Philippians 3 –> autobiographical narrative
Lots of people today haven’t been captivated by something so compelling that it gives their life purpose.
* In the absence of that, people find it difficult providing narratives
Church is a place where people can be “grabbed by Christ” and can live their life by reaching out to others and “grabbing back” at Christ
Paul (like most Jews) saw himself as someone who participated in a larger story of God working
Commonalities between Paul the Pharisee and Paul the Apostle
- The world is God’s creation; God created a world of “shalom”. This is the environment in which humans love God and love neighbor. God has a commitment to restoring that “shalom”.
- God establishes an everlasting covenant with Abraham that blesses humankind, but through which we can also be a blessing to others & God
- God fulfills that covenant though the death and resurrection of Jesus
- There is no disconnect between what God did through Abraham and Jesus
The key to the Christian life for all of the churches that Paul writes to is to find one’s self as a part of God’s ongoing drama – and then to “play their role” properly
- The first task is to learn the STORY of Christ
- The way you live is done in relation to that story
- It’s also done in relationship to cultural context
“You need to understand where you presently find yourself, through the lens of Christ”
Paul had a deep and abiding confidence – different than ARROGANCE – in who God was and where Paul fit into that.
(Of course, Paul the Pharisee was wrong about that)
- Speaking confidently about God sometimes requires us to take the risk of being “wrong”
- Our failures are not the last word on our role in God’s story
Paul’s “response” to Christ’s life is to start “grabbing back” at the things that were important to Christ
- The transformed Paul loves and desires the things that Christ loves and desires
- This is not something you should try to do by yourself — it REQUIRES a community of believers
- Paul’s central message to the Philippians is found in Phil. 1:27
- Community is essential to helping individual Christians learn their role in God’s story
Christianity is more like being an APPRENTICE than like being a student.
- It’s about learning along side another person and trying to imitate them
- As an apprentice grows and advances in their understanding, they move into a place of leadership for others
KG – Paul is willing to present the Corinthian church as his “letter of recommendation” (a far-from-perfect church)
TK – “Follow me as I follow Christ” does not imply that Paul has it right…in fact, it implies that
RW – Follow me as I stumble through my life of faith. I’m not quite there yet, but come with me on the journey. God is at work in the process. Prestige comes from our weakness and failings, because Christ’s redemptive power rises up and “wins”
SF – Paul has enormous confidence in God’s providence
MG – Part of our job is to help people understand the narrative they are currently in…and help them to discover how their existing narrative can incorporate a new narrative (Christ’s)
SF – Christianity requires discipline in ways that are foreign to our life and practices – many of our daily practices were not “taught” to us…they were gleened
TJ – We teach about the IMPORTANCE of prayer, but we don’t teach HOW to pray –> this is why Christianity is about Apprenticeship
Don Heatley – How do we go about getting these “masters” that can apprentice others?
TJ – Sometimes requires an individual autonomy and desire that is cultivated in community and conversation
KG – Paul believes that the church IS ALREADY the body of Christ…not something we’re trying to become