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“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:1-2
The Macedonian Call Led to Imprisonment in Philippi
Paul is on his second Missionary journey in Europe, he is writing this letter from Rome where he is literally in chains in prison. He is writing to a church that was born from his earlier prison experience. On his Mission to Europe the first church to be planted was in response to the Macedonian call which he received in Acts 16. Paul’s divine deliverance from prison led to the conversion of the Philippian jailer and the beginning of the congregation in Philippi with Lydia and other converts.
A Strategic Roman Colony
Philippi was historically, militarily, economically and spiritually strategic. Philippi was a Roman colony in Northern Greece, linking Italy with Asia Minor (today, Turkey) on a very strategic road between East and West. Philippi is located on the same plain where Mark Anthony defeated the forces of Brutus and Cassius (who had murdered Julius Caesar). Philippi was the church that Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy had planted. The jailer who had been led to the Lord by Paul is one of the pillars of the church.
Positive Prison Epistle
Written in AD62 during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, this letter is a thank you for sending Epaphroditus: Thank you for your encouragement and thank you for your support. It is one of the most positive books in the Bible. Paul is overflowing with joy and gratitude and is rejoicing in how strong they are in the Faith, how steadfast and effective they are!
Epistle of Joy
The church in Philippi was the most faithful and consistent congregation in support for Paul. The Book of Philippians is mostly about rejoicing in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice! Joy is mentioned sixteen times in his short four chapter letter. If anyone is depressed, Philippians is one of the best places to turn to be uplifted. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:3-11
Do Not Settle for Less than God's Very Best
We should not settle for less than God's best. Often the world keeps us busy with something that is OK, alright, maybe even good, but meanwhile God has things that are excellent and vastly more important for us.
God is Able to Use our Sufferings for Good
Paul goes into the first theme of his sufferings (being falsely accused in Jerusalem, attempts on his life, imprisoned unjustly, taken across the Mediterranean by Sea, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake on the Island of Malta, in chains in Rome, being beaten, stoned, blinded, etc.) in verse 12: “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel.” Joseph, after being betrayed by his wicked brothers endured 14 years as a slave and in prison in Egypt. Yet Joseph could say: what you meant for evil, God used for good (Genesis 50:20). “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
We Can Rejoice Even in Suffering
Christians can rejoice in any circumstance, even in the worst of circumstances, even in spite of evil people. Despite their malicious intentions, God has the ability to turn what other people mean for evil for our good (Genesis 50:20).
Evangelism in Chains
“So that it has become evident to the whole palace guard and to all the rest that my chains are in Christ. And most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.” Philippians 1:13-14. Paul is trying to reach people in Caesar’s court, Nero’s court, even the palace guard and the Roman soldiers who were guarding him. His example is being used for the furtherance and deepening of the people’s boldness, courage and dedication.
For the Defence of the Gospel
“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes and will rejoice” Philippians 1:15-18. Some people have bad motives when preaching the Word of God. For the second time in the chapter, Paul uses the term “defense of the Gospel”. Some people have asked: Why do you need to defend the Gospel? The Bible does say “contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints” Jude 3. We are called to defend the Gospel. In one sense the Gospel does not need defending, simply preach it and boldly proclaim it. We also need to define the Gospel and discern, correct and expose those people who are distorting, or trying to hijack and twist, the Gospel. There is a need to defend the Gospel. We need to protect those things that are good from those that corrupt, confuse and undermine. People are saying that they are preaching the Gospel who are actually proclaiming “Health and Wealth”, “Name it and Claim it”. Judaizers, Saturday Sabbath legalists and others are proclaiming “another Gospel”.
For Me to Live is Christ and To Die is Gain
“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labour; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Philippians 1:19-26
Whether in Prison or Paradise – Rejoice!
