Sunday, February 18, 2018 pm                                Philippians Index


Paul’s Introduction
Philippians 1:1-2


Last month we began a study of the book of Philippians.  We will study through this entire letter from time to time, noting Paul’s message to these brethren and applications for us today.   Today we will notice Paul’s introduction and make some observations. 

 I.                     Paul’s greeting (1-2)

a.       Paul identifies himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

                                                   i.      In different epistles, Paul identifies himself in different ways.  Usually as an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:1, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1 – elaborates on it; Eph. 1:1, Col 1:1;
1 & 2 Thessalonians – just by name with Silas and Timothy;
Philemon 1 – Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus
He introduces himself as a servant in other letters – Romans 1:1, Titus 1:1.

                                                 ii.      Considering Paul’s background.  We know little about him before his conversion.  We know he was from Tarsus which would explain a Hellenistic education, and educated at the feet of Gamaliel – which means he had a top Jewish education.  He was of high Jewish stock (a Hebrew of Hebrews – Philippians 3:5. Some say he was going places.  But he gave all that up to follow Christ. 
I mention that because he writes to what is probably a predominantly Gentile church that was paying the price for their stand for Christ.  Consider the example of Paul and Silas in that city being arrested for preaching the truth and casting out a demon (Acts 16:16-24).  Knowing Paul’s sacrifice is a source of encouragement to these brethren.  He will appeal to it later.

                                                iii.      A servant or bond-servant is one of the descriptions of Christians. 
One of the fundamental descriptions of Christians.    We must learn that, we belong to Christ.  We are His bondservant.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “You are not your own.”
Romans 6:16-23 elaborates on this noting we have become slaves of God and righteousness. 
Jesus Himself used the analogy in some of His parables – Luke 17:7-10 where He speaks of a servant serving his master before he takes care of himself.  So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
IN this letter, Paul will appeal to these brethren to serve each other.  Thus it is fitting for Paul to describe himself this way. 

b.       With Timothy – also a bond servant. 

                                                   i.      Timothy was a frequent traveling companion of Paul. 
He was first introduced to Paul (in Acts) just prior to going to Philippi (Acts 16:1-3 – in Lystra).   He had a good reputation (Acts 16:1-3) and apparently impressed Paul as he left with Paul

                                                 ii.      He was a trusted friend that Paul could count on to help in whatever manner is needed.  Paul would use him when needed to deliver letters, to stay behind and teach as he moved on, and to bring news to him.  He is mentioned in numerous letters of Paul (all except Galatians and Ephesians).  He is even mentioned in Hebrews 13:23.
Because Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother, Paul had him circumcised (Acts 16:3), so that he could be useful in Jewish situations for teaching, something needed as Paul began in most cities he entered by going to the Synagogue and trying to persuade Jews about Jesus.

                                                iii.      He was fairly young, and some believe that Paul was molding him to carry on his work (as a preacher) when he was gone.  We have 2 letters written to Timothy from which we learn much about the work of a preacher. 

                                                iv.      Timothy was familiar with Philippians.  It is probable he was with Paul when he first taught there (being Paul from the time of joining him – Acts 16:3 till he is left in Thessalonica in 17:5. Timothy is mentioned in Acts being sent to Macedonia in 19:22 & 20:3-6.
In our letter, Paul intends to send Timothy to them (Philippians 2:19).

                                                  v.      LESSON: In doing the Lord’s word, it is sometimes good to have workers with you. 
It is challenging to do the work of the Lord.  When you are alone it adds to the burdens.  BUT, if you have developed friendship and trust with someone who is by you in the work, it makes it easier in many ways.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is often quoted to describe a husband and wife, but the text is describing the value of a friend who stands with you and lifts you up when you fall.
Jesus, in sending out both the 12, and later 70 disciples does so, two by two (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1). 
Someone with you in trying to teach others gives you support, can keep you on track, can encourage you when you are rejected (as you know you are not alone), protects you (you have a witness against accusations, etc.). 
Furthermore, the best way to learn how to reach others is to go with someone who is doing that.   Like everyone else, preachers need friends who will be there for them as they deal with various struggles.

