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Philippians Week Two

April 14-20, 2024

To live is Christ. To die is Gain.

Podcast

Listen as Pastor Evan sits down with Brent Earwicker, Alex Mutagubya and Jackson to discuss part 2 of the Philippians series.

Study Guide

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

Read

Read Philippians 1:12-16 in Your Bible

As we will discover throughout the book of Philippians, as with his other writings, Paul has a uniquely eternal perspective on life. Paul’s life has been under a serious transformation from the time he encoun- ters Jesus on the road to Emmaus. This new journey with Christ has included some incredible highlights as Paul has had a front row seat to the expansion of Jesus’ church into the known world. But this life with Christ has also included persecution, in-fighting, a particularly devastating boat ride, and imprisonment.

From an earthly perspective, we might observe Paul’s life with Christ as one setback after another, but Paul doesn’t seem to see his own life this way. His perspective has expanded past what he can see with his human eyes into an eternal perspective that Christ is the ultimate goal.

From his prison cell in Rome, Paul writes with joy to his church family in Philippi,

The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:18b-26

“To live is Christ, to die is gain” will be one of Paul’s most influential theological ideas. One that will change the world as it takes root in Philippi and expands across all nations. For the people of Philippi who regu- larly experienced persecution for their faith in a Roman stronghold, Paul’s words were an encouragement that no matter how difficult their circumstances Christ is worth the cost. The challenges we face because of our faith are not wasted in the economy of God’s kingdom.

When we are living lives that are set on serving Jesus, we can be confident that Christ is with us and that he will even make ways into places that we couldn’t have imagined. To live is Christ. In our work. In our families. In our identity. In our value. Christ is the centerpiece that every other part of our life must be rooted in for true life to flow out.

And Paul reminds us that even in death of our earthly bodies, for those who are in Christ, to die is gain. The life that awaits us with Jesus is our reward and our hope. There we will experience perfect love, peace, and joy with the One who loved us for eternity. Whatever hardships we face in our earthly life become distant memories in the home we were created to abide in for all time.

Reflect

Reflection Questions

Meditate on Paul’s words, “To live is Christ, to die is gain”. Say them slowly to yourself. Reflect on what words stand out to you.

What resistance do you experience when you consider these words?

What hope pops up in your mind and heart?

Have you experienced hardship in the name of Jesus? Describe what happened.

What are most people living for as the centerpiece of their lives?

What are the greatest obstacles of following Jesus?

Do you ever think of your life with Christ in eternity? Take some time to describe what you hope for in heaven.

Pray

Pray to yourself or aloud in your group

God Eternal,
whose breath sustains the very world,
and whose presence surrounds me now, search my heart.
Please show me areas where selfish ambition and ego
have kept me from living in the fullness of all you have for me.

Pause. Take a deep breath. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Help me desire what you desire, and love what you love.
Let my life be a beautiful song sung to you,
reflecting your glorious ways all my days.

Pause.
Allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you by bringing to your mind ways in which you reflect God’s heart. Think for a moment or two about how you are the image of God.

To live is Christ.
I am made in his image.
To live is Christ.
May I bring you glory all my days.
To live is Christ.
Hallelujah.

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: Joy

Even when things are tough, we can find joy in the small things, just like Paul did. We can teach our children to find joy in their friendships, in being kind to others, and in the beauty of nature. Paul’s joy despite his circumstances serves as a powerful example for our children. We can help them learn to find joy in everyday moments, even when things are tough.

Ask: What’s something that makes you really happy, and why?