There is a tremendous insight and wonderful phrase: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” There is no suggestion of a purgatory, a pause, or soul sleep after death. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Sola Scripture! – Scripture alone is the ultimate authority. We see there is nothing in between. You are for Christ, or against Him. You are alive on earth, or you are alive in Heaven. “To live is Christ” whether in prison or in paradise! I choose to rejoice. “To die is gain!” We gain eternal life, Heaven, all the promises, rewards and crowns that the Lord has promised. On earth we are privileged to serve the Lord and in death we are privileged to live with the Lord and receive rewards of eternity.
We Serve a Risen Saviour
Death for a Christian is not fatal, nor final. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. It does not matter what the enemy does to Paul if he is in the centre of God's will. God can work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He knows that what man means for evil, God can use for good. Our highest motive is to serve the Lord. He is the Way, He is the Truth, He is the Life. He is the Path; He is the Goal and He is the Prize.
Stand Fast in the Faith
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you, or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the Faith of the Gospel and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.” Philippians 1:27-30. The conclusion of the first Chapter is to remain steadfast. Let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Remember the great example of Christ and your steadfast goal, which will be proof to your adversaries that they are heading for perdition. They cannot destroy the Church by burning buildings, because the Church is not buildings, the Church is people. People redeemed by the Blood of Christ, transformed by the power of God.
We Fear God Alone
We should never be terrified of our adversaries. Jesus Christ is building His Church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. It is built on the solid rock of God's Word, not in the sand of human effort. History has proved that every humanistic attempt of man will fail, fall and crumble. The Kingdom of God will continue to grow and expand and the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the seas are full of water. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.
The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church
As Tertullian wrote: “For every Christian who died in the arena, another ten were converted on the stands.” The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church.
The Example of Christ
Chapter 2 is the submissive example of Christ. “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4
A fruit of Revival is “…let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself…” It is natural to look after “number one”, to be selfish, to be “Me first”, to be self-absorbed. But to be a Christian is to be self-less, to be sacrificial, to be in attitude of service. To be more concerned for others than for yourself. What built Christian civilisation is that Christians were concerned to be good stewards of public resources. Concerned for the property of their neighbour. “Do to others as you want to be done unto.”
Christ our Example of Excellence
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross.” Philippians 2:5-8. We see the humiliation and self-sacrifice of Christ.
True Love is measured by Sacrifice
We can see how true love is measured by sacrifice. The supreme example of humility is given to us by God Himself. Although He is all-knowing and all-powerful. Although He is everywhere-present, yet the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ chose to take upon Himself the form of a man. He emptied Himself of his privileges. God took upon himself humanity. He humbled himself, even to the point of death. God Himself should not have to die or be obedient, or in submission to anyone. Yet, for our Salvation, He chose to be born of Mary, to be raised in a household, under parents, to be in a country where He was treated as a third class subject of an oppressed nation. He was willing to be humiliated, slandered, abused, whipped, crucified, killed and buried.
Every Knee Shall Bow
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven and of those on earth and of those under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
From Humiliation to Exaltation
God resists the proud. He gives grace to the humble. Christ rises from humiliation to exaltation. From the Crib to the Cross to the Crown. The greatest amongst you should be servants, which our Lord modelled, getting on His knees and washing the dusty, dirty feet of His disciples. If our Master was willing to do this, how can we do less? As a result of this every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When Will You Bow to Christ?
The question we need to challenge people with is: When will you bow to Christ? Today in the day of grace, when the door to mercy and Salvation is wide open? Or will you bow to Christ on the Day of Judgement, when the door to grace is firmly closed and it is too late for Salvation? The Day is coming when every knee will bow, regardless of who you are. Is Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord, or is He your Judge?
Work Out Your Salvation with Fear and Trembling
Paul rejoices: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13. We see our responsibility and God's sovereignty fit together.
Shine as Lights in the Darkness
The application: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or laboured in vain.” If our Lord endured abuses and injustices, we can too. They are spiritual children of Paul, the fruit of his labour as he sowed the seed, preached the Word and baptised the first members of the church. He reminds them that our generation is crooked and we need to shine as lights in the darkness.
