Philippians is a wonderful letter that is filled with many loved and often quoted passages. One of the things that makes this letter such a favourite is that it is an encouraging and joyful piece of scripture. There is a constant refrain of “rejoice” that permeates the letter, which is remarkable when you consider it was written by Paul in prison to a church that was itself suffering. This theme of being content and living with hope, when suffering seems to be all around, is such a powerful message to a broken world.
One of the other things that stands out in this letter is the deep affection and delight that Paul has for the church in Philippi. In chapter 4 Paul says, ‘you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown’ – what heartfelt and loving words! The church in Philippi was not perfect, but it does seem to have been a church that greatly encouraged Paul and demonstrated some significant signs of health. Which comes to the point of this series we are starting, what does a healthy church community look like and what lessons can we learn in this regard from Philippians? In light of that consider the
- What does a healthy church look like?
- Ask yourself how a ‘worldly’ view may differ from Paul’s perspective
- What are some of the evidences of health that are present in the church at Philippi?
- Why does “healthy local church” even matter? Answer this question in light of the following thoughts:
- How important is local church for your own personal spiritual growth?
- How significant can a local church be in transforming a town, city or nation?
It would be great in preparation for this series (and the questions) if you:
- Read Acts 16 – it tells the story as to how the church in Philippi started,
- Read the letter to Philippians – it is only four chapters of delightful reading
- Watch the Bible Project’s video on Philippians
As you go into the rest of your week, consider the following two quotes:
“Nothing on earth has greater potential to change lives and carry out His kingdom work in your community, than your local church. There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. No other organisation on earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.”
“you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown”
The Apostle Paul regarding a local church