Click here to listen to Pastor Nate Hall’s sermon ‘Pattern’
Listen. If healthy disciples are multiplying trees, then the soil is God’s presence in the community that fosters the growth and multiplication of disciples of Jesus. The nutrients in the soil are people who model for us what it looks like to follow Jesus.
Paul teaches us in Philippians 3:17-21 that following Jesus means living as a citizen of heaven, and not being controlled by the “stomach god”, our temporary desires and pleasures. As heaven’s citizens, we live according to heaven’s values and with hope that Jesus will return from there. These new values and hopes lead to a new way of life and a new set of practices, sometimes called a “rule of life.”
Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus (see also Philippians 2:19-29) modeled this way of life for the Philippian Christians and he expects us to follow his example. His concern is that even though we have started following Jesus (see Philippians 2:1-10 for Jesus’ example), our lives can still look like our old way of life and be indistinguishable from those who don’t yet follow Jesus.
Reflection. As followers of Jesus, we are citizens of heaven and we wait for Jesus to return from there. What practices in your life support this truth and help it to feel real? What things do you regularly do that distract you from this truth and make your “heaven citizenship” feel unreal? Be personal and specific.
Set Goals. Be sure to make these goals personal and specific.
- What will I cut out of my life because it does not help me live as a “citizen of heaven”?
- What will I do regularly (and/or continue to do) so that I can live as a citizen of heaven and not serve my own desires.
- What have you learned that you can share with others? Who can you share this with?