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Improbable Joy – Philippians 3:17-21

Apr 15, 2024
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As we pursue Jesus (Philippians 3:12-16), Paul writes here how we have an example to follow, a kingdom to belong to, and a future to hope in as followers of Christ.

We must be mindful of the examples we follow and those we set for others. The goal of our example is not perfection, but faithfulness in following Jesus as we rely on the grace of God in our lives. There is also a warning of dangerous examples from those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. We should recognize their walk and avoid imitating their example. We can learn from the Spirit-led response of Paul to those who were enemies of the cross of Christ. He wept for those who were being deceived and for the fate of those who were walking in opposition to Jesus.

We are citizens of heaven. One day Jesus will rule and reign over all, but we demonstrate His rule now in the church, which serves like a colony on earth of God’s heavenly kingdom. We await the return of Jesus with joyful expectation of renewed creation, including a glorified body made possible by HIs resurrection power. No matter what the future holds in the short term, we can live as faithful citizens of heaven who place their hope in their Savior King!


  1. Who are those in your life who have given you an example to follow? What is it about their lives that are worth imitating?
  2. Do we respond to enemies of the cross of Christ with tears in our eyes or rage in our hearts?
  3. Is there any area of sin, frustration, or personal struggle in our life we need to trust in the power of Jesus to bring under His good rule?
  4. Discuss this quote by CS Lewis: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Let’s pray together that we live as citizens of heaven that reflect our lasting hope in Jesus as King.