Philippians 1

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:11
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Philippians 1

Philippians 1:1–10 “From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace together with me. For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of C…”
PRAY
INTRODUCTION: Getting started on the book of philippians. Last week we talked about the start of the church. We talked about the uniqueness of the church in philippi, it was the first church outside the region of asia minor.
We talked about the humility that was displayed by the church, in their decision making.
As we start reading philippians, we’re going to change our lens from what we’ve been doing the last few weeks
During our psalms series, and our series on matthew and exodus we were looking at big chunks of text. Using a telescope lens, or a binoculars.
In this series we’re going to zoom in and use our microscope. We’re going to read through philippians verse by vese.
The series is supposed to be 4 weeks. But if we get too far in the weeds, we’ll go longer. Because I want us to comb through the text of philippians and really try to get a good grasp on it.
Philippians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.
Slaves of Christ Jesus:
Your Bible might say “servant”
Bond-servant is probably the most ‘accurate’ but it’s not a word we use in every day life. Bible translators have to balance accurately portraying the word with using language that people understand
“Slave” gives the sense of the word, in the sense that a slave shows full subserviency to the master. A servant has the option to serve another master, a “servant” is a hired hand who can get another job. Paul is setting himself up as fully obedient to Christ his master
The difficulty, obviously, is that we live in America, we have a history with the word slave.
When we hear the word slave, all sorts of images and ideas pop into our mind.
We have to do our best to understand that the church in philippi didn’t have the same cultural lens we do.
Paul’s audience would have seen this as an act of Humility.
Look at the way Paul opens up his other letters:
1 cor 1 1
1 Corinthians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother,
2 cor 1 1
2 Corinthians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.
gal 1 1
Galatians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead)
col 1 1
Colossians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
1 tim 1 1
1 Timothy 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
phil 1 1
Philippians 1:1 NET 2nd ed.
From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.
Apostle is a title that denotes authority. It denotes respect. When paul introduces himself as “apostle” what he’s really saying is, hey church, I’m an official apostle, and I have authority, and you had better be listening to what I have to say.
Here in Philippians he takes the opposite route.
With the overseers and deacons
So not only is he placing himself in a humble position, but he’s lifting up the church. He’s calling them by their official titles, their offfices in the church.
Paul is lowering his own status, and lifting up theirs
phil 1 2
Philippians 1:2 NET 2nd ed.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Philippians 1:3–4 NET 2nd ed.
I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you
A tool to keep in your bible reading toolbox, anytime you read a letter, especially Paul’s letter, you’re going to get the “thesis statement” of the whole letter. You’re going to get up front, what the letter is all about, based on the things talks about.
And here we see that he’s thanking god, Every time, he’s always praying, in every prayer, for all of you
He uses some form of the word “every” or “all” four times in these two verses.
He’s basically signaling to them that they, as a church, are on his mind, all day every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
He’s not just casually thanking God, he’s thinking about them constantly
So what is it precicely, that he thanks god for?
Philippians 1:5 NET 2nd ed.
because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
Your “fellowship” your “partnership” your “communion” in the gospel. This is a unity word. It’s the same word we get “communion” or “fellowship” with.
He’s thanking them for their unity, both with each other, and with him, in the gospel of Jesus
Philippians 1:6 NET 2nd ed.
For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
“i’m sure of this very thing” the phrase he uses there gives the idea that if nothing else, if everyone else abandoned him, if everything else faded away, and he had nothing else left to hang his assurance on, it would be on the fact that God—the one who began the good work in them—would continue to work within them. To perfect them
Big fancy church word: Sanctification: it’s the idea that when we come to Christ, the holy spirit works in us, completes us, and perfects us to become more and more into the image of Christ
Philippians 1:7 NET 2nd ed.
For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace together with me.
Here in verse 7 we get Paul telling us about his imprisonment.
He was probably in Ephesus. Some folks will tell you he was in rome. We really don’t know. We have no way to know.
It doesn’t really matter. But if you read the book of Acts, if you read Paul’s other letters…Paul ended up in prison a LOT. so we really shouldn’t be surprised by this.
As we’re imagining paul in prison, we can not have the image of a modern prison in our mind
Ancient rome didn’t have a constitution like we do
They didn’t have a 5th amendment. They didn’t have an 8th amendment
They didn’t have sentencing.
You weren’t arrested by probable cause, and given a fair and speedy trial
You were arrested on the whim of the local leadership or some soldier.
Prison conditions were not nice
there were no three meals a day, place to go to the bathroom, beds, cots, basketball gym outside
most of the time you got sick and simply died in prison
If you were lucky enough to get a trial—most people just simply never got a trial—your trial ended in exactly three ways. You were found innocent, and realeased, or guilty and executed. Sometimes if you were lucky you could get exiled like John on an island…which was just a slower death penalty.
If you were in prison, your only hope of not dying was working on your defense for your innocence.
Paul should have been spending every waking moment working on his legal defense, so that he could get out of prison
Instead: “Because I have you in my heart” instead of writing his own defense all he can think about is the church in philippi.
What would it be like if that was our mindset?
“Imprisonment and defense and confirmation of the gospel”
These are legal lawyer terms
Paul wasn’t making a legal defense for himself, he was making a defense for the gospel. He cared more about the mission—the message of the cross of Christ than his own life.
