Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 16, Php 1-4

Today's readings are Php 1-4. Tomorrow's are 1 Tim 1-6.

Here's a time chart of Paul's writings. Philippians was written during his house arrest In Rome. 

Philippi was in Macedonia, about 125 miles East of Thessalonica.

Strategically located, populated and heavily fortified by retired and semi-retired Roman soldiers, Philippi was the first city in Europe where Paul established a church. Paul also spent some time in prison there. The church at Philippi supported Paul in his journeys and was a source of constant encouragement to him. 

Paul wants to let the Philippians know that he is well and fine, even though he is imprisoned. The gospel is advancing, even through his confinement. This is, as always, Paul's ultimate goal and primary concern, the spread of the gospel.

He wants to encourage the Philippians to continue growing in their faith. Even though there is some tension in the congregation (Php 4:2), they seem to be doing well compared to the struggling churches in Galatia and Corinth. Rather than rest in their success and past achievement, Paul wants them to "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!" Paul wants to make sure the Philippians do not get too comfortable in their spiritual maturity and become complacent.

Already there are signs that some over-spiritualizing may be creeping in. Paul cautions that their growing maturity will not come through mysticism but through patient practice of love and service to others and each other. They are to imitate Christ in all they do. This will reap eternal blessings and benefits. They can be confident that God will finish what He has started among them.

There are great lessons for us in Philippians. Spiritual pride and arrogance are to be avoided. We should never allow ourselves to think we "have arrived." We should constantly strive to go deeper and gain a better understanding of the Scriptures while pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord. We should be cautious about thinking our maturity gives us "spiritual super powers" that others may not have. Humility and service, not aloofness and false piety, should be the hallmarks of our spiritual growth.

An encouragement in Paul's letter is that the church seems to be getting most of this right. Paul does not necessarily write to chastise them but to encourage them and caution them along the way. Likewise, there are things that we, as believers, can be doing well in. Self-examination is a good and productive way to monitor our walk with the Lord. Too much self-examination or being hesitant to give honor to God for the progress He makes in our sanctification while we spend too much time and emotional capital on our faults and stumbles can bog us down and stunt our spiritual growth. God has granted us the gift of repentance to deal with our occasional failures. We should use it. There is a fine balance between spiritual arrogance and self-condemnation. We should pray that the Spirit leads us away from both.

No comments:

Post a Comment