Summary: This is part of a series in Philippians I began January 2008 and am still working through.
HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND STILL ENJOY LIFE
Sunday January 6, 2008
Introductory Sermon Pt.1
Scripture Reference: John 10:10
A. You have heard me say on a number of occasions that I feel one of the reasons people avoid church and Christianity is that they feel these limit life rather than give life. Rather than finding fulfillment and purpose in being a follower of Christ they see just the opposite. They tend to see faith as a lot of rules and regulations about how you can and cannot live your life. Now I know this is not the only reason people reject Christ, at least rejecting the need to follow him and live as the bible instructs them to, but I feel it is certainly one of the major reasons why.
1. It is funny that some people feel this way because there is very little evidence in the bible that supports the idea (although unfortunately there is evidence for this in the way some Christians behave) that being a follower of Jesus Christ requires following a bunch of rules and regulations. I know we have looked at this scripture a number of times over the past two months but let’s look again at what Jesus said was the most important thing in life. Mark 12:29-30 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Jesus very clearly teaches us that what matters most is our love for God. If it were a bunch of rules and regulations that mattered most don’t you think Jesus would have told us so, but he didn’t! Now I will grant you this, to truly love someone will most definitely change the way you live, but that change will take place because of love not because there are now a bunch of rules to follow. Marriage is the best example of this. We could say that when a person gets married there are new rules that are in place, but that doesn’t seem to prevent people from getting married they get married because they are in love and it is their love that changes the way they live. This same thing should be true for those who follow Christ. My life should be changed not because there are new rules in place but my life should be changed because there is a new love in my life.
B. Background and Overview.
1. Today as I am sure you are all well aware I am beginning a new sermon series. The series is entitled “How To Be A Christian And Still Enjoy Life”. This series will be based on the book of Philippians. It has been a long time since I did a sermon series based on a book of the bible and I have to admit I am looking forward to this series. I have been preparing for this series since the past summer. Right now I have fourteen sermons planned but in this series I am not going to limit myself to just fourteen messages. If I feel it is necessary to preach one or more of these messages in two parts (or more) then I will do it. Right now we are looking at ending this series in April but we could well go into May or beyond and I am OK with that. My desire is not to being and end at a certain time but to dig deep into God’s word and for us to mine from this book all the jewels it has to help us enjoy the life Jesus put in us.
2. What we will do today is to look into the background of this letter and then next week we will take an overview look at the letter and see what themes come out of the four chapters we will be studying. So let’s get started with some background into the book of Philippians.
I. THE BACKGROUND OF PHILIPPIANS.
There are three things I want to accomplish in our consideration of the background of this letter. We will explore who the writer is, we will explore the place that is the city of Philippi and we will explore the history behind this particular church. Let’s talk first of all about the writer.
A. The Writer – Paul.
1. Few people would deny that the Apostle Paul was the writer of Philippians, I mean the first verse seems to make this clear, here is what it says, Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,. It is not only this evidence we can use to show that Paul wrote this letter but we can use the evidence found in other letters he wrote. Let’s consider just a few to affirm our belief that Paul was indeed the writer of Philippians; 1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,