No Shame Here: Letter from Prison to the Church of Philippi

These are my notes from David Moessner’s workshop at Mo Ranch in May 5, 2012, No Shame Here: Letter from Prison to the Church of Philippi

We have heard many question the validity of Christ’s resurrection in past years

Phil 3: I want to know Christ and understand his suffering

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:10, 11 NLT)

Paul really bears his soul in a personal way here:

What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:18-26 KJV)

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11 KJV)

In the ancient world to worship and honor someone who was crucified on the cross was an absurdity and an abomination
– reflected in a historical quotation from Minuscius Felix, a Christian apologist 200-240 CE

Honor and shame were very important in that culture

Paul was concerned the gospel itself would be shamed and disgraced

Roman gods were seen to give Rome its power, it you go against this power structure is to go against all Roman authority

The way this letter flows with many participles ,it does appear to be poetry and maybe even a hymn to Christ

The world Paul lived in rejected idea God would ever lower himself and take human form
– in Islam as well as Jewish teaching, the divine reality does not become a human being

The invisible world (of divine reality) is seen as “more real” for Romans, but gods would never become human Many of the Roman rulers like to portray themselves as god manifest

54-68 AD was reign of Nero, during time most of Paul’s letters were written – Nero would dress up as a pauper and wander about at night to see how people would respond to him since he was venerated as a god

Verse here is the only place in the Bible where we read/find one distinct member of the triune God making a decision:

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to. (Philippians 2:6 NLT)

These words at the start of Phil 2 are some of the most anti-Roman words in the entire Bible, because they put aside the issues of honor and status:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:3-5 NLT)

Exhortation here is to get n God’s energy train, invite Him to work through us:

What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. (Philippians 2:12, 13 MSG)

Oscar Coleman: evil seems like a caged animal, worse than vet but aware that it has already lost

Status elites were seen throughout Roman society
– clothing worn, patterns of clothing showed success

This is not God the Father rewarding God the son
– all charges of child abuse for Jesus’s crucifixion on the cross by God is unfounded

Paul says there is no slave or free, that was revolutionary at the time
– getting rid of the slave class as a proposal against the entire grain of that society Senate declared Julius Caesar as a son of God
– this happened with other Caesar’s as well

No examples of ancient world cults of a God sacrificing himself for the world, and that sacrifice absorbing evil
– Christianity unique in this way

Jesus Christ absolutely humiliated and debased: no one in the Roman world would have anything to do with a being in such a condition

God’s self giving is the highest status of all
– we are called to align ourselves with those who are suffering now, to join the sufferings of Christ now

Picture of cathedral in Poland (?) showing Christ receiving crown of thrones as crown of glory

Paul doesn’t separate Christ’s death and suffering on the cross from his resurrection. We need both to understand and know God.

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:10, 11 NLT)

Temptation of the church throughout the ages is to go to extremes: focus on needing more resurrection power and ignoring the suffering on the cross… Or focusing on separating from the world and its suffering…

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NLT)

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