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Summary: Sermon on book of Phil.

AN ANCIENT LETTER

PHIL. 1:1-2

10/06/94

I think that most of us today take the postal system here in American for granted. I am sure that Bob being a postal worker would agree with me. All we have to do is but a little piece of paper, with the number 29 on it, lick the back, stick it on an envelope and but it in a box on our street. And most of time our letter will reach it destination, whether it is down the road or across the county. Of course some of us have to take a ride down to the Post Office to mail a letter, but when you think about it, we have it pretty easy.

In ancient times it was a little more complicated. First you had to have the equipment to write a letter. Next, since there was no official postal system, you had to find someone who was going to were ever it was you wanted your letter to go. Many times you would have to trust complete strangers to deliver your mail. Back then you could not simply write the house number, as that was a couple thousand years in the future, but you had to give the person specific direction to the house you wanted deliver it to. Also in most cases it would cost you much more then the equivalent of 29 cents to mail a letter. So things have gotten a lot better as far as mailing things go. So I want every one to thank Bob on the way out for the job that he does.

Today we are going to be looking a ancient letter. For today we will begin a study into the book of Philippians, we will be looking at this letter for the next several weeks. And as we look at this letter, this book of the New Testament, I want to realize that within this book we find the secret to true happiness in life. For in this book of the Bible we find a man who has revealed the secret to true happiness of life. And it is a happinesses that we shall see transcends out circumstances. It is happiness that we can have no matter where we are in live. This letter, or book as it is now called also reveals the source of that happiness, and that source is none other then Jesus Christ.

I wish to begin this series by way of an introduction into this book of Phillippians. Please turn with me to the first two verses in chapter one. They read simply;

"Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

As we look at these two verse there are 3 things I want us to examine, First, the author of letter. Second, the people who the letter is addressed to. Third, the circumstances to the writer and receivers of the letter.

Let’s begin with the author. Well it is pretty obvious as to is writing the letter. Paul & Timothy. While it is our custom in letter writing to end our letters with our name it was the custom in ancient times to begin their letters with who they were from. When you think about there method makes more sense. If we do not know who a letter is from right off we usually look to the end first to see who wrote it anyway.

Now we need to understand that just because Timothy is mentioned at this point, does not mean that he is the co-author of the letter. It seems as though Paul is the author, as through out the letter he speaks in personal terms. He states in verse 3, "I thank God", in verse 12, "I want you to know" verse 23 "I am hard pressed". If they were co-authors of the letter Paul certainly would have used the term "we" or "us".

Just as when I write letters to people I will often but on the end Love Darleen and Steve. Even though Darleen did not write the letter with me, people would know that she shares the same thoughts which I express through my letter. I think this is true of the example found in this letter.

This introduction shows that this is a personnel letter. If you look at Paul’s letters in the New Testament, he usually begins them buy stating he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. Yet here he finds now need to do so. These people were very close to Paul, Paul calls them his "joy and crown" in chapter 4. A little later we will see why Paul was very close to the people at Philippi.

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