Philippians: Chapter 1:1-11

Philippians:  Introduction, Chapter 1:1-11   August 5, 2019

This book is Very Encouraging Words for us, Jesus Saints

Background – Paul wrote the Book of Philippians, a prison epistle

Paul was in prison or under house arrest in Rome, Nero’s prisoner. 

Paul primary purpose in writing this letter was to thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent him upon learning of his under house arrest.

Paul wanted to:

  • report on his own circumstances;
  • to encourage the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution and rejoice regardless of circumstances;
  • to encourage them to humility and unity;
  • to recommend Timothy to the church; and
  • to warn against the legalists and liberals among them.

The city of Philippi was names after King Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great

  • The land on which Philippi was situated was remarkable for its fertile land.  It’s real importance as its strategic position commanding the great road between the Europe and Asia. The frontier.
  • There is a continual mountain barrier between the East and West and the depression where Philippi was forms a gateway for this thoroughfare between the two continents.
  • Many battles happen here and Philippi was the scene of the decisive battle ending the Roman republic in 42 B.C. 
  • Brutus and Cassius, murderers of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. , were defeated by the combined forces of Mark Antony and Octavian, who later became Emperor Augustus. 

  • Because of Philippi’s assistance, Augustus granted Roman citizenship to the Philippians when he became emperor {same rights as if they were living in Italy}.
  • Many of the Philippians were retired military men who had been given land around the city and served as a military presence in this city. 
  • Since Philippi was a Roman City may explain why there were not enough Jews there to permit the establishment of the synagogue {10 men} and
  • why Paul does not quote the Old Testament in the letter.

Luke joined Paul just as he crossed over into Europe, and he was with him during his stay in Philippi.  First time to Philippi.

To understand some of Paul’s feelings towards Philippians, Luke wrote:

Acts 16:9,10 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (10) After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Notice the “we” by Luke.  Some suspect that he, Luke, was the man in the vision!

Acts 16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis.

  • When Paul and his group crossed the Dardanelles, they changed the whole course of Western Civilization.
  • Samothrace: highest in elevation of northern Aegean Islands, midway between Troas and Philippi.
  • Neapolis”: harbor of Philippi, 10 mi. inland (favorable wind: two days; later it took five days).

Acts 16:12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

  • Paul always focused on strategic centers
  • He arrives about 20 years after the foundation of the Jerusalem  Church

Acts 16:13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.

  • There was no synagogue (which requires 10 adult men); simply a women’s prayer meeting that would become the first church in Europe.

Acts 16:14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Acts 16:15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Acts 16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

  • The priestess at the famous temple at Delph was called the Pythoness;
  • The term Python became equivalent to a prediction saying demon.

Acts 16:17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

Acts 16:18,19 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

(19) When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.

  • Outright violence demonstrates that one of the enemy’s strongholds was being attacked.

Acts 16:20,21 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar  (21) by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

  • This is the sentiment which stimulates the blind loyalty of the people “by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

Acts 16:22-24 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. (23) After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  (24) When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 16:26, 27 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (27) The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.

  • A jailer was accountable to their debts if the prisoners escape

Acts 16:28,29,30 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (29) The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  (30) He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

  • Good question.  We all need to be certain of the answer

Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16:32-34 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. (33) At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. (34) The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God, he and his whole household.

Acts 16:35-37 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” (36) The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”  (37) But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

  • Whoops!  They had a jurisdiction problem! Did not ask before?
  • Valerian Law: no Roman should ever be bound: this was considered to be an offense against the empire.
  • Pocian Law forbade any Roman to be flogged.
  • Magistrates were at substantial risk themselves!
  • I love the way Paul “rubs their noses” in it!

Acts 16:38,39 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. (39) They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.

  • Oh, please, would you be so kind as to leave quietly!
  • This aspect will also be important for us to remember when we turn from Luke’s narrative to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
  • Addressing a Roman colony from the Roman capital, writing as a citizen to citizens, he returns in his thinking to the political franchise as a symbol of the higher privileges of their heavenly calling, to the political life to the duties of a Christian:

.. conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…*Philip 1:27

….our citizenship is in heaven..  * Philippians 3:20

Acts 16:40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

The persecution which Paul endured here was very severe and was impressed deeply on his memory, for he writes about them many times:

We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know…  *1 Thessalonians 2:2

In fact, Paul’s first visit to Philippi ended abruptly in the middle of the storm of persecution; the apostle left behind a legacy of suffering to this newborn church are noted in Paul’s letters. 

