Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!: read Phil 4;

 

Though Paul is in prison (in Rome?) himself facing uncertainty about his future, he is telling the Philippians to rejoice always in the Lord. His walk with the Lord must have caused him to experience the joy of the Lord regardless of though the time he was going through in prison;

  • What could we observe the value they held that they could rejoice in suffering?  See also 1 Pet 4:12-13  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  
  • What could we observe the blessings we get through suffering? See also Jas 1:2-4 2  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
    3  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
    4  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  • What must have motivated the Prophet Habakkuk to rejoice in a hopeless situation? Hab 3:17-18  Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your “rejoicing” in your reality these days?
  • How do you want to respond to His voice that you might learn to rejoice always?

My brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown: read Phil 4;

Paul is expressing his affectionate love toward those Philippians, for they are in his heart. He even considers them as his joy as well as crown before the Lord;

  • What could we observe the way Paul felt affection toward those spiritual children? See also Phil 1:8  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
  • What could we observe the value Paul has for his spiritual children? See also 1 Thess 2:19-20  For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
  • What attitude did Paul have toward those young people in the Lord?  See also 1 Thess 2:7-8  but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your commitment to your spiritual children?
  • What do you want to do in response to His voice?

Paul found himself through a new perspective in Christ: a review of Phil 3; read your journal over the week/ Phil 3;

Though he has passionately pursued a blameless legal position and became successful, he considered it a loss comparing the surpassing value of Know Jesus Christ. And he began pursuing a new goal to take hold of what Christ has taken hold of himself. Christ became his new hope. Read your journal over the week/ or Phil 3, and see what the Lord has spoken to you and how you’ve responded to His voice;

  • What has the Lord spoken to you about your loss of the thing you’ve considered valuable in the past?
  • What has the Lord spoken to you about your new goal for your life?
  • What has the Lord spoken to you about your new hope in Christ?
  • What has the Lord spoken to you about your transformation into Christ’s image?
  • What is an application you need to carry out in life?

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from: read Phil 3;

 Paul is warning against those who live as an enemy of the cross of Christ who is not interested in transformation into His likeness, but interested in religious achievement and serving their belly. But, Paul is reminding us of the heavenly citizenship and  hope of transformation into His likeness;

  • What could we observe the character of the Lord Jesus as our master example?  See also Phil 2:6-8 6  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
    8  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
  • What are we supposed to do in the process of transformation into His likeness?  See also Rom 12:2  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • What is our ultimate goal in our life in Christ?  See also 1 Jn 3:2  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your effort to get transformed into His likeness?
  • How do you want to respond to His voice that you might grow in His likeness?

Only let us live up to what we have already attained: read Phil 3;

Our walk in the Lord Jesus needs to a holistic growth that our body, soul as well as spirit get involved. Whatever knowledge we’ve have attained so far in Christ, we also need to live out in life, for that’s real maturity we need to experience in Christ;

  • What could we observe the path of our maturing process in the Lord?  See also 1 Thess 5:23  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • What does it involve beyond our understanding of the word of the Lord Jesus? See also Jn 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
  •  What does it mean to get blessed by the Lord as we continue in our journey in the Lord? See also Jas 1:22-25 22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
    23  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
    24  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
    25  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your growth in your walk with Him?
  • How do you want to respond to His voice that you might experience true blessing as you grow in Him?

But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me: read Phil 3;

Apostle Paul is pressing on to reach the kinds of life Christ had convinced him when He took hold of himself at the beginning of his life with Him as the Lord of his life decades ago on the way to Damascus;

  • What could we observe the way the Lord Jesus took hold of the life of Paul?  See also Act 26:16-18 16  ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.
    17  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them
    18  to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
  • What could we observe the way Paul pursued to take hold of the heavenly call? See also 1 Cor 9:24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
  • What could we observe the way the Lord Jesus is asking us to run our race on His term? See also Lk 9:23-24  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your race these days?
  • How do you want to respond to His voice that you might take hold of what the Lord has taken hold of you?

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death: read Phil 3;

Paul is writing from jail that he wants to experience the power of the resurrection as he goes through the suffering of Christ in life. And he wants to be like Christ in His death. It is such a courageous and noble goal to pursue;

  • What could we observe the way Paul got into a point to rejoice in suffering?  See also 2 Cor 12:8-10 8  Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me.
    9  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
    10  So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  
  • What could we observe the purpose of Paul’s suffering?  See alsoCol 1:24 & 28-29 24  Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.
    28  We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
    29  I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.
  • What must have motivated Paul’s life filled with such suffering? See also 2 Cor 4:7-9 7  Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.
    8  We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;
    9  we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your sharing in what is still lacking in Christ’s affliction?
  • What do you want to do in response to His voice?

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord: read Phil 3;

Though Paul has achieved a lot that he could put confidence in the flesh much more than anyone, he considered everything as loss because of the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. Everything that used to hold values before has lost its importance as Christ took over its place, for He is a hundred times more valuable;

  • What could we observe the worth of the kingdom of God? See also Mt 13:45-46  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
  • What should Peter have done as he got to know Christ?  See also Mk 10:28   Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
  • What must have caused the Samaritan woman to leave the water jar she was carrying around? See also Jn 4:28-29  Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”  
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your devotion to Christ in life?
  • What do you want to do in response to His voice that you might experience surpassing greatness of Christ in your life?

It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you: read Phil 3;

Paul is considering rewriting as something not troublesome for himself and as a safeguard for the young Christians. For he is not in the business of helping them to grow in knowledge bu telling/teaching but in the business of building their lives in new values after Christ;

  • What could we observe the sense of goal the Lord Jesus tells for our ministry? See also Mt 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • What could we observe the tendency of those around us unless we watch out of our work?  See also Jas 1:22-24 22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
    23  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
    24  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

  • What could we observe the way the Lord Jesus emphasized obedience rather than knowledge? Jn 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
  • What is the Lord Jesus saying to you about your emphasis in terms of intake of the word of the Lord these days?
  • What do you want to do that you won’t end up deceiving yourselves?

Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger: read Phil 2;

Paul is talking about sending Epaphroditus back to Philippi to be with them since he got very sick, and they have worried about him. Paul is commending Epaphroditus as a brother, a fellow worker as well as a fellow soldier for the gospel;

  • What could we observe the characteristics of fellow soldiers in Paul’s term? See also

2 Tim 2:3-4  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

  • What could we observe the way about how we need to serve Christ? See also 2 Tim 2:22  Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  • What must Paul have felt about Epaphroditus as he mentioned about him? See also Eccl 4:9-10  Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
  • Who is someone like Epaphroditus in your life the Lord points out that you should regard highly?
  • How would you like to honor him/her?