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PHILIPPIANS 1 COMMENTARY

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Philippians 1 Commentary 
Written and edited by Glenn Pease 
PREFACE 
The following commentary consists of my own thoughts...
letters that made him famous after World War II. Letters and Papers from Prison 
became quite popular, and he changed many...
prison cell in Rome, from which he wrote this letter, and all he could think of was 
the joy and pleasure of his fellowshi...
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PHILIPPIANS 1 COMMENTARY

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The following commentary consists of my own thoughts combined with the thoughts of the many authors both ancient and modern who have made comments on this
most important letter of Paul. I have quoted so many others because I have found in each a unique way to convey the ideas that Paul is seeking to communicate.

The following commentary consists of my own thoughts combined with the thoughts of the many authors both ancient and modern who have made comments on this
most important letter of Paul. I have quoted so many others because I have found in each a unique way to convey the ideas that Paul is seeking to communicate.

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PHILIPPIANS 1 COMMENTARY

  1. 1. Philippians 1 Commentary Written and edited by Glenn Pease PREFACE The following commentary consists of my own thoughts combined with the thoughts of the many authors both ancient and modern who have made comments on this most important letter of Paul. I have quoted so many others because I have found in each a unique way to convey the ideas that Paul is seeking to communicate. Sometimes I have not been able to give credit, and if anyone discovers the name of the author quoted and lets me know, I will gladly give credit where credit is due. If anyone does not want their quotes expressed in this commentary, they can let me know as well, and I will delete them. My e-mail is glenn_p86@yahoo.com The purpose of this commentary is to bring the thoughts of many authors together in one place in order to save the Bible student a lot of time in research. All of the comments are available to anyone, but it takes an enormous amount of time to read all of the resources. I have brought together what I feel are the best thoughts on the text in this one place to save others the time. It is my pleasure to do so, and I use these studies myself to teach a class of about 20 people. The numbering system uses letters as well as numbers because it gives me the freedom to add new material I discover without doing the numbers all over. I welcome any comments, and I will add them to this commentary if they contribute new and valued insight. INTRODUCTION 1. H. Beecher Hicks Jr. introduces this book with a contemporary illustration of how a writer in prison can change history. He wrote, "Left to rot away in prison for crimes against the government, Nelson Mandela should have become the forgotten prisoner on Robben Island. After all, the South African government had banned his image and his words. The lawyer turned prisoner refused to become another nameless, faceless inmate. He poured his energy into writing letters from his jail cell. Confining him to a small cell, the prison authorities allowed Mandela one visitor a year and he could write and receive one letter every six months. Although his prison letters were censored, the government would not stifle the voice of freedom. He became the master of his own prison. When Mandela walked out of prison in 1990, he emerged as President-in-waiting. He would use the political and rhetorical skills he honed in the rock quarry and prison camp on Robben Island to lead South Africa into the 21st Century. 1A. Another prison author in our lifetime was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was arrested for opposing Hitler, and was eventually hanged, but he wrote many books and
  2. 2. letters that made him famous after World War II. Letters and Papers from Prison became quite popular, and he changed many millions by his writing and martyrs death in opposing Hitler. He was a German Lutheran pastor, and his most famous book The Cost of Discipleship is still widely read. 1B. These writings in our lifetime were not the first letters written from a prison cell that become the source of inspiration and liberation. While imprisoned, John Bunyon not only wrote his autobiography, he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678. Bunyon’s classic two-part religious allegory traces the odyssey of a saint named Christian to the heavenly city. Next to the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress has been more widely read than any other book in the English language. 1C. Perhaps the most widely read of all jailhouse letters in the history of the ancient and modern worlds are the prison epistles of the Apostle Paul. Placed under house-arrest, Roman soldiers constantly guarded the Apostle for two years. Each letter has helped hundreds of millions of Christians deal with the trials and tribulations encountered during their pilgrim’s progress. During his darkest hour, the apostle wrote four letters that serve as road maps for Christians traveling on the highway of lights leading to the Celestial City. Saint Paul was under house arrest in Rome when he penned his letters to the churches in Philippi, Ephesus, and Colosse. Paul wrote his fourth prison epistle to Philemon." 1D. As we begin this study of Philippians, it is interesting to note that we are studying the writing of a man who was accused of being a criminal by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is writing this prison letter back to a church in a city where he was also put into prison on charges of being a criminal. Paul was the Jewish leader who was named Saul who hated Christians and put many of them in prison, and now he is in prison as a Christian. There are 27 books in the New Testament, and 21 of them are letters, and Paul wrote 13 of them. He wrote almost half of the books of the New Testament, and by that became the key mind in formulating the theology of Christianity. 1E. In Acts 16 we have the record of how God led Paul, with Silas and Timothy, to make their way across the Aegean Sea to this city of Philippi. There he had the great joy of seeing the woman named Lydia open her heart to Christ, and then opening her home to them for the start of the first church in Europe. He also had some bad experiences that led to even greater blessings. He cast a demon out of a young girl that spoiled the business of those using her to tell fortunes, and they had him cast into prison. It led, however, to the conversion of the jailer and his family when an earthquake opened the cells and he was ready to take his life figuring he would be killed anyway for letting the prisoners escape. Paul led him to Christ and he and his whole family were baptized. It was a wild beginning for this church to be formed with such unusual conversions. It became one of, if not the, favorite church of Paul. It is the only church that he did not in some way scold or censure in his writings. He had a special affection for them, and they were his greatest supporters. 2. Joy was the theme when Paul wrote to these people, for he looked back from his
  3. 3. prison cell in Rome, from which he wrote this letter, and all he could think of was the joy and pleasure of his fellowship with this church. He could have looked back and remembered his severe beating and being locked into stocks in a dungeon, but his focus was only on the good things that he experienced in Philippi. Paul was an optimist because he chose to focus on the good and ignore the bad. He was not writing this letter of joy from his yacht in the Mediterranean, or from a luxury villa in Rome, but from a prison, where he also wrote Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. These 4 are called the Prison Epistles, written somewhere between 61 to 63 A. D. He was there unjustly for serving his Lord, and blessing people with the good news of the Gospel. Yet, out of this unfair and unjust suffering Paul does not fire off a bitter letter of anger, but a letter of joy and optimism about the church and God's plan for it. 3. Ray Stedman wrote, "The letter to the Philippians has been called not only the tenderest letter that Paul ever wrote, but also the most delightful. It brims over with expressions of praise, confidence and rejoicing, despite the fact that this is one of Paul's prison epistles, written in Rome during his first imprisonment. Paul later went on to the cities of Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, and other places in Greece. But now as he writes to the Philippians, he is in Rome, a prisoner of Nero. Although he is allowed to stay in his own rented house, awaiting trial before the Emperor Nero, he is chained day and night to a Roman soldier. Paul knew his life could easily be forfeit when he appeared before Nero. And yet this epistle glows with radiance and joy, confidence and strength. It is a great encouragement to any downcast or discouraged heart to read this letter to the Philippians. If you are going through times of pressure and trial, I urge you to read this little letter. It will encourage you greatly, especially if you remember the circumstances out of which it comes." 4.Criswell, the great Dallas pastor, says of this letter, "the most beautiful letter in the Bible." Criswell gives us some interesting background on the history of Philippi. He wrote, "In the days of Philip of Macedonia, in 358 B.C., he built there a fortification on the plain, in order to defend his kingdom of Macedonia from the wild and barbarian Thracians. And that fortification, that city that he built, he named after himself, Philippi. Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, was himself a tremendous military figure. He was a tremendous man in his own right. 4B. My note is here interjected between those of Criswell, for there is interesting history to point out. Philippi became the headquarters from which Alexander went out to conquer the whole world of his day, and now Paul has landed here by God's providence, as we see in Acts 16, and from which he will go on to spread the gospel all over the world of his day. His conquering of the world will last forever in comparison to Alexander the Great, whose reign lasted only a few years. Alexander did change the world in many ways for good, and he was used of God to prepare the world for the gospel, but Paul actually reached the world with the gospel that changed lives forever. He should be called Paul the Great for his role in fulfilling the Great Commission in his day. The New Testament does say that Paul actually
