Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Colossians- Chapter 4


Colossians 4



-The personal instructions continue as the letter comes to its close in this chapter. We have a Master in Heaven; therefore, we are to treat those under us justly and fairly, just like the Lord does (Colossians 4:1). The next teaching pertains to constant prayer. We are to be watchful in it with expectation. We are to be thankful in it. We are to pray for open doors for proclaiming the Word of God to declare the mystery of Christ and His salvation in clarity (Colossians 4:2-4). Paul gives information on interacting in wisdom toward outsiders and making the most of our time and every opportunity. He says to always let speech be gracious, seasoned with salt (this metaphor suggests speaking in an interesting, stimulating, and wise way that will continue to engage leaving open doors, Matthew 5:13), so that you may know how to answer in the right manner (Colossians 4:5-6).

-*Application* To everyone we must give an answer for the hope that is within us as believers in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 4:2). Pray for opportunities; pray that God will help us recognize those opportunities; and pray for courage to address the people that the Lord puts along our path to bring them closer to Him and His Kingdom. Advancing His Kingdom carries individual, as well as corporate, responsibility.

-The closing of this letter has some intriguing ins and outs of their ministry and connectedness in Christ. Paul wants them to fulfill their respective ministries that they have received and stand mature, fully assured, in all the will of God (Colossians 4:7-17). He extends his grace and asks for prayer as he is in prison with his own hand to conclude the letter (Colossians 4:18).

-*Application* It is important for us to recognize the intricate connections within the body of Christ that He has designed and ordained (1 Corinthians 12:18). As each plays his or her part, the Kingdom advances unto His glory!



Verse to Memorize- Colossians 4:5

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Colossians- Chapter 3


Colossians 3



-Paul goes from the corporate in chapters 1 & 2 to the individual Christian life in the last two chapters 3 & 4. He begins with our resurrected life IN Christ, which allows us to focus on the things above in glory rather than be consumed with the trials, tribulations, and temptations of this natural world. His implication is that we are raised with Christ because we have died to the old man and now our new creation by the Holy Spirit is “hidden with Christ in God.” Christ is our life, as the true and called believers, and He will be revealed. But that’s not all. We, as His saints, will be revealed “with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).” Paul lists things in our mortal beings that need to be “put off (Colossians 3:9),” “put away (Colossians 3:7),” or “put to death (Colossians 3:5).” These things include sexual immorality, impurity, passion (from pathos, which denotes extreme desires, usually associated with sexuality), evil desire, and covetousness, which all amount to idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Also mentioned are the corruptions of anger, wrath, malice (evil intent), slander, obscene talk, and lying (Colossians 3:8-9). Paul through the Holy Spirit says it is on account of these things that the wrath of God is coming and that everyone once walked in this darkness of life before Christ came and saved. Our lives were all a big mess before Christ came and cleaned things up (Colossians 3:6-7).

-Sinful living habits were the bad news, but the good (no make that great!) news is that Christ has come and we can “put on (Colossians 3:10, 12, 14)” His righteousness with true knowledge in His image. In this renewed and transformed life, there is equality among believers with no distinction as Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). The list of things to “put on” include compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, and thanksgiving (Colossians 3:12-13). Above all of these virtues, or fruits of the Holy Spirit, is the perfect bond of unity, LOVE (1 Corinthians 13, Colossians 3:14). Peace is also included, which is to rule in our hearts along with the Word of Christ, which can dwell in us richly through teaching and admonishing (noutheteĊ- to admonish “God wouldn’t want us to do that”, warn “God will take action to correct our errors”, exhort “we can do better than that motivation”) one another in and with all wisdom (Colossians 3:15-16). The base analysis is that we can be thankful in all forms of praise as we do everything in word or deed in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:16-17).

-*Application* This is personal and very introspective when we consider how thus we should live as new creations IN Christ. If these characteristics are present and growing, we are in good shape (2 Peter 1:2-8; 3:18). If not, we had better examine ourselves to see if we are actually in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

-Some individual exhortations in regards to family matters and working relationships characterize Colossians 3:18-25. Submission, love, abstaining from bitterness, and obedience are big components in this section, all in the fear of the Lord in view of pleasing Him and fitting into His plan (Colossians 3:22). The key verse here is “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23).” It is the Lord that gives our inheritance as a reward as new creations, and make sure that the wrongdoer who is apart from God will be paid back for what they have done since there is no partiality with God (Colossians 3:24-25).

