"Lets Get Acquainted"

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Good Morning. I want to begin today by asking, if you were to write a letter or send a message to someone that you have not talked to in a long time, what all would you include in your text? Would you want your loved one or friend to know how you were doing? Would you tell them about things you have struggled with, or would you just stick with the good news? Would you take time to thank them for what they have done for you? What all would you include in your letter or post? Today we are going to get acquainted with the church at Philippi and see how Paul loved these people and cared for them deeply. It is clear that Paul wrote this personal letter to the church in Philippi, a community he planted during an earlier visit there. (Philippians 1:5 and Acts 16)
- He wrote this letter in order to strengthen his relationship with the Philippian church. (We do this today by weekly fellowship)
-To up­date them on his personal situation. (Afghan pastor, Phil. 1:21)
-To thank them for their support of his ministry. (Offering)
-To equip them to confront threats to their faith. (Chapter 3) (We do this today we we talk about those who are false teachers. Teaching that certain things are ok in the church when they are not.
-And to help them get along better, and, in general, to assist them in living out their faith. (Philippians 2:12; 3:12-17) Unity is the key!!!
As we get started, I want to encourage you with a few things:
Take time in the next week to read the book through in one sitting. Then, more slowly, read the verses that we will highlight in the weeks to come.
As we go through this short letter ask yourself what you think is unique about the book of Philippians?
Ask yourself which themes stand out to you?
Also write down what passages or ideas did you find confusing?
As you read through the book of Philippians and after each week we look over a particular passage:
Take a moment to ask the Lord to help you understand what we are learning and help you apply the message.
Now before we just jump right into this short letter which we will do next week, we have to go back to the book of Acts and take a look at how Paul came to Philippi and began the ministry there. How did this all come about? Turn with me to Acts chapter 16.
Acts 16:6–40 ESV
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
So, Paul had a long history with the Philippian Christians, beginning here in Acts 16 with the conversion of Lydia and her family, a demon-possessed girl, and the Philippian jailer and his family. Paul returned to Philippi at least twice. So, what we see about Paul is that he continued to care and check in with this Philippian church. He also prayed frequently for them with much thankfulness and affection (Phil. 1:3–11). The Philippians stood with Paul, financially, when others did not. This was a very big deal for Paul, because it was not only a huge encouragement to him, but also allowed him to continue on in his missionary journey’s. (Phil. 1:7; 4:14–16). In concern for Paul’s present imprisonment that we read about in the book of Philippians, we see (Phil. 1:12–19), they sent one of their best men, Epaphroditus, to bring financial support and to minister to Paul’s needs (Phil. 2:25).

So, Who wrote the book of Philippians?

The ministry at Philippi marked Paul’s entrance into Macedonia, which came about as a result of a vision he had in the city of Troas, just across the northeastern corner of the Aegean Sea from the port city of Neapolis and its close neighbor Philippi (Acts 16:8–12).
But as we know, Paul did not stay very long. He continued on with his missionary journey’s. Eventually Paul finds himself in prison. While imprisoned in Rome, in roughly AD 62, Paul pens this letter we know as Philippians. He writes to thank the members of the Philippian church for their care for him and support of his ministry. He writes to assure them that despite his present imprisonment, the gospel is spreading (Phil. 1:12–18) and that he is well cared for (Phil. 4:18).

Where are we?

Of the four Prison Epistles, Paul likely wrote Philippians last, near the end of his Roman imprisonment in AD 61 or 62. Paul sent the other three Prison Epistles—Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon—by the hand of Tychicus, as their destinations were near one another. However, the letter to the Philippians was to be delivered by Epaphroditus, who had come to Paul in Rome with financial help from the church at Philippi (Philippians 2:25; 4:18). But during his time in Rome, Epaphroditus took ill, which delayed his return home and, therefore, the delivery of the letter (2:26–27).

Why is Philippians so important?

The apostle Paul did not write Philippians in response to a crisis, as he did with Galatians and Colossians. Instead, he wrote to express his appreciation and affection for the Philippian believers. They were very generous and truly cared about Pau. More than any other church, the believers in Philippi offered Paul material support for his ministry (2 Corinthians 8:11; Philippians 4:15–18). Paul’s love and care for these people is clear throughout the letter as he encouraged them to live out their faith in joy and unity (1:3–5, 25–26; 4:1).

What's the big idea?

Philippians is one of the books in the Bible that many people are familiar with because of all of the often quoted passages: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6), “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21), and “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (4:13) are just a few. But the picture of Jesus Christ as a humble servant serves as the main point of Paul’s teaching in this letter (2:5–11). This passage is referred to as “The Christ Hymn.”
Paul’s joy in the church and the relationships that he had started their in Philippi is undeniable in the letter, and it’s that same joy that he wanted the people to have as well. To lead the Philippians to this truth, Paul took them directly to Jesus, teaching them that a community of believers living in harmony with one another comes only through humility modeled after the Savior. Paul wrote that he poured out his life as an offering for the sake of Christ, leading Paul to find great joy and contentment in Christ’s service. His letter to the Philippians showed them that by centering their lives on Christ, they, too, might live in true joy. Christ was everything to Paul and we most definitely see that in this letter. In Jason Meyer’s commentary on Philippians he helps us see all of the ways Paul mentions Christ in the letter.
-Paul’s imprisonment is for Christ. (1:13)
-Paul’s confidence was in the Lord. (1:14)
-Paul said to live is Christ. (1:21)
-Paul writes that we should glory in Christ. (1:26)
-Our encouragement is in Christ. (2:1)
-We are to have the mind-set of Christ. (2:5)
-Paul’s hope was in the Lord Jesus. (2:19)
-Paul’s trust was in the Lord. (2:24)
-Paul said we are to receive others in the Lord. (2:29)
-We are to rejoice in the Lord. (3:1)
-Press on toward the call of God in Christ. (3:14)
-Stand firm in the Lord. (4:1)
-Agree in the Lord. (4:2)
-Guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (4:7)
-Supplying needs according to riches in Christ Jesus. (4:19)
-The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. (4:23)

What is the Application for my life today?

Even though many of us today can find so many things to be thankful for, how easy is it for something to come up in our day or in life that can rob joy from us??? If we are not careful we can let the cares of this world really get us down. We can let what other people do to us or things they say about us get us completely discouraged and rob us of joy. So often, what happens when we find ourselves in a dark and discouraging place is that we try and look for joy and happiness in all the wrong places. We can search for joy in all kinds of ways—acquiring possessions, visiting places, or relationships. But none of these can provide lasting joy.
Where do you find joy in the midst of a trying circumstance?
Over the past year and a half most of us would say that there has been some trying circumstances. But think about the early church. Paul and the early churches understood what trying circumstances were truly all about. They knew that true joy comes only through humble faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. When they came together in fellowship with other followers and served others in the name of Christ they experienced real joy. This same life is available to us today.
Antioch, I want to encourage you today to allow the joy you find in Christ and His Word, and the fellowship with other believers to keep us from pointless quarrels and divisions, and to guide each and everyone of us to stay focused on Christ. In the good times and the difficult days are joy comes from the Lord.
(Pray and Lead into Communion)
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