Summary: Part of an extensive study in Philippians, we are reminded here that God is not finished with us yet.
Content in Christ: A Study in Philippians
A Work in Progress
Illus. A retired preacher was cleaning out the dresser when he found 5 eggs and $1K.
•He asked his wife and she said she saved 1 egg for every bad sermon.
•5 eggs in all those years. Not bad. But what’s the money for?
•Every time I got a dozen eggs, I sold them.
Illus. Mary Cooper (Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."): “One of my preschool students had a habit of patting me on the seat of my pants. I tried several things to make him stop, but nothing worked. Finally, I resorted to a time-out chair. Later, when his father came to pick him up, I quietly mentioned the problem, asking whether he had any insight on the situation. Smiling, the father explained his son’s fascination with football--and his curiosity as to why the players "spanked" each other: He told his son that they were telling each other what a good job they were doing. It seems the same applied to me.
Encouragement is a powerful motivator. We all need a bit of encouragement don’t we?
All too often, we receive the opposite – criticism or no response at all.
Today, we’re beginning an extensive study into the Book of Phil. – “Content in Christ”.
•This is Paul’s “joy letter.” It’s full of encouragement, esp. in the first 6 vv. Turn there.
Not only is it full of encouragement, it’s also full of challenge.
One challenge I want to give you right up front is to memorize the Book with me.
I. PAUL’S GREETING vv. 1-2
1PAUL AND TIMOTHY, SERVANTS (bond-servants, slaves – not apostle) OF CHRIST JESUS,
This letter is more personal, not one of authority, but of love and encouragement.
TO ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS AT PHILIPPI, TOGETHER WITH THE OVERSEERS (bishops) AND DEACONS:
There are three key words in this greeting we need to look at:
A.Saints are the recipients of the Gospel.
The word means “holy one”. It’s mentioned 45x in NT and refers to all believers.
•It implies someone who is holy, sanctified, set apart for God.
When we come to Christ, we are made holy by the blood of the Lamb.
When’s the last time someone called you a saint?
When’s the last time you felt like a saint, or viewed someone else as a saint?
Illus. “Pastor” reminds me of my role, how I behave.
•We need to be reminded that we’re all saints.
B. Grace is the means to the Gospel.
2GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
This was a standard greeting from Paul, but more than a “how are you doing?”
•His greeting was possible because of the Gospel of God thru Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is a Gospel of grace (not our effort).
We are saints because of His righteousness, not our own. (cf. Eph. 2:8-9)
C. Peace is the result of the Gospel.
When we come to Christ, our sin is forgiven.
Only in and thru Christ can we experience true, lasting, real peace.
This whole passage (and letter) revolves around the Gospel.
We are saints who can enjoy real peace because of the Gospel of grace.
II. HIS TRIBUTE vv. 3-5
A. He praised God for them.
3I THANK MY GOD (the God of me) EVERY TIME I REMEMBER YOU.
How many times have we been reminded to pray for a brother/sister in Christ?
•How often do we follow thru on His reminders?
How often do we thank God for our fellow believers?
As leaders, how often do we thank God for those who follow?
The Philippians were on Paul’s heart and First Baptist needs to be on our hearts.
B. He prayed for them.
4IN ALL MY PRAYERS (petitions, supplications) FOR ALL OF YOU,
This word isn’t the usual word for prayer. It only occurs 5x in the NT.
•It gives the idea of longing/yearning for, a strong, passionate desire.
Rom. 10:1 BROTHERS, MY HEART’S DESIRE AND PRAYER TO GOD FOR THE ISRAELITES IS THAT THEY MAY BE SAVED.
Jas. 5:16 THE EFFECTIVE PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN CAN ACCOMPLISH MUCH.
When’s the last time we prayed fervently for our brothers/sisters in Christ?
C. He rejoiced over them.
I ALWAYS PRAY (same word) WITH JOY (delight, rejoicing).
Every time Paul thought of the Philippians, he thanked God and was filled with delight.
Remember, Paul’s missionary trip to Philippi was anything but joyous.
•He was arrested, severely flogged, and thrown into prison (Acts 16).
•But while in prison, what did Paul do? He prayed and sang hymns to God!
Not only that, but Paul was currently in prison in Rome facing the death sentence!
•Nothing could diminish Paul’s joy over the Gospel and those who accepted it.