Here are video summaries for this week:
Like Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians are written by Paul to his churches (in Philippi and Colossae) while he is still in prison in Rome.
As I shared last week, each of these letters has had an enormous impact on my own life - Philippians 3:10-11 and Colossians 1:24-31 are passages I recite almost daily. Was there a verse or passage that particularly spoke to you as you read? Was there anything that you feel called to commit to memory?
When Paul writes to Philippi, he’s writing to some of his closest supporters and dearest friends. Hence, we see him vulnerable and honest about his exhaustion from ministry; indeed, he affirms that he would prefer to “depart” from his body to be with Christ. Yet we get this beautiful proclamation; “living is Christ and dying is gain.” How does Paul’s perspective in the midst of his suffering inform your own faith, or that of others you’ve watched in seasons of great trials?
By the end of his letter, Paul appears to have talked himself back to hope by retelling the gospel; he writes, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” and “rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.” Have you ever been in a place of darkness or sadness and tried retelling the story of Jesus to yourself? This is an incredible way to find yourself rejoicing while still in prison.
In Colossians 2, Paul warns the church to avoid returning to the pretense and form of religion, rather than the reality of faith. Then, in chapter 3, he begins to describe the new life in Christ. How does his metaphor of clothing help you think about the idea of “putting on Christ”?
One of the major concerns for the church in Thessalonica was the timing of the return of Jesus. To that end, we get some very specific instructions about what Jesus’ return will look like in 1 Thessalonians 4, and more detail about “the man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians. How do these passages match, or conflict, with your preexisting conceptions of the end times?
1 Thessalonians 5 tells us that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” What does this mean? Are you living your life so as to be ready for the sudden reappearance of Jesus? If he came back today, by the time you finished reading this, would you be excited to see him, embarrassed about where he would find your life, or frustrated about what you had left undone?
Stick to it this week!
Grace and Peace,