  4. 4. touched the whole world of his day. Acts 24:5-8 has Paul's accusers before Felix saying, "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him." Romans 1:8 [ Paul's Longing to Visit Rome ] First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. Colossians 1:6 All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. 5. Criswell goes on, "Now, this man, Philip, had another reason for building that city there. They have long since been exhausted, but, in the days of Philip, the mines around Philippi were most lucrative. They were gold mines and they brought to Philip a reward of a thousand talents a year in gold. In 146 B.C., it became a part of the Roman Empire. And in 42 B.C., most any schoolboy could tell you there was fought on the plains of Philippi one of the great decisive battles of world history." Augustus Caesar and Anthony defeated Brutus and Cassius, and the Republic of Rome became the Roman Empire. Philippi was honored by being made a free Roman city with all the privileges of those citizens of Rome. 6. Criswell continues, "Now, a word about the church: if there was a great battle fought on the plains of Philippi in 42, there was another tremendously significant battle fought there in Philippi in the realm of the spirit and of God’s will and work: Paul, in his spirit, desires, personal choice. Paul wanted to take the gospel east, and preach it in Visenia, Papho, but, the Bible says: “the Holy Spirit suffered him not, and passing by Paphos and Visenia and through Mysia”—turning west, Isn't that a strange thing? Had the Holy Spirit directed him east, to the East, to the Caucasus, to India, to the Orient, there would have been, I suppose, the missionaries out of Mongolia and out of China, sending the gospel to these white savages, roaming the plains of northern Europe and the great continental expanses of America." What Criswell is saying is that we in the West have much reason to praise and thank God for the Holy Spirit leading Paul to Philippi, for that was the beginning of the church in Europe that spread to the Western world where Christianity became the dominant religious faith. All of us are among the most blessed of people because of this ministry of Paul in Philippi. Criswell said before he preached from this letter-"There's just no place in the Bible where any preacher could preach that will have more in it of the love of God and the fruits and mercies of the Lord than we'll gather here in this beautiful letter to the church at Philippi" 7. Pentecost in his book tells of how Philippi became a major city, and explains why Philippi was so honored. "Rome in its conquest of the Middle East ran out of salt while fighting Macedonia where Philippi was located. Salt was used to pay the soldiers, and from this comes the expression a man is not worth his salt. The Roman
  5. 5. legion threatened to return home and leave Macedonia conquered. The people of Philippi wanted Rome to conquer and rule them rather than the Macedonians and so they collected great amounts of salt and gave it to the Roman Army, and they went on to conquer. Rome rewarded Philippi by making it a colony in all of its people citizens of Rome. They became a little Rome and many of the Roman soldiers settled there. This is where the salt of the Gospel began its spread over the world." 8. Paul was so delighted with this first church in Europe, because he became personal friends with many of the people, and there was so much mutual love between him and the people that this is the most personal of all his letters. In most of Paul's writings there is rebuke and scolding for the sins and folly of the believers, but here it is all love and joy, with a mild rebuke to two women who had differences. Paul does not become anti-femine in the least in this letter, for this church has the distinction of being founded by women in a woman's house, and with leadership of women on a level not seen elsewhere. Paul actually names the two women who had a conflict, and they are Euodia and Syntyche . The verses focusing on Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:2-3) make it clear that these two women were partners with Paul in sharing the gospel. You don't hear Paul making a peep about women not teaching in this church, for they worked with him side by side in doing so. Paul says they contended with him side by side, and so they were public witnesses of the power of Christ in changing them. 9. Another characteristic of this letter is how often Paul focuses on the gospel. Someone wrote about it like this: "The Apostle Paul’s overarching concern in this letter is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although Philippians is a relatively short letter, the word “gospel” appears more here than in any of Paul’s other letters. Paul uses the word Gospel in this letter more than anywhere. In Romans he uses it 10 times and here only 9, but this is only 4 chapters and Romans is 16 chapters, and so proportionately he uses it here far more. It is in 1:5,7,12,17,27,2:22,4:3,15 Paul uses it 5 times more than any other writer in the N.T." 10. Without a doubt the key characteristic of this letter is joy. It is the most joyous of all Paul's letters. He is joyous all through it from beginning to end. Joy for Paul is based on an intimate relationship to God, and the people of God, and he had that intimate relationship with the Philippians. Philippians 4:4 gives is one of the most often quoted and memorized verses in the Bible. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" The positive nature of this letter makes it one of the most favored parts of the Bible for preachers and laypeople. People love to memorize its powerful statements such as, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" "In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God" (4:6); and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (4:13). "I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14). "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our
  6. 6. lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Phil. 3:20-21). "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7) And finally that verse that is worth a book alone, 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 11. There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people, but this church of Philippi comes closest to being the perfect church of any that we know of in the New Testament. The key to its being so, we will clearly see, is the fact that love and joy was the atmosphere in which they served and worshiped. An unknown author wrote, I think that I shall never see A Church that's all it ought to be. A Church that has no empty pews, Whose Pastor never has the blues. A Church whose Deacons always Deke; And none is proud but all are meek; Where gossips never peddle lies; Or make complaints or criticize; Where all are always sweet and kind; And all to other's faults are blind. Such perfect churches there may be, But none of them are known to me. But still we'll work, and pray and plan, To make our Church the best we can! 12. Most commentators see joy as the key theme of this letter, but there are some who argue that the theme of unity is even stronger. Their conviction is based on the following evidence. "Paul gives us the motives for unity in 2:1 -If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, He gives us the characteristics of unity and how to maintain this unity in 2:2-4 -"Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, <being> of one accord, of one mind. <Let> nothing <be done> through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. He then gives us the ultimate example of perfect humility, the main means of maintaining this unity, in the Person of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ in 2:5-8
  7. 7. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." We can summarize the theme by the following: Every believer is to desire and strive for unity in the body of Christ, in every area of life, which is attained and maintained by true humility, motivated by the absolute certainty of salvation based on the imputed righteousness of Christ according to God's promise. If Christ could so humble Himself and suffer for the good of the church, surely we who have been redeemed should put aside our selfishness and do likewise following the example of our Lord and Savior." 1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: A. Paul 1. Paul was once a persecutor, and now he is a persecuted one, for he is now one of those he persecuted, and is now in prison suffering the loss of his freedom. The very thing he was doing to others as he went about getting other Christians thrown in prison as we read in Acts 8:3. But he still has a pen, and by the grace of God he is allowed to use it and write this letter that has changed more lives than anyone can know but God himself. This treasured letter comes to us from a prison where God used Paul to teach more people and churches the will of God than any free man has ever done. God is using one of his greatest enemies to be his greatest resource to get his Word into all the world. It is one of the great paradoxes of history that God so often uses the least likely people to do the most amazing things. God does the unusual, and because he does we ought never give up on anyone as being a potential blessing to the world, or at least to a part of it. 2. No community would be so foolish as to hire a former pyromaniac to be the new fire chief. No responsible bank would hire a former bank robber to be the president of the bank. No board would choose to be disgraced by hiring a high school drop out to be the educational director of a college. Nobody wants to take a proven failure and put them is a place of important responsibility. Nobody that is, but God. God chose Paul, who was a violent enemy of his people to be a key leader and teacher of his people. The man who hated Christ and all he stood for was chosen by God to be the Apostle of love and peace. Keep Paul in mind when you decide to write somebody off as not worth your time to pray for them.
