REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT THE LAST TIME YOU GOT GREAT NEWS?
YOU GOT THE JOB!
YOU FOUND THE MAN!
YOU LOST THE WEIGHT!
We as children of God have news that outshines all earthly treasures. We have something that can never be taken from us. The one true God left paradise for us. He stumbled to His throne for us. We are His beloved. He woos, He wins, and one incredible day He is coming back to wed. He will put to death all enemies of His children and take us to be with Him forever.
I never tire of Martin French’s drawings. This is my favorite, and when Kathy Troccoli and I commissioned him to draw this one from Revelation 19 for Forever in Love with Jesus, he was hesitant, feeling it was too holy to try to catch. But finally he felt free and it always takes my breath away, and helps me believe: this is true, this is really going to happen. Just as He came to earth as a baby, just as He rose from the dead, just as He ascended into heaven, He is also coming back.
What can change us into joyful Christians? Believing the Gospel not only for forever, but for the here and now.
Philippians 2:5-11 is a passage so worth your time in memorizing. Pastor Henry Brandt told his grandchildren that if they could recite it word perfect every time he came, he would give them five dollars. He knew it was one of those passages that had life-transforming power. This week’s passage is the peak mountain of Philippians. It will help you gaze into the gospel and believe His love for you. It’s an important week to be with Him. The Christian’s secret of a joyful life? Believing the Gospel for the here and now. As we do that, His mind will be in us, we will look to the interests of others, and we will see rivalry fade. We, with His Spirit unquenched, though we will know sorrow, will also experience unquenchable joy.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. What is some of the best earthly news you have ever received? Do you remember how you felt when you knew it was true?
Monday/Wednesday Bible Study: The Mountain Peak of Philippians (Philippians 2:5-11)
3. Using your imagination, what do you think it was like for Jesus before He emptied Himself of His rights, when He was with God the Father and God the Spirit in heaven.
4. According to verses 6-7, what was Jesus like before He came to earth, and what did He do in order to come to earth and be with us?
When we are told He emptied Himself, it is important to know He did not empty Himself of His Deity, but of His rights. In the Greek, as Keller will emphasize, it is “being God, He also became human.”
5. According to verse 8, how did Christ further humble Himself?
6. Christ went from the highest to the lowest. In what ways was a crucifixion the greatest humiliation?
7. What was the one thing that the Lord did not have that made Him willing to make such a sacrifice?
J. D. Greear writes, in his book, Gospel:
Every day Jesus says to us, “You are My Beloved child. I am well pleased with you. Now live that way.” Satan, on the other hand, says, “Look at you. Look at the condition of your circumstances. Look at how poorly you’re living . There is no way you are God’s beloved child. Which voice are you going to believe?
Today, silence the voice of the enemy with the voice of truth each time he hisses at you. Come back here and report, at the end of the day, if you did this and how it impacted you.
8. According to Philippians 2:9-11, what has God the Father therefore done for God the Son? How is this a return to the highest position?
9. What name is given now to Jesus? (Find it in verse 11.)
The initiative for exalting Jesus was all on the part of the Father. The “gave” is “freely gave” (echarisato)
10. To understand what verses 10-11 mean, read Isaiah 45:23-24 and explain the passage.
The emphasis of this passage however, is not exaltation over His enemies, but that Christ will be LORD over all creation.
11. Write a prayer of praise based on this passage.
Thursday/Friday Listen to the free Keller Sermon. Share your thoughts and answer the following questions (LINK).
12. Keller talks about the “earthiness of God.” We do not have a far off God, but a God to whom matter matters. He made a man out of dirt. He humbled Himself and took on a human body. He had a real resurrected body. There are going to be real bodies, real music, and real food in heaven. There are many applications of this to us. Consider:
A. The earthiness of life matters to God, and we can lift our mundane earthy chores of washing dishes, changing diapers, and digging in the garden to Him in thanksgiving. Does this permeate your life? Explain.
B. Because matter matters to God, He is concerned about the poor, the hungry, and the hurting. If we have the mind of Christ, so should we. Is this growing in your life? Explain.
C. Because matter matters, in heaven we will have real bodies, real food, real trees — comment on this.
13. Because Jesus was also fully God, people always had extreme reactions to Him. (John Stott) They were never “lukewarm.” Open your Bible to a Gospel and give an example.
14. What other notes do you have that you’d like to share?
15. What is your take-a-way and why?