“you became partners with me”
This is another unity word. Gain paul is commending the church on their unity and fellowship in the grace of Christ
Philippians 1:8 NET 2nd ed.
For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Splangnistheis: KJV, Bowels
Up until this point Paul has been praising the church. Now in verse 9 we get to his Prayer for them.
Philippians 1:9 NET 2nd ed.
And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight
He wants their love to abound (perisiuo) (overflow) with knowledge (Mental knowledge) and insight (the word means moral sense. Discernment, knowing right from wrong
Philippians 1:10–11 NET 2nd ed.
so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Decide what is best: literally So that you can tell the difference in the important things.
To become spotless and blameless…that’s that sanctification, growing in the spirit…until the day of Christ.
That’s Paul’s thesis for the whole book: Paul wants to foster humility, unity, and discernment in the church. He views all three of these things as a vehichle for spiritual growth in Christ, and the continuation of the Gospel mission.
And he views that…growth in christ and the gospel mission…as the highest priority, even over his own well being.
As we get into verse 12, we see paul walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
Philippians 1:12 NET 2nd ed.
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel:
Remember what we talked about in roman prisons? OK paul
In spite of all that he assures the church, actually this is a good thing
Philippians 1:13–14 NET 2nd ed.
The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, and most of the brothers and sisters, having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment, now more than ever dare to speak the word fearlessly.
This is great, I’m in this terrible situation, and look at how God is using it to grow his kingdom. He’s actually excited about that.
Philippians 1:15–17 NET 2nd ed.
Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment.
There are a lot of theories what is going on. Most likely what is going on is Paul’s opponents (either jewish or pagan) were repeating Pauls message in an effort to discredit him
Can you believe what kind of crazy stuff this Paul guy is talking about? He’s telling everyone that he worships a guy who rose from the dead. He believes that he’s going to ride from the dead, can you believe how crazy that sounds?
Can you believe what this paul guy is trying to say? he’s trying to say that you can go to heaven without complying with the law of moses. What a nut job.
And it seems as though it was backfiring.
Philippians 1:18–19 NET 2nd ed.
What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
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Now I think we can safely say, paul wasn’t “happy” about his opponents, in the sense that he enjoyed them preaching a false gospel. Read Galatians or 1 Corinthians, and you’ll see that Paul wasn’t happy about people trying to besmirch the gospel
But he’s happy because he’s choosing to view even his opponents as a vehicle for growing and expanding the gospel mission.
Philippians 1:20 NET 2nd ed.
My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die.
Finally in verse 20 Paul says out loud what he has been implying this whole time. His number one mission is the “exaltation” of Christ. That Christ be maginified, glorified, that the mission of the gospel goes out to the ends of the earth. and no matter what if he lives or he dies, it’s going to end with Christ being glorified.
Philippians 1:21–22 NET 2nd ed.
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I am to go on living in the body, this will mean productive work for me, yet I don’t know which I prefer:
Your bible might say “Choose” NET bible: prefer. NLT: I don’t know which is better.
People will take this verse out of context and claim that Paul is advocating suicide. It’s fairly clear from the context this is not the case. Paul is thinking about the very real possibility that he might be Martyerd in prison. And he’s trying to figure out which option would be the one that would be best for the expansion of the gospel.
Philippians 1:23 NET 2nd ed.
I feel torn between the two because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far,
Not to mention the fact that if he is martyred in prison, people will see his faith and be emboldened even more. Verse 14. His suffering is causing other christians to speak out fearlessly.
Philippians 1:24 NET 2nd ed.
but it is more vital for your sake that I remain in the body.
If he lives, and gets out of prison he gets to go on more missionary journeys, start more churches, grow the kingdom that way.
He’s calculating
Philippians 1:25 NET 2nd ed.
And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith,
Progress, and joy in the faith, is the exact same word that he used in verse 12 to describe the fact that his imprisonment is advancing he gospel
-That’s his only focus.
Don’t understand this as that Paul desires to die. Paul simply desires to do whatever it is that most grows the kingdom, and advances the gospel, up to and including his own death.
Philippians 1:26 NET 2nd ed.
so that what you can be proud of may increase because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you.
Again, increase, this is the exact same greek word paul uses in verse 9, when he prays that their love may abound more and more. What is the thing they can be proud of? it’s their love. It’s their unity. It’s their fellowship with him in the gospel.
Takeaway:
Paul begins his letter by displaying humility, praising the church for their unity, and praying for their continued growth in christ
He stresses the importance of their discernment both in the realm of knowledge, and in moral wisdom—insight—discernment—morality.
The example he both impicitly and explicitly displays for the church—the way he teaches them both in his words and his actions—is that these things can be attained—moral insight, growth in Christ, the advancement of the gospel—through extreme humility and submission to the king, and the gospel mission.
pauls doesn’t just tell them, he shows them what it looks like.
Paul shows them his decision making framework—the lens through which he makes every single decision—is what action right now makes the greatest impact in magnifying christ and building up the kingdom.
Paul sees this as more important than anything in the world, even his own life.
What would it be like if that was our worldview?
Pray.
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