  8. 8. 3. Greg Herrick, "I remember when I was in college in the early 1980’s. It was a constant refrain, like the monotonous clank of water dripping off an icicle onto a piece of metal flashing, that people would complain about their courses. I remember their grumbling: “Why do I have to study that…I’ll never use it.” But when God calls us to a particular task like studying in university, he calls us to all that that entails—unless of course something is obviously immoral or otherwise. When God called Paul to be a primary spokesman for Christianity in a Gentile context, his background and connections to a pagan city (Tarsus) as well as his Jewish training all came into play. He undoubtedly understood Gentile thinking and had recourse, in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, to use the interpretive skills he had honed during those long and arduous hours with his mentor—when he was not a Christian. God wastes nothing. He uses it all for his purposes. Remember that God refers to Paul as his “chosen” instrument indicating in the least that He had uniquely qualified him for his apostolic role of preaching to Jews and Gentiles. For those of you who feel that you are required, for whatever reason, to do things that just don’t seem to be of any value, just remember that God will use it all to his glory." "By the time he was imprisoned in Rome in 60-62 AD and wrote this letter to the Philippians he was about 60 years old—and still going strong!!!" 4. God respects diversity in human personality. Most of the great people that God has used to change the course of history have been unique people with great diversity of personality. It is variety and difference that makes it possible to appeal to a world of diversity. Your uniqueness and differences, weird as they might be, make you an instrument that can touch lives that Billy Graham and other well-known servants of God may never reach. Your experience, good and bad, make you a unique tool for God to use. 5. Paul does not call himself an Apostle in this letter, and that is probably because he was well known and accepted as such by this church. They are not questing his authority as some churches did, and so he has no need to defend it. He just makes himself a servant on the same level with Timothy and other servants. B. Paul and Timothy 1. These two are a partnership of generations. Here is an older and a younger man united in their dedication to serve Christ. There is no generation gap because they are one in their primary purpose. Age differences produce no gap when there is a common loyalty to Christ. A common cause unites all ages. In the secular world we see Bat Man and Robin united as one, even though of different generations, because of their common dedication to fight crime. The disciple that Jesus loved the most was the youngest. John was likely just a teenager of 19 or in his early twenties, and so a generation younger than Jesus. Elijah before he was taken to heaven worked with Elisha; Moses had the young Joshua ready to take over when he died. King David was just a boy when old Samuel anointed him and they became friends until
  9. 9. Samuel died. Naomi had her Ruth to guide, and led her to become a part of the bloodline to the Messiah. Intergenerational relationships are logical for there has to be someone to come after and take over, and so the older teach the younger to prepare them for leadership. 2. Inter-generational programs are becoming very successful in schools. We tend to want to work with those of our own age, but it is more profitable for the future to train those who are younger and will be useful for longer. If you watched the Olympics you noticed that all of the athletes were young, but all of the trainers were old in comparison, and some were quite old. There is good reason for this, for only those who have made all the mistakes can tell you how to avoid them, or at least try to avoid them. So it is wise for the old to have a younger person to train, and wise for the young to have an older person to learn from. The Paul and Timothy relationship is the key to the future in every field of endeavor. 2B. David Legge sees the relationship of Paul the older, and Timothy the younger, as a message to the church to make sure both young and old have their needs met in the church. He wrote, "As Jowett, the great preacher, said: 'It is the union of springtime and autumn, of enthusiasm and of experience, of impulse and of wisdom, of tender hope and quiet rich assurance'" 3. Paul and Timothy were totally different in the way they came into the Kingdom of God. Paul was a total skeptic who hated Christians and did all he could to stamp out the foolishness of the cross, and of Jesus being the Messiah. He had to be converted by the direct hand of Christ reaching down and blinding him, and throwing him to the ground. He had to be lassoed like a wild stallion and dragged to the corral. Timothy, on the other hand, grew up with a godly mother and grandmother who taught him to love God and believe in Jesus from an early age. He was like a lamb gently ushered into the barn. Christians usually fall into one pattern or the other. They live a life outside the will of God and have a radical conversion, or they grow up always knowing and loving God, and their conversion is gentle and not radical, for they never strayed far from the will of God as others did. 4. Paul never had children and so he adopted Timothy, and considered him like a son. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy that became a part of the New Testament, and nobody else of all his friends and partners in the ministry received such an honor. He was so precious to Paul that out of the 13 letters he wrote in the New Testament, ten of them include Timothy as his partner. Timothy was his right hand man, his partner, and a son. He was the one Paul most loved and trusted. Timothy was the apostle of the Apostle Paul. An Apostle is one sent, and Paul was always sending Timothy on some mission. Jesus sent Paul and Paul sent Timothy. Paul could not have done all he did without the help and support of this good friend and fellow servant. Look at all the times he sent him on a mission to the churches. 1 Corinthians 4:17For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
  10. 10. Acts 19:22He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer. 1 Corinthians 16:10If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 1 Thessalonians 3:2We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker[ 3:2 Some manuscripts brother and fellow worker; other manuscripts brother and God's servant] in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 1 Thessalonians 3:5For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. 1 Thessalonians 3:6But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Philippians 2:19-24 "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 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. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon." 5. Paul longed to get news, and Timothy was his delivery boy. Paul could not be everywhere, and especially when he was in prison. He needed a messenger, and Timothy was his man. In a day before telegraph, telephone, pony express, or any other swift means of communication you needed a person who was willing to travel from place to place to get information. It was a hard and thankless job, and we seldom think of how great a role Timothy played in the founding of early Christianity. The fact is, great men like Paul who accomplish great things in life desperately need partners like timothy to achieve their greatness. Paul was wise enough to know he needed a faithful partner like Timothy. He loved him like a son because he was like a son in his faithful love and service to Paul. We always say Paul’s letter to the Philippians, but we need to be reminded that Paul said Paul and Timothy to the Philippians, and to other churches as well. Paul put his young partner on the same level with himself, even though we tend to ignore him. We need to pay attention to what Paul says of Timothy and acknowledge his role in all Paul did for the kingdom of God. The name Timothy means literally honoring God, and God honors him by making him a partner with the most honored writer of Biblical letters. 6. Geoff Thomas has this excellent paragraph on just how important the service Timothy provided to Paul was appreciated by Paul. “The apostle was no stoic, locked up in his prison cell impervious to what happened from day to day, as impassive as the stones of his dungeon. Not at all. Paul was a man of Christian affections. Why did he want Timothy to go to Philippi? He wanted the latest news about the church there: "that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you"
  11. 11. (v.19). How was Lydia doing? How was the jailer and his family progressing in the faith? Were Euodia and Syntyche reconciled? Had Epaphroditus arrived safely? Had they got this letter and what had they made of it? Paul, like all of us, loved to be encouraged with good news of the kingdom of God spreading, and churches knowing the Lord's blessing. The one certain way he would get accurate information was through Timothy reporting to him of everything he saw there. Paul longed to know what the latest news was from Philippi. He was no stoic.” 7. Greg Herrick, "We originally asked the question of why Paul included Timothy with himself under the title “servants of Christ Jesus.” This seems evident now. The term “servant” conveys not the sense found in its Jewish background concerning one’s authority and special place in a task commanded by God, but its Greco- Roman sense of humble servitude. The latter is much more in keeping with the letter’s theme of humility (cf. 2:1-11). Paul’s inclusion of Timothy beside himself in the introduction, then, is to provide a model for the Philippians of true Christian humility, that even though he was a great apostle and invested with authority directly from the Lord, he was first and foremost a servant of Christ Jesus, just like any other Christian, including Timothy (Phil 4:9). Both of them worked shoulder-to- shoulder for the Philippians and Paul regarded his relationship to Timothy as equal under the Lord.14 Many pastors and Christian leaders intent on building their own kingdom could take a lesson from Paul and Timothy here. So also the rest of us. As someone once said, “We’re just a bunch of nobody’s running around trying to exalt a somebody!” We would do well to balance our agendas with such a thought." C. Servants of Christ Jesus 1. Paul and Timothy were in the same boat together, and they were servants of Christ Jesus. It can be an interesting question to discuss in a small group as you share personal experiences about working together with a person of a quite radical difference in age. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PARNERSHIP WITH SOMEONE RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM YOU? I once was partner with a young man who was close to 40 years younger than I was. We worked together selling grave sites, caskets and funerals, and it was one of the most profitable times of my life in terms of income and fun in work. We worked together only for a year and a half, but it plays a key part in my memory. I have also had a negative experience where working with someone much younger did not produce good memories, and so it is not as if it is a sure thing. It is just possible, and we should never dismiss an opportunity just because of age difference.
