Throughout Scripture, our Lord makes it abundantly clear the importance of His followers bearing fruit for His glory... and yet He is patient. In today's lesson, we learn more about God's great patience through our examination of the parables unique to Luke. The metaphor in Luke 13:6-9 is crystal clear: the fruit Jesus longs for in our lives includes repentance and a complete embracing of our Saviour by faith and faith alone. ʺBut the day of the Lord will come like a thief and the heavens will pass away with a roar...ʺ (2 Peter 3:10) Are you ready?
Who are the heroes you admire and follow? Paul cautions today that as Christ followers, we are called to pattern our lives after those who are godly, heavenly minded and Christ-centred. We are warned to avoid the earthly minded, deceivers and pretenders among us, and instead emulate those who pursue Christ and live lives that are devoted to and centred on Him. As we mature in faith, we will recognize the authentically broken men and women who know and follow hard after Jesus. Listen as Pastor Craig encourages us to live not as citizens of this world, but faithfully as Citizens of Heaven.
As we continue our examination of Paul's letter to the Philippians, we are reminded of the need to stay focused on the true gospel of Jesus. Worship is not about doing things in the hope that we will earn acceptance before Jesus. This practice results in counterfeit worship and precludes us from developing an authentic worship of and relationship with Christ. Authentic worship in spirit will only come from a heart that has been changed by grace, and a true understanding all Jesus has done for us,
In today's message, we are told to honour those in our midst who are Christ-like examples to us. We do this so that they will be encouraged to continue! Paul calls us to recognize, thank and care for men and women who love Jesus, working humbly and sacrificially for the gospel. Let us today consider who among us we might choose to honour and bless!
Obedience is the manifestation of our faith. As we abide in Christ, he promises to abide in us. God takes great pleasure by working in and through us to produce fruit, and in turn we are blessed! What a comfort to know that we cannot work out our salvation by our own effort, but by God's enabling grace and power alone. He is our strength, our help and our salvation and will shine his light through those who trust and follow him with authentic and humble hearts.
Imitating Christ is one of several themes found in Philippians. Society often will lift up and celebrate individuals, praising them as the 'Greatest of all time' in their particular sport, profession or field. Though we may choose to emulate them as 'role models' , the only one we are called to imitate is Jesus Christ. Our King of kings who left his throne in glory and came down to walk this earth as a man, live a perfect life, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross then was raised from the dead and is now highly exalted by the Father in glory! All because of His amazing love for us. What kind of king would do this? The one and only true King - Jesus Christ: the Greatest of All Time.
Did you know the word 'Joy' in some form or another, is mentioned 16 times in the book of Philippians? 'Christ' is mentioned 50 times! It is no surprise then that Paul tells us real, everlasting joy is found only in Christ. In response to all that Christ has done for us - how he loves us, how he purchased our salvation and established for us the promise of eternal life through his death and resurrection - we are now called to live our lives in pursuit of unity, humility and generosity. Join us today as we learn how to turn away from living a life of emptiness and begin living a life that is filled with joy!
In today's message, Paul exhorts the Philippians to stand together spiritually united in the face of opposition and hostility, and to live in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul's message is equally applicable to the church today as then. Since we have been saved by grace, born again and adopted into the family of God through Christ, our response must be a life that reflects this truth. The authentic follower of Christ should not merely live the gospel with their lips, but more importantly, with their life . As we are reminded in Luke 12:48, to everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required. We are called to honour Him with the gifts He has graciously and freely given to us. A genuine understanding and gratefulness of our status in Jesus Christ will result in our service to him.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (ESV). Paul understands the incredible reality of being 'made new' in Christ. Before Christ, he was dead in sin, but now he is truly alive in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The promise of his future heavenly reward caused him to live his earthly life with urgency. Paul's letter is an encouragement to live courageously and joyfully in the midst of opposition, knowing our final destination is not in this world but in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Join us now as we begin an encouraging and edifying walk through the book of Philippians. Paul knew the incomparable treasure, unsurpassed power and joy found in knowing Christ. To compromise the focus of worship to anything than Jesus was not an option for Paul, nor should it be for us. Nothing compares to the immeasurable joy in knowing the love of Christ. Paul reminds us that as Christ-followers, we should rejoice in the knowledge that our citizenship is not here on earth, but we are indeed Citizens of Heaven!