Summary: Part 1 of a series of messages on the book of Philippians. This message addresses our need to remember the persecuted church around the world.
Text: Philippians Chapter 1:1-14
Title: News from the Frontlines
2 Saturday’s ago a few of us went to the “Voice of the Martyrs” conference in Worcester and we learnt about how much persecution Christians suffer in other parts of the world.
Seeing the pictures and hearing the eyewitness accounts of the imprisonments, the tortures, the killings, the destruction of churches and homes was an eye opening experience for all of us who were there.
The presenters at the conference made several references to the book of Philippians and how reading the book of Philippians was a source of great encouragement for the persecuted church.
So I took that as a sign from God!
To take these next 4 weeks and preach through the book of Philippians. Who here doesn’t need encouragement?
But I also want to preach through the book of Philippians in order for us to consider some ways that we can help the Persecuted church
My title; News from the front line
Background to the book of Philippians
The book of Philippians is one of 4 prison epistles.
It was written from a prison in Rome to the church at Philippi.
The book of Philippians begins with these words
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,”
The letter begins by telling us the names of those who were in Prison and telling us what they were in prison for.
Paul and Timothy were in prison and they were in prison for the crime of being
servants of Christ Jesus.
If we were to write down the names of all those who were in prison today for the crime of being servants of Christ we would never finish recording all their names.
You never come to the place where you can say that’s the last one!
According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.
It is estimate that approximately 176,000 Christians were martyred from mid-2008 to mid-2009.
If current trends continue, it is estimated that by 2025, an average of 210,000 Christians will be martyred annually.
“To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you were unjustly imprisoned who would you write too?
If it was me I’d be writing to the President! GET ME OUT OF HERE!
But that is not what Paul and Timothy do.
They write to the church!
They write to the saints!
They didn’t pray to the saints they wrote to the saints!
They told the church!
We do the complete opposite!
When we are struggling we don’t like to tell anyone in the church!!
We keep it to ourselves!
If Paul and Timothy had done that there would be no letter to the Philippians.
But from prison they write to the church!
“To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
God gave them a church they could write too!
Today there are Christians imprisoned for the crime of being servants of Christ who would love to have a church they could write too!
They can’t write to their own church because everyone in that church is with them in prison
What if verse 2 read
V2 To all the Saints in Christ Jesus at Dudley
Saints who care about others!
So how can we help our brothers and sisters around the world who are imprisoned for being servants of Christ Jesus?
First of all we should pray for them.
The greatest need is for prayer. It is prayer that changes things and moves the heart of God, and it is prayer that our persecuted brothers and sisters ask for before they ask for anything else.
In verses 3-11 Paul gives us instructions on how we should pray and instructions on what we should pray for.
Notice first of all the instructions on how we should pray
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Here is how we should pray.
1.We should pray for them with joy and confidence