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Philippians summary & testimonies

Back to all sermons To live is Christ and to die is gain: A sermon series through Philippians

Date: April 30, 2023

Speaker: Eric Stillman

Series: To live is Christ and to die is gain: A sermon series through Philippians

Scripture: Philippians 1:1– 4:23

Philippians Sermon Series Summary


Jan 8, 2023 – The servant of Jesus Christ – Phil 1:1-2 – Of all possible identities, Paul describes himself as a servant or slave of Jesus Christ. A slave belongs to another person, a slave’s schedule is dictated by the master, and a slave has no rights, only responsibilities. But Paul is not just a slave but a slave of Jesus Christ, the one who loves him and gave his life for him and whose lordship can unlock his greatest potential. To be Jesus’ slave includes seeking him in the morning and returning to him throughout the day, knowing His Word and will, being in fellowship with other believers, and obeying Him.


Jan 15, 2023 – I thank my God every time I remember you – Phil 1:3-8 – Paul is sincerely affectionate towards the Philippians for two main reasons. First, they are true friends who have been there for him in times of crisis, including his current imprisonment. Secondly, they are partnering with him in the gospel, even through suffering. True friends stick by you in times of crisis, and true Christians continue to faithfully serve even when it means self-sacrifice. Take time to express thanks to those who have been true friends and true partners in the gospel in your life.


Jan 22, 2023 – Our desperate need for a wise and discerning love – Phil 1:9-11 – Paul prays for the Philippians to have a love that is growing in knowledge and depth of insight. It is not always easy to know what the loving thing is to do in relationships. We can develop a wise and discerning love by getting to know the love of God, especially as displayed in the life of Jesus, by asking the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is best, and by making it our goal to love like Jesus and bring glory to God.


Jan 29, 2023 – How to face suffering with courage, joy, and hope – Phil 1:12-19 – Paul tells the Philippians about the hardships he has experienced as he has been imprisoned and slandered by others. But instead of being angry or bitter or depressed, he expresses courage, joy, and hope. This is because his meaning, purpose, and identity are found in God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, not in anything in this world. He knows that God works all things for good for those who love Him. And he knows he is following a Lord who suffered and died unjustly for him.


Feb 5, 2023 – To live is Christ and to die is gain – Phil 1:20-26 – Paul does not know if he will get out of the prison or die there, but declares that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. This is a powerful belief because it gives us a purpose that death can not take away. If you live for anything other than Jesus, to die is not gain but loss. This belief also gives us a fearlessness towards death, because it will be better to be with Jesus. It also gives us a life of eternal significance. We can give ourselves fully to serving Jesus, knowing that it all matters eternally.


Feb 12, 2023 – Living a life worthy of the gospel – Phil 1:27-30 – The gospel is that Jesus died for our sins to restore us to a right relationship with God. According to Paul in this passage, to live a life worthy of the gospel is to strive for unity with sacrificial and selfless love, and to prioritize God’s honor over personal reputation and comfort, remaining faithful to Him even under opposition and suffering.


Feb 19, 2023 – The humble and transformative love of Jesus – Phil 2:1-11 – Paul is concerned about the unity of the Philippian church. He asks them to strive for unity by following the example of Jesus in laying down their own interests and prioritizing the interests of others. The gospel helps us achieve this by showing us a giver who eases our fears:  God gave His Son and will care for our needs. It gives us an identity that settles our spirit:  Jesus’ death for our sins humbles us into realizing that despite our sins, God loves us so much that His Son died for us. And the gospel gives us a love that transforms our heart as we see Jesus, the eternal Son of God, humiliating Himself to die on the cross for our sins. Nothing should be beneath us as we follow Jesus’ example of sacrificial love.


Feb 26, 2023 – Work out your salvation because God is working in you – Phil 2:12-18 – Salvation it not just something Jesus accomplished for us in the past by saving us from the penalty of our sins, but it is also a future reality (we will be saved from the presence of sin) and a present reality (we are being saved from the power of sin). We are to work out the implications of our salvation with all our might while simultaneously depending upon God’s strength to work in us, avoiding the extremes of quietism (don’t work, just trust God) and pietism (work hard without praying). We need both responsibility and dependence in our discipleship.


Mar 5, 2023 – Honor each other – Phil 2:19-30 – Paul commends Timothy and Epaphroditus to them as living examples of selfless and sacrificial service. If you call yourself a Christian, people will watch your life, so be a living example of what you claim to believe. And honor others: God, parents, spouse, governing authorities, church leaders, the elderly, and each other, for people are made in God’s image. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).


Mar 12, 2023 – Throw away your spiritual resume – Phil 3:1-16 – Paul tells them to reject anyone who adds to justification by faith in Jesus. The gospel is not Jesus plus anything else. He also tells them to throw away their spiritual resume, as he lists all the reasons he would have to boast before God and then declares all of it to be garbage or excrement. Instead, we are to receive the righteousness that is by faith; the only way to be rightly related to God is to receive Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death for our sins. This is the only self-worth that is not based on our performance.


Mar 19, 2023 – Three views that must mature – Phil 3:1-16 – As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, our view must mature from religion to relationship. Paul’s goal is to know Christ; Christianity is not about rules and requirements, but about knowing and living in relationship with God. Secondly, our motivation must mature from fear, guilt, and trying to earn God’s favor to love, trust, and a desire to honor God. Thirdly, we must mature from being controlled by our past to being drawn by our future, as we forget our past failures, successes, and suffering and press on to know Him more.


Mar 26, 2023 – Enemies of the cross and citizens of heaven – Phil 3:17 – 4:3 – Paul contrasts enemies of the cross with citizens of heaven. The enemies of the cross are those who deny that they are sinners in need of a Savior, or those who believe that they can be right with God on the basis of their good works. The citizens of heaven follow Jesus’ example of humble, self-sacrificial love, and stand firm and stay faithful through suffering, knowing their King will return and set things right.


Apr 16, 2023 – Don’t be anxious about anything – Phil 4:4-9 – Paul is writing from prison, and is acquainted with suffering, but encourages them that there is a way to live free of anxiety. He tells them to rejoice in the Lord, to not tie their emotional life to their circumstances but to the unchanging reality of who the Lord is, what He has done, and what He has promised. He tells them to pray their anxieties to God with thanksgiving, leaving their concerns in His capable hands. He tells them to think about that which is good instead of focusing on the negative, taking every thought captive and remembering again who God is, what He has done, and what He has promised. And he tells them to put what they have learned into practice, and God’s peace will be with them.


Apr 23, 2023 – Contentment > Riches – Phil 4:10-23 – The world, and particularly marketers, push us to pursue more riches and stuff under the false belief that it will make our lives better and give us contentment. But Paul tells us that true contentment comes when we know we can meet every challenge with God’s strength in us, and when we know that God is a loving Father who will meet all of our needs. When we trust this, we can be content in any circumstance, and will be freed up to be generous, which is better for us and for our community. We can put the needs of others above our own and store up treasure in heaven as we give and serve others as Jesus gave and served us.