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Beware!

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Scripture
Phil. 3:1   Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.  To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard. Phil. 3:2   Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— 4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
Observation
While we find a “finally” here, it doesn’t seem that Paul is quite finished with this letter. However, there are important items that he feels that he needs to interject as he continues his thoughts. Again, he brings them back to an attitude of rejoicing. He seems to be concerned the possible despondency of the Philippians, and quite possibly, this is because they thought that he was dead. Maybe they find following Christ difficult, but again, he encourages them to rejoice.
He feels the need to reiterate some of his grea…

Living Examples

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Scripture
Phil. 2:19   I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. 20 I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; 24 and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon.
Phil. 2:25   Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; 26 for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at …

Joy is Profoundly Theological

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Scripture
Phil. 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— 18 and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.
Observation
We don’t find agreement on what Paul meant about being poured out here, but we do know that it meant sacrifice. Whether it meant his eventual martyrdom, or the way in which he sacrificially worked as a missionary, we don’t know, but no matter the circumstance, Paul had found a way in which to be joyful. Paul mentions his joy on several occasions but here, he invites the Philippians church into his life and he wants them, too, to be glad and rejoice.
Paul had learned that he could be rejoice in every circumstance of life, and he wanted the church in Philippi to join him in this attitude. It wasn’t just a frame of mind, but this joy was profoundly theological. Flemming helps frame this for us so well:
Joy, unlike circumstantial feelings of pleasure or happine…

Holy People in a Dark World

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Scripture
Phil. 2:14   Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Observation
Paul continues his letter to the Philippians. His heart has been troubled by their arguing and murmuring, but he has laid before them the source and the pattern. Jesus is the source into whom they are all to be connected, having the same mind that is in Christ Jesus. Being connected to the source, the pattern of Jesus is to flow directly from their lives. Therefore, they are to live the pattern of Jesus in the world.
If they truly have the mind of Christ, there will be no murmuring or arguing among the members of the church. The language here harkens back to the children of Israel as they complained in the wil…

Work Out Your Own Salvation

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The beautiful body of Christ in the Dominican Republic

Scripture
Phil. 2:12   Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Observation
After laying out Jesus as the ultimate example of a life of humility, Paul now invites the Philippians to participate in the life of Christ. His pastoral concern is obvious in the way that he expresses his desire for these good people. They have obeyed him when he was with them, and now, with him in prison, his desire is for them to continue to grow spiritually. He tells them to work out their own salvation. This has the potential for misunderstanding, but his plan is not a “works” salvation, but rather a participatory salvation. He desperately wants the church to participate in the life of Christ, taking action to follow the example …

Is there a Balm in Gilead?

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Jeremiah 8:11 They dress the wound of my people     as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say,     when there is no peace.
21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;     I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead?     Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing     for the wound of my people?

Throughout the scriptures we read references to wounds. In this case Jeremiah was concerned that the religious leaders were not caring for the deep wounds of his people. We are living in a season where there are many wounded individuals that we are encountering on a daily basis. However, there are different kinds of wounds, and each one is treated differently. Jeremiah acknowledged this in his words. He didn’t want the leaders to overlook the types of wounds that they were encountering, including the fact that some didn’t take the wounds very seriously, addressing them only with words of peace, “when there is no peace.”
Ultimately, Jeremiah helps us to see the…

Shine Like Stars

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Scripture
Phil. 2:14   Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.
Observation
God’s people are to partner together in the reconciling mission placed before them. Within the church there is to be a healing of relationships so that nothing can damage the church’s witness. If the church will conduct herself above reproach, her witness within the community will greatly increase. Paul repeats language from Deuteronomy that describes the world as “a crooked and perverse generation.” The intent is for God’s children to be radically different in the world, shining brightly like stars because of the words that they speak, and the lives that they live.
Application
We have to admit that even within the life of the church there are times that we may become frustrated with one another. There is the temptation to murmur and argue,…