-*Application* There is no doubt individual responsibility and accountability, with regards to our relationship and walk with the Lord, is a critical application to us here. No one can make us right with God other than ourselves. It is our own personal faith that will make the difference in where we spend eternity. Please personally accept Christ Jesus as Savior and become a new creation through His Holy Spirit if this has not happened yet. We will benefit from this decision in more ways than we can ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). We are blessed in Christ. Lay aside the old and put on the new.



Verses to Memorize- Colossians 3:3-4, 17, 23

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Colossians- Chapter 2


Colossians 2



-Paul reaches out to his readers in Colossae so that they may be encouraged being unified together in love in order to reach all the riches of completed assurance of understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Jesus Christ, the Head of the church (Colossians 2:2). It appears from the text that there are some who are attempting to bring in false teaching to take these new converts away from true and unadulterated faith in the Lord (Colossians 2:1, 3-5). Paul is wanting to make sure they walk in the truth of Christ and not be wrapped up in human traditions, worldly philosophy, empty deceit, food and drink, festivals, new moon, or Sabbath traditions according to the elemental spirits of the world (Colossians 2:8-9, 16-17). He speaks out against any form of extreme asceticism (rigorous self-denial and active self-restraint, the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state) and the worship of angels, false visions, and a puffed-up mind that is sensuous (appealing to or gratifying the senses) (Colossians 2:18). What Paul is doing is making a case for the simplicity of life in Christ as the Head of His body, the church, who is in them and instructing them for righteousness and sanctification apart from “elementary principles of the world (Colossians 2:8, 11-15, 20).” In Christ, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form and believers have been filled with Him who is the Head of all rule and authority holding everything together (Colossians 2:9-10, 19). He sets us free from the legalism of human precepts, teachings, traditions, and regulations “such as do not handle, do not taste, do not touch (Colossians 2:20-22).” These things may have “the appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion” through self-sacrifice, “but they are of NO VALUE in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:23).”

-*Application* The overriding admonition of Scripture is to simply follow Christ Jesus and live as He did by the Spirit of the Living God. This frees us from the bondage of human traditions and regulations that restrict us in so many ways. It is not rules that make us righteous, but accepting Christ’s righteousness, which was worked out for us and completed on the cross of Calvary through His shed blood, death, and eventual resurrection three days later. Where we were dead in our trespasses and sin, Christ prevailed by nailing our dysfunction to the cross and forgave us through His love and grace activated by our faith. He canceled the debt that stood against us with its legal demands and gave us complete victory being made alive by God (Colossians 2:13-15). This is certainly something worth giving Him thanks and sharing with everyone you know. Don’t get sidetracked from the main thing, which is trusting in Christ and living in His power. This is an inward focus rather than an external qualification.



Verses to Memorize- Colossians 2:9-10, 19

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Colossians- Introduction and Chapter 1


Colossians 1



           

-Remove the head coach, and the team flounders; break the fuel line, and the car won’t run; unplug the TV and it has no power to operate. Whether for leadership, power, or life, connections are all important!

-Colossians is a book themed around “connections.” Paul, writing probably from Rome during his imprisonment (4:18) in approximately the early 60s, combats the false teachings, which had somehow infiltrated the Colossian church. The primary problem was “syncretism,” which is combining ideas from other philosophies and religions (such as paganism, strains of Judaism, and Greek thought) with the Christian truth of the gospel. The resulting heresy later became known as “Gnosticism,” which emphasized special knowledge and denying Christ as God and Savior. To combat this grievous and devious error, Paul stressed Christ’s Deity—His connection with the Father—and His sacrificial death on the cross for sin. Only by “connecting” with Christ through faith can anyone have eternal life, and only through a continuing connection with Him can anyone have power for living. Christ is God incarnate and the only way to forgiveness and peace with God the Father. Paul then goes on to emphasize believers’ “connections” with each other as Christ’s body on earth. This letter then becomes an important book to study for spiritual formation in the Christian life with many important theological truths to consider.



