Philippians Part One: AUDIO-VIDEO (Chapter 1) “Christ is Our Possessor”.
Chuck Swindol said, “God urges us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”? SO…Why do we always think that means singing? Seems to me the most obvious joyful sound on earth is laughter…I’ve seen folks quote verses like “Rejoice in the Lord always” while their faces look like they just buried a rich uncle who willed everything to his pregnant guinea pig. Chuck Concludes…Something is Missing.”
The Epistle of Philippians Addresses the Attitude of Rejoicing…While Many Pauline letters were focused on correction…his letter to the Philippians says…Rejoice!
Paul’s Joy at the mere thought of the Philippian church is undeniable in his letter, and it’s that same Joy that he wanted the recipients of this letter to possess as well.
- Paul points out that a community of believers, living in harmony with one another, comes only through “Mutual Humility Modeled after the Savior”.
- His letter to the Philippians showed them that by Centering their Lives on Christ, they, too, Might Live in True Joy.
Think About It…Though we all have much to be Thankful for, some days can be difficult and the Pace and the Pressure of Life often Squeeze the Joy From Us.
- At this Point… We often Search for Joy in All kinds of Ways acquiring Possessions, visiting places, or seeing people. But none of these can provide lasting Joy.
- SO…Where Do You find Joy in the Midst of a Trying Circumstance?
Paul knew-True Joy comes Only through Humble Faith in the Saving Work of Jesus Christ, Joining in Harmony with Other followers, and Serving in the Name of Christ.
- This was the life experienced by the Philippian Church…and it is available to us today.
As we look around the world…it is not hard to find reasons for discouragement.
- Joblessness, homelessness, illness, hunger, marital strife, economic hardship, Covid Lockdown, persecution of believers both publicly and privately.
- The challenges of life in a Sin-Ravaged World Can Feel Overwhelming.
To Make it Even Tougher for the Christian…The Battering that Our Hope takes… Comes Not Only from Outside the Church…But Sadly…Too Often From Inside.
- Gossip, slander, envy, disunity, laziness, grumbling, and simply the ongoing temptations and failings of believers all take their toll on Us and the church.
- *The Sickness of Sin “Impartially” Infects All People!
The letter to the Philippians Addresses Head-On the Human Tendency Toward Discouragement and Hopelessness…And Makes Clear that In Christ, We are Given an Invincible Hope in Whatever We are Facing.
Without Downplaying the Adversity that Afflicts Us…God’s Word Gives Us a Comfort and Solace that No Human Circumstance Can Take Away.
- Paraphrasing Phil 4:10–13 Paul says, Whether in the midst of good times or Great Need…I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength!
THINK ABOUT WHAT IS BEING SAID HERE>>>Whatever Happens: Personally, Politically, Relationally or Economically, God has Promised each One of Us, Who Trust in Christ…His Strength, His Power, His Promise to Use it All For Our Good!
For this Reason We have “Ample Cause to Glory in Christ Jesus”…Despite the Storms Raging around Us. Phil. 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord Always”.
Some Background on the City Of Philippi: Originally named [Cri-Nides] meaning Fountains.
- Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, expanding his Macedonian empire annexed the adjoining territory in which the city of Cri-Nides was located.
- After expanding and fortifying the city, he renamed it Philippi after himself.
- As Alexander the Great proceeded to conquer the Mediterranean World, he spread the Hellenistic culture and the “Greek language” throughout that area.
NOTE: God Had A Plan…The Spreading of the Greek language Made it Possible for Paul and others to Proclaim the Gospel from the East to the West and into Europe.
Few Jews lived in Philippi…So there was No Synagogue where Paul could begin to preach the gospel of Jesus as he had customarily done in the eastern cities of Galatia.
- On the Sabbath Paul and his co-workers left the city and walked about a mile east to the banks of the [Gang-ites] River where the few Jews had gathered for prayer.
- They spoke to some women who had gathered there. One of them was a proselyte named Lydia (Acts 16:14), who was a worshipper of the Lord God.
- Lydia was a woman of some means and wealth…she conducted her own business of selling fine purple fabrics.
