the hearts behind certain acts of charitable giving and pious prayers.

And now, Paul identifies a simple principle of Biblical humility. Take your eyes off yourself and focus on others. In other words, it has very little to do with how you present yourself. But where you focus your attention. It’s not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:5-11. Have you checked out Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:26-30 encourages worthy discipleship, calls for unity, courage against the culture, and warns about the cost of discipleship.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls Christ-followers to be worthy of the Gospel

V.27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…

We sometimes act like we’re doing Jesus a favor by following him. But Paul suggests the opposite. Jesus did us the favor. And our lives should demonstrate appreciation.

The Greek word for worthy is axiōs, which means appropriately and after a godly sort.

In other words, does your Christian walk reflect a Godly lifestyle that is appropriate for a Christ-follower? Is your Christian conduct worthy of the sacrifice Jesus made for you?

REFLECT AND RECORD

What does it mean to live a Godly lifestyle? How should that lifestyle present itself at home, work, church and in social settings? How would you rate your walk as worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for unity among Christ-followers

V. 27 that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.

Let’s break it down.

Standing firm…

The winds of social change are blowing. But God’s word remains the same. And Paul urges us to stand firm with unwavering moral convictions. While our culture flees from them at increasing speed. We’re pulled to go with the flow. Join the crowd. Because we want to belong. However, standing firm will leave you behind a morally moving culture. And you will have to decide. Go or stay?

One spirit…

Spirit is the Greek word pneúma that means wind, breath, life, and Spirit. It refers specifically to the third person of the Trinity–the Holy Spirit–who indwells every Christ-follower. He guides, encourages, convicts of sin, illuminates scripture and creates a spiritual community among Christ-followers described by the Greek word, Koinonia. The spiritual bond that unifies the church.

One mind…

The Greek word for mind is psychḗ, which means life and soul. The being part of human being. In Philippians Chapter 2, Paul uses a different Greek word for mind that we’ll look at next week. For now, let’s not over think his meaning here. Maybe he’s simply calling for oneness as living souls.

Striving side by side…

The Greek word synathléō promotes the idea of striving, suffering, and working together.

In other words, Christ-followers are individually disciples and corporately the body of Christ. It’s a relationship compared to marriage. And sticks together in good and bad times.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for courage against the culture

V. 28 not frightened in anything by your opponents.

As Paul said in V. 20, he didn’t want to be ashamed, but full of courage. And now he encourages the Philippians not to fear their opponents either.

Easier said than done, right?

Especially in a morally intimidating culture. One that threatens cancellation to gain support for morals that oppose Biblical teaching. So how should we respond? Compromise on convictions? Hold fast, but remain quiet?

Presently, Godliness and Biblical truth are increasingly labeled intolerant. The moral divide between Christianity and culture grows wider. And simultaneously, puts the two on a head-on collision course.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Share a memory on how you navigated social pressure growing up? How does rejection come into play? What is your greatest concern as a Christ-follower in an anti-Christian culture?

V. 28 This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation

When you live a Godly life, it exposes the ungodliness around you. Because you’re a living testimony that glorifies God. And a witness that influences others by your positive example.

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47)

However, others may resist and mock your faith. Exclude you from social circles. And try to take you down. Because righteous living illuminates sin. This where God is your refuge.

You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man. (Psalm 12:7-8)

Philippians 1:26-30 warns Christ-followers about persecution

V. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake

Jesus Christ ultimately suffered for our sake. And Paul says those who follow him may suffer too. Jesus said the same thing.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Christ-followers in other countries already suffer persecution. Although it’s still a religious freedom in America, Christianity has certainly lost favor in the mainstream culture. And is under increasing attack. How should we respond?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Can you remember a time someone mocked you for your Christian faith? How did you respond? How should we relate to others as sinners saved by grace, but disciples of Christ who strive to live righteously?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 2:1-4. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:19-25 expresses Paul’s sense of celebration, identifies his source of strength, and his reason for confidence.

Philippians 1:19-25 surpasses a positive attitude to one of celebration

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. (ESV, Psalm 5:11)

Throughout the Bible, Christ-followers are encouraged to rejoice and express joy. Why? Because a relationship with Jesus Christ releases you from the bondage of sin and grants you eternal life with him. And that should cause an ongoing celebration.

V. 19 I will rejoice…

So Paul ends v.18 and begins v.19 by repeating the same word…rejoice. Just in case you missed it the first time. Rejoice is the Greek word chairo and the Greek word chara is translated joy.

James, the half brother of Jesus, goes more extreme with the idea. He instructs Christ-followers to express joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV, James 1:2)

REFLECT AND RECORD

Consider a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. How would you rate your level of joy as you navigated it? What factors contributed to how it went? What might you have done differently?

Philippians 1:19-25 identifies Paul’s source of strength

V. 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance

Christianity doesn’t pretend you can summon a power from within. Instead, it recognizes that we are weak. Vulnerable. And gain our strength and support from a community of believers and the power of God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul readily and unashamedly identifies his source of strength: the prayers of the Philippian church and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We don’t understand how prayer works. But know that it does. And Paul regularly asked for prayer support in his ministry. Jesus too, regularly prayed and encouraged the same from his followers. And he told several parables about the impact prayer has in the life of believers.

