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Study in Philippians

by Tim Isbell

This series has 1 sermon for each of the 4 chapters in Philippians. The foundation for the series is material from Dr. Dean Flemming's book Philippians: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition. The first two sermons also make considerable use of REVEAL material from the Willow Creek Association. The third sermon includes some of the always solid thinking of Timothy Keller.

You can preach this series as a whole or in pieces any time in the calendar. It also fits perfectly into the Revised Common Lectionary for Year A, Proper 20-23.

Philippians 1: Christ-Centered Living 

Thesis: The call on every Christian is to Christ-centered living, which invariably involves reflection on scripture. 

The first two sermons in this series focus on spiritual formation and unpack the primary 4 stages of our growth into Christian maturity, as well as the primary catalysts that help us move from stage to stage.  The stages are:

  1. Exploring Christ. “I believe in God, but I am not sure about Christ.  My faith is not a significant part of my life.”
  2. Growing in Christ. “I believe in Jesus and I am working on what it means to know him.”
  3. Close to Christ. “I feel really close to Christ and depend on him for guidance.”
  4. Christ-Centered Living. My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life. It guides everything I do.”

These first two sermons can easily stand along as a little 2 sermon series on Spiritual Formation.

Philippians 2: Getting Unstuck

Thesis: On the way to Christ-centered living, we invariably get stuck; here’s how to get unstuck. 

This second sermon  especially helps Christians who are stuck in their growth as a Christian. It pinpoints the primary problem areas that bog us down and identifies the primary catalyst that is crucial to getting unstuck.

Philippians 3: Finding True North

Thesis: Paul’s message to Christians is to forget whatever is in the past to get a clear view of the uniqueness of Christ who leads us into the future.

This third sermon in the series has a humorous thread as it unpacks Paul's teaching on how Christians find "true north." This sermon can easily stand alone. At an important point in the sermon it makes use of some Timothy Keller material to point to true north:

  1. The origin of true salvation is Jesus – God in human form.
  2. The purpose of Jesus’ salvation is the restoration of the physical world.
  3. The method of Jesus salvation is grace.

Philippians 4: Living In Anxious Times

Thesis: Paul’s antidote for anxiety is to pray, give thanks, and give our minds to thinking about healthy things.

This last sermon in the series can also easily stand alone. It is based on the part of Philippians 4 where Paul instructs Christians on how to survive through anxious times. This is a topic that I more fully unpack the Healthy Thinking series, which is based on material from What Would Jesus Think?, a book by Mary Whelchel.


One last bit of advice on using my site for finding sermon material

More than most preaching series on my site, this one easily breaks apart. The first two sermons make a great mini-series on spiritual formation, and each of the last two sermons easily stand alone.  

But it's also possible to turn the process around and use my site as a resource when you are constructing your own sermon series based on a particular book in the Bible. The key element for this is to gather a listing of all my posted sermons on the biblical book you have in mind. This is easy to do by taking full advantage of the Sermon Chart. It is sort-able by every column, so sort on the right-hand column that first lists the primary scripture for that sermon. For example, if you want to find all the sermons I've posted based on Philippians, just sort on the Scripture column and all the Philippians sermons will appear together. 

Some sermons, of course, use multiple scriptures so if Philippians is one of those secondary scriptures in a sermon the above sorting will miss them. To locate these, simply use the Find function on your browser.

Blessings,

Tim

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