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August 8, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #3

 

“Paul’s Joyful Thanksgiving”


 

Last week we looked at the greeting / salutation of Paul and Timothy to the Church in Philippi (1:1-2).  As was common in Paul’s writings, following his greeting / salutation to the Philippians is thanksgiving (1:3-8).  These verses are where we begin to look into the window of Paul’s soul!

 

Today, let’s examine Paul's salutation (greeting) to the recipients of this letter . . . the Christians in the Church at Philippi.  This is found in the first two verses of chapter 1.

 

Philippians 1:3-8 (ESV)

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.  8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

 

Three things stand out in these verses . . .

 

1. Paul Is Thankful For Their FELLOWSHIP

              

Philippians 1:3-5 (ESV)

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 

 

MEMORIES OF THEIR FELLOWSHIP WAS A SOURCE OF GREAT JOY FOR PAUL.  Apparently, every time he remembered them, it made him happy!

 

The memories were a source of frequent joy, and every time he prayed, he included them!

 

Here we get a glimpse into the prayer life of the apostle Paul.  It evidently included frequent prayers for those with whom he had ministered with in the past.

 

Colossians 1:3 (ESV)

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

 

1 Thessalonians 1:2 (ESV)

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,

 

The joyful memories were the result of working together to share the Gospel

 

Remember, Lydia (one of the first Christians in Philippi) opened her home to Paul and thus this church began!

 

Years later, Paul is now in Rome enjoying the gifts and support sent to him . . .

                

Philippians 4:18 (ESV)

I have received full payment, and more.  I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

 

This illustrates the blessing that pleasant memories are, and the fellowship that creates them!  And, pleasant memories can be a blessing when we face difficult times.

 

PAUL IS IN PRISON . . . still, he could pray with joyful thanksgiving - as he remembered the Philippians!

 

However, memories can become a curse rather than a blessing!  If we’ve spent our lives in sin, and have caused trouble with those around us, memories can be a curse!

 

Most people live the first half of their life

making the second half of their life miserable!”

- Anonymous -

 

For memories to be a blessing to us, we must be a blessing to others!

 

The kind of fellowship experienced between Paul and the Philippians created the most precious memories:

 

Fellowship in Jesus Christ

 

Fellowship in sharing the Gospel with others, by teaching or by supporting those who taught

 

I can only imagine how comforting it must have been for Paul, while in prison for preaching the Gospel, to be able to look back on his relationship with the Philippians with such joy filled memories!

 

What kind of memories are we creating today? 

 

It will affect the kind of future we have!

 

Three things stand out in these verses . . .

 

1. Paul Is Thankful For Their FELLOWSHIP

 

2. Paul Is Confident That God Will COMPLETE His Work In Them

 

Philippians 1:6-7 (ESV)

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 

 

The reason for Paul’s confidence was the faithfulness of God himself! 

 

God helps us to handle temptations . . .

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

 

God provides forgiveness when we give in to temptations . . .

 

1 John 1:9 (ESV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Paul was also confident in the faithfulness of the Philippians, because, they were willing to “share in his chains” . . .

 

Philippians 2:29-30 (ESV)

29 So receive him (Epaphroditus) in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

 

They were willing to share in the defense of and the confirmation of the Gospel (through their support).  Therefore, they were sharing together in the grace of God!

 

THIS PASSAGE SHOULD REMIND US THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE IN OUR GROWTH AS CHRISTIANS . . .

 

Finally, in Paul’s joyful thanksgiving, we see . . .

 

3. Paul Expressing The Depth Of His Affection For The Philippians

 

Philippians 1:7-8 (ESV)

7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.  8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

 

Paul calls upon God as a witness (v. 8), and God knows the hearts of all people - including Paul.

      

Paul describes it as “the affection of Christ Jesus!”  That is, the same sort of love Jesus has toward us.  Remember, Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another as he loved us . . .

John 13:34 (ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 

IT IS THIS SORT OF LOVE THAT SHOULD CHARACTERIZE ALL DISCIPLES OF JESUS!  This is how the world will know that we are truly the disciples of Jesus . . .

 

John 13:35 (ESV)

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

 

Such love comes only by being taught by God . . .

 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (ESV)

9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

 

And God teaches us through the example of his Son!

 

1 John 3:16 (ESV)

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us,

and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.


 

Clearly, Paul felt great love for his brothers & sisters in Christ who were living in Philippi!