  12. 12. 2. We stress small groups because they are the key to church growth and maturity in Christ, but the fact is the smallest of the small groups is two, and because of the increased intimacy and oneness that can be achieved it is the most powerful of all. Having a strong relationship with one other Christian who has the same motivation as you, whatever the age, is the most exciting way to serve Christ and His kingdom. This should be one of the goals of the small group-to help members to link to one other person who they can have a common bond with. This should always be, of course, with a partner of the same sex. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two, for everyone works with greater effectiveness with the encouragement of another partner. There are few to none of lone rangers without their Tonto in Christian service. 3. The highest calling in the universe is to be a servant of Christ. The word is actually bond slave. When you accept Jesus as Lord you enter into slavery, for if He is truly Lord, then obedience to Him becomes your purpose in life. Jesus is not a cruel slave master, however. He only expects us to do what He has gifted us to do. The Greek word Paul uses is doulos, and Wuest in his Word Studies from the Greek New Testament says this is what Paul is saying by using that word: "I am a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely sold out to His will. I am willing to do whatever He tells me to do. I am willing to say whatever He tells me to say. I am willing to go wherever He leads me. I am a man who has made a choice. I am going to serve Him for all eternity. The apostle is proud of the fact that he is a slave belonging to his Lord. There were certain individuals in the Roman empire designated “Slaves of the Emperor.” This was a position of honor. One finds a reflection of this in Paul’s act of designating himself as a slave of the King of kings. He puts this ahead of his apostleship." 3B. Dwight Edwards has a note of importance here. "Churches out of balance usually have one of these truths missing. The legalistic church is settled into a master --> slave relationship only. The libertine church is settled into a father (overly indulgent) --> son relationship. The balanced church sees both sides of the coin." What he is saying, if I can interpret him correctly, is that we tend to limit our view of our relationship to God in such a way that we do not get the full impact of who we are as children of God. We either have too much responsibility, or we have too much liberty, and either way this robs us of the total package of what God wants us to be. Some let the slave image make Christian service a burden and obligation. Some let the son image lead them to be carefree and indifferent as if they have no obligation to serve. Happy is the believer who is both liberated and obligated, so that there is balance that leads to both joy and service. 4. In Dt 15:12-17 we have an illustration of what kind of slave the Christian is to be. "If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. And when you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I
  13. 13. command you this today. And it shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And also you shall do likewise to your maidservant." Here is a slave who loves it so much that he makes a commitment to be a slave for the rest of his or her life. It is pure pleasure to be a slave of Christ, for he is the most gracious master known to man. Jesus sets us free, and we choose to use our freedom to submit to him as Lord, and be his slave for life. It is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life that we are free in Christ, and also in bondage to Christ as his slaves. 4B. Harry Ironside wrote that Paul..."does not mean however that his was a service of bondage. Rather he served in the whole-hearted obedience of one who realized that he had been "bought with a price," even the precious blood of Christ. There is a story told of an African slave whose master was about to slay him with a spear when a chivalrous British traveler thrust out his arm to ward off the blow, and it was pierced by the cruel weapon. As the blood spurted out he demanded the person of the slave, saying he had bought him by his suffering. To this the former master ruefully agreed. As the latter walked away, the slave threw himself at the feet of his deliverer exclaiming, "The blood-bought is now the slave of the son of pity. He will serve him faithfully." And he insisted on accompanying his generous deliverer, and took delight in waiting upon him in every possible way. Thus had Paul, thus has each redeemed one, become the bondman of Jesus Christ. We have been set free to serve." 5. “Paul identifies himself and Timothy, not as apostles (as he does in other epistles, in which he emphasizes his authority to write to the recipients of his letters), but as "servants of Christ Jesus." Of the two titles--servant and apostle--servant is by far the more important one. Indeed, one cannot be an apostle of Christ without being a servant of Christ. The word translated "servant" here could also be translated "slave". This would be an appropriate translation, for (as Paul says elsewhere), we were "bought at a price", we are not our own (see I Cor. 6:19-20). We have all been purchased by Christ, we belong to a loving Master, whom we should gladly serve and be proud to be called His slave. He is the only master who promises his slaves they will share his throne. He is the only master who exalts his slaves to be kings and priests in his kingdom. It is an honor and privilege to be a slave of such a Master." 6. Paul was a scholar and Timothy was a student. Paul had experienced the best education of his day and was well acquainted with the Greek and Roman world as well as the Jewish world. He studied the law under the distinguished rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem (Acts 5:34). He became a master of the Jewish law, but we know that he also studied widely in the secular world. The bottom line is, little or nothing is going to get done in this world, in either the secular or sacred realm, without servants who serve other servants who are serving the greatest Servant of all-the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no minor role to be a servant of servants, for every person in the body of Christ has some role to play in the healthy function of the body. Do not minimize any servant or service in the kingdom of God, for the Timothy’s of the kingdom are just as vital as the Paul’s of the kingdom. We know
  14. 14. that Paul knew the secular Greek literature of his day, for he quotes pagan poets three times in his letters. He quotes Aratus in Acts 17:28, Menander in I Cor. 15:33, and Epimenides in Titus 1:12. Paul was a brilliant scholar and Timothy was a mere student far inferior to Paul in his gifts. But Paul needed a partner like Timothy, for all the brains in the world will not enable you to know what is going on without a messenger to go and get the news, and deliver it back to you. Paul was the slave of Christ, and Timothy was the slave of Christ and Paul. Christ needs servants to carry out his will, and those who do also need servants. To be a servant is to be lined with the great, for here is a brief list of those who are called servants of God. Moses (Dt 34:5 Ps 105:26 Mal 4:4) Joshua (Josh 24:29) David (2Sa 3:18 Ps 78:70) Paul (Ro 1:1; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1) Peter (2Pe 1:1) James (Ja 1:1) Jude (Jude 1:1 ) Prophets (Amos 3:7; Jer 7:25). D. To all the saints in Christ Jesus 1. Paul says we are servants, and you are saints. It is the humble writing to the exalted, but both are on the highest level, for to be a servant is also to be a saint. A saint is one who is set apart for the service of God. A saint is a holy one, and like all things holy, it means they are separated from mere secular uses to be used in the service of God. All the utensils set apart from secular use to be used in the temple were called holy. A pan used to collect blood from the sacrifice was the same kind of pan used by the butcher in his shop, but because it was used in the temple in the service of God, it was called holy. Believers are called holy, or saints, because even though they are just like all other people, they have a special role in being servants of God. They are separated from those who only have a secular purpose in life, to have a sacred purpose of doing the will of God. They have a higher calling and purpose than people who do not know Jesus as their Savior. 2. When the church started setting certain great examples of dedicated Christians up as saints, it killed the Biblical meaning of the term, so that now it is a term that is no longer used to designate all believers. Now you have to have a miracle or two authenticated to even be considered for sainthood, and also be dead for 50 years. That cuts the use of the term used for all Christians in the New Testament down from 100 per cent to less than one millionth of a percent. The result is we no longer
  15. 15. call each other saints. The meaning, however, is to be applied today, and that means all believers are to be seen as having a spiritual purpose in life that separates them from the secular world. They are in the world but not of the world, and the world means all that operates with no thought of God. It is totally secular and godless in its perspective. John writes of this world, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever" (1 John 2:15-17). The worldly person has only one dimension in life, and it is secular. The saint has his secular life, but also has a sacred side to his or her life that includes God and his will, and this is to radically effect and modify his secular life. 3. What makes the saint different from the world is that they are not just in the world, but they are in Christ Jesus, and when one is in Christ Jesus, Christ Jesus is in them, and this separates them from the world. Christ Jesus is a way of saying that our Lord is both God and man, for as Christ he is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, and as Jesus he is God incarnated in a man. He is fully God and fully man as Christ Jesus. He is the only one who can be the mediator between God and man, for he alone is both God and man. To be in him is to be in a dimension that is not available anywhere else in the universe. Vine points out an interesting distinction between calling Jesus Christ Jesus rather than Jesus Christ. He wrote, "Christ Jesus" describes the Exalted One who emptied Himself (2:5), and testifies to His preexistence; "Jesus Christ" describes the despised and rejected One who was afterwards glorified (2:11), and testifies to His resurrection. "Christ Jesus" suggests His grace, "Jesus Christ" suggests His glory." 4. Kenneth Wuest writes that..."The believer in the Lord Jesus is set apart for God by the Holy Spirit, out of the First Adam with the latter’s sin and condemnation, into the Last Adam (Christ) with the latter’s righteousness and life. Thus, the worshipper of the God of the Bible partakes of the character of the God for Whom he is set apart. This is positional sanctification, an act of God performed at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus (1Co1:2). The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life, is called progressive sanctification (1Th5:23). When our Lord sanctifies Himself, He sets Himself apart for God as the Sacrifice for sin (Jn17:19 Heb10:7)." The idea inherent in hagios is the taking something filthy, washing it and setting it apart as something brand new, useful for a different purpose, which is a picture of salvation for we who were filthy with sin were washed in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and set apart to now be God's own possession." 5. MacArthur notes that "A Buddhist does not speak of himself as in Buddha, nor does a Muslim speak of himself as in Mohammed. A Christian Scientist is not in Mary Baker Eddy or a Mormon in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. They may faithfully follow the teaching and example of those religious leaders, but they are