Major Themes:

Christ is God- Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, Lord of all creation, and Lord of the new creation. He is the expressed reflection of the invisible God. He is eternal, preexistent, omnipotent, and equal with the Father. He is supreme and complete. This means we need to understand Christ as being supreme in our lives, recognizing Him as God’s means for our salvation



Christ is the Head of the Church- Because Christ is God, He is the Head of the church, His true believers. Christ is the founder, the leader, and the highest authority on earth. He requires first place in all our thoughts and activities. We must welcome His leadership in our lives in all we do and think. No person, group, or institutional church can regard any loyalty as more critical than that of loyalty to Christ.



Union with Christ- Because our sin has been forgiven and we have been reconciled to God, we have a union with Christ that can never be broken. In our faith connection with Him, we identify with His death, burial, and resurrection. We should live in constant contact and communication with God (1 Thess. 5:17). When we do, we will all be unified with Christ and with one another.



Man-Made Religion- False teachers were promoting a heresy that stressed man-made rules (legalism) based on their own fleshly knowledge (Gnosticism). They also sought spiritual growth by discipline of the body (asceticism) and visions (mysticism) that were not of God. This search created a deception and self-centered pride through their own efforts in futility. We must not cling to our own ideas and try to blend them into Christianity. Nor should we let our hunger for a more fulfilling Christian experience cause us to trust in a teacher, a group, or a system of thought more than in Christ Himself. Christ is our hope and our true source of wisdom.





Structure:

Paul’s introduction to the Colossians gives his signature-common greeting with grace and peace. He includes a note of thanksgiving, and a prayer for spiritual wisdom and strength for those brothers and sisters in Christ (1:1-12). He then moves into a doctrinal discussion of the person and work of Christ (1:13-23), stating that Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (1:15), the Creator (1:16), the “head of the body, the church” (1:18), and “the firstborn from the dead” (1:18). His death on the cross makes it possible for us to stand in the presence of God (1:22).

Paul then explains how the world’s teachings are totally empty when compared with God’s plan, and he challenges the Colossians to reject shallow answers and to live in union solely with Christ (1:24-2:23).

With this theological backdrop established, Paul now turns to more practical considerations—what the divinity, death, and resurrection of Jesus should mean to all believers (3:1-4:6). Because our eternal destiny is sure, heaven should fill our thoughts (3:1-4), sexual impurity and other worldly lusts should not be named among us (3:5-8), and truth, love and peace should mark our life (3:9-15). Our love for Christ should also translate into love for others—friends, fellow believers, spouses, children, parents, slaves, and masters (3:16-4:1). We should constantly communicate with God through prayer (4:2-4), and we should take every opportunity to tell others the Good News (4:5-6). In Christ we have everything we need for salvation and for living the Christian life.

Paul may have never visited Colosse. The church was probably planted by Epaphras (1:7) and was the least important city that Paul addressed in any of his biblical letters. This may account for why he concludes his letter with personal comments about their common Christian associations, providing a living lesson of the “connectedness” of the body of Christ (4:7-18).

Read this book with first century Christian communities in mind, but also apply it to your own life as it offers many timeless truths to soak in. You will indeed gain a fresh appreciation for Christ as the fullness of God and the only source for living the victorious Christian life. Know that your leader, head, and power source is Jesus Christ and make sure of your “connection” with Him!



Key Verses:

Colossians 2:9-10   “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”





*Notes from this overview were aided by:



Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd edition, Broadman and Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN: 2003, pgs. 449-457.



New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.: 1995, pgs. 2096-2097.



-Paul’s primary concern in the first chapter is to let them know of his love for these “saints and faithful brethren in Christ” and to share the preeminence of Christ Jesus in full detail. After Paul’s typical initial greeting “grace” and “peace” with “thanksgiving” from and to the Father, he mentions his constant intercession for the beloved to whom he is writing in the faith along with Timothy, their brother in the Lord. Paul had hear of their faith in Christ Jesus along with all the love that they had for each other as saints in the Kingdom of God. This is an implied indication from the text that Paul had not actually met these folks, but his love for them was truly evident. They all shared a common “hope” that was in Christ and that was laid up for them in Heaven through the truth of the gospel (euaggelion- the good news, the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God as it pertained to salvation through Jesus Christ). It had come to them through the testimony of other believers as it was “bearing fruit” all over the world with the message of the perfect life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of God’s own Son. They had heard and understood the grace of God in truth. Epaphras, who most think founded the church in Colossae, taught them these things as a fellow “beloved bond-servant” on behalf of Paul and other apostles. Epaphras had informed them somehow of the Colossians “love in the Spirit.” For these reasons, Paul reiterates how they have prayed for them since they heard this encouraging message from Epaphras. He specially tells them that he prayed that they “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Why? So that they may be able to walk in a manner totally worthy of the Lord in pleasing Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing constantly in the knowledge of God. He prayed that they would be strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might, so that they could attain all steadfastness and patience with joy “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:1-12).”

