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Summary: Paul is a man who is shaken out of his religious ideas…ultimately centered in his own ego and understanding… and awakened to the reality of what the true and living God is doing.

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Today we begin a new series… we begin a journey into the extraordinary life which

God seeks to awaken in us.

Over the centuries many have written of profound spiritual experiences… and often

there can be something to learn from them. But none has been as profound or

proved as substantial as that of a young religious leader named Saul…

[ VIDEO: Paul’s Conversion ]

Saul emerges with such a transformation that not only does his own life change

dramatically… but through him the whole world changes.

He is a man who is shaken out of his religious ideas…ultimately centered in his own

ego and understanding… and awakened to the reality of what the true and living God

is doing.

‘His conversion brought a complete change in the inner controlling power of his life. It was

like dying and receiving a new life (Gal. 2:20) or being created anew (2 Cor. 5:17-20). This

experience of radical change and call to the Gentiles provided the motivation to travel

throughout the Roman world.’ (Holman Bible Dictionary)

• He now uses his Roman name (Paul… Saul was his Jewish name) and his life

becomes a message to all.

• Thirteen Epistles bear his name

• Wherever he went… God got a hold of lives and small groups received Christ and

became part of the unfolding kingdom community.

One of those cities was Philippi… the first city in Europe

Began when Holy Spirit redirects their travel plans (Acts 16)… and Paul has a vision of

a man from Macedonia calling ‘come and help us’… so he and Timothy, Silas, and

probably Luke… head here… trusting God for what would unfold.

• Conversion of Lydia… a dealer in purple

• Paul… in the name of Jesus freed a slave girl from an evil spirit which had made

her a source of gain for her owners.

• This only added to the opposition that the predominantly pagan culture had…

So Paul and Silas are arrested, flogged, and imprisoned and Paul would later be take

to Rome under house arrest…to await a verdict…

> Writes a letter to this community… in it lies the inspiration of God… and the heart

of what we could call ‘extraordinary living.’

Paul had been awakened to nothing less that a new realm… a divine perspective. His

whole approach to life reveals something of God’s mind and heart.

So we begin our journey of engaging this extraordinary way of living through the Book

of Philippians.

A beautiful partnership of blessing (vv. 1-5)…

Let’s look at first 5 verses to get some background…

1

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

> Paul includes Timothy as he had been his spiritual son and partner… but it quickly takes on

the tone of an apostolic letter… carrying the deep authority and personal affection of Paul who

had originally introduced Christ to this community… about 3 to 5 years previously. And in

point of fact… after the formal introduction… he begins to write in the first person.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

> ‘saints’ can be a misleading term… thought to imply those who are perfect or so spiritual that

they are other worldly… but it really implies simply those who are set apart by their

commitment to God through Christ. Not for some type of spiritual elite… but ALL those in

Philippi …and now all who read and hear these words today.

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

> He takes the normal greeting phrase of each of the two great nations at hand… ‘grace’

(charis) in Greek culture… and ‘pace’ (eirne) from Jewish culture. Each of these words were

filled with new meaning with all that Christ had brought to bear and accomplish.

Get a sense of what matters most to Paul… grace and peace… and it’s source…that it flows

from God who is father of all… and Christ who is Lord of all…

3 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,

Joy… consistent quality that Paul expresses. (The word " rejoice " or other words of similar

meaning, appears sixteen times in the Letter.)

Not referring to some type of happy pappy goofy smiling feeling… but rather a power that lifts

one above their circumstances.

Particularly… he is praying with such joy because of what they share in… their

partnership in the Gospel… the good news that Christ embodies.

Fellowship not a luxary… but truly a grace to survive.

Ex – Hawaii when Jono and I arrived back to his house… singing; letters when living

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