Our sermon series in Philippians at St Andrew’s this term has had this title: “Becoming Like Jesus”.
A few weeks ago in this column I recapped what we’d heard so far.
And now we’ve reached the end of Philippians, I couldn’t resist encouraging you to continue reflecting on this marvellous letter.
Hasn’t it been full of treasures? Hasn’t it caused us to marvel at Jesus, who humbled himself in order to serve us, mere humankind? And who God exalted to give him the name that is above every name – that Jesus Christ is Lord?
Hasn’t it challenged us to consider the pattern of living Jesus models for us and people like Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus who, well before our time, were growing in Christlikeness?
If Philippians 2:5-8 are verses which show us how marvellous Jesus is, then Philippians 3:7-11 are surely the response we are all called to as we follow our marvellous Lord.
They are Paul’s own words, but they are words each Christian should long to own as we consider our Saviour:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
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, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:7-11)
Paul is entirely taken up with following Jesus. He is willing to lose everything for his Saviour – indeed, he considers his qualifications as nothing – because knowing Jesus and being given righteousness (or God’s approval) through faith in Jesus means the world to him.
More than that, he wants to inhabit Jesus’ story of dying and rising – serving sacrificially and seeing God at work as a result – until he is raised from the dead, seeing Jesus face to face.
Do we share Paul’s desire to Become Like Jesus in this way?
Allow me to remind you of some of the applications we’ve heard as we’ve completed our journey through Philippians. Why not determine to pray over these questions this week – and consider your own response?
- Are you “working out your salvation” – exalting Jesus as Lord personally and publicly – knowing God works in you to fulfil his good purpose? (Phil 2:12-13)
- How are you demonstrating concern for the welfare of our church family – Jesus’ body – rather than for your own interests? (Phil 2:20-21)
- Where do you still look for the approval of others instead of relying on Christ’s righteousness? (Phil 3:8-9)
- Do you know – in theory and experience – that the authentic pattern of Christian living is down and up, suffering and rising, as we follow Jesus? (Phil 3:10-11)
- Do you consider praiseworthy people you want to be like as you grow as a Christian? (Phil 4:8-9)
- Will you seek contentment by depending upon Jesus in order to be independent of your circumstances in the coming days? (Phil 4:11-13)
As we ponder, pray, and choose to act in response to God’s Word, may He make us all the more like Jesus.
With love in Christ,