Summary: This is the 1st sermon in a series of sermons to follow on the New Testament book of Philippians. Of all the letters Paul wrote, this letter to the Philippians reveals Paul’s inner most feelings and personality. Paul had a deep love for these people --- a
<>< <>< "An Introduction to the Book of Philippians:"
<>< <>< Scripture Reference: Philippians 1: 1-
’Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons."
1:) The apostle Paul wrote 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. He wrote 14 books if we include the book of Hebrews. Although Hebrews does not begin with the usual greetings that is found in the other epistles of Paul, many theologians believe that Paul did indeed write the book of Hebrews. In either case, 13 books or 14 books, he wrote one half of the New Testament. Of all the letters Paul wrote to the various churches, this letter to "the saints at Philippi" is the most personal and revealing of Paul’s personality. It reveals the heart and soul of this great soldier of the cross. Philippians has often been referred to as:"THE SWEETEST BOOK of the NEW TESTAMENT." It can be compared to the Old Testament book of RUTH. In Philippians we see a more loving, tender, compassionate side of the apostle. Paul in this letter is NOT ADDRESSING PROBLEMS OR DISTURBING ISSUES OR DIVISIONS within the Philippian church. No local church is perfect and they all have their own individual problems --- but --- Paul does not mention anything negative here in this letter that demands his urgent attention. He is not attempting to solve or straighten out disruptions, Paul is just simply writting and sharing with them how much he loves them and how much he thinks about them and how that when his mind does turn to them, it causes a JOY to begin to "bubble up" within him. They were dear and precious to Paul. This local church was "THE CROWNING WORK" of Paul’s ministry. There was a bond that existed between Paul and these saints of the church there in Philippi.
2:) BACKGROUND OF THE PHILIPPIAN CHURCH:
Remember when Paul was converted on his way to
persecute the saints in Damascus, Christ told
him that he was "a chosen vessel" sent to spread
the gospel message unto the Gentiles. And Paul
becomes the great missionary that carries the
message of Jesus Christ into many parts of the
world. We find here in the 16th chapter of Acts
that Paul’s 1st church he sets in order in his
response to the Macedonian call is this local
church in Philippi.
Let us turn to the book of Acts, chapter #16:
In verse # 09 Paul received a vision in the night of a man praying, and saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." In verse #10 -- we are told they immediately set sail to go into Macedonia "assured that the Lord had called them to go and preach the gospel there."
They eventually arrived in Philippi, a chief city of that part of Macedonia. Philippi was a major sea port city --- a major trade route --- sometimes called "The Little Rome."
A:) God is at WORK:
There evidently was not a synagogue in Philippi. (Requirements for a local synagogue was to have 12 Jewish men in that area -- so there must not have been that many Jewish men in Philippi) Paul was accustomed to going to the synagogue on the Sabbath but here he goes down to the river to mediatate and pray and be alone with the Lord. There by the riverside were some women and Paul began to witness to them about Jesus. One of the women was named LYDIA, a prosperous merchant who sold purple linen. She was a worshipper of God. As she opened up her heart and heard Paul sharing his faith and his experience in Christ, she also became a BELIEVER and she was baptized, along with her household. She even opened up her home to Paul and Silas and Timothy.
B:) SATAN is at WORK:
Just as sure as God was at work in Philippi,Satan had to show up as well. He cannot stand to see the work of the Lord reach out and touch people’s lives without him trying to bring it to a halt. Beginning with V#16 of the same chapter, (#16) a young girl with a spirit of divination began to follow Paul, Silas, & Timothy crying out loud, "These men are the servants of the most high God which show us the way of salvation." And she did this for many days. (V#16,17,18) What she said was true but she was sent by Satan to disrupt the work of God. She was not in the Holy Spirit doing this. She was still possessed with her evil spirits, but she wanted the people to think that she was agreeing with these men of God. Paul had all he could take of her and in V#18 he turned to her evil spirit and commanded "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out the same hour. PRAISE GOD!