ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness
IMPASSABILITY OF GOD He is not overwhelmed by any emotion, he is not incapacitated or weakened or stifled by any event or any amount of grief or love. Rather, God is totally self-controlled. While God does grieve, and does passionately love, he does so completely on purpose.
God is also immutable meaning he does not change. He is also infinite, which means his love is endless. It seems at first glance that an impassible God, a God whose love does not grow is just a stoic. However an infinite unchanging God results in God’s wonderful impassibility. He is immeasurable love. He is limitless in joy and delight.
Malachi 3:6 For I the Lord do not change.
Psalm 147:5 Great is the Lord and abundant in power. His understanding is beyond measure.
Praise God for His Impassibility
Praise Him that He is not overwhelmed by emotion. He is love. He is infinite love and joy. Praise God that He is perfect in love and joy regardless of your actions or deeds. Praise Him that you can do nothing to diminish His love and perfection.
CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.
- Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
- Pray for Christian Challenge as they meet at the church tonight.
- Ask God to speak as you read and meditate.
Philippians 1:1-26 The Message
1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
A Love That Will Grow
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
They Can’t Imprison the Message
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17 It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a platform! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his prize. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
22-26 As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
One of the more well-known verses from Philippians is vs 21: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This verse is set in the context of Paul reflecting on the expected outcome of his trial. He is a man reflecting on what it would mean if he were to receive the sentence of death or acquittal. His conclusion is that regardless of the outcome of his trial, it’s a win. When the trial is done, Paul wants his message to be, “that Christ would be magnified in my body.” Paul then begins to reflect and ask himself the question of whether it’s better to live or to die. Now, Paul is not suicidal here nor is this a wish to escape trial. Paul asks the question this way in order to instruct the Philippians. Paul was confident that his trial was going to end with acquittal. But he asks the question for the Philippians’ benefit. He wants to teach them to endure their present suffering by looking forward to their future hope. If Paul were to die, he would receive his long sought-after goal: Christ. He’s training them to look to their future hope while enduring the present. Now you might think, all that sounds incredibly ambiguous and impractical. How does looking forward to the future inspire hope to endure the present? Soldiers and airmen long to be reunited with their families while on deployment. They dream of homecoming and that inspires them to endure the present. It’s the same concept. This kind of thinking expands our perspective. Our vision of the end shapes our life in the present.