Many of us settle for a relatively tame, watered-down version of Christianity. We settle for only half of the gospel, perhaps slightly more or less. We want just enough Jesus that we’ll be happy, but not so much that we’ll really learn to care for our neighbor, deny ourselves, or love those who hate us and pray for those who persecute us. We’re fine with a Jesus who provides for us and blesses us, but we don’t want so much Jesus that he’ll start to demand too much of us. We want just enough Jesus that following him won’t get too radical or extreme. We want just enough Jesus that we’ll be safe. Comfortable. Content.
There are many reasons why so many of us embrace such a placid, dull expression of following Jesus. But I’m convinced that the greatest of them is the fact that we’ve embraced a placid, dull version of the gospel. Our lives for Jesus aren’t radical, because we fail to grasp just how radical Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are for us. Our lives of faith are too tame because the gospel we’ve placed our faith in is too tame.
This Sunday morning at Capitol City we launch a new series titled To Live is Christ, a study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Philippians is a letter that overflows with themes of favor and motifs like joy, thanksgiving, fellowship, and peace. But it also overflows with overtones of sacrifice, service, hardship, and suffering. It is clearly Paul’s most joyful letter, yet it is written near the end of his life from the chains of a Roman prison. How do these pieces fit together? How does it all add up? The answer is simple: Philippians reflects Paul’s belief in a big gospel. A radical gospel. A gospel worth living for (see Phil 1:27). A gospel worth dying for.
If you live in or around northeast Lincoln, I hope you’ll join us as we dive into this wonderful book. I’m posting below our schedule for the series. If you plan to worship with us this fall, or if you are one of those following along via the internet, bookmark this post so that you can refer back and see where we are in the text each week. You’ll be blessed if you come ready to hear God’s Word, having already studied it and meditated on it yourself.