1:12. Paul is in prison but doesn't want or need sympathy from anyone: to him this is the best of all possible situations
- vs13: The Emperor's guards had heard the gospel due to his imprisonment
- vs14: Christians in Rome had taken their responsibility in the gospel seriously
- vs15: Even those who preached the gospel out of rivalry caused him to rejoice because it meant the gospel was preached
In other words he had a gospel attitude - 'for me to live is Christ, to die is gain'
1:27-30. These verses are the central exhortation of the letter. Paul basicallt tells the Philippians that the gospel is their citizenship and must define their identity, culture, lifestyle. As such he brings everyone into the work of 'contending for the gospel'. The Church is God's mission strategy.
2:5-11. Christ himself is the supreme example of gospel living.
Then, finally, the one that 'got' me;
2:12-18. Gospel living with a gospel attitude in a gospel community means no complaining or arguing. How beautifully, crushingly simple.
It seems Paul's (and God's) gospel strategy (churches living and proclaiming the gospel) would hardly sell millions of books. Personally speaking, it is so easy whilst at bible college to lose sight of the centrality of the local church and ordinary christians living ordinary lives in a gospel way in God's mission plan. Philippians provided a welcome reminder of this biblical truth.
Also (still personally), and regarding the stuff on complaining and grumbling, the bible describes itself as a two-edged sword - sometimes it feels more like a baseball bat. Today I felt well and truly (and lovingly) bludgeoned.