2 Corinthians 8:1-2  And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  (2)  In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

About five years elapsed between Paul’s 1st and 2nd visit to Philippi, but his many letters were very personal.  Very poor, but generous

In A.D. 57, when Paul was living in Ephesus, he sent Timothy to Macedonia *Acts 19:22

Philippians Chapter 1, Introduction:  Salutation and Thanksgiving

Written around 62 to 64 A.D., about 11 years later from Acts, on Paul 2nd missionary journey.  This was the first church established on the continent of Europe.  The one church that was very helpful to Paul.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people {Saints} in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers {Bishops} and Deacons:

  • Timothy: A young convert closely associated and was like a son
  • He was instructed in the Scriptures from infancy by his mother.
  • Two of Paul’s letters are addressed to him: “My own son in the faith” and In six of Paul’s Epistles, Timothy joined in salutation.
  • Paul considers himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus and partners.
  • More than 1 church in Philippi – Overseers and Deacons.

Philippians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul used this form of salutation in all his epistle: Grace to you

Thanksgiving and Prayer

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

I wish someone could say that about us, widows prayer is effective

Paul’s prayers always begin with thanksgiving…

Philippians 1:4  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

  • Joy is the main theme of this very personal letter. 
  • Inner joy occurs 16 times in these four brief chapters
  • The best remembrance of our friends is to remember them at the throne of our Father.
  • Paul’s thanksgivings for the two Macedonian Churches, Philippi and Thessalonica, are peculiarly warm and full

Philippians 1:5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

  • Fellowship is mentioned three times in this epistle: our fellowship with God, our fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and our fellowship in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
  • Fellowship in the gospel may be exercised in various ways: by prayer; by participation in the public testimony; by furnishing the means to enable the laborer to go forth unhindered by perplexities and anxieties as to necessary means to carry on his work. From the first day.
  • The financial help Paul was given by the Philippians.

Our Security in Christ

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

This is one of the three passages which focus on our security in Christ:

*John 10:27-28  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  (28)  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

*Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  (39)  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • The work of bringing us to salvation through the Gospel of Christ by and through the Holy Spirit.
  • This is strong language by Paul, being confident, means to be fully and firmly persuaded or entirely convinced of the truth of what he said;
  • God works by a plan;  His plan is to prepare us for the final day.
  • We know that the Holy Spirit will not forsake us until our mortal bodies will appear before Jesus and to be changed and glorified.

We know that any work that God begins, He will surely finish.

At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.  *1 Samuel 3:12

This is important:  the understanding of Jesus Returning to the Earth is designed by God in every age of the Church to be regarded as near, is to be the goal set before believers’ minds rather than their own death.

Philippians 1:7  It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

  • Paul has valued God’s work within them, towards himself and to others.
  • Paul longs after them {affection} all because he has them in his heart.
  • In his heart he treasures a lasting memory of how loyal they have been, because  they stood with him, whether he was on trial, in prison, or traveling about the gospel.
  • Paul calls his chains or bonds or imprisonment:  grace,  
  • Paul said that we may suffer for a while just like He has, made perfect through sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  *1 Peter 5:10

Jesus, the Christian’s Life, Rejoicing in Spite of Suffering

Philippians 1:8 God can testify {or my witness} how I long for all of you with the affection {or compassion} of Christ Jesus.

  • Paul loves them {emphasizing that every one of the Christians and not merely the leadership}
  • He long for their presence, to see them, longing, not just tolerance, and a desire for their welfare.

Philippians 1:9-11  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  (10)  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless {without offence} for the day of Christ,  (11)  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

  • We pray for those whom we love, and whose welfare we seek, that they may abound in love.
  • The love they have for others may increase more and more
  • We must increase in the true knowledge of God; able to discern things
  • blameless {without offence} means without leading others to stumble
  • Day of Christ is when He returns to the earth.
  • The fruit of righteousness produces Christian virtues that makes up a righteous life and the source of these virtues is Jesus and our object is the glory and praise of God.

The properties of fruit of righteousness or Spirit which is acceptable to God:

It must bear fruits, the fruits of righteousness, all inward and outward holiness, all good tempers, words, and works; and that so abundantly, that we may be filled with them

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  (23)  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Through Jesus according to his doctrine, through the power of his grace and by the Holy Spirit.                                             

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