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The Journal

Being godly in the world

Being godly in the world Philippians 1:27-30 says that godly conduct flows from the Gospel. The death of Jesus & our acceptance of Jesus by faith means that we have new passports stamped with Heaven. We have a new identity in Christ and spiritually we are already citizens of heaven and this must affect the way we live. The expression “manner (of life)” is a Greek word meaning to have one’s citizenship. Later in 3:20 Paul explains that our citizenship is in heaven. So we are not to allow the dictates of worldly citizenship to dominate our priorities and how we live. Of course we should obey the law except where it would cause us to disobey God such as near the end of the 1st C when citizens of Rome were commanded to worship the emperor. This new citizenship means that Christians need to be united in one Spirit striving for the faith of the Gospel. God wants us to work together as a team 1:27. It is interesting that in the next verse 1:28 Paul raises the issue of not being frightened by opposition which must have been a temptation to compromise over the Gospel of Jesus and so lose their unity. Paul says that when they suffer for Jesus it is a sign that they will be saved & also a sign to those who oppose Christ that they will be destroyed. Christians experience both great joy and suffering at some level. God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara. 

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Nothing can stop God’s work

Nothing can stop God’s work In Philippians1:12-26 Paul wants the Christians in Philippi to know that not even chains and house arrest can stop the message of the Gospel going forward. Apparently some critics of Paul had thought that he had let the team down by getting arrested - see Acts 26. Paul is not worried about his own comfort but utmost is his concern for the message of Jesus’ Gospel. He offers 2 reasons. The first reason is that the palace guard have heard that he has been arrested because of his faith in Jesus and this is a witness and secondly his arrest has strengthened his fellow Christians to be more confident in sharing their faith. One of the great truths of the Bible that is absolutely essential for growing as a Christian is to know that God is sovereign and can work His good purposes in all circumstances - Romans 8:28. Paul has at the centre of his concern the advance of the Gospel. He doesn’t fear death and he explains that for him if he lives it is for Jesus and if he dies he goes to be with the Lord which is gain 1:21-22. Paul in his personal testimony about his motivation as a Christian testifies that he has learnt from God’s Word and in his experience that the great purpose of life is Jesus. This means we ensure that we give our best time and energy to the work of the Lord. Paul is able to have this confidence because in Christ’s death he has been delivered from the fear of death and this
has resulted in a clearer vision of what is valuable and important. Rev David O’Mara 

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Joy is our DNA

Jesus is interested in the vertical and the horizontal The Gospel of Jesus works in both a vertical and horizontal direction. God’s anger at our sin has been satisfied and turned away (propitiated) by the work of Jesus dying on the cross for our sin and receiving the punishment we deserve. This means that through God’s initiative our vertical relationship with God has been restored and so we can approach him with confidence and enjoy His friendship. But God’s work doesn’t stop there. Jesus through the power of the Gospel also reconciles us to other people who accept Christ. This is the horizontal dimension. In Paul’s letter to the Christians at Philippi he speaks of the partnership or fellowship which he has because of Jesus. God creates a family or a new community of people who experience God’s love and then learn to love other people. Paul says in 1:4-5 that he has joy because of the partnership which he has with the Christians at Philippi. This is not something which is achieved by us rather we share together in God’s grace - 1:7. Conversion to Christ teaches us to love other people and reach out to them. Paul speaks of longing for these other Christians and having an affection for them 1:8. This leads to him prayer to God that their love may grow. When we really grasp the Gospel we are brought into a new relationship with other Christians and they matter ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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Not rules but New Creation

Boasting only in the cross of Christ Today is our last message from the book of Galatians. Paul sums up his message by “writing in big letters” which in modern speak means that he is underlining the main point of his message to the Galatian Christians. His main point is that the death of Jesus is the heart of the Christian faith. In 6:14 he says that the only thing he wants to boast in or have confidence in is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul recognises that there is a power in the death of Jesus which when apprehended by faith leads to us being saved and delivered from judgement. We are set free from the values of the world. This is in contrast to the false teachers who are driven by wanting to impress people by what they do such as promoting circumcision. Paul refuses to do this and rather accepts the offence of the cross. The cross humbles us by exposing our pride & says the blood of Jesus alone saves. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

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Growing in holiness

God wants us to grow in holiness & provides the power to do so The book of Galatians is about justification by faith & the application of this. God expects and desires that we will grow in holiness. Growing as a Christian is hard work. Galatians 6:6-10 recognises that there is a spiritual battle between our old sinful nature and our new nature in Christ. Paul exhorts the Christians to resist sowing to please our sinful natures because this will lead to destruction. Rather we are to sow to please the Spirit. The good seed which God plants in us is His Word that can only produced His godly character of love and joy , peace and patience etc. But we must co-operate with God’s work in our lives by setting our mind on things above Colossians 3:1-2 and recognising that the life we live is by faith in the Son of God - 2:20. We must exercise faith to take hold of our new identity in Christ and repent of sin or wrong attitudes. Paul also instructs us that just like a farmer plants a crop and has to be patient for the crop to grow we also must not become weary in doing good but must be patient and trust God’s timing in HIs development of our character. We also notice that sowing to please the Spirit is shown by doing good to other people and serving them and loving them. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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