Big Idea of the Series: This ten-week series is a great opportunity to our congregation dig into the book of Philippians. ‘The Church at Philippi’ focuses on the joy each of us receives when we devote our lives to God and others.
Background of the book: Verse by Verse through the Book of Philippians Introduction
I. AUTHOR: Paul, 1:1
II. DATE OF WRITING: A.D. 62, Paul is writing from jail in Rome.
III. FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH IN PHILIPPI
Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey. On that visit he led a number of people to Christ who formed the church there. Some of these were Lydia and her family, the Philippian jailer and his family, and the girl possessed by a demon (Acts 16:14–34).
The city of Philippi was a Roman colony. As such, it was a miniature Rome. It mimicked Rome in every way. It was strategically located on an important trade route between Europe and Asia.
The city was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.
There were two reasons Paul wrote this letter:
1. Philippians is a thank you note from a missionary to a supporting church.
2. The second reason was due to a conflict between two women. He mentions and names them in 4:1–2. Unlike other epistles there was no extended doctrine to discuss, no error to refute, no wrong to correct.
Text: Philippians 1:1–11
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 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. 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. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Big Idea of the Message: We find joy in experiencing God’s unearned forgiveness and knowing that nothing can stop him from finishing what he has already started in our lives.
Message title: “Complete”
Key verse: Philippians 1:6
Pauls letter to the Philippians is a window to Paul’s faith. This letter will help understand what kind of believer, of follower and apostle is Paul.
I. Paul’s Core Conviction
Philippians 1:6 (ESV) 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.
Although Paul used the pronoun “he”, he is specifically referring to God. He wants to communicate to the Philippians that God is a personal God and he wants them to connect with God through his attributes.
a. Sovereignty of God - v.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.
That God is in control and he will complete the good work he started in our life. He is dependent on no one to bring into completion the plans that he started
b. Goodness of God - v.6
…he who began a good work
God’s goodness is perfect. Whatever God began is good, perfect...
c. Faithfulness - v.6
… will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. … will perfect it
Numbers 23:19 (ESV) God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
d. Lordship - v.1-2
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(NASB95) Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
Lordship means Christ has full control and ownership of our life. We are under God’s disposal to do his good and perfect will.
These are some of Apostle Paul’s core conviction that he expressed through all his letters from the letter to the Roman believers to Philemon. These are some of unshakable conviction that enabled his to experience joy even in prison. When we anchor our faith in the unchanging nature of God, joy will abound in our life.
II. The work of God in the life of Phillipians through the ministry of Paul
a. Their life cause thanksgiving to God. v.3
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
It does not mean that they are perfect or don’t have issues but their overall life as a church is a cause for thanksgiving. God is at work in their lives and in the church as a whole.
b. Their life brings joy to others. v.4
4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
Not only their life cause Paul to give thanks to God but also praying for them is a joy.
c. They were Faithful partners. v.5
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
They were Paul’s biggest supporter when he started right to the end.
d. They were Risk takers . v.7
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.
They were not afraid to stand by Paul’s side in supporting him outside and inside prison and as he proclaim the gospel through defending and confirming it to others.
III. Paul’s primary concern for the church at Philippi
a. That their love may abound more and more, v.9
Philippians 1:9 (ESV) And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
The first essential that Paul prays about is that their love may “abound.” It is one thing to have love; it is yet another to have abounding love. Their love needed to be enlarged.
The word “abound” means to overflow, to be over and above, more than enough. This is a love that dominates one’s life. Love is no mere category. An unbiblical life categorizes itself: in one category there is love yet in another category there is bitterness and resentment.
Paul’s prayer is that love will abound in knowledge. This word, “knowledge,” means full, experiential knowledge. To love in God’s economy is to love beyond emotion and feeling. There is something at the foundation of this love. A Christian is to be a specialist in love. That love is to abound in knowledge. An indifferent, vague, sloppy love is not Christian love. It is an informed love. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. Discernment,however, is an advance upon knowledge. Discernment is the correct use of the facts. But we must have knowledge to have discernment. The more we know, the more we can divide things that differ. We can separate and make distinctions. Discerning love can tell the difference between maudlin love and authentic love. Maudlin love may not employ “tough love” when necessary. Maudlin love loves on the basis of sympathy, not empathy. Authentic love requires both knowledge and discernment. As well, God wants us to “abound still more and more” in love that loves on the basis of knowledge and discernment.
b. Their life live out according to the will of God. v.10-11
Philippians 1:10–11 (ESV) so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The word “approve” means to test for approval. This is spiritual discernment. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between the chaff and wheat, the dross and the gold, the genuine and the superficial. Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “Excellence” carries with it the sense of what is vital. In Greek, excellence means to bear apart or to differ between; as with metals, you learn to tell one from another, the greater from the lesser. So things of excellence are things of greater value.
This speaks of the quality and character of life. When we live according to the will of God, we live pure and blameless life. “Being” indicates this is something we receive. We receive it by God’s grace. We do not earn it or work for it. “Fruits” is singular in the Greek. This may refer to the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is the produce of righteousness, the harvest.
“Of righteousness” means produced by Christ and, so, supernatural. The word “of” indicates source: this is imputed righteousness (righteousness that God unilaterally gives). The believer has a righteous stand before God resulting from being clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and ought to produce fruit for God. Practical righteousness is to flow from what God has done.
“Filled with the fruits of uprightness which come through Jesus Christ”: The term of Christian growth and development is the status of uprightness before God, yet it is not a status that one achieves by oneself; rather it is begun by God (3:9). Such inner qualities, partially described in Galatians 5:22–23, will be evident to others. The fruit of the Spirit comes through Jesus Christ, for it is really His life lived out through believers. Such fruit magnifies God, not self.