The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is laser-focussed on “the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). In this letter, he reminds the Philippians who Jesus is, what He has done, and what that means for those who belong to Him. Paul is pouring his heart out while sitting in a prison cell for the sake of the gospel. To think—one of his most encouraging epistles was written while in chains!
In Philippians Paul presents Jesus as the one who makes us saints (1:1), works in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure (2:13), and as the one who will bring us to completion when He returns (1:6) having secured our citizenship in heaven (3:20-21). In other words, He has justified us, is sanctifying us, and will one day glorify us to the glory of God the Father.
But that is not all Philippians contains. In this heartfelt correspondence, Paul explicitly reveals the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus personally. He proclaims knowing Jesus is better than being free from prison or free from suffering (1:13, 29). Being like Christ is superior to being selfish or apathetic (2:3,12). Cherishing the Lord exceeds clinging to self-righteousness or obtaining worldly gain (3:3-8). Being accepted by Christ Jesus the Lord is more desirable than living in the past with regret or living now for the praise of men (3:12-19). The great promise of Philippians is this: if you know Jesus personally you have everything you need for everlasting happiness. You can suffer, hunger, be brought low or in great need—and yet joyfully face it all through Christ who strengthens you (4:12-13).
Jesus accomplished all of this by emptying himself of his glory, taking the form of a servant, and submitting to death on a cross for our sakes (2:7-8). Great was the cost and great are the promises he bought! May God use this study of Philippians to broaden our understanding of who Jesus is, grow our desire for holiness, strengthen our hands to serve one another, and deepen our love for Jesus as the one of surpassing worth.
- SLAVES AND SAINTS: Philippians 1:1-5
- HE WILL BRING IT TO COMPLETION: Philippians 1:6-8
- PAUL’S PRAYER: Philippians 1:9-11
- THE ADVANCE OF THE GOSPEL: Philippians 1:12-14
- IF CHRIST BE PROCLAIMED, WE MUST REJOICE: Philippians 1:15-18a
- TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN: Philippians 1:18b-26
- LIVE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL: Philippians 1:27-30
- COUNT OTHERS MORE SIGNIFICANT: Philippians 2:1-4
- CHRIST’S EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY: Philippians 2:4-11
- WORK, FOR IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU: Philippians 2:12-13
- LIGHTS IN THE WORLD: Philippians 2:14-18
- FAITHFUL LABORERS (pt.1): Philippians 2:19-24
- FAITHFUL LABORERS (pt.2): Philippians 2:25-30
- TRUE AND FALSE CHRISTIANS: Philippians 3:1-3
- YOU CANNOT SAVE YOU: Philippians 3:4-7
- THE SURPASSING WORTH OF KNOWING CHRIST: Philippians 3:8-9
- THAT I MAY KNOW HIM: Philippians 3:10-11
- HOW AND WHY YOU MUST PRESS ON: Philippians 3:12-16
- OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN: Philippians 3:17–19
- WE MUST STAND FIRM IN UNITY: Philippians 4:1-3
- WE MUST STAND FIRM BY REJOICING, TRUSTING, AND PRAYING: Philippians 4:4-7
- WE MUST STAND FIRM MY THINKING: Philippians 4:8
- WE MUST STAND FIRM MY DOING: Philippians 4:9
- THE SECRET OF FACING ALL THINGS WITH JOY: Philippians 4:10-13
- I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME: Philippians 4:13
- SACRIFICES ACCEPTABLE AND PLEASING TO GOD: Philippians 4:14-23
THE PSALMS, AN ANATOMY OF THE SOUL
“I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, ‘An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;’ for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated. The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particulars in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed. It is certainly a rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy. In short, as calling upon God is one of the principal means of securing our safety, and as a better and more unerring rule for guiding us in this exercise cannot be found elsewhere than in The Psalms, it follows, that in proportion to the proficiency which a man shall have attained in understanding them, will be his knowledge of the most important part of celestial doctrine. …”
THE PSALMS, POINTING US TO SALVATION IN CHRIST
“Moreover although The Psalms are replete with all the precepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness, yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross; and the bearing of the cross is a genuine proof of our obedience, since by doing this, we renounce the guidance of our own affections and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving him to govern us, and to dispose of our life according to his will, so that the afflictions which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature, become sweet to us, because they proceed from him. In one word, not only will we here find general commendations of the goodness of God, which may teach men to repose themselves in him alone, and to seek all their happiness solely in him; and which are intended to teach true believers with their whole hearts confidently to look to him for help in all their necessities; but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconciles God towards us and procures for us settled peace with him, is so set forth and magnified, as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of eternal salvation.”
– John Calvin, introduction to his commentary on The Psalms
After the conquest of Canaan, depicted in the book of Joshua, the people of God spent around 350 years in a despicable cycle of joy and sorrow detailed in the book of Judges. Judges tells the sad story of the people doing what was right in their own eyes, which lead to constant misery and the need for a deliverer.
In simplest terms, the book of Judges reveals how the LORD’S people are half-hearted at best and full-blown idolatrous at worst. There is an endless cycle of unfaithfulness, discipline, regret, deliverance, and unfaithfulness again. As soon as a judge dies, the people forget the LORD.
This brings us to an important point—the story of Judges should ultimately make us long for the true and better deliverer, Jesus. Jesus is the king who not only rules over his people with justice and equity but also with grace and mercy. He not only delivers us from our great enemies sin and death but also changes our hearts so that we no longer deeply desire to do what is right in our “own eyes.” By God’s grace, Jesus changes us to desire to do what is right in his eyes. He does not simply deliver us for a time but buys for us an eternal redemption by his cross and resurrection. He is the king who—at great cost to himself—delivers us from all danger and rules over us in all joy. He is the eternal king we need and long for.
- HALF-HEARTED: Judges 1:1–2:5
- IDOLATROUS: Judges 2:6–3:6
- OTHNIEL AND EHUD: Judges 3:7-31
- DEBORAH AND BARAK: Judges 4:1–5:31
- GIDEON (pt.1): Judges 6
- GIDEON (pt.2): Judges 7
- GIDEON (pt.3): Judges 8
- ABIMELECH: Judges 9
- JEPHTHAH: Judges 10-12
- SAMSON (pt.1): Judges 13
- SAMSON (pt.2): Judges 14
- SAMSON (pt.3): Judges 15
- SAMSON (pt.4): Judges 16:1-22
- SAMSON (pt.5): Judges 16:23-31
- SHAMELESS: Judges 17:1–18:21
- WORTHLESS: Judges 19:1-30
- HOPELESS: Judges 20:1-48
- KINGLESS: Judges 21:1-25
“After being released from his first Roman imprisonment (cf. Acts 28:30), Paul revisited several of the cities in which he had ministered, including Ephesus. Leaving Timothy behind there to deal with problems that had arisen in the Ephesian church, such as false doctrine (1:3–7; 4:1–3; 6:3–5), disorder in worship (2:1–15), the need for qualified leaders (3:1–14), and materialism (6:6–19), Paul went on to Macedonia, from where he wrote Timothy this letter to help him carry out his task in the church (cf. 3:14,15).”
– John MacArthur
I. Jesus is the true treasure of the nations.
II. Jesus is the Son of Man who will be glorified as He saves the nations.
III. Jesus, the glorious Son of Man, will save the nations by dying.
IV. Jesus, the glorious Son of Man, will save the nations through their dying.
This sermon was preached by Brett Baggett at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Eufaula on Sunday, March 8th.