-“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).” He is the firstborn of all creation, before all things, the beginning, the Creator of all visible and invisible in Heaven and earth, and holding all things together as Head of the church. He is the first-born from the dead, which speaks to the resurrection, and He takes preeminence in everything. In Him all the fullness of God dwells and He is reconciling all things to Himself for His glory making peace by the blood of His cross. Although humanity was formerly alienated and hostile in their corrupted minds engaging in evil deeds, Jesus through His work reconciled fallen people in His fleshly Body through death, in order to present the believers before the Father “holy” and “blameless” and “beyond reproach.” If believers continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel and sealed by the Holy Spirit, their destiny is secure (Ephesians 1:13: 4:30, Colossians 1:15-23).

-Paul had ministered and shared this message faithfully as a good steward with much suffering in toil and struggle according to the energy that powerfully worked through him by the Spirit. He had imparted the mystery hidden from ages past that was now being revealed. That mystery is Christ IN us, the hope of glory unto a mature man with all wisdom. He was proclaiming Him admonishing and teaching every man with all wisdom so that they, as apostles, could present everyone complete in Christ Jesus. This was the purpose of Paul’s labor as he strove according to the power that Christ gave him (Colossians 1:24-29).

-*Application* The supremacy of Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior must be at the heart of everything we do. It is truly all about Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). Exalt the Lord in your life in every way and give Him glory because of who He is and what He has done to give us an opportunity to live IN Him now and for all eternity. Praise be unto Jesus Christ our King. He is the Name above all names and the fullness of God incarnated on our behalf. He is the One who works mightily in us to do His good will and accomplish His purposes.



Verses to Memorize- Colossians 1:13-14, 27

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Philippians- Chapter 4


Philippians 4



-Paul’s final exhortation, encouragement, and prayer in chapter four begins with a plea to stand firm in a chapter we may theme “the joy of peace and giving.” A personal note follows to Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord along with other fellow workers whose names are in the book of life (Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:1-3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). Paul repeats his encouragement for rejoicing always (Philippians 1:18; 2:17-18, 28; 3:1). He tells them to let their forbearing spirit be gentle (epieikas- gentle, kind, reasonable, gracious, yielding, tolerant) because the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5). He then gives some of the best advice in all of Scripture. He tells his readers to be anxious (unduly concerned, worried) for nothing, but in everything by prayer (communication with God) and supplication (an entreaty unto God, a crying out) with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which goes far beyond our comprehension and understanding, will guard (protect, keep) our hearts and your minds IN Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

-*Application* Why is it so hard for us to have peace and joy and kindness and gentleness in this world without all the anxiety and fear and worry and fretting? It has everything to do with our absence of faith in these times. Peace can ultimately come when we are in the presence of God through prayer and supplication and giving of thanks despite any grievous perception of hardships or difficulties. Our outlook matters, and we must remember that the Lord is always near, right at the door knocking (Revelation 3:20). He wants to come IN and give us rest from our struggles. My friend, seek the peace of God and all His wonderful and astounding benefits. This is the key to unlocking the gift of contentment, which Paul is about to expound upon.

-Paul now gives us a list of things to meditate on and think about as we go through life. The command is to dwell the heart and mind on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable (appealing), excellence, and praiseworthy. Practice these things Paul says and follow his example as he follows Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17; 4:8-9, Hebrews 6:12).

-*Application* The battle for the soul begins and ends in the mind. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Put your mind in the right place, in surrender to the Lord, and He will grant you all you need for righteousness and peace (2 Peter 1:3, 1 John 2:27).

