Category: Exhortations (Page 1 of 12)

Reflecting Upon Christ’s Humility (Phil. 2:8)

“He Humbled Himself…” (Phil. 2:8)

It’s difficult to comprehend the magnitude of what’s written above…

The great, eternal Son of God humbled Himself?

He was in eternal, joyful communion with the Father and Holy Spirit for all of all eternity. Ever since the angelic hosts were created, He received and enjoyed their worship. He benevolently reigned over all creation since there had been a creation, and then, when the fullness of time had come, He added humanity to His Deity, was born of a woman under the Law.

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Learning To Be Content (Phil. 4:11)

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content (Phil. 4:11)

In the previous verse, Paul, having recently received the gift delivered by Epaphroditus, rejoiced in the Lord that the Philippians’ care for him had flourished again (4:10). Although the church loved the apostle dearly, it had been about ten years since they were able to send him an offering (cf. vs.15-16). Don’t forget, in those days they couldn’t simply wire the funds to the apostle Paul’s bank account. Not to mention, Paul’s journeys were both frequent and many, which made him a difficult man to locate. Whatever the exact circumstances were Paul said they “lacked opportunity” (vs.10).

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Pursuing Peace Among Brethren (Phil. 4:2-3)

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (Phil. 4:2-3)

Throughout Paul’s epistle to the Philippians there are a number of references concerning the need for, and importance of, unity. In the opening chapter he charged them to strive together for the faith of the Gospel (1:27), and in the opening verses of the following chapter he called them to make his joy complete by being of the same mind (2:2), and to do nothing out selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind to esteem one another better than themselves (vs.3-4). So, although the Philippians were in many ways a model church, between the exhortations for unity and humility, one could ‘read between the lines’ and suppose that there was some issue that Paul was confronting. Well, such a supposition is confirmed in the second verse of chapter four. There we see what was, at least, the primary interpersonal issue that Paul had on his heart. He wrote, “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”

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Pilate: Unwittingly Prophetic (Lk. 23:4)

So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” (Lk. 23:4)

So Pilate, coming out of the Praetorium, and coming from his interrogation of Jesus, addressed the chief priests and the crowd. There was apparently a growing mob gathering with the Sanhedrin members that were there – we see that Pilate spoke to the chief priests and the crowd (vs.4b). They were likely anxiously awaiting Pilate’s assessment and/or decision. So Pilate announced to those gathered, “I find no fault in this Man.”

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Don’t Worry About Anything, Pray About Everything (Phil 4:6)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)

It appears, given the 24/7 news-cycle in our society, that we have the option of worrying about more things than any previous generation on planet earth. Not because our exact situations are as worrisome as they could be, but because we are afforded plenty of other options to consider, both locally and internationally. As of late, we have heard numerous threats of nuclear warfare from North Korea, we have seen China’s militarization in the South China Sea, Russia’s aggression towards neighboring Ukraine and its involvement in the conflict in Syria, societal destabilization in Venezuela, and that doesn’t even include talk of Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism. On our own shores, there is concern relating to the prospect of a terrorist attack, at least in some places – an increasing cost of living, continuing moral decline, concern over the way in which media outlets seem incensed to fan flames of societal discord, and so on. All that of course does not include health concerns for ourselves, health concerns for others, the amount of sleep we got last night, exams, relationships, responsibilities, and the list could go on and on. Yet, in our text, we’re exhorted, even as the Philippians were, to “be anxious for nothing”. It does help to know that this wasn’t coming from someone who was bursting at the seems with outward prosperity, writing in between lounging and dining. This came from an imprisoned apostle. And it does help to know that contextually it comes right after Paul was addressing interpersonal issues in a very healthy church (Phil. 4:2-3). Euodia and Syntyche could apply this text to themselves as they likely wrestled with the anxiety that comes from interpersonal strife. Clement could apply this text if, say, he worried about dutifully executing the charge that Paul gave him to help these women.

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