 II.                   To all the saints in Christ Jesus

a.       This letter was written to the church in Philippi.  It is interesting that the word “church” is not used (unlike Corinthians and Thessalonian letters), yet we know it was written to the church because of how it is described.   As Paul prays for them, it is as an entity (their fellowship with him, etc.)
Furthermore, in this verse we have the organizational structure of a congregation.

b.       Saints in Christ Jesus – lit. “holy ones”. 

                                                   i.      The Greek word for saints here is a form of the same word translated holy, and related to the word sanctified.
It is a word that means to be consecrated or dedicated to God. Thus it is distinguished from that which is common (or dedicated to the world).

                                                 ii.      ONE of the things we need to remind ourselves of is that we belong to God (see the idea of a bondservant above).  He has set us apart as special (Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9). 
We are here to do His work. 

                                                iii.      We are to live holy lives – 1 Peter 1:15-16 – be holy as He is holy; 
2 Corinthians 7:1 – after describing how we are to be separate from the world (in the way we live), we read, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:7, God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness
Hebrews 12:14, where we are called upon to pursue peace and holiness, without which we will not see the Lord.
BECAUSE we are striving to live holy lives, He can call us saints.  1 Corinthians 1:2 as Paul greets the church of God in Corinth, he describes “those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…

                                                iv.      NOTE: The church is His people!  We have been emphasizing that recently in great detail. Ephesians 1:22-23, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27, etc.  
Notice 1 Corinthians 14:33, where Paul notes that God is not the author of confusion but of peace, “as in all the churches of the saints.”

                                                  v.      NOTE: How the saints are alive.  That is clearly established in this verse and many other places (cf. Colossians 1:2, Philippians 4:21-22, Ephesians 1:1, etc.)

c.        With bishops – or overseers.  This is a term that describes those appointed to shepherd the flock where they are at.  This is another term for the elders.  In both Acts 20:17 &27 and 1 Peter 5:1-2 we find the terms elders, bishops and pastors (shepherd) are used to describe the same men.
Paul instructed Timothy to help appoint elders in Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and Crete (Titus 1:5-9).  In these texts we find the qualifications necessary for elders or bishops. 

d.       Deacons – descriptive of servants.  The word used here is more frequently used to describe one who is a servant of God – 1 Timothy 4:6 & 1 Thessalonians 3:2 – both these verses describe Timothy with this term).
In our text, clearly this is an office.  And that corresponds with 1 Timothy 3:8-13 where the necessary qualities to serve in this position are outlined.  Deacons are thus proven servants who can help the elders and brethren with various tasks.

  III.                 Paul’s typical greeting

a.       Grace – similar to the common Greek greeting.    It describes a favorable disposition toward one.

b.       Peace – the common Jewish greeting. Simply defined, peace is the absence of strife. Tranquility.  When we hear of the Hebrew word, “shalom”, it means peace. 

c.        From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The spiritual aspect of these greetings. As Christians we appreciate the grace and peace of God.

                                                   i.      God’s grace It is noted that the word for grace is similar to the Greek greeting which simply means, “greetings” or “hail”.  But Paul enhances that word with grace – which to the Christian is very special.   Ephesians 2:8-9 – we are saved by God’s grace, through our faith.
Romans 3:24 – we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption found in Jesus.
Romans 6:14 reminds us that we are not under law, but under grace.
NOTE: Paul will also conclude this letter appealing to the grace of God for them- Philippians 4:23.  He did this often.

                                                 ii.      God’s peace – we seek to be at peace with God.
Peace with God – Romans 5:1. Later in this letter, Paul will appeal to the peace of God guarding our hearts – Philippians 4:6-7
Romans 10:15 speaks of the gospel of peace – that is our ultimate goal, even though it often produces strife with those who are opposed to God.
Romans 14:17 -  Paul described the kingdom of God as righteousness, peace and joy…
AND as much as possible with men – Romans 12:18


And thus, Paul sends his greetings to these brethren.  Does the grace and peace of God rule in your heart?