It Is a Privilege to Suffer for Christ
“Yes and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:17-18. Do not be sad that I may get executed by order of Caesar, for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. He will still rejoice.
Our Character Needs to Be Proven in Service
“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the Gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.” Philippians 2:19-24. Other religious workers seek their own way and are more concerned for their own way than for the way of Christ, they are not being Heavenly-minded. Paul is holding out for an acquittal by the Emperor and that he will be able to return to Philippi himself.
Sacrificial Service is More Eloquent Than many Sermons
“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” Philippians 2:25-30. He reminds us that we are here in a war and it requires hard work. Epaphroditus the messenger gets sent to deliver this message. True love is measured by sacrifice.
Ready to Preach, Pray or Die at a Moment’s Notice
As Hospital Christian Fellowship Missionary, Francis Grim, would say: “A missionary must be ready to preach, pray or die at a moment’s notice.” There is a place for us to be ready at all times, in our work, in our walk, in our warfare and worship, that we will be ready to sacrifice and fight to do what needs to be done. Paul is an example, as he points to Christ as the ultimate example. Paul is able to say he is able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him.
Beware or Those of the Mutilation
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” Philippians 3:1-2. Paul warns of evil workers (“dogs”). The term dogs do not mean “man’s best friend.” It is specifically used to refer to the Judaizers, false prophets because of their barking, biting, back stabbing and boasting. They are of the synagogue of satan. False brethren and not part of the family of God. Revelation also speak about the dogs being outside of the New Jerusalem. It does not mean canine dogs are not allowed in Heaven. This was a term used specifically for those of “the mutilation”, the Judaizers, those who tried to drag people back to the Law of Moses, to the comparatively insignificant old, now abolished, expired, rituals of the Old Covenant, which were only shadows pointing to the reality in Christ.
For the Excellence of the Knowledge of Christ
“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the Law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; concerning the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:3-11
Beware of Those Who Pervert the Gospel
As he speaks about Salvation, He warns of false prophets, how they pervert the Gospel and lead people away from the purity of the Gospel and undermine the foundations of the Gospel. The Judaizers are contending for an abolished, man-centered, legalistic, fleshly form of ritual which can be obtained and boasted about, which is meant to them to mean everything for salvation. Their way is feeling-orientated and exploitative. Self-seeking and self-serving it leads to pride.
The True Israel Have Circumcised Hearts and Believe in Jesus Christ
Paul calls us to a Christ-centered, spiritual relationship. Not the circumcision of the flesh, but of the heart. It is spiritual circumcision, which is repentance. That is the true Israel of God. Paul speaks about his pedigree and speaks about his faith in the Atonement of Christ. Paul gives a positive proclamation of the pursuit of Christ and says that Salvation is not based upon our works. It is based upon God's grace. I no longer have self-confidence but Christ-confidence. We are not saved by our faith. We are saved by Christ’s merits and by His sacrifice, His propitiation and His Blood shed on the Cross of Calvary. It is Christ who saves us, but we received this Salvation by faith.
Relationship Not Religion
Our relationship is important, not our religion, that you may know Him and the power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death. This is an inward circumcision, a real personal knowledge of Christ. Some may know about Christ, but do they know Him personally? Paul has a personal intimate real relationship with Jesus Christ. He knows Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
Past, Present and Future Salvation
Justification - I have been saved - past tense.
Sanctification - I am being saved - present tense.
Glorification - I will be saved - future tense.
Press on Toward the Goal of the Upward Call
“If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:11-14
There is a striving for the Gospel, a perseverance of the saints. It does not mean lying on the couch saying God is going to do all the work. I lay hold of Him because He has laid hold of me. I am pressing onwards and upwards and going forwards, I am not giving up! It’s the picture of a race. You cannot afford to get distracted and look around, but to strain every muscle, keep focussed and looking straight ahead. You put every ounce of energy and focus into the race to the end goal. Discipleship and perseverance: onward, upward, further, deeper, higher, not giving up, keeping on keeping on.