  16. 16. not in them. Only Christians can claim to be in their Lord, because they have been made spiritually one with Him (cf. Ro 6:1–11). William Barclay adds "that when Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ." 6. The bottom line is that the saint is one who belongs to God. God bought him and her through the shed blood of his Son, and they are now separated from the world as a distinct people belonging to God. They are his people who are chosen and called to be his servants in the world to reach other sinners so they too can be rescued from the world and brought into Christ where they too are set free to become his slaves. Someone said, "A saint is like a boat -- the boat's purpose is fulfilled when it is in the water, but it's function and usefulness deteriorates when water gets in the boat. So too for saints when too much of the world gets into them. Saints must keep their "vessels" in the water of this world but not let the water of the world get into their "vessel"! 7. We know these saints were very different. Some were like Lydia, and others like the Philippian jailer, and they were miles apart in their backgrounds, and so like every church there would be tensions among the saints. This church had less of that than many others, but it in inevitable to some degree among all saints, because we all love it when people conform to our way of thinking and doing. Leslie Flynn wrote a book called 'Great Church Fights' He penned this verse: 'Believe as I believe, no more, no less, That I am right and no-one else, confess. Feel as I feel, think as I think, Eat as I eat, and drink as I drink. Look as I look, do as I do, Then I'll have fellowship with you'. There was some of this even in this most positive church in the New Testament, where joy was the key theme of Paul's letter. We need to be aware of our self-centeredness to be able to counteract it with the spirit of Paul in this letter. 8. David Buffalo wrote, "Who were the Philippian believers? They were, quite simply, a breath of fresh air for the Apostle Paul. These were believers who understood the objective of the Christian life. These believers didn't just say they were Christian, they lived like CHRISTians. They knew that one day they would receive a glorified body like Christ's, so they concentrated on growing more like Christ through study of and submission to the Spirit, and the Word of God daily. Unlike many of their contemporaries (and, sadly, like many who profess Christ today) they avoided entertainment and shallow living, while paying attention to the needs of others in the Church. The Philippian approach to good, clean, honest Christianity shows in how the
  17. 17. Apostle Paul expresses himself to them. Unlike other epistles, Paul did not open the letter by stressing his apostolic authority. These dear believers accepted Paul as Christ's representative - he had no need to beat them over the head to get their attention. Whereas other Pauline letters address problem areas in the local church, the epistle to the Philippians renders praise, encouragement, and teaches deep doctrines concerning Christ and His mission. I daresay that the Christology (the studies of Christ) found in Philippians are more concentrated and more in depth than is found in any other singular book of Scripture. This is because these believers had moved out of spiritual babyhood and into the deeper Christian walk. As the writer of Hebrews states: Hebrews 5:14 (KJV) "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Those who dodder along in their Christian walk, constantly surrendering to sin, can not progress to the strong meat of doctrine. Just as the strong adult refuses pabulum for meat, the strong Christian is able to search out the deeper things of God. The Philippians were strong believers, dedicated to Christ." 9. Bruce Goettsche wrote, "Notice also that we are "saints in Jesus Christ". Twice in two verses we have seen this phrase "in Christ". In fact references to Christ occur 19 times in this first chapter alone! Paul saw Himself as a servant of Christ who lived "in Christ" for the purpose of glorifying Christ." I wrote this little poem for children many years back, and it still speaks to me about how we are in Christ, and he in us. Like a bird in the air, Like a fish in the sea, I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. Like the moo in a cow, Like the buzz in a bee, I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. Just like yeast in the bread, Like a spoon in the tea, I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. Just like sand in the box, Like a swing in the tree, I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. Just like blood in the veins, Like water in the knee,
  18. 18. I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. Because I love Jesus All God's people agree, I am in Christ, And Christ is in me. 10. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson wrote, "Have you ever been uncomfortable to be referred to as a "saint"? This word isn't referring to your perfection -- as in, "I'm no saint!" -- but referring to who owns you. Let me explain. "Saints" is the Greek adjective hagios. As an adjective it pertains to "being dedicated or consecrated to the service of God." Here it refers to believers as "the holy ones, saints," as consecrated to God. When we are "saved," when Christ's Spirit comes into our lives, we become holy. No, not perfect or perfected, but dedicated, set apart to the service of God. We are now his sacred property and off limits to profane use. Paul reminds the Corinthians: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) You can't make yourself holy by doing good deeds. You are made holy by being purchased by God at the cost of Christ's blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9). It is because you are now holy, separated to God, dedicated, "sainted," that you now want to clean up your act. Salvation and sanctification are both God's work in us. So settle it in your heart, you are a "saint," no matter how rough-hewn your spiritual life seems to be right now. You belong to God. Period. When you think about it, being a "slave of Christ Jesus" and being a "saint" of God are pretty much the same thing, just looking at different aspects of belonging "lock, stock, and barrel" to God!" 10B. Blakely wrote,"By way of comparison, we read of “saints” sixty times in Acts through Revelation. The word “Christian,” in all of its forms, is mentioned three times in the entire Bible (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet 4:16). It is interesting that even the name “Christian” (“of Christ”) has become divisive, like it did at Corinth (1 Cor 1:12). God’s people are to be recognized by their true distinction–what God Almighty has made of them! 11. This ideal is hard to live up to, and if we are honest, we must admit that we live a great deal of our life without the awareness of Christ, or of being in Christ. Philip Yancey was honest, and he wrote, "An accumulation of distractions -- a malfunctioning computer, bills to pay, an upcoming trip, a friend's wedding, the general busyness of life -- gradually edges God away from the center of my life. Some days I meet people, eat, work, make decisions, all without giving God a single thought." "The task then is to remind ourselves every moment that we are children of the King. How do we do this? A. every once in a while address your friends as "saint" B. wherever you are remind yourself that you serve a higher purpose. When you
  19. 19. are screaming at a game or upset at a check-out lane, or frustrated on the phone . . . remind yourself that you represent Jesus. C. when life gets hectic make it a point to find a quiet corner periodically to stop and make contact with the Master. D. Ask God to give you His perspective on: other people, circumstances, things we crave, our time, our money, our hopes. E. When you feel down, cast aside, insignificant, remind yourself that you are specially chosen. . . you belong to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords . . . you are a saint . . given the privilege of serving God." 12. Roger Fredricksen, a well-known pastor in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wrote a book titled God Loves The Dandelions. In it he tells of how he and his wife Ruth were at a small cabin on the lake in Minnesota. They had just finished reading the book of Philippians with all its powerful statements on being able to do all things through Christ, and to have the peace of God which passes understanding. Roger cracked opened his boiled egg to enjoy his breakfast, and it came out watery and raw. He was irritated, for he has a built in prejudice against half-boiled eggs. He could not, for the life of him, understand why Ruth could not watch the time when it comes to boiling eggs. He had just thanked God for the food, and so he tried to be consistent and not gripe. He scooped away the uncooked part, and tried to make the best of it. But he was peeved, and then he was angered at himself for being so peeved over a bit of egg. He left the table in silence, and he went off to write about new life in the church. It was so hypocritical, for here he was all bent out of shape over an egg. It was so petty it was pathetic. He got up and went back to the kitchen where he blurted out, "Ruth, the egg got to me. I don't understand myself. It's a beautiful glorious day, and I'm hung up on an egg. Will you forgive me?" Together they had a good laugh, and they went on to have a good day. 12B. A saint is not a person who never gets disturbed over trifles, but one who, when disturbed, confesses, and seeks for a Christ honoring solution to his or her weakness. The Christian does not differ from the world so much in what life brings to them. They differ in what they bring to life. The Christian faces the same trials and temptations, and frustrations as anyone else, but they are to deal with them with a transformed mind, that looks for a way of escape from evil, and a way to overcome evil with good. The saint is not a figure with a halo, as portrayed in stained glass windows, but just an ordinary human being who recognizes he or she is chosen by God to be different and how they respond to life's pressures. Not all saints are equal, of course, and some do a much better job than others. There are only saints in Christ, and all the world is divided into those who are saints and those who are not. Christians will often say they are not saints, and they mean by this that they are far from perfect, but the fact is, if you are in Christ, you are a saint. You might be a weak saint, or fallen saint, or a baby saint, but you are a saint. If you are not a saint, you are not a Christian, for all Christians are saints. A saint is not determined by what they are, but by where they are. If they are in Christ, that is
