Context is important
The letter never say more than it is supposedly to say
AD 63 written, 11-15 years
Paul wrote it to the Phillippians
Why written, to combat Jews who said you had to be circumcized to be a christian
There was retired romans living there
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons : Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1, 2 NIV)
There was structure, overseers, leaders and deacons. They are servants of Christ. Paul chose the title of a servant. To all of God’s holy people. Servant can also be translated as slave. Do I draw my confidence from my titles, degrees, work? Do I value the worlds opinions more than what God says. NB that I draw my confidence from how God sees me and not the world. Look at myself with spiritual eyes. Paul views people in Phillippi as God’s Holy people. Do I consider myself as saved, part of God’s Holy people, forgive and one with the Holy Spirit.
v.2 Grace and peace to you.
Paul is targeting a Jewish, Greek and Roman culture with these words.
Be intentional about diversity
I am leaving my worldly culture at the door
What is important is who I become in Christ
Am I intentional about building relationships, with different language, culture, interests.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure 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. (Philippians 1:3-11 NIV)
v.4-5 Paul felt warmth and affection towards this church. Paul prayed for all of them. Paul knew everyone in the church and he prayed for everybody. The next 6 months, get to know everybodys name. What can I pray for them? Brothers and sister. My yoke fellows.
v.6 Our lives are a continual construction site. God is at work in my life now to form Christ in me perfectly, even now as with when I studied the bible. God uses the school of hard knocks. God helps us to make good choices, sometimes we make bad choices. No discipline seems pleasant at the time. Be encouraged to persevere.
v9-11 Love is more than an emotion, but a though process. The deeper our thoughs on love is the stronger our faith will be. If we are not growing in our realization of what God is doing in my life it might become a salvation issue for me. It is about meditation. Life is busy! If we give all the time and not think about God it will affect us. Think about all the notifications we had today! Not empty my mind but fill my mind with God’s things.
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 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. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 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, (Philippians 1:12-18 NIV)
v.12 Paul is in chains writing this letter in a cell. Do I rejoice when I am going through a tough time and everone else is being built up. He is encourage that he is in chain and they can go and preach the gospel. What would my attitude be if I was in Paul’s situation. Do I loose perspective. Have I ever been in prison, chained for my faith. Have an eternal perspective on our temporary situation. No one is going to care what car I drove, job I had in 100 years. We can keep looking around us thinking this is it. What is going to matter is my faith in 50 years.
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. 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. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 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! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 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, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (Philippians 1:19-26 NIV)
Paul is really surrendered.
v.20-21 For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Memory scripture. Paul’s purpose was to live for Christ. I am torn between the two, to go to heaven or to stick around and help the people. Is this my conviction. What did Paul choose. See how Pauls love grew. He is the one who got Christians killed. God can use and transform anyone. It does not matter where I am at in my life situation. He is just looking for a faithful man and women.
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 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. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:27-30 NIV)
Paul started with unity and is wrapping up with it in the first chapter. There is no place in God’s church for division, unforgiveness and resentment, your salvation is on the line.
v.29 2nd memory scripture. It has been granted to me to suffer for Jesus. Do I embrace it. We live in conveniece. Suffering is frowned apon in the world. Jesus learned obedience though what he suffered. I need to train my though process. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope. The greatest wines comes from grapes that has gone through the most suffering, sun, wind, rain. We are like the grapes. Suffering should be pure joy because we partake in Jesus life.