A Lifelong Discipleship Marathon
Sanctification is a process. I am being saved. It’s not about perfection, it is about direction. I am being saved. I am being delivered from the power of sin. It is a life-long race and will only be complete at the finish line which is the goal when we are welcomed into Heaven with “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord!” The earthly runners are racing for a gold medal, but we are running for a Heavenly reward, an incorruptible crown.
Do Not Be Distracted
“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” Philippians 3:15-16. He refers to those who think they are mature and above everyone else, because they are holding to a legalistic Judaism in how they do religion. Because they have gone back to Moses’ Law, worship on a Saturday, are circumcised, etc. Paul prays that God will reveal it to them. We need to have the mind of Christ.
The Mind of Christ
Christ Himself, even though He is God of the universe, the Eternal Judge, emptied Himself of His privileges, came down and endured the death on a Cross. We need to have the same mind as Christ. We must not try to lift ourselves up and boast of our achievements. We try to have the same attitude and mind to work together for the fulfilment of the Great Commission. Even though we have different denominational identities backgrounds and convictions, we need to keep the main thing the main thing.
Our Highest Priority
Our highest priority is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbour as ourselves. We need to have the right attitude, to think of others as better than ourselves and to live a life of service and sacrifice to God and to His people, to seek to fulfil the Great Commission. Let us keep focused on the big picture and on what really matters. Live your life in the light of eternity with the mind of Christ.
Enemies of the Cross of Christ
“Brethren, join in following my example and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly and whose glory is in their shame - who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21
Beware of False Teachers
The Apostles, who had been discipled by Christ and who had apostolic authority, were the foundations that Christ was building His Church on. Their examples, doctrines and sacrifices should lead us. They were eye-witness of the Resurrection of Christ. Paul makes it crystal clear that we have a walk, a work, a witness, a warfare. There are those who are enemies of Christ, such as the Judaizers, who try to take us back to observing the old Law. Jesus said you can judge a prophet by evaluating his fruit.
Know Your Enemy
We must know our enemy, know his tactics, know our enemy’s weapons. We must also know our weapons and must obey our Commanding Officer. We are in a spiritual war and there are people who are trying to destroy the very foundations of the Faith and distract us from the direction of the Gospel. Keep the main thing the main thing.
Our authority is God's Word, the Bible. Our Salvation is through Christ, symbolised by the Cross of Christ and His Blood. Our work is for the fulfilment of the Great Commission. Our priorities are loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The people of Philippi were a colony of Roman citizens, but the believers are also citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church is a colony of Heaven here on earth. Paul says we have a dual citizenship and dual responsibilities. We have Christian responsibilities. There are times when we have to obey God rather than man.
The main emphasis in Chapter 4 is Sanctification. “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.” Philippians 4:1. There are many expressions of affection and endearment for the Philippians. They are his joy and his crown. There will be a crown for those who win souls and a shepherd’s crown. The Philippians must not get distracted and get tossed to and fro. They must remain grounded on the rock of God's Word. Stand fast is an order in the military. When the enemy rush in and attack, you have to stand fast, dig in, hold the line and not let the enemy past. We have to stand fast in the Gospel.
Rejoice in the Lord Always
“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who laboured with me in the Gospel, with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:2-7
Unity of Purpose
Euodia and Syntyche were two women church leaders in whose homes the Church used to meet at times. These fellow workers are urged to be of the same mind of Christ as there is conflict. In spite of conflict. Paul instructs us to rejoice in all circumstances as our names are written in the Book of Life. Is your name written in the Book of Life?
Unto the Least of These
In spite of conflict, adversity, hunger and suffering, we can rejoice in all conditions and all circumstances. The Practise of the Presence of Christ was a well-known devotional book many used. Christians became aware that we must entertain strangers as some have entertained angels unawares, we have to be hospitable to strangers and kind to the poor, as Christ could come to us in any of these disguises. He could come amongst the least and poorest. Treat these people as though they are Christ.