  20. 20. the bottom line. The degree of holiness varies tremendously, but all who are in Christ are equally saints. They may not be equally saintly, but they are all saints. There is no term for half-saints, or quarter saints, or any other percentage. A saint is a saint, just as an American is an American. An American can be one who loves his country, or one indifferent to his country, and even one who is hostile to his country, but all are equally Americans. Likewise, all saints are equally saints, but they may not be equally like Christ at all. Paul thought of the Philippian saints as the cream of the crop, and so we can learn much about being a saint by examining what kind of Christians these Philippians were. The outstanding characteristic of these people was their joyful spirit. The idea that a saint is one who is sad and somber has no basis in the New Testament. The best saints are those who are delighted with life and the chance to enjoy all that God has made possible. Paul is so full of joy over these Christians because they add joy to his life and joy to the world. They are fun people to love and serve because they show their appreciation with a joyful response. 13. "Paul addresses the letter to the "Saints," and then to the local ministers. Many believe that ministers are the important ones in any Church. That is not what God says. According to the Bible, ministers are the servants of the Saints. To be sure, ministers are also Saints. However, in the kingdom of God, Saint is the most lofty title available. When addressing a group of people, protocol dictates that the most important person in the group be addressed first. That is the “protocol pecking order." Paul is following protocol. He addresses the Saints first, and then headdresses the servants of the Saints, the bishops and deacons.4How important are titles to God? They are so important that neither, nor any of the writers of the New Testament ever again addresses a letter to Church leaders using their titles. In that, Philippians is unique." Author unknown E. At Philippi 1. They are in Christ, but they are at Philippi. You can only be at Philippi as a specific location, but you can be in Christ in any location. In Christ covers everywhere, but at Philippi is a very limited and specific place. Paul could not be at Rome and at Philippi at the same time, but he could be in Christ with the Philippians at the same time. In Christ is universal and unlimited, but at Philippi is very local and limited. It is possible to be in two places at the same time, for these saints were in Christ and in Philippi. They have two addresses, with one being heavenly, and the other earthly. David Legge says that Philippi was the sphere of their life, and Christ was the source of their life. Paul is in prison, but he is still in Christ, and so no matter how the sphere of his life changes, the source of his life is the same. 2. Paul had been at Philippi by the leading of the Holy Spirit as we read in Acts 16. He there led a business women to belief in Christ, and she opened up her home to
  21. 21. become the first church site in that part of the world. Paul cast a demon out of a fortune teller there and ended up thrown into prison along with Silas. They were singing in spite of their misfortune, and an earthquake sprung the doors and they were free. The jailor almost committee suicide because of their escape, but Paul persuaded him to live, and better yet persuades him to live forever by receiving Jesus as his Savior. Paul saw God do great wonders in this town of Philippi, and he had precious memories of the place, and its people. 3. A. T. Robertson notes that Philippi was..."a colony [kolonia Acts 16:12] with all the privileges of Roman citizenship, such as freedom from scourging, freedom from arrest save in extreme cases, and the right of appeal to the emperor. This Latin word occurs here alone in the NT. Octavius planted here a colony of Roman veterans with farms attached, a military outpost and a miniature of Rome itself. The language was Latin. Here Paul is face to face with the Roman power and empire in a new sense. He was a new Alexander, come from Asia to conquer Europe for Christ, a new Caesar to build the Kingdom of Christ on the work of Alexander and Caesar. One need not think that Paul was conscious of all that was involved in destiny for the world. Philippi was on the Egnatian Way, one of the great Roman roads, that ran from here to Dyrrachium on the shores of the Adriatic, a road that linked the east with the west." 4. Rienecker "To summarize, Philippi was a strategic center from which Paul could begin his evangelization of Europe. It was not not in a center of Greek culture like Athens nor in a commercial center like Corinth, but a Roman city, that would facilitate penetration of the Roman world (Rome of course being the world power at that time). Philippi lay in a wide and fertile plain marked by a multitude of springs and rivers that flowed through it making the land very productive. The surrounding area had been a center of gold and silver mining for centuries, and King Philip revived the industry so the city became prosperous. Philippi was situated at the base of a cut through the mountains that divided the East from the West, and thus it became the center of the trade route between Europe and the Middle East and was a hub of industry and commerce. In the providence of God, Paul was directed to this city which was ideal city for the first church in Europe." 5. John MacArthur wrote, "The saints to whom Paul wrote lived in Philippi. Paul S. Rees wrote, "For continuity across the centuries, such is Rome's distinction. For architectural glory and lavish elegance: such was Babylon's bid for 'immortality. ' For cultural brilliance: such was Athens claim upon the world's remembrance. For a distinctive quality in its citizens: such is the persistent fame of Sparta. For an extraordinary tradition of religious faith and devotion: such is the deathless repute in which Jerusalem is held. But in ancient Macedonia, not far from the western shoreline of the Aegean Sea once stood a city that lives on in human memory for none of those reasons" (The Adequate Man: Paul in Philippians [Westwood, N. J. : Revell, 1959], p. 11). The apostle Paul's letter is the reason the name of Philippi lives on."
  22. 22. F. Together with the overseers 1. The overseers were called bishops and elders, and they included the pastor and his board who were in charge of the business of the church. Today we would say the pastor and his leaders. This first group of leaders were responsible for the spiritual welfare of the church. They were to teach truth and make sure the people did not fall away to false doctrine, but stay loyal to the Lord. The deacons were more in charge with the physical well being of the church. They took care of the finances, the physical upkeep of the church, and the care of the poor. There are two dimensions of the church, and they are the secular and the sacred. Because the church is dedicated to the service of God, however, the secular is still sacred, for it is all for the glory of God. The overseers were to see that the saints were fed spiritually, and the deacons were to see that they were fed physically. One specialized in soul care, and the other in body care. 1B. Coffman writes, " "It is a fact now recognized by theologians of all shades of opinion that in the New Testament the same officer in the church is indifferently called bishop (overseer) or presbyter (elder) ... the one a term of dignity, the other of age." F7 There are six (perhaps seven) New Testament synonyms for the title that belonged to the New Testament office. They are: Bishop (translated "overseer"). Presbyter (translated "elder"). Pastor (translated "shepherd"). Steward (Titus 1:7). As for the reason why Paul elected to mention these congregational officers in this letter, it was probably connected with the gift of money which he had received from that church, a gift which, in all probability, was suggested, administered and dispatched by the elders and deacons, thus making it very appropriate that they would have been greeted in this salutation." 2. Barclay writes of these overseers, "Episkopos is, therefore, a many-sided but always a noble word. It means the protector of public safety; the guardian of honor and honesty; the overseer of right education and of public morals; the administrator of public law and order. So, then, to call God the episkopos of our souls is to call him our Guardian, our Protector, our Guide, and our Director." Barclay goes on to state that "The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, uses it to describe those who were the taskmasters, who were over the public works and public building schemes (ı2Chr34:17ı). The Greeks use it to describe the men appointed to go out from the mother city to regulate the affairs of a newly founded
  23. 23. colony in some distant place. They use it to describe what we might call commissioners appointed to regulate the affairs of a city. The Romans use it to describe the magistrates appointed to oversee the sale of food within the city of Rome. It is used of the special delegates appointed by a king to see that the laws he had laid down were carried out. Episkopos always implies two things; first, oversight over some area or sphere of work and second, responsibility to some higher power and authority." (Barclay, William: New Testament Words:. Westminster John Know Press, 1964) 3. George Liddell describes what the character of these men should be like if they are ideal overseers: Give me a man of God—one man, Whose faith is master of his mind, And I will right all wrongs And bless the name of all mankind. Give me a man of God—one man, Whose tongue is touched with heaven’s fire, And I will flame the darkest hearts With high resolve and clean desire. Give me a man of God—one man, One mighty prophet of the Lord, And I will give you peace on earth, Bought with a prayer and not a sword. Give me a man of God—one man, True to the vision that he sees, And I will build your broken shrines, And bring the nations to their knees G. And deacons. 1. The deacons were primarily involved in receiving and distributing food and other necessities to the poor. Poor people were a major part of the population, and so every church had a ministry to them in helping them survive. As stated above, they were those in charge of the physical needs of the church. 2. Someone wrote, "Paul appears to use "deacons" here to refer to a distinct class of officers in the apostolic church. The origin of this office is recorded Acts 6:1-6. It grew out of a complaint of the Hellenistic or Greco-Jewish members of the Church, that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food and alms. The Palestinian Jews prided themselves on their pure nationality and looked upon the Greek Jews as their inferiors. Seven men were chosen to superintend this matter,