- The Lord Awakened Faith in Lydia’s Heart as she Listened to Paul.
- She and her household were then baptized. She urged Paul and his companions to stay at her house, which then became the headquarters for Paul’s mission work and the church in Philippi.
Sometime later Paul cast a demon of divination from a slave girl, who had continued to harass Paul and his co-workers.
- When her owners realized they had lost their lucrative income from the girl’s fortune-telling, they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and imprisoned.
- About midnight that night, after the Lord had responded to their prayers and songs of praise from prison with an earthquake that opened the prison gates, Paul and Silas shared the gospel with their jailer.
- The Jailer and his Household Believed and were Baptized (Acts 16:16-34).
FACT: IN THE MIDST OF ADVERSITY…GOD ALWAYS HAS A PLAN…AND HIS PLAN IS ALWAYS BASED ON USING US TO ACCOMPLISH IT!
In the Book of Philippians, God used the Apostle Paul to Make Clear God’s Heart on this Matter…Which is that, God Created You and Me for a Purpose! Not Just Exist!
- God Wants Us to Surrender Our Will and Our Lives to His Plan and HIS Purpose!
POINT: Christ Created ME [DOUG] For A Purpose! (Enter Your Name)
Philippians offers a Powerful Study regarding Gods Purpose for You and Me…Each Chapter focuses on one aspect of how God desires to accomplish His Plan in Our Lives.
- Chapter 1 “Christ is Our Possessor” Chapter 2 “Christ is Our Pattern!
- Chapter 3 “Christ is Our Purpose!” Chapter 4 “Christ is Our Power!”
Each Chapter includes an Encouragement and a Challenge to Daily Live Life with a Purpose to Surrender Everything to God and to Willingly Sacrifice for Others!
This Echos Christ Message in Matt 22:37-39 The Pharisees Tested Jesus by asking him which is the Greatest Commandment in the Law?
- Matt 22:37-39 “Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”.
Think About It…Pleasing God Requires Two Things…Loving God with Our Entire Being. And In Christ Power…Loving Everyone Else as Christ Would Love Them.
- Vertically…We Surrender Every Part of Our Lives to God…Our Time, Talent and Treasure…Making Him First in All Things! NO DUPLICITY
- And as we Love God with Everything He Empowers Us through God the Holy Spirit to Love Others Sacrificially!
Vs 3–6 “I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.
Vs 6: Offers a Tremendous Promise from God ”being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
KEY: God’s Promise is to Continually Work His Plan to Continue the Good Work He Started in You at Salvation…And He Won’t Stop Until it is Completed!
What God Purposed For You to Be and To Do before YOU Were Born…HE Promises that He Will Finish It!…He Will Not Stop Until You are Mature and Complete in Christ!
When You Gave Your Life to Christ…He Took Possession of You…And No One Can Take You Out of the Fathers Hand! [John 10:28]
- From the Moment that You Accept Christ…He Begins to Work Out HIS PURPOSE and HIS PLAN For YOUR LIFE!
NOTE: God’s Plan is to Use the Church to Bring Each One of Us to Maturity in Christ! This Takes Love, Patience, Prayer and a Dedicated Focus on Discipling.
Vs 9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
- Paul Offers Up 3 Prayers for the Church at Philippi…And These Prayers Are Just as Important to Us.
FIRST: Your LOVE May Abound More and More in Knowledge and Depth of Insight.
- True Biblical Love Requires Biblical Knowledge…We Grow in Love when we Learn more about God’s Love for Us, and About How to Love Others.
- This is a Fruit of the Spirit Given each of us at Salvation!
- Then in Verse 10 he says, So that You can Discern what is Best!
Love Includes Discernment. Discernment helps us to Love Better by Focusing on God’s Unconditional Love rather than Human Love, which typically focuses on ourselves.
- God the Holy Spirit Speaks Gods Word into Our Hearts Giving Us His Discernment!
KEY: As we Know Christ more Intimately…We will Love Him and Others more Completely and therefore Fulfil the NEW COMMANDMENT in Matthew 22.
SECOND in Vs 10 Paul Prays: To be Pure and Blameless.
