6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Christianity which began with quiet meetings in the humble Jewish homes, or oratory, by the river-side, had spread in Philippi and has by now settled down into a stable and permanent church organization.

Date: 3/15/18

Lesson # 1

Title: Salutation

Text: (Philippians 1:1-2)

Scripture: (Philippians 1:1-2, NIV)

1 Paul{P1] and Timothy{P2], servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons{P3]:

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

[P1} Paul, commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Jewish name Saul of Tarsus was an apostle (though not one of the Twelve Apostles) who taught the gospel of Christ to the first century world. We know a lot about Paul already from our study of his other epistles, so I will be brief and remind readers of just a few things. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and in the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. He took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen (Paul’s Roman citizenship gained his freedom and silenced his enemies.) to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences; preaching that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Approximately half of the book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works.

[P2} Timothy (Greek: meaning "honoring God" or "honored by God.") was an early Christian evangelist and the first first-century Christian bishop of Ephesus, who tradition relates died around the year AD 97. Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor, born of a Jewish mother who had become a Christian believer, and a Greek father. The Apostle Paul met him during his second missionary journey and he became Paul’s companion and co-worker along with Silas. The New Testament indicates that Timothy traveled with Saint Paul, who was also his mentor. Paul entrusted him with important assignments. He is addressed as the recipient of the First and Second Epistles to Timothy.

[P3} The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; see Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8, 12. There are some who believe that their work may have been patterned after the seven of Acts 6:1-6, but they are not called deacons.

Introduction:

In Paul’s time letters typically began with the name of the sender, the name of the recipient, and a brief salutation. That Philippians was written by Paul is virtually unquestioned. Tradition holds that the apostle wrote the Philippians from Rome, while in prison, and by the hand of Epaphroditus. But according to Acts 16:12-40, Paul and his missionary companions founded the church during his so-called second missionary journey (A.D. 49), after having answered a call at Troas to enter Macedonia to help there. Philippi received its name from Phillip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Christianity which began with quiet meetings in the humble Jewish homes, or oratory, by the river-side, had spread in Philippi and has by now settled down into a stable and permanent church organization. Of all his churches, the Church at Philippi was the one to which Paul was closest; and he writes, not as an apostle to members of his Church, but as a friend to his friends.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is practical. It gets right down to where we live. It is a wonderful little epistle and we will be enriched by the sweetness of it.

Lesson

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the servants of Christ Jesus and deacons:

“PAUL AND TIMOTHY”—Paul associates Timothy with himself. Paul brings this young preacher and puts him right beside himself, and he encourages him. Paul loves this young man, Timothy. He was Paul’s son in the Lord, that is, he had won him to Christ; and Paul was very interested in him. Paul is constantly identifying certain young preachers with himself.

“SERVANTS OF CHRIST JESUS{A.4].” In the greeting, Paul identifies himself and Timothy as the servants{A.6] of Jesus Christ, not because Timothy played any part in the composition of the letter as Paul’s prompt return to the singular demonstrates (1:3), but because he wishes to prepare the Philippians for Timothy’s forthcoming visit (2:19) by showing them that they are colleagues engaged in the same work. This is further emphasized by the joint designation, “bond servants of Christ Jesus”, which is not an honorific title, but an expression denoting their complete submission to the lordship of Christ. Having been redeemed by Christ from the bondage of sin, they are now totally at the disposal of their New Master. A servant is free to come and go; but a slave is the possession of his master forever.

When Paul calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ, he does three things.

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