Welcome to our study on Ezekiel! Ezekiel is a book of apocalyptic literature, where God gives a startling vision that draws back the curtain between Heaven and Earth. It comes at a time when philosophers worldwide are starting to consider universal truths and move beyond purely local concerns. The time of Jewish exile foretold in Ezekiel will eventually lead the Jews to a renewed focus on the Law and the rise of the synagogue. That said, this book must be approached with caution. Read what the book is saying on the surface, and do not jump into wild speculation. Like Revelation, it can be tempting to ascribe unfounded meanings to certain passages. Start with what is obvious and sound, and let the other questions settle themselves in due time.
We must rejoice in Christ, pray and give thanks to God. If we follow the Christ-centered conduct of Paul and the Philippians, we will be following a solid example and one grounded in Scripture.
Thank you for listening to our study on Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. Tune in for our next study!
Rejoice always, in the Lord. This is more than general cheer–this is part of our inner spiritual life. Such rejoicing reveals a trust in the Lord that can cut down divisions between Christians because it is God who will take care of the conflict.
Paul wants our joy and suffering and sacrifice not to be experiences in themselves, but products in our growing relationship with Christ. He asks one of the Philippian pastors to resolve a conflict between two prominent women in the community, because such conflicts keep them (and us) from progressing in Christ.
Paul tells the Philippians to race towards Heaven and towards an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. No matter what they’ve achieved in their journey, they should stay focused on pursuing this goal. They should put to death all worldly appetites and desires, for those will drag them away from this final goal.
We are to know the power of his resurrection and participate in his suffering–we commune with Christ in His sufferings. We must actively work to know God better. Being conformed to a death like Christ’s. We should be ambitious to suffer as Christ had suffered.
Paul argues that knowing Jesus Christ is more important than any earthly outward show of pious obedience. He argues that if that was the case, he is more devout than any other Jew. However, these accomplishments he counted as losses for the sake of Christ.
We begin the 3rd chapter of Philippians. Paul begins to remind the Philippians about the danger of Judaizers, Christians who want to unnecessarily push the Law of Moses on Gentiles. He points out this is unnecessary because Christian circumcision is in the spirit, not the flesh.
We must transcend our divisions to shine as light in a secularized world. Nonbelievers see when Christians squabble and they comment on it. Paul built an early Church with Jews, Greeks, and Romans, each with forces and ideologies that tried to drive them apart. Compared to the crucifix however, every pettiness is so much less.
Paul discusses how to live and work, day-by-day, depending on God and thereby shining out against the crookedness and perversity of the world. He also mentions his two loyal disciples, Timothy and Epaprhoditus. Epaproditus nearly died from sickness and is coming back to Philippi to assauge concerns from the community about his health. These human worries, if continually brought to Christ in prayer, are fundamentally compatible with the Christian life.