This morning we are going to do a quick jump into the book of Philippians and start at the conclusion of the letter from Paul to the church in Philipi.
If you remember a few months back we studied the Book of Acts and talked about how Paul and his band of missionaries traveled to this city and planted this church.
This letter was written around AD 62 to the church in part as a thank you for their partnering in ministry and support of his ventures by God’s Leading.
It was written while he was sitting in a jail and had reports given to him about the church.
Paul sitting in a jail cell, not like the prisons we have today in Canada, where they have access to clean running water, but a cell that would most likely be cold and damp.
He wasn’t in prison for a crime he committed, rather for speaking the Word of God.
While in prison, it what most likely awful conditions, he penned these words to the people.
Consider it all joy,
I thank my God, Why
Philippians 1:7 (ESV)
7 ..... for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
How do you respond when life is full of lemons.
When the things of this world do not seem to be going the way you thought they should or how you planned.
Do you consider it all Joy?
Paul told the believers,
What is your attitude today?
Did you come today with a joyful spirit.
Be honest with yourself, you don’t need to tell me, but how did you come today?
Was there a sharp disagreement between you and the passenger in the car as you pulled up to the church?
You wanted to be here earlier, but you know who, wasn’t as prompt?
You were fighting with your children on the way here,
In a former town I pastored, there were many folks that traveled an hour to get to the church.
That is a long time to be in an argument or fight with members in your car before you arrive at church.
What about this week, Did you come this morning bruised and down because of all of the events of the week.
All this for the preparation of the pastor saying,
Rejoice, celebrate, consider it all joy.
So how is this possible, What do we need to remind ourselves today.
May I encourage you sometime this week take a moment and read through the entire letter, but for this morning we are going to look at the end of the letter and jump into chapter 4
but before we do this, let’s pray
Turn with me to the 4th chapter of Philippians and we are going to begin in verse 2
I have entitled this Sermon EEP
Not sure how many of you saw that and wondered where I was going.
Sometimes, I am asked by Val what the title of the sermon is before I have completed the writing of it, so this week it ended up EEP
Three things this passage deals with
Exhortation, Encouragement and Prayer.
If you want to be able to be like Paul and be able to say, Rejoice, we need all three things in our life,
Exhortation, Encouragement, and prayer.
You see, One person wrote,
Paul customarily brings his letters to a close with a section dealing with practical and personal matters and greetings
One of the disadvantages of modern technology is that we have lost the art of letter writing.
How many of us spend time writing letters to others.
During Covid when we were not able to meet, I attempted to send out a quick letter to people in the church.
BTW if your thinking, hey, I didn’t get one, your right.
I found letter writing hard and not a normal part of life.
Letter writing has become a lost art.
The last summer before Heather and I got married, I set out to write down a letter every day for her.
You see, I had finished College a year earlier and was living in Manitoba and she just graduated from college in the spring and had gone home to Southern Ontario to work, as rent was free, and she wanted to save money before we were married.
Back then, letters were cheap to send, phone calls were expensive.
There was no video chats, free long distance, or seeing one another so I set out to write a letter every day to my fiance, knowing at the end of the summer she would be my wife.
You see one of the ways in which we can be joyful in all circumstances is to begin to take our eyes off of our situation and consider others.
Exhortation, Encouragement, and prayer.
When was the last time you used the word exhort.
Can you image walking up to a friend and saying,Frank, let’s go out for coffee, I want to exhort you.
I’m sure your friend would be busy even if you offer to pay.
Why does Paul begin his final comments with an exhortation?
Why do we need exhortation in our lives in order to be able to say,
First off, you may be wondering where I get the word Exhort from
Look at verse 2
My translation says, I entreat you
others say I urge you,
Others say implore,
They all come from a greek word meaning to simple Exhort.
Now for many of you this may seem harsh.
What right do I have in telling others what they are to do.
Maybe some of you are the type of person who takes pleasure in correcting others, but most don’t go around and do this
Exhortation is important in our lives in order that we can say.
In all things I rejoice.
The past few months I have entered into a world of my wife’s expertise and came under the exhortation of her.
I began to learn to play music......
She has been playing, learning, teaching for many years and I begin, to learn to play.
Before I use to play music.
It was pressing the play on the music device.
But now I’m in her world.
Folks there were many times, I would hear, so, what note were you trying to play?
Without exhortation, life will be worse.
Without the willingness to listen to exhortation, you will not grow into the likeness of Christ.
Without exhortation of a fellow believer, you are not encouraging one another in their spiritual journey to be more like Christ.
Paul was about to do this in his Letter
Remember earlier in the letter Paul tells the people,
Humility and exhortation are partners.
You see, if there is not humility in your life, exhortation will turn out to be nothing more than a rebuke and often the message in the exhortation will not be heard by the one who needs to hear it.
Paul begins by starting with his first exhortation
Key leaders in a public disagreement
Paul came in humility and spoke to the people with humility, but he also was not afraid to speak the truth.
Let’s look to see how Paul dealt with the situation.
I find if most interesting that two ladies were singled out for their problem.
Remember that these letters were written and read in front of the entire assembly.
I am so thankful that public exhortation is not a preferred practice in our culture today.
I wonder how these two ladies felt as they heard the words,
You two, you need to agree in the Lord.
Scholars, who like to study and prove their point have come to different conclusions as to who these ladies were and why they needed a public exhortation.
Some state that one of them was the women know as Lydia, a member of the early church that was a key leader in the church.
Others call them influential ministry workers alongside Paul when he was there building the church