Paul thanks the Philippian Christians for their generosity and shares how they are all called to imitate Jesus’ self-giving love. In the book of Philippians, we read a series of short vignettes revolving around the Messiah Poem in Chapter 2. The poem retells the gospel story and references Adam's rebellion from Genesis and the suffering servant in Isaiah. In each vignette, Paul uses words or ideas from the poem to show how living as a Christian means seeing our own story as a living expression of Jesus' story. We are to imitate His way of life. Even in our suffering, we can be content as we mimic Him and draw closer to Him. While our true citizenship is in heaven, we can enjoy a close connection to Jesus and an awareness of His love and presence now that gives us hope in the darkest hours.
Romans: Part 1
"Paul’s Magnus Opus"
The Book of Romans is a four-part explanation of the Gospel message written by Paul to the Church in Rome. Since Adam, humans chose to live sinful and selfish lives. Paul shows how Jesus created the new covenant family of Abraham through his death and resurrection and the sending of the Spirit. The people of Israel tried to obey God and follow the Law, but they didn't succeed. Only faith in Jesus' death and resurrection can justify humanity and fulfill God's promise to create a covenant relationship with His people, the descendants of Abraham. Through Jesus, God creates a new covenant family that includes Jews and gentiles who are unified as they love and forgive each other. Even though people continue to reject Jesus, God uses their rejection to expand His family and grow the Church.
Paul shows the new Christians in Corinth that all of life's most complex problems can be seen through the lens of the gospel. 1 Corinthians challenges believers to examine every area of life through the lens of the gospel. Specifically, Paul addresses divisions, food, sex, worship gatherings and the resurrection. He reminds believers that the Church is not a popularity contest, followers of Jesus cannot compromise when it comes to sexual integrity, the core principle of worship gatherings is love for others, and the resurrection gives us a reason for unity, motivation to maintain sexual purity, ability to love other people more than ourselves and ultimate hope for victory over death. Our belief that Jesus was raised from the dead makes the gospel more than moral advice or a recipe for private spirituality. It opens a whole new reality for every area of our life.