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Sunday, March 18, 2018 pm                                                Philippians Index

 

STUDIES IN PHILIPPIANS (3)
Paul’s Thankfulness
Philippians 1:3-8

         We have begun a study of the book of Philippians.  Previously we examined the introduction to this letter as Paul, along with Timothy, writes to the saints in Philippi and sends typical greetings (grace and peace).  Following this, we find recorded how Paul prays for these brethren.  In our lesson today we will notice Paul’s relationship with this brethren that prompted his prayers (1:3-8).  In our next lesson we will notice some of what Paul prays for (1:9-11).

 I.                     Thankfulness (3-4)

a.       Thankfulness (gratitude) is a fundamental quality in our lives as Christians. 
Philippians 4:6 – in our prayers, in everything with thanksgiving we turn to Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that in everything we are to give thanks. 
Colossians 3:17, Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in His name, giving thanks to God…
1 Timothy 2:1, giving of thanks be made for all men.

b.       For every remembrance – precious memories. 
Memories can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Often times it depends upon what we want to remember and our mindset.   How many cling to bitterness rather than blessings?  How many only see the thorns and fail to smell the roses? 
Paul dwells upon the goodness of brethren he has been privileged to work with and help, AND who have helped him.  Paul’s memories were pleasant.  That doesn’t mean that every memory was good (he was beaten and imprisoned in Philippi, and asked to leave by magistrates), but Paul CHOSE to remember or find the good in what happened.  
How do we seek to remember our brethren?  Do we have “selective memory”?
 What are we doing to make how others remember us pleasant?
NOTE: This is NOT implying we ignore what is wrong or bad, but don’t such define who we are.

c.        Frequently – always, in everything giving thanks, giving thanks always (Ephesians 1:16, 5:20, 1 Thessalonians 1:2, etc.).  In our prayers, let us never forget to thank God for all He has done for us.  “Count your many blessings”.

d.       Making requests – thankfulness begets request.  Do we pray “for one another”?
1 Timothy 2:1 calls for us to pray for all men.
James 5:16 calls for us to pray for one another.
An interesting passage in 1 Samuel 12:23, where at King Saul’s coronation, Samuel says, Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.
Ephesians 6:18 speaks of not only praying always, but with supplications for all the saints

e.       For you all - Paul is not selective about WHICH brethren he prays for and remembers.   Sometimes, the ones that need our prayers the most are those who the worldly would say deserve it the least.

f.         With joy – again, this is not something Paul dreads to do.  He will gladly intercede for others.  In the case of the Philippians, as noted, he has great cause to be joyful as he prays.

 II.                   Fellowship (5)

a.       For your fellowship - What is fellowship?  Sharing, or having something in common. 
We sometimes use the term, “joint participation”.   This is a deeper that just sharing something you have.  It is an association involving close mutual relationship. We are a spiritual family.  There is a bond there.
The root form of this word is found 6 times in Philippians – here and in vs. 7 (partakers); 2:1 & 3:10 (fellowship); & 4:14 & 15 – shared.

b.       It is in the gospel – that which binds us together.
Christ is to bring us together.  He broke down the middle wall of separation (between Jews and Gentiles) – Ephesians 2:14-16.  This is but ONE example of this bringing us together.
Galatians 3:27-28 – you are all one in Christ Jesus. 
John 17:11 – in Jesus’ prayer, also 20-21.
1 Corinthians 15:1 – Paul declared the gospel, “which you also received and in which you stand.”
Philippians 1:27, Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

c.        This fellowship was “from the first day until now” – whether Paul speaks of his reception into the home of Lydia (Acts 16:15),  OR their continued support on more than one occasion as Paul took the gospel to Europe and beyond (Philippians 4:15-16), and even while in prison as Paul writes they have helped him (Philippians 2:30), and possibly 2 Corinthians 8:1 – churches of Macedonia.

 III.                 Confidence (6-7)

a.       Confident - Persuaded or convinced.  Something or someone that you accept with complete trust, or have a sureness about. 
The Greek word used here is found 6 times in this letter showing Paul’s confidence – Phil. 1:14 – brethren have become confident, 1:25 – Paul is confident he will remain (though he desires to depart and be with the Lord), 2:24 – trust in the Lord; 3:3-4 (2x) – we should have “no confidence in the flesh”. 
Confidence demonstrates relationship that has been proven.   

b.       His confidence in God – He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  God doesn’t fail – He will accomplish His purpose in all things (cf. Ephesians 3:11, His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus)
He can preserve us too (not in the OSAS way), but He can deliver us – 1 John 1:7 – if we walk in the light…, 2 Peter 2:9, 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:37 – in all things we are more than conquerors…
WHY have confidence in God? He works:

                                                   i.      Through His word – Hebrews 4:12;

                                                 ii.      By making us better (if we are willing) – James 1:2-3, Romans 5:3-5;

                                                iii.      Through our brethren – cf. 2 Corinthians 7:6; Hebrews 12:12-13 – we are to strengthen each other

                                                iv.      Through His Spirit – in whatever way the Holy Spirit works in us (it is NOT miraculous) it can give us strength – Romans 8:1, 11, 13-14, etc.  

                                                  v.      Ephesians 3:20 – He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…

c.        His confidence in these brethren;

                                                   i.      I have you in my heart – deep seated, not superficial and genuine.  There was nothing artificial about Paul.

                                                 ii.      Both in my chains and in the defense (apology – to make the case for) and confirmation (to make something known as certain, vindicate) of the gospel – they had proven themselves. 
Defense same as - 1 Peter 3:15, Philippians 1:17 – appointed for the defense of the gospel.

                                                iii.      Partakers with me of grace – this is yet another description of that which binds us together.  We are “of like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1).  Be reminded that a part of “grace” that Paul experienced was the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles (the rest of the world) – Ephesians 3:2, 8 – Philippi would have been a mostly Gentile city (remember there was no synagogue there – as Lydia and other women were worshipping by a river). 

                                                iv.      Thus, God would complete the good works begun in them

d.       Their fellowship with him was a source of his confidence – vs. 7 – partakers with me – a form of the Greek word for fellowship.  HOW wonderful to have a relationship with our brethren that gives us confidence to stand up for them and for God.  This is so needed in our godless world.  ANOTHER reminder of why we need each other and how we need to cherish this relationship.

 IV.                 Longing with affection (8)

a.       Greatly longing for them – in this we continue to see the relationship and love Paul had for and with these brethren.  Paul is just affirming this is not superficial.
In fact, he even declares God as his witness – for one like Paul, this is not the superficial, blasphemous misuse of God’s name we hear so often now (e.g. “I swear to God…”).

b.       With the affection of Jesus Christ – the word affection is a reference to the bowels (KJV) (inner organs), which in ancient times was regarded as the seat of emotions.   We might translate it, “tender mercies”. 
He cared for them in the way that Jesus Christ cares.   Jesus so loved us He left heaven (Philippians 2:5-8), He gave Himself for us – John 15:13
How is our affection for one another? 1 John 3:16, By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

Thus Paul describes his relationship with his brethren in Philippi.  May we examine ourselves and learn from his example.  In our next lesson, we will notice what Paul prayed for.  HOW thankful are we for our brethren?