-Paul now explains the contented life through all of its ups and downs. Paul had been brought low and he had abounded; he had plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Philippians 4:11-12). In whatever circumstance, or situation, he was in he had learned to be content without want. This is why he can now say that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Philippians 4:13). Giving now becomes the primary them as Paul makes mention of their kindness and generosity, which will be applied to their credit in the Kingdom of God. Paul was feeling amply supplied in abundance with perfect contentment. And, he knows that God will supply all of the saints’ needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He is the One to be given glory forever and ever. With this said, Paul bids good-bye to his beloved with grace and greeting from those with him including members of Caesar’s household (this to me is a proof that Paul wrote from Rome). He wanted their spirits to be content and at perfect rest even though he was in prison. This was the all-consuming love Paul had for his people (Philippians 4:14-23). *Application* Contentment is a hard thing to find in this American culture that we find ourselves a part of. We always seem to want more and more, but things and successes and selfish abundance only compound the problems we have within ourselves. Be happy with what you do have and the blessings that have been bestowed to you rather than worrying or stressing about what you don’t have. Godliness with content is a means of great gain (1 Timothy 6:6-11). Be content even in the tough times and have grace to endure in whatever suffering the Lord allows you to go through. This is good stuff to live by from the Word of God. He will always amply supply our needs in abundance.



Verse to Memorize- Philippians 4:4-8, 11, 13, 19

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Philippians- Chapter 3


Philippians 3



-The Lordship and Supremacy of Christ Jesus obtained by faith in Him is again magnified in this eloquent chapter of Scripture that could be themed, “the joy of believing.” Paul begins by telling his readers to rejoice as a safety measure (Philippians 3:1). He then offers warning to what he calls “the dogs,” which are evildoers who mutilate their flesh (Philippians 3:2). Paul uses irony here since it is usually to Pharisaical Jews who call Gentiles “dogs” because of their uncleanness in life apart from the Law. The apostle offers that believers in Christ are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in their Savior putting no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). Paul claims that if anyone could have confidence in the flesh it would be him. He lists his former accomplishments in Judaism under the Law and ancestrally as a persecutor of the church and blameless in their religious system. But, whatever he had gained, he counted it as loss for the sake of accepting and receiving the righteousness of Christ as his Lord by simple faith, or believing. The worth of Christ Jesus surpassed everything in Judaism and allowed him to count all else as junk (rubbish, trash, vain) in comparison.

-*Application* IN Christ we have a righteousness that does not come from the Law, but through faith in Him. This allows us to know Him and the power of his resurrection as well as the fellowship of His sufferings in this world. We become like Him in His death so that we can attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:4-11). In what ways have you died to yourself so that you may live in Christ’s resurrected power? This is not only a reality for the future in Heaven, but can be our experience now on this earth as He sanctifies us (Romans 5:10).

-Paul knew he had not already obtained this perfected-resurrection life yet, but he was pressing on to make it his own because Christ had made him His own (Philippians 3:12). He was forgetting his past and the failures of merit-based works, now straining forward to what lay ahead. He was striving for the upward call of God IN Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). He exhorted all to hold true to what had been attained through the work of Jesus on the cross for redemptive Spirit-filled life as mature believers relying on Christ through an exchanged and new life (Philippians 3:15-16).

-*Application* Perfection in the Christian walk is never completely achieved on this earth as we see expressed in the words of the apostle. No matter how far we think we’ve come in the Spirit, there is always the next challenge of spiritual growth and maturity. We must be ever growing and adding to our faith so that we do not become nearsighted and blind (2 Peter 1:3-11; 3:18). Press on believer! Grow IN Christ!

-To have growth we need the Holy Spirit indwelling us and controlling us, leading us into all truth and grace (John 16:13, 2 Peter 3:18). We also need more mature believers that we can look to and imitate (Philippians 3:17). We shouldn’t idolize these mentors, coaches, and counselors, but they are there for our spiritual benefit and can teach us to be more Christlike as we develop. If we don’t grow, Paul is warning the Philippians and us as well, we run the danger of nullifying our witness and testimony by turning to carnal things. This may even be an indication that we are NOT IN Christ because the writer clearly states that these will end in destruction whose god is their belly (selfish appetite) and glory in their shame with minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:19). This is why we must examine ourselves constantly to make sure that we are in the true faith and not deceiving ourselves (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25, 1 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:21). “Our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body (1 Corinthians 15), by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21).”

