Summary: To experience abundant joy one must first know who he/she is in Christ
Philippians: Secrets of Abundant Joy
KNOWING WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST
The theme of Paul’s letter the church of Philippi is “Abundant Joy”. Philippi was a Roman colony town in the province of Macedonia. The first church Paul established in what we know as Europe was in Philippi and obviously Paul had a special place in his heart for these people and them for him. Through other letters we find these Christians were very poor but most generous in their giving. As a matter of fact we will find they even sent one the their finest young men to look after Paul during his imprisonment. He wrote them to thank them for their generosity and also to encourage them in their walk. If Paul could wish one thing upon them he would wish they experienced the abundant joy he possessed. Even now Paul himself was in prison but his heart was bursting with joy.
In college I discovered a wonderful tool when taking literature classes. It was called Cliff’s Notes. These were excellent summaries on major works which gave you the important highlights of each story which saved a tremendous amount of time, but still gave you a very good idea of what the story was all about. To be able to summarize what needs to be understood without leaving out any of the important material is a wonderful ability. In his introduction to the Philippians, Paul did a tremendous job of summarizing what it meant to be a believer. Therefore I am calling this message, "Paul’s Notes on the Life of a believer."
I. THE GLORIOUS JOY OF SERVANTHOOD (1:1a)
A. Paul was not Ashamed of His Position of a Servant
1. Servant = Slave (doulos) - "one who is in a permanent servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of the other"
2. Ways of becoming a slave in antiquity
a. by conquest
b. by birth - any child born to a slave was a slave
c. by debt
B. Paul was honored to call Jesus His Lord
Jesus had not always been Paul’s master. For years his master was sin.
1. Previous Master - Paul was a slave to sin by
a. Birth - (Ps 51:5) David "Behold, I was shaped in inquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
b. Conquest - (Rom 6:12) "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
c. Debt - (Rom 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death."
2. Present Master
before anyone will become a slave of Jesus Christ they must first recognize that they are a slave to sin and must pay the debt of his sin. Then and only then when he repents and trusts Jesus as his Lord and Master will he be saved.
a. Cannot pay our own debt.
b. Jesus is the only one who can pay our sin debt
(1 Cor 6:20) "For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s"
C. Paul understood the Joy of Servanthood
1. Servanthood brings freedom
freedom from worry:
dependence upon our master to meet every need
freedom from fretting over decisions
2. Servanthood bestows Honor
(Matt 20:26-28)"...but whoever desires to become great among you, let him become your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you let him become your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many." NKJ
II. THE GLORIOUS JOY OF SAINTHOOD (1:1b)
"SAINTS" = holy ones
Saint-hagios "holy,set apart, sanctified, consecrated
-carries a moral significance
A. Paul reminds us of our Sanctified Purpose (holy)
1. Reconciliation to God
a. Permanent state in the eyes of God --HOLY
implies a relationship with Christ
(Rom 3:21-22) "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:"
b. Continuing State in life of every believer
demands behavior which rightly responds to the Holy Spirit
2. Set apart by God
a. from the evils of the world
b. for a specific task
(1 Pet 2:9) "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
B. Paul reminds us of our Sanctified Position - IN CHRIST
III. THE GLORIOUS JOY OF GOD’S MOST PRECIOUS BLESSINGS (1:2)
A. Abundant Joy is experienced in God’s Grace
- "the unmerited favor of God toward humanity