  24. 24. and generally to care for the bodily wants of the poor. Their function was described by the phrase "to serve tables," Acts 6:2, and their appointment left the apostles free to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word." 3. Robertson has an intriguing note that "The etymology (dia, konis) suggests raising a dust by hastening." Diakonos performed menial and mundane activities, such as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity. Since such service necessarily involved dependence, submission, and constraints of time and freedom, the Greeks regarded this function as degrading and dishonorable. Service for the public good was honored, but voluntary giving of oneself in service of one’s fellow man was alien to Greek thought. To the Greeks, the highest goal before a man was the development of his own personality. This thought is strikingly contemporary, and illustrates how a culture that is focused on self-actualization, achieving one's human potential and self-fulfillment will find little value in servant hood." 4. Intervarsity Commentary, "The most striking feature of this salutation is the addition of the phrase with the overseers and deacons. Surprisingly, this is the first designation of its kind in Paul's letters; even more surprisingly, after being thus singled out in the address, they are not hereafter mentioned or spoken to. As with the salutation itself, the letter in its entirety is always addressed to the whole community. Our difficulty from this distance is to determine who these people are and how they functioned in the community of faith. Nonetheless, some things seem clear enough. First, exactly as one finds in the earliest (1 Thessalonians) and later (1 Timothy) letters, both references are plural. No evidence exists for a single leader as the head of the local assembly in the Pauline churches. The most probable reason for this relates to the role Paul himself played in his churches. Although he was not regularly present with them, they were his churches and owed their existence and obedience to him (cf. Phil 2:12). Second, the language used for this addition, together with or "along with," is a sure giveaway as to the role of leaders in the Pauline churches. The community as a whole is addressed, and in most cases therefore the overseers and deacons are simply reckoned as being within the community. When they are singled out, as here, the leaders are not "over" the church but are addressed along with the rest, as a distinguishable part but clearly as part of the whole, not above or outside it. Third, like all Paul's designations of church leaders, these terms first of all refer to people who function in these ways rather than hold an office. The noun overseer derives from a verb whose primary meaning is to "visit" in the sense of "looking after" or "caring for" someone. The people who bore this designation probably held the primary leadership roles in the local church and were responsible for caring for the people. 5. The word deacon, which means "servant," is most commonly used by Paul to
  25. 25. designate those who serve others (Christ, Rom 15:8; government officials, Rom 13:4; Paul himself, 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6; his coworkers, Col 1:7; 1 Thess 3:2). From our distance it is nearly impossible to know either what their function was or how they differed from the overseers. If the latter most likely gave general oversight to the congregation, deacons probably were distinguished by their actual deeds of service. Why only in this letter are the overseers and deacons singled out in the salutation? The most likely clue is to be found in 4:2-3, where Euodia and Syntyche, who are probably among these leaders, apparently are not in full accord with each other. Thus both the all with which the address begins and the addition of with the overseers and deacons at the end anticipate the problem of friction that has arisen within this community, perhaps within the leadership itself. The Greeting/Blessing (1:2) The greeting proper is a marvelous example of Paul's "turning into gospel" everything he sets his hand to. The traditional greeting in the Hellenistic world was chairein--the infinitive of the verb "to rejoice," but in salutations meaning simply "Greetings!" (see Acts 15:23; Jas 1:1). In Paul's hands this now becomes charis (grace), to which he adds the traditional Jewish greeting shalom (peace, in the sense of "wholeness" or "well-being"). Thus instead of offering the familiar "greetings," Paul salutes his sisters and brothers in Christ with "grace to you--and peace," reminiscent of the form of an ancient Jewish blessing." 6. Preachers are sometimes called deacons, that is servants. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers [diakonoi] by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (1 Cor.3:5). Sometimes the deacons became outstanding preachers of the gospel. “And Stephen [a deacon], full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8). “Then Philip [a deacon] went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5). 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A. GRACE 1. It is of interest that this common greeting is made up of grace, which is a Gentile word in origin, and peace, which is a Jewish word in origin. It is so fitting for this particular church where the first convert was Lydia the Jewish woman, and where the second convert was the Gentile jailer. Paul has a ministry to both Jews and Gentiles, and he uses words that convey that reality. 2. Modern versions make it clear that it is a form of blessing. "I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and
  26. 26. will bless you with peace!" (CEV) "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." (TEV) "May grace and peace be granted to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Weymouth) "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." (NLT). 3. Paul begins and end this letter with grace. The last verse in 4:23 says, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." Grace is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, for grace is the foundation of all the Christian life is about, for if God did not favor mankind with a plan of salvation, there would be nothing of eternal value to write about by Paul or anyone else. The grace of God is where it all begins, and it will be by the grace of God that there will be a happy ending for all who are in Christ. Someone said, "In fact, with the exception of the epistle to Romans, every Pauline letter begins and ends with "grace", thus constantly emphasizing that the Christian life begins with grace, is lived by grace and ends with grace, not by reliance on self or works." Still another said, "Grace and peace, are always found in that order because grace is the foundation and peace is the result. No grace, no peace. Know grace, know peace!" 4. Wuest writes that "grace" In its use among the pagan Greeks referred to a favor done by one Greek to another out of the pure generosity of his heart, and with no hope of reward. When it is used in the New Testament, it refers to that favor which God did at Calvary when He stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of human sin. In the case of the Greek, the favor was done to a friend, never an enemy. In the case of God it was an enemy, the sinner, bitter in his hatred of God, for whom the favor was done. God has no strings tied to the salvation He procured for man at the Cross. Salvation is given the believing sinner out of the pure generosity of God’s heart. The Greek word referred to an action that was beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected, and was therefore commendable. What a description of that which took place at the Cross! The grace spoken of here is sanctifying grace [Ed note: In contrast to "saving grace", "sanctifying grace" is the Spirit of Christ indwelling me and enabling me to overcome sin. I cannot overcome it...it will overcome me if I try. All attempts to defeat the flesh in my own power will fail whether it be doing works or keeping rules or the Law." 5. David Curtis wrote, "To feed a tramp who calls on me is unmerited favor, but it is scarcely grace. Most people define grace as unmerited favor. But suppose that after robbing me, I should feed this starving tramp-- that would be grace. Grace, then, is favor shown where there is positive de-merit in the one receiving it. That is grace." Pastor Curtis makes an important point, for God's grace is not merely favor, but favor shown to those who deserve judgment. It is favor that could never be shown apart from a love that goes beyond natural affection.
  27. 27. 6. Cornelius R. Stam wrote, "It is not merely Paul, but the inspired Word which declares that "the dispensation of the grace of God" was committed to him (Eph. 3:2) and that it was his "ministry... received of the Lord Jesus" to make known "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). this claim was made for none of his predecessors, nor did any of them even mention the dispensation or the gospel of the grace of God so far as the record is concerned. To the believer this evidence should be conclusive that Paul was God's chosen vessel, raised up especially to proclaim the message and program of grace. But to those who hesitate to accept these inspired statements at their face value, we have further important evidence to offer in the fact that no other bible writer—not even all the others put together—have so much to say about grace. The Hebrew equivalent of Paul's word for grace is found only 68 times in the whole Old Testament (which is nearly twelve times the size of Paul's epistles including Hebrews) and then not always relating to God's grace, and never to the dispensation of Grace. In the four Gospels (nearly twice the size of Paul's epistles) the word grace (Gr. charis) with its derivatives appears in the original only 13 times (much less often in the English A.V.) and then rarely in even a doctrinal, much less a dispensational, connection. By comparison, the epistles of Paul, only about one twelfth the size of the Old Testament and one-half the size of the four Gospels, employs the word grace and its derivatives no less than 144 times, more often than all the rest of the Bible together and nearly twice as often as the whole Old Testament and the four Gospels together! And then, in Paul's epistles the word grace is nearly always used doctrinally, in connection with the dispensation of Grace. Every epistle signed by his name opens with a proclamation of grace and peace "from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." In the epistles we find that we are "justified freely by [God's] grace" (Rom. 3:24), that "where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20) that grace might reign (5:21). There we read that we are "not under the law, but under grace" (6:14), that "God is able to make all grace abound" toward us that we may "abound to every good work" (II Cor. 9:8), that it is God's purpose for "the ages to come" to "show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:7). And we could go on and on adding up the evidence that "the dispensation of the grace of God" was indeed committed especially to Paul to make known to us." 7. D.L. Moody, a famous evangelist of a former day, made this statement while preaching: “It is well that man cannot save himself; for if a man could...work his own way to Heaven, you would never hear the last of it. Why, if a man happens to get a little ahead of his fellows and scrapes a few thousand...dollars together, you’ll hear him boast of being a self-made man. I’ve heard so much of this sort of talk that I am sick and tired of the whole business; and I am glad that...in Heaven we will never hear anyone bragging of how he worked his way to get there.”