 

And this is understandable, because of the pleasant memories of their fellowship in the Gospel of Christ.  This gave Paul so much joy and confidence in the well-being of the Philippians.

 

Remember how all these things relate together:  Joy and confidence comes from pleasant memories.  And pleasant memories are created from fellowship in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Has God begun a good work in you (by your obedience to the gospel)?


 

Remain faithful to him, through your service in Jesus Christ, and he will . . .


 

6 . . . bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 August 1, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #2

 

“Greetings and Salutations”

 

Last week we were introduced the New Testament book of Philippians as a book that is very relevant to our day and times in 2020.

 

Today, let’s examine Paul's salutation (greeting) to the recipients of this letter . . . the Christians in the Church at Philippi.  This is found in the first two verses of chapter 1.

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Notice several things . . .

 

THE AUTHOR OF THIS EPISTLE / LETTER

 

1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

 

This, of course, is the apostle Paul. 

 

Paul (Saul) was known as the “persecutor”:

 

Acts 8:1-3 (NIV)

1 And Saul approved of their killing him.  On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.  3 But Saul began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

 

Now, Paul is known as the “persecuted” . . . for he is writing this letter while in Roman custody:

 

Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV)

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

 

Paul is joined in this “salutation” by Timothy:

 

1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

 

Timothy was a travelling companion who joined Paul during his second journey . . .

 

Acts 16:1-3 (NIV)

1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.  2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.  3 Paul wanted to take Timothy along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 

Timothy was a young man, devoted to serving Paul . . . and, Paul loved him like a son:

 

Philippians 2:19-22 (NIV)

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.  20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

     

Later in the New Testament, Timothy received two letters (epistles) from Paul, know to u as: 

1 & 2 Timothy.

 
 

Paul and Timothy are described as “servants”:

 

1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

 

“Servant” was a title of humility; denoting obedience and acknowledgment of ownership.  They are called servants of Christ Jesus . . . giving them dignity and describing their intense devotion to Jesus.

 

OK.  Paul wrote the letter / epistle.  Now, let’s look at to whom the letter is addressed.

 

THE “RECIPIENTS” OF THIS EPISTLE

 

1b . . . to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,

  

Paul calls the recipients of his letters “saints.  The term “saint” was what ALL Christians were called in the New Testament.

 

SAINT literally, it means “holy one” . . .

 

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The basic idea behind saint / holy is “separation” for the purpose of consecration.  These people are called saints “in Christ Jesus” . . . because they were set apart in him (just as we are!).

 

It is only by being in Jesus / having our sins forgiven by his blood that we can be called saints!

 

Note the contrast here between “servants” and “saints”:

 

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,

 

By using these terms, Paul humbles himself and exalts those to whom he is writing.  He is practicing what he preaches, in regard to humility.

 

Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 

Particularly, the recipients of this letter / epistle are “the saints who are at Philippi.”  That is, the Church in Philippi - as found in . . .

 

Acts 16:9-15 (ESV)

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night:  a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.  We remained in this city some days.  13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.”  And she prevailed upon us.

 

The birth of the Church in Philippi was prompted by Paul’s call to Macedonia, and it started with the conversion of Lydia.  The church met in Lydia's home, and Luke stayed at Philippi to help, after Paul left.

 

Also addressed in this letter are the “Overseers” and “Deacons”:

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Overseers” were men charged with guarding the flock (church members) and providing spiritual food (pastoring the church members).  They were also called “Elders.”

 

“Deacons” means servants or ministers, and they served the needs of the congregation . . . under the oversight of the Elder / pastors.

 

So, the recipients of this letter / epistle were a well-established congregation, one that demonstrated their love and support for the apostle Paul.

 

Finally, let’s briefly notice the greetings given . . .

 

THE “GREETINGS”

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

GRACE - This was the common greeting among the Greeks.  It means, “Wishing unmerited favor and kindness upon them.”

 

PEACE - This was common greeting of the Jews (“Shalom!”).  It speaks of the result of receiving favor and kindness.

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ . . .  This is the source of grace and peace Paul desires the Philippians to receive.  Because, when one has received unmerited favor and kindness from God, through his Son Jesus Christ, one truly receives peace!

 

Peace with God

 

Romans 5:1 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Peace with other people

 

Proverbs 16:7 (ESV)

When a man's ways please the Lord,

he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

 

Peace with one's self

 

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

So, what have we learned?

 

We can see that this epistle is a personal letter between a man in prison (Paul) who is accompanied by a dear friend (Timothy), and a congregation of holy people whose love for Paul was demonstrated on several occasions.

