Following God to the Margins (Philippians 2:3-11)

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This Sunday we are pleased to welcome special guest Chip Sanders. Chip and his wife Kathy were members of Ruggles in the 1980's and 90's, and have been missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International for over 20 years. Chip is in the Boston area for the next couple of weeks, and we are privileged to have him preach God's word to us this Sunday.

Forward in Generosity (Philippians 4:10-23)

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The Apostle Paul ends his letter to the Philippians thanking them for their generosity toward his ministry. That's right, this week we're going to talk about money. Why is money such an important factor in our spiritual growth? And what's the secret to becoming more generous? We'll talk about this and more as we conclude our Forward series.

Forward in Joy (Philippians 4:4-9)

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You might look at the news and wonder if our world isn't "going to hell in a hand basket," so to speak. But God's word for us this Sunday is that we should rejoice in the Lord always - no matter what circumstances come our way! How do we experience this kind of durable joy? That's what this Sunday is all about.

Forward in Unity (Philippians 4:1-3)

This week we welcome back Pastor Steven White to preach God's word to us. Steven is Gordon-Conwell graduate and serves as Pastor of Student Ministries at First Baptist Church in Hampton Falls, NH. Steven continues our series in Philippians, expounding the first three verses of chapter 4 on unity in the church.

Forward in Perseverance (Philippians 3:12-21)

"Heartbreak Hill." This little hill in Newton near Boston College is famously one of the most difficult portions of the Boston Marathon course. It comes at mile 20, near the end of the race, and has caused many runners to drop out before they can reach the finish line. In our passage this Sunday, the Apostle Paul compares the Christian journey to a marathon. Because of the hills of difficulties or distractions or simply the length of the journey, it can be difficult to keep going and not give up. So how do we persevere in this race and keep moving forward in our relationship with Christ? That's what this week's passage is all about.

Forward in Knowing Christ (Philippians 3:1-11)

In this week's Scripture passage, Paul contrasts his life before knowing Christ to his life now. He uses some pretty strong language! It's all for the purpose of helping us see that there isn't anything we could pursue, accomplish, or wish for ourselves in this life than knowing Christ. But what does it mean to know Christ?

Forward in Obedience (Philippians 2:12-18)

After Paul writes of Christ's obedience even to the point of death on the cross, he now exhorts the Philippian church to continue in obedience, working out their salvation. We talk a lot about growing in obedience, or sanctification, in the church. But how does this actually work? And why is this so important for Christians if we'll be made perfect when we go to heaven? This passage will show us how obedience works and and why it's crucial to the Christian and to the world.

Forward in Humility (Philippians 2:1-11)

There's an old Jewish joke that says if you've got two rabbis you've probably got three opinions. Often the church seems like that as well -- theological differences, interpersonal conflicts, competing values and priorities, and more. Our Scripture passage this Sunday is an exhortation to unity through humility. But how can we grow in humility? Philippian 2:1-11 will show us.

Forward in Fearlessness (Philippians 1:27-30)

When you think of telling people about your faith in Jesus, what kinds of feelings come up? Most likely, fearis one of the emotions you feel. Fear of alienating a friend, offending someone, looking "weird," being labeled "intolerant" or "narrow-minded." In this week's passage, Paul reminds us of an amazing truth: because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, we are full-fledged citizens of heaven. And because of this, we can feel free to share our faith with others without fear, no matter what happens! (Remember, Paul wrote this letter from prison, so he knows what he's talking about!)

Forward in Hope (Philippians 1:19-26)

As we learned last week, Paul is writing from prison. Yet he says, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed" (1:20). How does Paul remain hopeful despite his imprisonment and potential execution? And how can we have the same kind of hope no matter the circumstances we face in our lives?

Some "diagnostic questions" to help us think about what we're putting our hope in:

  • What do I worry about most? Our worries indicate our worship (worship isn't just something "religious" people do).
  • What is it that, if I were to fail at it or lose it, would cause me to not want to live?
  • What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about? Where do I fixate my thoughts?
  • In what do I take the most pride? What is the first thing I want people to know about me?
  • What prayer, if left unanswered, would make me think about walking away from God?
  • What do I expect out of life in order to be happy?

Forward in the Gospel (Philippians 1:12-18)

This is Pastor Larry Showalter's final sermon as Senior Pastor of Ruggles Baptist Church. 

The subtitle of this sermon is, "Is What's Happening to Me Accomplishing Something for God?"

You are where you are. But what are you doing here in this workplace, in this academic institution, living in this neighborhood? Does God really have a purpose for your being here, or are your circumstances coincidental? Are you “lucky” or “unlucky” to be where you are?
 
Here’s a challenge: to receive your circumstances as from God, and to discover why he has you where you are. Is what’s happening to me/you accomplishing something for God?

Forward in Growth (Philippians 1:9-11)

Last Sunday, we looked at how we can practically follow Paul's example of love for the Philippian church through looking back (remembering what God has done in our lives) and looking forward (expecting what God is doing and will do in our lives). This week, we see Paul's specific prayer for the church: "that your love may abound more and more" (1:9). This is God's prayer for us as a church as well. How can we continue to move forward in love so that it abounds more and more in our individual lives and in our church?