  28. 28. B. PEACE 1. Jesus made it clear that he wanted his disciples to have peace. He said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27) And again, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) 2. The Greek word is eirene. Someone wrote, "Eirene is the root word for our English "serene" (serenity) which means clear and free of storms or unpleasant change, stresses an unclouded and lofty tranquility. Peace implies health, well-being, and prosperity. Christ Jesus through the blood of His Cross binds together that which was separated by human sin, the sinner who puts his faith in the Lord Jesus, and God. In secular Greek eirene referred to cessation or absence of war. In Adam all men before salvation "were enemies", "alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds" and so were ''at war'' with the Almighty'. Saints now have "been justified by faith" and "have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" because they have "been reconciled" The war between the believer and God is over, and the treaty was written not with pen and ink but with Cross and precious blood, where the Lamb of God paid the price in full (Jn 19:30) so that believers now can be at rest in Christ (cf Heb 4:10). Paul writes later in this letter that the "peace of God… shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus", here referring to the peace that comes from being in unbroken communion or fellowship with God. 3. "The sum total of God's activity toward his human creatures is found in the word grace; God has given himself to His people bountifully and mercifully in Christ. Nothing is deserved, nothing can be achieved. The sum total of those benefits as they are experienced by the recipients of God's grace is peace, God's shalom, both now and in the ages to come. The peace flows out of the grace, and both together flow from God our Father and were made effective in human history through the Lord Jesus Christ. Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations, a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, state of repose in contrast with or following strife or turmoil." 4. Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase,
  29. 29. "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (see note Ro 5:1). Do you have "one heart" with God?" 5. Barclay writes that "..in contemporary colloquial Greek this word eirene had two interesting usages. It was used of the serenity which a county enjoyed under the just and beneficent government of a good emperor; and it was used of the good order of a town or village. Villages had an official who was called the superintendent of the village’s eirene, the keeper of the public peace. Usually in the New Testament eirene stands for the Hebrew shalom and means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good. It is interesting to note that Chara and Eirene both became very common Christian names in the Church." 6. John MacArthur adds that... "If joy speaks of the exhilaration of heart that comes from being right with God, then peace refers to the tranquility of mind that comes from that saving relationship. The verb form has to do with binding together and is reflected in the modern expression "having it all together." Everything is in place and as it ought to be. Like joy, peace has no relationship to circumstances. Christians know "that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28). Because God is in control of all aspects of a believer’s life, how his circumstances may appear from a human perspective makes no ultimate difference." 7. John Walvoord wrote, "As is characteristic of Paul in all his epistles, he extends to them the apostolic greeting: “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” One of the wonders of the Word of God is how much can be said in a few words. The two words grace and peace express to an infinite degree the heart of salvation in Christ. Grace is not only a relationship to God, a righteous standing with God, but it is also an experience of God’s favor toward us, His love, and all that is comprehended in redemption. It is righteous favor as opposed to righteous judgment. The Philippians had come to know the grace of God through Paul the apostle of grace. In similar character the word peace represents what we have and are in Christ. The saints at Philippi had peace with God through Jesus Christ, and it was possible for them to have the peace of God that passeth all understanding as Paul declares to them in chapter four. Grace and peace are the heritage of all who have Christian faith, and in his apostolic greeting Paul indicates his desire for the Philippian Christians to enter fully into the meaning of these words. Grace and peace come from God our Father as the originator and the Lord Jesus Christ as the mediator." C. God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  30. 30. 1. God is our Father because he is the one who gave us the new birth we have in Jesus. John 1:12-13 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Whoever gives you birth becomes your father, and God gave us new birth when we put our faith in his Son. When we love the Son we become sons as well. When we love Jesus his Father become our Father, for we become one family in him. 2. Grace and peace come from our Father and Lord equally, for they are one, and all that we have is from their complete unity in fulfilling the plan of salvation. The third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, is often not included with the Father and the Son, for his ministry is so often behind the scenes that he does not appear on the center stage with the other two. 3. Jesus is most often referred to as Lord. He is only called Savior ten times in the New Testament, but 700 times he is called Lord. He is our Lord and Savior, but as Lord his authority goes beyond saving us by his death on our behalf. Once we are saved by faith in his shed blood for forgiveness of sin, we need to honor him as our Lord by obedience to his will. Being our Savior is a onetime event, but being our Lord is a life time process. In one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture, Paul explains Christ's Lordship writing... "Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Believers are to be doing daily what all will be doing eventually, and that is bowing to Jesus as our Lord. It is being conscious of his lordship that enables believers to live the life he wants them to live. Forget this, as God's people so often did in the Old Testament, and you can easily fall back under the influence of the world, as they so often did. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 1. He does not specify just how often he remembers them, but it is implied that it is quite often, and so Paul is continually thankful for these people and the role they have played in his life. It is wonderful to reflect back on life and thank God for the people he has brought into your life. They are people that have been a blessing to you, and people that you have been a blessing to. They are precious memories that lead you to the throne of God to be grateful for his providence that brought you together. Wuest renders it, "I am thanking my God constantly." Paul had to have a long prayer list, for he had met so many people, and had so many churches to reflect upon and write to. He had so much to thank God about that thanksgiving was a major part of his life.
  31. 31. 2. Matthew Henry writes the..."The best remembrance of our friends is to remember them at the throne of grace. Paul was much in prayer for his friends, for all his friends, for these particularly. It should seem, by this manner of expression, that he mentioned at the throne of grace the several churches he was interested in and concerned for particularly and by name. He had seasons of prayer for the church at Philippi. God gives us leave to be thus free with him, though, for our comfort, he knows whom we mean when we do not name them....Thanksgiving must have a part in every prayer; and whatsoever is the matter of our rejoicing ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. What we have the comfort of, God must have the glory of. He thanked God, as well as made requests with joy. As holy joy is the heart and soul of thankful praise, so thankful praise is the lip and language of holy joy." And regarding "my God" adds that "we must eye God as our God...It encourages us in prayer, and enlarges the heart in praise, to see every mercy coming from the hand of God as our God." 3. Dr. Richison writes, “Paul begins his prayer with thanksgiving. Whenever a group is worthy of his thanks he begins this way. There is only one group of churches for which Paul does not thank God--the Galatians. He just could not bring himself to thank God for them because of their doctrinal error.” We should often be thankful, not just for things, but for people in our lives who have loved and supported us. What a joy it is to be thankful every time you think of someone, for they have truly been a blessing in your life. Paul never forgot those who were a blessing to him. The memory is wonderful, for by it we can experience over and over some joy and pleasure we have had in the past. We can think of good times and have a mini good time just remembering. Thank God for the memory that leads you to thank God for people and times in the past that were a blessing." 4. Dr. Richison points out that not all was perfect in Paul’s past experience there, and not all was perfect now, but Paul could still be thankful for the dominant theme of the past, which was pleasant and positive. He wrote, “There were unpleasant memories in Philippi if Paul cared to dwell on them--the rage of the masters of the girl set free from demons and the conduct of the city officials and populace toward Paul. Currently two women were locked in a bitter battle (4:2). But, Paul chose not to remember the petty irritations. Gratitude springs out of what we choose to think about. A common fault of the believer is to fail to thank God for the common courtesies and favors of life.” 5. "Hawthorne has suggested that “every time I remember you” indicates that Paul was not thinking about praying at random times per se, though he undoubtedly did that, but that he was thinking about praying at set times, much according to his Jewish heritage (Ps 5:3; Ezra 9:5; Ps 55:17; Dan 6:10; 1 Chron 23:30). Luke records for us the practice of Peter and John going up to the temple at the hour of prayer (i.e., 3pm; Acts 3:1). The Jews of Paul’s day regularly prayed: (1) early in the morning, in connection with the morning sacrifice; (2) at the ninth hour in connection with the evening sacrifice (3 pm); (3) at sunset. Thus there is evidence that prayer at set times was actually done by Christian Jews—and it is probably
  32. 32. quite safe to say that Paul himself followed this tradition—but it is by no means certain that his comment in v. 3 can be limited to that. The language is just not specific enough to warrant such a narrow referent. He probably means that he prays all the time for the Philippians, not just at set times. In any case, he was in prison, and undoubtedly had much opportunity to pray for his beloved friends." 5B. Spurgeon, "Again, all Paul’s memory of Philippi excited gratitude in his mind. He could not have said of the Galatians, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Oh, no! He said, “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” There were persons of whom he said, “I thank God that I baptized none of you.” He was pleased that Believers should be baptized, but he was glad that he had not baptized certain persons who would have made capital out of it and boasted that they were baptized by the hands of Paul! All good people are not equally good. There are some in the world whom we hope to meet in Heaven with whom fellowship is difficult. If they were on the other side of the Atlantic we might love them better than when we see much of them. I know several Christian people with whom I would sooner sit in Heaven throughout all eternity than sit ten minutes with them on a sofa here below—distance—in their case, might add enchantment to the view. 6. Thankfulness is a common theme in the letters of Paul, as we can clearly see in the following texts. It is no wonder that Paul was so loved, for expressing your thankfulness for others makes them feel thankful for you. One of the best ways to strengthen any relationship is to express thanks for them, and Paul was an expert at this, as these texts make obvious. Romans 1:8-9 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 1st Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; Ephesians 1:15-16 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; Colossians 1:3-4 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints, 1st Thessalonians 1:2-4 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

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