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Philippians Week Four

April 28-May 4, 2024

Living Like Christ

Podcast

Listen as the Speaking Team discuss Philippians 2:12-3:21

Study Guide

Grow individually or in your group with a guided study through this week's portion of Philippians.

Read

Read Philippians 2:12-3:21 in Your Bible

What does it mean to “live like Christ”? How can we comprehend – let alone live out – something that is as lofty as trying to be like Jesus? Won’t we just fall short? The answer, of course, is yes, we will fall short, except for the grace of Jesus.

Paul provides three examples in this section about what it can mean to live like Jesus. We saw in the Christ Poem of 2:6-11 how humility is a defining characteristic of Jesus. We now will see examples of this attitude of humility in Paul’s descriptions of Timothy, Epaphroditus, and himself.

In describing Timothy, a companion and fellow servant of the gospel, Paul highlights how, “I have no one else like him, who take a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself” (2:20-22). This mirrors Paul’s charge in 2:3-4 to show humility and look out for the interests of others. Similarly, Paul celebrates the character of Epaphroditus, who quite literally almost died in order to serve and care for Paul (2:25-30).

Both of these people demonstrated their commitment to Jesus and the gospel by lowering themselves – at least in worldly terms – to serve the needs of others.

How might serving others in your life allow them to see a picture of Jesus?

We now come to another quite famous passage in Philippians, where Paul “counts it all rubbish” to be apart from Jesus Christ. In this third example of what it means to live like Christ, Paul mirrors the structure of the Christ Poem from chapter 2. He describes his worldly and religious status: circumcised on the eight day according to Jewish law; from the Israelite tribe of Benjamin that produced the first king, Saul (his name- sake); a zealous Pharisee; a legalistic persecutor of the church. All of these characteristics made him stand out among Jewish religious leaders. He had status.

But then he encountered the humiliated Christ, and he saw his acts of self-righteousness for what they were: filthy, self-serving, garbage-worthy, rubbish. He realized his religiousness actually kept him away from Jesus. It was not until he threw out the old life and entered into the humility of Jesus that Paul discovered the rich and abundant life.

Read Paul’s words and consider them for your own life:

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11

Reflect

Reflection Questions

What are the things that you may be holding onto that keep you from sharing in the fullness of life in Christ?

Paul writes about sharing in the suffering of Jesus. Is this a prayer you may be hesitant to pray? What would it mean to find joy in sharing the fellowship of suffering with Jesus?

This week, think and pray about what it could mean to live your life as an example of Jesus’ suffering, death, and the ultimate power of his resurrection.

Pray

Pray to yourself or aloud in your group

All-Sufficient God, you are more than enough.
If I have you, I lack nothing.

Pause.

Think about “lacking nothing”.
Do you agree with this? If not, why?
Take your reasons to God in honest prayer.

How quickly I forget the abundance you offer me –
an abundance of joy, peace, and well-being.
All else pales in comparison.

Pause.

Where in your life do you need to remember God’s abundance?
He has everything we need.
Ask him to show you this in one or two areas that come to mind.

Remind me today of the riches I have in Christ Jesus.
May they be more real to me
than any earthly wealth I could ever accumulate.
You are my treasure.
You are my prize.
Amen.

Memorize

Add the bold section to memory each week

Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Westside Kids

Word of the Week: Servanthood

Just like Paul, we can teach our children to help others with love and kindness. Whether it’s lending a hand to someone in need or just being there for a friend, brother, or sister, they’ll learn the value of serving others.

Ask: How can you help someone else feel happy or loved today?