Summary: First in a series of Messages from Philippians focusing on Paul's prayer
GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS
Why study Philippians?
Why study Scripture in general? 2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for:
Instruction in righteousness
That the man (person) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Why Study Philippians specifically?
• Other than the reason above concerning ALL Scripture, Philippians is a letter from the heart of a significant servant of God to his converts.
In it, we are able to discern the heart of Paul
Paul wrote from a Roman prison around 60 AD some 10 years following his first contact with and establishment of the Philippian church.
• Paul addressed a group of mainly Gentile Jesus followers who struggled with similar problems, issues and circumstances as we do.
Located on a hill some 10 miles inland between two rivers in current Greece. Mountains, fertile plains. Small but modern town with heavy Roman influence. Self-governing little replica of Rome. Political and geographical influence. Home of schools of medicine (Luke's home town?) Mixture of people.
Established by Paul, Silas, and Timothy on Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey. It came about by a special calling and movement of God to take the Gospel there. It all started with the conversion of a prominent business woman named Lydia who hung out down by the river to worship God. You can find the details of the founding of this church in Acts 14:11-40. It was a dramatic but humble beginning. Lydia and her family were saved and baptized. A demonized slave girl was delivered and saved. The local merchants had Paul and Silas thrown into prison for “disrupting the peace.” (Actually they disrupted their commerce from the demonized girl.)
God supernaturally broke open the prison and the jailer and his family were saved.
Jailer and his family Poor demonized girl Business people God worshippers
It seemed a large enough congregation to necessitate overseers and deacons. Very loving family. Very giving people. Still struggled with relational difficulties (Euodia and Syntyche)
• Subject matter applies to Jesus followers of every generation.
Beside all of these things, Philippians is significant and worthy of study due to its subject matter.
It is difficult to trace one specific purpose -- as with most letters. Letters communicate one's heart and concerns. They contain more of the writer’s feelings. These four short chapters impart the keys to unlock the gate to genuine joy. Philippians is known as the book of joy. Paul used the word joy and rejoice 14 times in four short chapters. Joy is a significant theme but Philippians goes beyond joy. He offers the secret to joy in spite of tribulation or suffering. Within these few chapters, Paul unpacks a ton of relevant truths. We not only learn from his teaching but his life example.
Where can I find genuine joy? How can I rejoice when things are a wreck? What do I do about worry? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? What do I need to find fulfillment in life? How am I respond to others who treat me badly? How important is status and education? How does my relationship with Jesus Christ factor into everyday life?
Maintaining the Lord’s genuine joy of the while managing the worlds’ grating junk.
Short: Maintaining God’s joy while managing the world’s junk.
In order to maintain this joy, there must be an alignment of my life around four critical focal points which unfold in each of the four chapters of Philippians.
I. RIGHT AXIS -- SUPRERIOR PERSEPECTIVE
The exaltation of Jesus Christ
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. Phi 1:20
II. RIGHT ATTITUDE -- SUPERIOR PATTERN
The servanthood of Jesus Christ
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Phi 2:5-8
III. RIGHT AIM OR AMBITION -- SUPERIOR PURSUIT
Intimate fellowship with Christ -- Christlikeness
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Phi 3:8-9