Christ and Paul: DIsposed to Service

Christ and Paul: A Disposition of Service

I believe we will never truly understand Philippians, and other passages, if we reinterpret Paul’s statements about himself to make them about ourselves. Christendom’s “devotional” and “applicational Bible study” methods have contributed to the distorting of many truths of God’s word. I will bring out more of this when we cover this wonderful letter in our “Context and Flow” series.

In the meantime, read Philippians 1:18-26, 3:1-14, 20-21, 4:11-13 without trying to “get something out of it for yourself.” Only then will we understand the thrust of these passages and truly benefit from them. Read these passages and apply them to Paul alone – he was speaking about himself.  

Here’s a chart showing how Paul’s example, Paul’s disposition, NOT OURS, is so important to the narrative of this letter.

2:6 Christ {Pre-Esteem} Paul 3:5-6
2:7 Christ {Emptied Himself – Count Loss} Paul 3:7-8
2:8 Christ {Found} Paul 3:9-11
2:9-11 Christ {Highly Exalted-Prize of High Calling} Paul 3:12-14

Christ had “pre-incarnation” honors He willingly gave up in order that He may gain them back, plus bonus honors, after a life of self-sacrificing service. Paul had pre-dispensation of grace honors he willingly gave up in order that he might gain something even better after a life of self-sacrificing service.

Paul took his chances giving up all that he had as an Israelite to pursue a new position from scratch. Paul could have called upon God to deliver him (1:23) just like Christ could have (Matthew 26:53), but instead, like Christ, he willingly chose to suffer for God’s people for their progress and joy of faith.

You and I have nothing to give up like Christ or Paul did, and you and I can’t ask God to give us an Elijah or Enoch-like experience. Once we understand these things we will truly appreciate Paul’s teaching, his humility, and his service to others.

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