-*Application* Get on your knees if you can right now and praise the Lord Jesus Christ for who He is. Praise His Name for a while today because He is good and grants every good and perfect gift to us, His children (James 1:17). Enjoy the belief journey, cast down all idols, and realize our citizenship is assured in Heaven as we eagerly await some awesome and glorious heavenly bodies with no corruption.



Verses to Memorize- Philippians 3:2-3, 9-14, 20-21

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Philippians- Chapter 2


Philippians 2



-“If there is any encouragement in Christ, and comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or (vain) conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4).”

-*Application* Unity under the authority of Jesus Christ is the theme here. It goes against the tolerant age that we live in where everyone is expected to be ok with each person going their own way and doing their own thing. This separates and divides. There is only one truth, one way, and one life. Jesus is that way, truth, and life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). We need to conform to His image in all these listed areas together with one voice of truth and conviction. Only then will our joy be complete. The other way will lead to confusion and dysfunction with hatred eventually and selfish motivations. In other words, this passage is a strong case against the belief in universalism, which is sweeping our nation. Conform to Christ and live.

-The Christ we are conforming to has an attitude that the writer of Philippians explains and extols. This is the great Kenosis (to empty, to give it up, to humbly void, to lay aside privileges) chapter explaining how Christ, who was God, emptied Himself by becoming flesh and taking on limitations all for the sake of love and our eternal redemption by His shed blood. Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped (held on to); therefore, He let go of His majesty for a season and came to this cursed earth by taking the form of a servant (doulos, slave), being born in the likeness of men in human form. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient even to the point of death even on a cursed cross all for the salvation from our sins (Philippians 2:5-8).

-Because of His work, God has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name and will cause every knee to bow to Him on earth and in Heaven and even under the earth (Hades). Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

-*Application* This explains much theologically when we try to comprehend the Trinity and understand the role of the Messiah as fully man and fully God. He had to give up many of His rights and privileges as Divinity to come and be among us for our example and salvation. Some examples of His limitations during His incarnation include His limitations in presence (He could only be at one place at a time verses the omnipresence of God the Father and Spirit), His tiredness and weariness, His hunger, His ability to experience physical death, and even some limitations in His knowledge (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32). Jesus gave up Heaven and its glory to come save us. What a concept for us to abide by in our practice.

-Because of this we should work out our great salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is at work in us to work and to will His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). God seeks us out and does amazing things to reconstruct us in His image even when we had fallen from His grace. He restores and replenishes our righteousness.

-*Application* God seeks us out and gives us a new heart and Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:26). He gives us all we need for eternal life beginning right now on earth and godliness in His Spirit. Even though we don’t seek after God naturally, He comes to us and draws us to Himself by giving us a heart that will respond to His love, mercy, grace, and affection. God’s restoration is merited by that one condition of faith, but it is ultimately God who gives us the means to meet that condition. In other words, our approaching Him with our own resources and desires would be ultimately futile and in vain. We approach Jesus with a heart that He has given us, which measures up to His fullness and completion. Rejoice in the God who gives all good things for our benefit (James 1:17).

-With this fact in mind, we should do all things without grumbling or complaining (disputing) that we may be blameless and innocent without blemish as children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse (twisted) generation among whom we shine as lights in the world. We are to hold fast in this faith and unity until the day of Christ when He glorifies us and makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). Even if poured out as a drink offering, as Paul thought he might be and eventually was, we can be glad and rejoice together as one body in Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:14-18).

-*Application* Make sure your joy in Christ Jesus is evident to all even in the midst of trial and tribulation. We overcome and conquer by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).

-Paul gives glowing praise for Timothy and Epaphroditus in the last section of this chapter as having the qualities of genuine concern for the welfare of the saints, having steadfast service in humility, and taking risks for the work of Christ without selfish ambition (Philippians 2:19-30). *Application* Good men are rare and hard to find. These two set an example for us in our service for the Lord and those in authority over us. Submit and give all you’ve got for the work of the Kingdom in sincerity and truth with all perseverance!





Verses to Memorize- Philippians 2:1-14