Peace Through Prayer
Do not worry about anything, rather pray about everything. The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. When we live in joy the result is peace. Attitude is everything. Life is only about 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. We can choose to respond in a Godly, Christ-honouring, Biblical way.
Focus on the Positive and Excellent
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8. This is a call to live a better life. I can be thankful in all circumstances. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Reject the world’s way, the lies and worldliness, the injustice, the impure and the bad news of the world. Do not listen to the world’s media. We have a more excellent example in Christ. We need to focus on examples of excellence in history, art, architecture, literature, poetry, music and law. That is why we try to focus on Victorious Christians who changed the world, cathedrals and the greatest music and art ever produced. We should lift people up wherever we go. Christians have produced the greatest architecture, the greatest literature, the greatest poetry, music and art. We should focus on the more praiseworthy and excellent things.
Attitude is Everything
“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9. Right thinking and right attitude are preparation for purposeful actions to fulfil the Great Commission. Therefore, we must have the right attitude. Lift people up to excellence. Christianity has produced the greatest architecture, literature, poetry, the greatest music and the greatest art. Focus more on the praiseworthy and excellent. Reject lies and deception. The God of peace will be with you. Apostolic teaching and Apostolic example that is what we need to focus on. When Paul came to a town and preached, there was either a Revival or a riot.
A More Excellent Way
What goes on today in much of the church is not of God, but more of the world. Right thinking and right attitudes are preparation for purposeful action to fulfil the Great Commission, to seek first the Kingdom of God. We need to meditate on examples of excellence and that will lead us to trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
Contentment Despite Suffering
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13. The financial support that was brought by Epaphroditus made Paul happy as it showed good fruit and a maturity and generosity that God will reward. Paul has learned to be happy in plenty or poverty. The main context of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is suffering.
God Rewards Generosity
“Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:14-19. There is no condemnation or rebuke for the Philippians. Generosity can be an act of worship to God. He prays for the Lord to reward them for their generosity.
Be Faithful to the Gospel
The Gospel is referred to nine times: Fellowship of the Gospel 1:5; defence of the Gospel 1:16; walk worthy of the Gospel 1:27; strive for the Faith of the Gospel 1:27; service of the Gospel 2:22; labour for the Gospel 4:3 and beginning of the Gospel 4:15
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength
Soli Deo Gloria! Everything must be done to the glory of God alone. The Most Excellent inspires excellence. The emphasis is “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” We should travel on Christ’s errands, suffer in Christ service, proclaim Christ’s Gospel, declare Christ’s Lordship in all areas of life and teach Christ’s message. Knowing God brings joy in all circumstances.
Summary of Philippians:
Suffering in Chapter 1. Mind of Christ.
Submission in Chapter 2. Knowledge of Christ.
Salvation in Chapter 3. Peace of Christ.
Sanctification in Chapter 4. Pre-eminence of Christ.
Christ in Philippians
Example of Christ
Mind of Christ
Knowledge of Christ
Peace of Christ
Pre-eminence of Christ
Redemption of Christ
Righteousness of Christ
Resurrection of Christ
Responsibility in Christ
Exhortation of Christ
The call for us is: to have integrity, to be humble, to be positive, to remember what really matters and to learn to be content in all circumstances and conditions. Press on. Reach forward. Never ever give up. Never go back. Keep on keeping on. Persevere. Run the race of Faith. Keep the Faith. Fight the good fight of Faith.
“Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Philippians 4:20-23
Dr. Peter Hammond
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Cape Town South Africa
The Old Testament Survey book consists of 284 pages and includes 37 pictures, maps, charts and chronologies and the Old Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (42 audio sermons & 39 PDF sermon notes - 28hrs & 18min) are available from CLB.
The New Testament Survey book consists of 304 pages and includes 14 pictures, maps and charts and the New Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (31 audio sermons & 1 PDF book) are available from CLB.
These above resources are available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Email: email@example.com and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.