Series: Paul’s Letters
Philippians 1:3-6 ESV
Philippians 1:18-21 ESV
Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
Philippians 3:4-11 ESV
Philippians 4:1 ESV
Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
Studying the writings of Paul from the perspective of his relationship with the different churches helps us to see the character and nature of Paul and his audience.
Each letter (book) has evidence of his great passion for the people of the Way.
In Philippians 1:3-6 he wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
What’s fascinating about Paul’s comments is that they were very heartfelt and genuine. When he thinks of them he is thankful and he joyfully prays for them. Paul also confidently assures them that God started a good thing and he is absolutely certain that God will stick with it.
Having been heavily involved with church ministry for many decades makes me wonder how encouragement like Paul’s letter would have been a huge help to those who were just starting a new church. Even being told that he was praying for them would have made a difference.
Then in Philippians 1:18-21 Paul wrote, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
What matters to Paul?
Their prayers that will make an difference.
Christ will be honored.
And then Paul ends this section with his declaration that he is willing to live for Christ but he is also willing to die for Christ because either way Jesus wins and he wins.
Paul is not afraid to die because then he will gain a heavenly body in Jesus!
Then in Philippians 2:5-11 Paul wrote, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Paul’s words are an ever present reminder of the humility of Jesus. As God he could have stopped it at any time. He could have stopped the Romans at any time but he knew his death would serve a greater purpose.
When I was younger I was once told, ‘if you would have been the only one, Jesus would have died for you.’ In other words, Jesus loves me that much.
The same is true of you!
In Philippians 3:4-11 we are reminded of Paul’s previous life and his credentials.
“If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Paul dedicated his entire life to serving God…first under the law and then by the grace of Jesus. God chose Paul to be an Apostle because of his past. God knew Paul had served him tirelessly and he would serve him tirelessly.
Paul began the final chapter to the church at Philippi by telling them in Philippians 4:1
“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”
He wanted them to fight for Jesus.
In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
He wanted them to pray and receive God’s great peace.
In Philippians 4:8-9 Paul concluded by writing to them, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Paul reminded them of truth, honor, justice, purity, love, and everything commendable that we receive through Jesus. He reminded them that they matter to God.
That’s why Jesus was willing to pay the price for you!
Spiritual Practice: Sit with Jesus
Receive His love.
In God, Deborah