- To be Pure and Blameless has everything to do with Accountability!
- We Must Choose to Surrender to What God Wants Us to Be and to Do!
To Fulfill Gods Purpose Requires that We Progressively Become More of what God Planned for Us…Until Christ Returns…We’re Not just Saved through the Blood Christ to Sit in Church and Watch. We Must Let Him Complete His Work in Us! Finish Strong
The THIRD is in Vs 11 Be Filled with the Fruit of Righteousness…3 Areas of Life!
- Gal 5:22 “Fruit of the Spirit” Love, Joy and Peace, (Internal). Patience, Kindness and Goodness (Relational). Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (General Conduct)
Vs’ 12-19 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Gods Purpose is always Perfect…Even when We do Not Understand it or would Prefer for it to Go a Different way.
- At this Moment…Paul is in Chains…He Does Not Know if He will Live or Die…Yet He Praises God…Because he Knows Gods Plan is Perfect!
How Many Times in Various Christian’s Lives Do We Hear…
- Why is this happening to Me? This isn’t Fair? God how could You Let this Happen?
- I don’t Know if I can Believe in a God who Lets things like this Happen to Me!
But Paul Gives Us the Key to Victory…He Acknowledges that Christ is Sovereign and has a Purpose Even in his Suffering…And He Rejoices!
Today’s LIFE POINT: Christ Created “ME” [DOUG] For His Purpose! (Your Name)
Vs 20-26 “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”
These Verses are a great example for Us: Because Paul States that His Hope is in the Lord. Paul has the Courage to Follow Gods Plan whether by Life or Death.
VS 21 says, For to Me, to Live is Christ and to Die is Gain!
- This Statement Connects Directly with Verse 6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Gods Purpose in Bringing Us to Completion is so that We Will Be Willing to Say with the Apostle Paul for Me to Live is Christ…Only Then Will Death Be Gain!
Vs 27-30: Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
1 COR. 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
YOU: it is Important to ask Ourselves the Question What is My Purpose?
- Do You Have that Answer Clearly Defined in Your Mind?
- Can You Say that Christ is Your First Priority? Your Reason for Living!
- Do You Know God’s Purpose For Your Life…His Unique Ministry Planned Just for You? Or…Are You Just on the Treadmill of Busyness each Day?
- Are You Ready to Respond to these Questions when You See Jesus Face to Face?!
God Saved You for Ministry! And Ministry Requires that We Have God’s Empowering by God the Holy Spirit! It is Only then that We will Fulfil HIS Purpose and HIS Plan.
If We are Not Running Directly Toward Christ Daily…Then WE Need to ask some Questions about Our Goals!
You See…We all Know that God has a Purpose for each one of us…BUT…Did You know that Satan Has a Purpose for YOU Too?!
Gods Purpose is to Make You More like Him…So that You Will be an Integral part of Building His Kingdom (Reaching Out to Others with the Gospel of Christ)
This Morning as a Redeemed Child of God…Satan’s Purpose is to make YOU INEFFECTIVE to God’s Plan for Your Life!!!!
So, he Keeps You too Busy to Reach out to a neighbor, fellow worker, friend or family member with the Good News that God Loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.
- He Will Keep You Focused on COMFORT Instead of God’s COMMISSION!!!
- And He Seeks to Keep You Afraid of What Others Might say!
When He is Successful…YOUR FOCUS WILL BE ON BUSYNESS AND EXISTING… INSTEAD OF BEING ON MISSION!
Imagine what God will do through Your Life and Our Church as We Live what Paul said in Verse 21…For Me to Live is Christ…And to die is Gain.
Think about This…There is No Other Word You Can Put in the Place of Christ that Will Make this Statement Work…
For me to Live is Work…Family…Fun…Success…Sports… Music… Retirement…Even Ministry…To Die Will NOT BE GAIN!
Only a Life that is Focused on Living for Christ on Purpose Will Experience The Fruit of the Spirit in this Life and Exceptional Joy throughout Eternity!
Today’s LIFE POINT: Christ Created ME [DOUG] For A Purpose! (Your Name)