 

God willing, next week we will examine the “joyful thanksgiving” that Paul had because of the fellowship he enjoyed with the church at Philippi.

 

But for today, let me ask you: 

 

Are YOU experiencing the grace and peace that comes only from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”?

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

August 1, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #2

 

“Greetings and Salutations”

 
Last week we were introduced the New Testament book of Philippians as a book that is very relevant to our day and times in 2020.
 
Today, let’s examine Paul's salutation (greeting) to the recipients of this letter . . . the Christians in the Church at Philippi.  This is found in the first two verses of chapter 1.
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Notice several things . . .
 
THE AUTHOR OF THIS EPISTLE / LETTER
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
This, of course, is the apostle Paul.  
 
Paul (Saul) was known as the “persecutor”:
 
Acts 8:1-3 (NIV)

1 And Saul approved of their killing him.  On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.  3 But Saul began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

 
Now, Paul is known as the “persecuted” . . . for he is writing this letter while in Roman custody: 
 
Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV)

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

 
Paul is joined in this “salutation” by Timothy: 
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
Timothy was a travelling companion who joined Paul during his second journey . . .
 
Acts 16:1-3 (NIV)

1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.  2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.  3 Paul wanted to take Timothy along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 
Timothy was a young man, devoted to serving Paul . . . and, Paul loved him like a son: 
 
Philippians 2:19-22 (NIV)

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.  20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

      
Later in the New Testament, Timothy received two letters (epistles) from Paul, know to u as:  
1 & 2 Timothy.
 
 
Paul and Timothy are described as “servants”:
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
“Servant” was a title of humility; denoting obedience and acknowledgment of ownership.  They are called servants of Christ Jesus . . . giving them dignity and describing their intense devotion to Jesus.
 
OK.  Paul wrote the letter / epistle.  Now, let’s look at to whom the letter is addressed.
 
THE “RECIPIENTS” OF THIS EPISTLE
 
1b . . . to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, 
  
Paul calls the recipients of his letters “saints.  The term “saint” was what ALL Christians were called in the New Testament.
 
SAINT literally, it means “holy one” . . .
 
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The basic idea behind saint / holy is “separation” for the purpose of consecration.  These people are called saints “in Christ Jesus” . . . because they were set apart in him (just as we are!).
 
It is only by being in Jesus / having our sins forgiven by his blood that we can be called saints!
 
Note the contrast here between “servants” and “saints”:
 
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,
 
By using these terms, Paul humbles himself and exalts those to whom he is writing.  He is practicing what he preaches, in regard to humility. 
 
Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 
 
Particularly, the recipients of this letter / epistle are “the saints who are at Philippi.”  That is, the Church in Philippi - as found in . . . 
 
Acts 16:9-15 (ESV)

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night:  a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.  We remained in this city some days.  13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.”  And she prevailed upon us.

 
The birth of the Church in Philippi was prompted by Paul’s call to Macedonia, and it started with the conversion of Lydia.  The church met in Lydia's home, and Luke stayed at Philippi to help, after Paul left.
 
Also addressed in this letter are the “Overseers” and “Deacons”:
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Overseers” were men charged with guarding the flock (church members) and providing spiritual food (pastoring the church members).  They were also called “Elders.”
 
“Deacons” means servants or ministers, and they served the needs of the congregation . . . under the oversight of the Elder / pastors.
 
So, the recipients of this letter / epistle were a well-established congregation, one that demonstrated their love and support for the apostle Paul.
 
Finally, let’s briefly notice the greetings given . . .
 
THE “GREETINGS”
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
GRACE - This was the common greeting among the Greeks.  It means, “Wishing unmerited favor and kindness upon them.”
 
PEACE - This was common greeting of the Jews (“Shalom!”).  It speaks of the result of receiving favor and kindness.

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ . . .  This is the source of grace and peace Paul desires the Philippians to receive.  Because, when one has received unmerited favor and kindness from God, through his Son Jesus Christ, one truly receives peace!
 
Peace with God
 
Romans 5:1 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Peace with other people
 
Proverbs 16:7 (ESV)

When a man's ways please the Lord,

he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

 

Peace with one's self

 
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

So, what have we learned?
 
We can see that this epistle is a personal letter between a man in prison (Paul) who is accompanied by a dear friend (Timothy), and a congregation of holy people whose love for Paul was demonstrated on several occasions.
 
God willing, next week we will examine the “joyful thanksgiving” that Paul had because of the fellowship he enjoyed with the church at Philippi.
 
