CITIZENSHIP IN HEAVEN
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
(Indicate verses in your response)
What was the view which Paul said mature Christians should have?
Spiritual growth was important to the Apostle. What was his attitude about those who didn’t yet “get it”?
Paul, Silas, Timothy and Epaphroditus were probably included in the “we” of verse 17. What do you think of his using themselves as a “pattern”?
“Their mind is on earthly things.” Expand on the pattern of living Paul talks about. What do you think the indicators “earthly things” are in our culture?
What does it mean, “Our citizenship is in heaven”? (Check Ephesians 1:3-14).
Because of our citizenship, what are we looking forward to?
Going back to Philippians 3:10, summarize Paul’s “that is how you should stand firm, dear friends!
This letter is a “thank you note” to the Christians at Philippi who had done so much for him. As co-examples, he mentions Timothy, whom they knew, and Epaphroditus who was one of their own fellowship. They were also familiar with Silas as he was thrown into prison with Paul on their initial visit (Acts 16:13-28).
Paul was continually struggling with those who had a worldly view of Christian faith. Some even claimed “apostolic” authority which was exposed by Paul and others. As he points out in this letter, Paul’s credentials were unassailable. He was in prison for Christ.