Summary: The church consists of all those who committed to and dependent upon Christ in all things.

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The Nature Of The Church

Text: Phil. 1:1-2


1. Illustration: Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. "I got so mad," said one, "I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats." "I tried trapping them alive," said the second. "Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church." "I haven't had any more problems," said the third. "What did you do?" asked the others, amazed. "I simply baptized and confirmed them," he replied. "I haven't seen them since."

2. Ever since we purchased our building back in August we have talked a lot about the church as a building. However, the building is not the church; we are the church.

3. As we begin this series on Paul's Letter to the Philippians we are going to answer the question "What is the nature of the church?"

4. The nature of the church is that...

a. We belong to Christ

b. We are family

c. We live in God's favor

5. Let's stand together as we read Phil. 1:1-2

Proposition: The church consists of all those who committed to and dependent upon Christ in all things.

Transition: First, let us consider that...

I. We Belong To Christ (1a).

A. Slaves of Christ

1. To understand what Paul is writing to the Philippian church we must first consider some background.

a. As Paul wrote this letter, he was under house arrest in Rome.

b. When the Philippian church had heard about Paul’s imprisonment, they had sent Epaphroditus (who may have been one their elders) to Rome to visit and encourage him.

c. Epaphroditus had arrived with words of affection from the church, as well as a financial contribution that would help make Paul’s confinement more comfortable.

d. Paul wanted to thank the believers for helping him during his time of need. He also wanted to tell them why he could be full of joy despite his imprisonment and upcoming trial.

e. He wanted them to remain strong in the faith, realizing that although he was in chains for the gospel, God was still in control and the truth of the gospel remained unchanged.

f. In this uplifting letter, Paul counseled the Philippians about humility and unity and warned them about potential problems they would fac (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 843).

g. Paul had arrived in Rome around A.D. 59 and had spent two years under house arrest. The letter to the Philippians was probably written toward the end of Paul’s imprisonment there, in A.D. 61 (Barton 843).

2. However, Paul's name isn't the only attached to this letter.

a. Timothy was a frequent visitor during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome and was with Paul when he wrote this letter.

b. Then Timothy went as Paul’s emissary to the church in Philippi. Timothy had a special interest in the Philippians, for he had traveled with Paul on his second missionary journey when the church at Philippi had begun.

c. Although he is mentioned in the salutation, Timothy is not considered a coauthor. Paul wrote in the first person throughout this letter.

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