Furthermore, Christ-followers lean on the Holy Spirit for help. In fact the Holy Spirit is often identified by the Greek word paráklētos, which means advocate and helper.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Take a moment to reflect on and describe times when you sensed the prayer of others. What about when you felt weak and the power of the Holy Spirit sustained you. What did you learn about Christian community and the power of God from those times?

Philippians 1:19-25 explains the reason for Paul’s confidence

V. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul is unsure of his future. The Greek word for deliverance in V.19 is soteria, which means salvation. Does Paul mean salvation from prison and physical freedom or spiritual salvation if he’s martyred?

It’s not clear. But he’s good either way.

V. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me

If he lives, Paul will faithfully serve God. He doesn’t plan to retire, kick back, and enjoy the good life. That comes in heaven.

V. 25 I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Rather, Paul feels responsible as a spiritual mentor to the Philippian church. He wants to support and encourage them on a path of discipleship that is characterized by joy. And demonstrate a Christian life that serves as an example. One still worth following today.

In what ways do you encourage others in the Christian faith? Would you describe your witness as someone who cowers or stands courageously for Christ? How well do you exemplify what discipleship looks like?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:26-30. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18 conveys Paul’s passion in sharing the gospel. And how the message is delivered despite his imprisonment and the rivalry of other preachers.

In Philippians 1:12-18 Paul presents a positive attitude despite his circumstances

Difficult circumstances challenge your attitude. And this impacts how well you navigate those circumstances. Because they cause self-pity. Which makes your attitude worse. And piles on more self-pity that spirals down the drain of depression.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Think about a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. What impact did your attitude have on how well you navigated it? How did it resolve? What part did your Christian faith play in getting you through it?

V. 12 What has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel

The Greek word for advance is prokopēn and means advancement in spite of barriers that hinder progress.

What barriers and hinderance does Paul mean? Well, he’s in prison. And sitting in a jail cell instead of out preaching is a hindrance and barrier to evangelistic progress. As well as an attitude killer that could easily plunge him into a downward spiral. But he refused to take that path and instead, made the most of his circumstances.

The Praetorium refers to the residence of the Roman governor and the Praetorian guard was a branch within the Roman military assigned to the security of the imperial family. Paul is under their supervision while he waits for his trial.

So he shares the gospel with the soldiers guarding him. And the captivity you’d expect to halt spreading the gospel becomes the expression that carries it forward.

Chains for Christ…

Furthermore, it grows clear his only offense is a passion for sharing the gospel message. You can almost imagine the soldiers exchanging prisoner updates during their shift change. “Good luck with the crazy preacher and his Jesus resurrection story.”

Do you see the irony? The amazing paradox of God’s truth? That a prisoner shares with his captors how to experience true freedom?

Philippians 1:12-18 demonstrates how Paul’s attitude positively influenced others

Hang around someone down in the dumps and they can drag you down too. But those with a positive outlook will lift you up. Provide encouragement in your difficulties. And that’s the approach Paul took.

V. 14 Are more bold to speak the word without fear

Paul’s determination to share the gospel and his enlistment of the Praetorium guard to serve in his salvation army was inspiring. It influenced other Christ-followers to share their faith as well.

And you have a sphere of influence too. Your family…friends…co-workers. Are all watching you. Taking some of your cues. Following your behaviors. Receiving your messages. What kind are you sending?

Of course, Paul’s boldness for Jesus Christ landed him in prison. Although we don’t face those dire consequences, our culture is growing increasingly hostile to Christ-followers. To God’s truth. And pushing us to make a public choice.

Will I stand up for Christ or bow before the culture?

Philippians 1:12-18 tells us about rivals with selfish motives.

V. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheía which means self-seeking. It tells us not everyone sharing their faith did so with the same motives as Paul. It was true then and now.

Selfishness and rivalry are everywhere. Even In ministry. Between churches. Among church people.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some selfish ambitions you see within the church. How are rivalries played out? Describe your thoughts on what motivates them.

But aren’t we all on the same team? Yes. But we’re all still sinners. With different views on scripture, sense of God’s calling, and motives. Which aren’t always pure. Because–come on, be honest–we all struggle with selfish ambition.

And it taints our motives. Even in how and why we serve.

Is there motive you have that is not so pure right now? If so, confess it to God and seek his forgiveness.

Philippians 1:12-18 provides the antidote to self-seeking ministry and rivalry.

V. 18 whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Paul affirmed the believers who shared their faith with pure motives and called out those with impure motives. But he didn’t judge, which gives us an example to follow. Instead, we should examine our own motives, ask God to purify our hearts, and commit ourselves to His service.

Keep in mind this wasn’t the first time people used religion for self-gain. Jesus’ response to temple money changers demonstrates God’s view towards religious opportunists.

And even though Paul recognizes the religious opportunists were personally attacking him, he didn’t let it drag him down into a ministry rivalry. But flipped it into something positive. How?

By keeping his eyes on the mission and glorifying God for the results rather than who gets the credit.

This should represent our primary ministry goal although it will present a major, ministry challenge. And yet, offer us the greatest reward and sense of satisfaction in the Kingdom of God.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:19-25. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.