Summary: But the keys are fasting and prayer. A desperate situation demands desperate measures of intensity, earnestness, and authority for prayer with fasting. Fasting breaks the bondage of sin and loosens the hold of bad habits and their rulership over your life.
Theme: Perfect the Good Work
Text: Philippians 1:1-11
Introduction to Lent:
The word 'lent' refers to Springtime or spring. Christians observe 40 days as Lent from Ash Wednesday to Easter, excluding the Sundays. Lent means give up and have self-denial for all that you love to do in your life. These days are observed as days of fasting with penitence, and self-denial by many. Denial of pleasures, desirable food items, and disciplining body, mind, and order thoughts after the manner of Christ’s teaching and lifestyle, especially with the imitation of the 40 days fast observed by Jesus Christ are the lifestyle. It is believed that it has come into practice even during the Apostolic times. However, it has come into effect from 325 AD in the council of Nicaea. These days are set apart as a time of preparation for the candidates for Baptism, confirmation, and reception. However, the importance of Lent lost its significance in 9th C AD. Nowadays, it is observed as a mere ceremonial event.
Fasting is one of the Spiritual Discipline. It must emerge out from self-initiation and not be forced on. One thing is sure the artificial, ritual, and customary prayers will not go beyond the roof of your room. The Lord, one who sees the innermost heart, and thoughts knew what to do with us when we go to him with sincere prayers and repentance. Jesus emphasized the importance of fasting prayer in Matthew 17:21 saying, ‘But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’ There must be a reason for fasting. Here, Jesus unfolded the secret of the power and authority available for us in God through Holy Spirit. But the keys are fasting and prayer. A desperate situation demands desperate measures of intensity, earnestness, and authority for prayer with fasting. Fasting breaks the bondage of sin and loosens the hold of bad habits and their rulership over your life. Fasting opens new spiritual gifts from God because our spirit is humbled and sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. (ref:groupbiblestudy.com). Fasting prayer releases the spiritual power.
Introduction to the theme:
Our theme for the entire 40 days is: “Perfect the Good Work”. The Apostle Paul wrote this Epistle from Rome to the Christians in Philippi during his trial for his Gospel preaching, he was waiting to appear before Caesar in AD 61 (Acts 28:30-31). He established this Church in the continent of Europe during his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40 – David Guzik in Enduring word). The perfection of the Good work is depended upon but we need to cooperate with God to see it be completed perfectly.
THE SALUTATION OF PAUL (Philippians 1:1-2)
Paul writes this letter as from a friend to friends, though he was an apostle yet he claims to be the Doulos of God. “A servant is free to come and go, but a slave is a possession of his master forever”(William Barclay). Paul is addressing a community who are deeply committed to the cause of the gospel and actively share in defending and confirming the gospel. Paul expresses his confidence because he is sure that the Philippians will continue along this road. And as they do so, so also God will work powerfully in their lives to change and transform them, causing love to overflow from them (ref:workingpreacher.org).
DOULOS OF CHRIST: Paul calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ bought him with a price through his precious death upon the cross (1 Corinthians 6:20), so he owes absolute obedience to Christ (Galatians 5:24), the highest titles of all is known as the slave of Christ. So, Paul took that title like the Old Testament prophets (Amos 3:7, Jeremiah 7:25, Joshua 1:2, 2:8, Psalms 78:70, Psalms 89:3, Psalms 89:20) and he humbly places himself in the succession of the prophets. The words he used for pastors are presbyters, elders of the Church (Act 20:17 ), overseers ( Act 20:28 ), and bishops (Titus 1:5) all these words are synonymous in Greek.
He salutes them with grace and peace and calls the believers at Phillip as saints(v. 1). Matthew Henry says: ‘those who are not really saints on earth, never will be saints in heaven’. Paul says that he always remember them in his prayers(v. 3), and values their partnership in preaching Gospel (v. 5). He says that he longs for all of them with affection (v. 8) and he has them in his heart (v. 7).
THE SALVATION OF ALL (Philippians 1:3-8)
GOOD WORK: It is our salvation in Christ, good work is His call and our commitment to Him. Good work is Evangelism, missions, ministry, and church planting. Good work is leading new souls to Christ. Good work is to rebuild the broken lives and families, good work is reviving the lukewarm believers in the church. Good work is purifying the corrupted system either in Christendom or in society. Good work is bringing back the glory of the Messianic work, Nazareth manifesto (Luke 4:17-21). Good work is building one another. Good work is reforming the Church's activities.