But for today, let me ask you:  
 
Are YOU experiencing the grace and peace that comes only from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”?

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

August 1, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #2

 

“Greetings and Salutations”

 
Last week we were introduced the New Testament book of Philippians as a book that is very relevant to our day and times in 2020.
 
Today, let’s examine Paul's salutation (greeting) to the recipients of this letter . . . the Christians in the Church at Philippi.  This is found in the first two verses of chapter 1.
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Notice several things . . .
 
THE AUTHOR OF THIS EPISTLE / LETTER
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
This, of course, is the apostle Paul.  
 
Paul (Saul) was known as the “persecutor”:
 
Acts 8:1-3 (NIV)

1 And Saul approved of their killing him.  On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.  3 But Saul began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

 
Now, Paul is known as the “persecuted” . . . for he is writing this letter while in Roman custody: 
 
Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV)

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

 
Paul is joined in this “salutation” by Timothy: 
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
Timothy was a travelling companion who joined Paul during his second journey . . .
 
Acts 16:1-3 (NIV)

1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.  2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.  3 Paul wanted to take Timothy along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 
Timothy was a young man, devoted to serving Paul . . . and, Paul loved him like a son: 
 
Philippians 2:19-22 (NIV)

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.  20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

      
Later in the New Testament, Timothy received two letters (epistles) from Paul, know to u as:  
1 & 2 Timothy.
 
 
Paul and Timothy are described as “servants”:
 
1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
 
“Servant” was a title of humility; denoting obedience and acknowledgment of ownership.  They are called servants of Christ Jesus . . . giving them dignity and describing their intense devotion to Jesus.
 
OK.  Paul wrote the letter / epistle.  Now, let’s look at to whom the letter is addressed.
 
THE “RECIPIENTS” OF THIS EPISTLE
 
1b . . . to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, 
  
Paul calls the recipients of his letters “saints.  The term “saint” was what ALL Christians were called in the New Testament.
 
SAINT literally, it means “holy one” . . .
 
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The basic idea behind saint / holy is “separation” for the purpose of consecration.  These people are called saints “in Christ Jesus” . . . because they were set apart in him (just as we are!).
 
It is only by being in Jesus / having our sins forgiven by his blood that we can be called saints!
 
Note the contrast here between “servants” and “saints”:
 
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,
 
By using these terms, Paul humbles himself and exalts those to whom he is writing.  He is practicing what he preaches, in regard to humility. 
 
Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 
 
Particularly, the recipients of this letter / epistle are “the saints who are at Philippi.”  That is, the Church in Philippi - as found in . . . 
 
Acts 16:9-15 (ESV)

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night:  a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.  We remained in this city some days.  13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.”  And she prevailed upon us.

 
The birth of the Church in Philippi was prompted by Paul’s call to Macedonia, and it started with the conversion of Lydia.  The church met in Lydia's home, and Luke stayed at Philippi to help, after Paul left.
 
Also addressed in this letter are the “Overseers” and “Deacons”:
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Overseers” were men charged with guarding the flock (church members) and providing spiritual food (pastoring the church members).  They were also called “Elders.”
 
“Deacons” means servants or ministers, and they served the needs of the congregation . . . under the oversight of the Elder / pastors.
 
So, the recipients of this letter / epistle were a well-established congregation, one that demonstrated their love and support for the apostle Paul.
 
Finally, let’s briefly notice the greetings given . . .
 
THE “GREETINGS”
 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
GRACE - This was the common greeting among the Greeks.  It means, “Wishing unmerited favor and kindness upon them.”
 
PEACE - This was common greeting of the Jews (“Shalom!”).  It speaks of the result of receiving favor and kindness.

 

Philippians 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ . . .  This is the source of grace and peace Paul desires the Philippians to receive.  Because, when one has received unmerited favor and kindness from God, through his Son Jesus Christ, one truly receives peace!
 
Peace with God
 
Romans 5:1 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Peace with other people
 
Proverbs 16:7 (ESV)

When a man's ways please the Lord,

he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

 

Peace with one's self

 
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

So, what have we learned?
 
We can see that this epistle is a personal letter between a man in prison (Paul) who is accompanied by a dear friend (Timothy), and a congregation of holy people whose love for Paul was demonstrated on several occasions.
 
God willing, next week we will examine the “joyful thanksgiving” that Paul had because of the fellowship he enjoyed with the church at Philippi.
 
But for today, let me ask you:  


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