Summary: Paul writes a magnificent letter to his beloved church. He gives them plenty of love and inspiriation. His theme is JOY. Jesus first, Others second and ourselves last. The Joy of the Ministry can be a 2nd title.
THE JOY OF LIFE
New Liberty Christian Church, Veedersburg, IN with Rich McQuinn, minister. 9/26/10
TEX: PHILIPPIANS 1:1-30
INTRODUCTION: Picture a great friend or relative that you are very fond of. Hold that in your mind. Picture the person that has led you to the Lord Jesus Christ. Picture in your mind the persons who have influenced you the most in your Christian growth. You have good feelings about them, you honor them, love them, respect them and you protect that great friendship memory of them.
Now if they are still living, then sit down and write them a letter. In long hand you tell them how much you appreciate them, what they have done for you, how you are encouraged in life because of their witness and thank them for just being a child of God who takes responsibility. Tell them of the joy you have in your heart when you think of them and what they have done for you.
That is your homework for the week. No excuse now! Be grateful for those who have walked before you and have made your path easier.
We begin a 4 pack of sermons on the book of Philippians. Philippians has 4 chapters to study and I would love for you to read all four chapters before you come to the worship service every Sunday morning for this series of messages. If you want to grow more in Christ this is one way to get that done. This way you can pray more directionally as to what exactly God is going to be speaking to you about and what He wants you to do.
Paul probably was in prison in Rome when he writes this encouraging letter. When you read it you will soon know that one of the themes of this letter is JOY. Each time he thinks of the Christians meeting in Philippi he has to smile and be thankful. It is probably written in 61AD just before Paul’s death.
The church in Philippi was mostly non Jewish. It was one of the first churches that Paul began with the help of Lydia---the women who sold purple linens. Paul had received a call from God to go in to Macedonia. There probably wasn’t any synagogue established in this town. It takes 12 Jewish men to begin the work there and no doubt there were not that many. So Paul begins his ministry by establishing a church where “Christians” can worship.
Paul right away lays it down that he counts it all JOY when he remembers them and their goodness. In fact 15 times in these four chapters, Paul expresses his joy for them.
This is not a letter that he writes to scold, or to deeply instruct, or to make clear the gospel as much as it is a fond letter of encouragement. Philippi is a costal town, on one of the Roman roads of center of influence and travel. He writes and gives them his heart.
It will do us good to stop and read this letter from a master traveler to his dear saintly friends.
Let’s study these today in three easy sections of scripture. Chapter 1:1-11, Chapter 1:12-26, and Chapter 1:27-30
I. THE PREACHER’S PRAYER
He begins with a warm greeting. Timothy, who is like a son to Paul, is with him at this stage of his life. They are both involved in the ministry together.
Paul refers to himself as a DOULOS. A servant. A servant of the MOST HIGH JESUS THE CHRIST. He lays it out that they are not bosses, he is not dominating anyone. He is affirming their supreme loyalty to Jesus THE Christ.
No doubt he has trained the Elders and Deacons personally. He treats them as leaders of the congregation. He knows these men and he knows their hearts. He is remembering how they worked hand and hand to begin that new church work. It was a joy to see the church grow in number and in spirit.
You hear all the time the words of Grace and Peace given to you by Bible writers and by those of us who quote it in the prayers that we lead. But, do you understand what Paul is really saying here? What is he talking about for your life?
Grace. God is giving you special privileges that you do not deserve. It is because of God’s grace that we are saved, not because there is anything that we have done for our own salvation. We are saved through the riches of Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
Peace. Have the assurance that God has always been in control. You can believe that and you can KNOW that. He said He would take care of you even to the end of the ages. He said He is coming back for you. He said He is building you a special home in Heaven. He said that He will lead you to His father and forgive you of all sins. Therefore not to worry. Find contentment in Him.