The Book of Philippians
“Servants and Saints”
Philippians 1:1-11 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
The Book of Philippians was penned by the Apostle Paul in A.D. 64 during his first Roman imprisonment. This is where we last saw him as we completed our series in the book of Acts. This makes it one of Paul’s prison Epistles and also a letter written later in his ministry.
Ac 28:30-31 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
I believe, in the preaching of God’s Word, a preacher preparing to preach should be able to “boil down” his text of Scripture in his sermon to one sentence. It is even better if the preacher can boil the text down in his message to one WORD! As I begin our introduction of Philippians today I believe the one word I can boil down, not only this book, but many of the books of our New Testament down to the same word and that word is the word “church” that word “church” meaning the local assembly of believers organized under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His word for the work of His ministry in this world!
This morning, for example, this assembly at Philippi is referred to thirteen times in our text of eleven verses as “all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (vs. 1) then the following pronouns address them in our text “you” (vs. 2); “you” (vs. 3); “you all” (vs. 4); “your” (vs. 5); “you” (vs. 6); “you all,” “you,” and “ye” (vs. 7); “you all” (vs. 8); “your” (vs. 9); “ye” and “ye” (vs. 10 and 11).
Outside of this context we will not understand the book of Philippians. Just as we will never comprehend the Christian life and fully see our potential as God’s children outside the same local church context!
I. Back story:
A Story of Churches: The Jerusalem Church, The Antioch Church, and the Philippi church (of the churches of Macedonia).
The church that Jesus Planted… 120 souls in the upper room (Acts 1:15) that would see 3000 added (Acts 2:41) then 5000 (Acts 4:4) The Church that Saul Persecuted (Acts 8:1).
The Scattered (Acts 11:19-21)
A. Persecution (Acts 11:19) B. Preaching (Acts 8:4 / Acts 11:20) C. Power (Acts 11:21)
The Sent (Acts 11: 22-24)
A. The Sending Agency: The Church of Jerusalem B. The Sent Agent: Barnabas
The Sending (Acts 13:1-4)
Ac 13:1-4 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
The Second Missionary Journey
Church at Philippi:
Paul was used of God to take the Gospel to this place. God had led him through a series of closed doors… God granting direction to His servant through “no!”
This church would become a great church in terms of its impact on the world though the ministry of the Apostle Paul and ministering to the saints (II Cor. 8 and 9 and Philippians)
II. The Blessings (vs. 2)
Php 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a vast difference between that which is available to every Believer and that which is actually availed of in the life of every individual Believer. In verse one the Servants of God address “all the saints” at Philippi with the bishops and deacons, are we to assume that this letter would be read by “all the saints” that it was addressed to? Let me put it in a language we can relate to: last Sunday night the Lord spoke to “all the saints at Christ Independent Baptist Church” about “Effectual Personal Prayer” through our missionary Brother Jason Stevens… It was preached for the benefit of and to all the saints of this church, but would all the saints of this church hear it and thus have opportunity to benefit from it?
Paul writes of two tremendous Blessings available to “all saints” and these are grace and peace… though all saints have these available, many will live their lives unavailing them!
As an assembly of saints:
Grace would be extended in their salvation
Grace would be experienced in their service
Grace would be evident in their reward
2Co 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
As an Assembly of saints:
Peace would be established in their salvation (Peace with God)
Peace would be experienced in their sufferings (Peace from God)
Peace would be emboldening in their service (Peace in God)
The Bible was not written in a cultural void. In the culture the Philippian church existed meant the members lived in poverty and affliction in a time and place that Christianity was persecuted. Likewise we do not live in a cultural void. We live in a culture of narcissism in America in the days that men shall love their own selves and their idol is literally their own comfort and pleasure! The Macedonian churches were churches in deep poverty in their culture, yet according to Paul’s second Epistle to the Corinthian church they would be the greatest example of giving! We live in the richest culture on the planet, yet we are, as a church, likely the poorer in our culture, nevertheless we are rich! We must never allow our view of ourselves deceive us from this that we may serve the Lord and be the givers He has called us to be! Grace and peace are indeed blessings available to ALL SAINTS yet to the saints that spend most of their Sunday mornings in faithful worship at “St. Mattress” dutifully ministering to the whims and desires of their filthy FLESH are not even coming CLOSE to availing themselves of the grace and peace afforded to them by their Saviour!
III. The Benefits:
A. Fellowship of the Gospel vs. 5 “partnership”
B. Partakers of Grace vs. 7 “partakers”
Php 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
What does it look like when a church partakes in grace?
1. Abounding Love
2. Abounding in Knowledge
3. Abounding in Judgment
4. Approving Excellence
*proving (testing) those things that excel
These are not the “good things” these are the things that excel, these are the better things! We can do “good,” but we can also do BETTER! God help us to partake in your Grace that we may do BETTER!