During the Vietnam War, a GI helicopter pilot was killed. On his tombstone in New Hampshire his parents inscribed these words by John Stuart Mill:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than his own personal safety is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless he is made free and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.1
In his book Against the Night, Charles Colson laments the fact that our culture has deteriorated to such an extent that individualism reigns supreme. No one cares about anyone else and no one is willing to stand up for the moral convictions which hold society together. To illustrate his point, Colson remembers this incident:
In 1978, during President Carter’s attempt to reinstate draft registration, newspapers across the country carried a photo that I have carried in my mind ever since: a young Princeton student defiantly wielding a poster emblazoned with the words, “Nothing is worth dying for.”2
Someone has said that a man who refuses to stand for something will sooner or later fall for anything. Because of his stand for the faith, Paul was facing the possibility of death, and he was willing to pay the supreme price if called upon to do so. In writing to the Philippian believers, he shared his concern about their willingness to stand against the pressure of persecution. He hoped that he might be with them in person to encourage them if such occurred, but he had no guarantee. So he sent them a strategy that would serve them well, even if he was not available to personally cheer them on.
Paul’s game plan for the Philippians is needed in our day too. We are in the minority, surrounded by the enemy, and constantly being undermined by members of our own army. Many among God’s people have adopted a philosophy that gives to survival the attributes of victory. But in our day, as in Paul’s, anything short of victory is just the postponement of defeat!
David Jeremiah, Turning toward Joy (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book of Philippians.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #1
Philippians 1.1 – 5
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #2
The Worthy Life
Philippians 1.6 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #3
The One God Exalts
Philippians 2.1 – 18
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #4
What the Humble Seek
Philippians 2.19 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #5
The Passionate Pursuit
Philippians 3.1 – 11
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #6
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #7
Philippians 3.13 – 16
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #8
Centering the Gospel
Philippians 3.17 – 21
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #9
Philippians 3.1; 4.4
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #10
Philippians 4.6 – 7
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #11
Christ Is All / I Can Do All Things
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #12
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.
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