Philippians 1

 Bethel Christian Fellowship  


June 9, 2013   Philippians 1:1 -30 

     I usually preach on a verse or a topic.   I have been leading the men on Wednesday night doing a survey on the books of the bible.  Surveys can be good to get an understanding of scripture and I wanted to-do something new in my preaching.   It is good to change things from time to time.   So I thought I would try preaching on a whole chapter for 1 sermon and go through the book of Philippians preaching 1 sermon from each chapter.   This is a great book to get to know.   When I was in my 20’s I memorized this whole book of 104 verses.     Paul wrote this book from jail while he was in Rome.   It is a book of joy and victory.   The Philippians church was not a church with a lot of baggage in it.   There is not a lot of correction or corrective teaching in this book it is more a letter to close friends.  They were not perfect and there were some issues but this church seems to be pretty much on track.   It is interesting that it is not one of the churches in Revelation that Jesus commends and then tells the church I have this against you.   Christ is mentioned 18 times in chapter 1and there is a theme of joy that runs through the book.  This book has a positive spin to it not that everything was perfect.   

     A good way to study a chapter is to outline it.   My outlining experience has been that different themes can come from each chapter.  Chuck Swindoll study bible breaks this chapter up in the following way.   The title is joy in living.  There is joy when we don’t get what we want.   There is joy in spite of our circumstances and there is joy even in conflicts.   He states Christ is in my life.  His spirit provides for me and the positive reaction is what has happened to me has furthered the gospel.  I think that another theme or topics of an outline through this chapter is that of serving.  Paul and Timothy are servants.   Then Paul prays for them.   Then Paul serves the Roman soldiers by sharing the gospel with them.  Then we see Paul’s desire to serve Jesus.  Paul desired to be with Jesus and leave this world but he knew it more important for him to stay in this world and minister.   And at the end of the chapter his exhortation for them is to serve and share Jesus.  .    

      I think I could state an outline of this chapter with relationships.   In verse 1 his relationship to the Lord as a servant.  In verses 3 through 11 we see his relationship with the Philippians.  We see that he prays for them with joy and that they are in his heart.   He had confidence in them.   He longs for them with the affection of Christ and he prays for them that they would be close to the Lord and bring praise and glory to the Lord.   Then Paul talks about the soldiers and how he has shared the gospel with them and that the whole palace guard has heard about Jesus.   Towards the end of the chapter we see his relationship to Jesus.  Verse 21 Paul says for me to live is Jesus and to die is to gain.   At the end of the chapter we see Paul exhorting them to follow Jesus and be willing to suffer.   Paul challenges them to hold forth the gospel.     An excellent outline I think would be Paul’s commitment to Jesus in this chapter.   He starts out as a servant and then his prayers and heart for the Philippian church.   We see his commitment to share Jesus while he is in prison.     Another way I would think to outline this chapter is how the gospel has grown.   Christ is mentioned 18 times in this chapter. You could do an outline from that point.    True bible study is digging.    Shellie does that for her house church.   I know that Ben digs in to prepare.    I hope this gives you a sense of what God is saying through this chapter.  

    I want to encourage you to take a chapter of the bible that you like and try to outline it in 2 to 4 different ways.   Read it several times and think about it and then see what you can do with it.   In the Navigators we used to spend at least 4 hours a week in bible study.  We would look for words that were used over and over again.   So in this chapter why is 

the word Christ used 18 times?   What is the difference if anything in the meaning of Jesus and Christ?     We would look for themes that seem to run through the chapter.   We would consider the author and who he is writing it to.    We would ask why is that there?    What is the Spirit trying to teach us?  We would look up in a bible dictionary some of the words or places and see how that influenced the chapter.   Then we would seek to outline it and when we would meet we would have to defend our outline.  When you do that you begin to get a sense of what the Holy Spirit is saying.    

      Paul writes to them saying I always thank God for you and pray with joy.  I am happy when I pray for you.   Millions of relationships in the world would get straightened out if people would approach each other in a positive way.   Paul thanked the Lord for the Corinthians who were a thorn in his side.   I know it is easier to thank God for some folks more than others.    Paul thanked God for the thorn in his flesh.   I pray for you with joy Paul tells them.   He was thankful for their ministry in the gospel.   Paul affirms them and values them.   Parents want to affirm their children and spouses want to affirm their mate.   That builds and encourages and blesses the relationship.  Do you affirm your spouse?   Do you affirm your children?    Do you affirm your family members?    Sometimes in the world all that comes forth is negativity.   Paul thought about how to affirm them and how to build in their life.   Paul in Romans 1 writes I long to see you so I can impart some spiritual gift and that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.   Paul needed encouragement.    He lets the Philippians know that they are important to him and to God.   It is great to affirm and to build up others.   It is good to be an encourager.  Barnabas who is mentioned in Acts is considered an encourager.   Paul was thankful that their faith was mentioned all over the world.   This church had a world impact.   Certainly they were vocal in their witness about Jesus.   People knew where they stood.  They were different than those in the world because they were called out of the worldly system by the Lord.  They were a changed people.  

    Paul in verse 6 says I am confident that God who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.   That is a very powerful verse and certainly there is a sermon right in that verse.   Paul again is very positive in this verse.   In II Timothy 1 Paul writes I know who I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.  In I Thessalonians 5 the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.   

    Who is the one who is faithful?   It is not David Aseltine.   It is not Bill McGrath as faithful as Bill is.   It is not a man.  It is Jesus.   He - is the Alpha and Omega, He is the Beginning and the End, and He is the First and the Last.    He is the One that made Heaven and the Earth.    He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley.    He is the Bright and Morning Star.    He is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the World.    He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.   He is the Lord Strong and Mighty. He is the Lord Mighty in Battle. He is the Lamb that takes away the sins of the World   The Faithful God.    He is Jehovah Jireh – The Lord my Provider.    He is the Lord Our Righteousness.   He is Jehovah Shalom – the God of Peace.   He is the great I Am.   He is the one that has the government on his shoulders.   He is our sustainer.    He is our strong tower.    He is the corner stone.    He is our Joy in the time of sorrow.   He is your deliverer.  He is love, compassion, peace, good, and merciful.    He is full of glory.   He is the mighty God that brings us to completion.   He is the finisher.   The builder of all things is God - Hebrews.  I will build my church Jesus said and hell will not stop me and will not stop the church from being built.  This church belongs to the great I AM.  Let the forces of hell chew on that awhile.   

     He is praying for you in Heaven and he is building you a home and the gospel of John says He will come back so you may be with Him.   He is coming back to get you and me.   He wants us to be with him.   He wants to bless us.  He is the finisher.   He is the foundation.   The chief corner stone is Jesus and we are built on him Ephesians 2.   I Corinthians 3 there is no other foundation but Jesus.  Paul was confident in Jesus.   Moth rust and decay and destroys things on this earth but Paul sent all ahead.   When it is given to heaven it is solid.   Paul had a confidence in God and that brought him great joy.     Jesus will complete and Jesus will finish.  To Him be the glory forever and ever!   Paul gets so excited about Jesus that later in this chapter he says let me out of here.   We got to get out of this place.   It is better away from here.   But he said I have more work to do.   So I guess I will be staying around for awhile longer.   

    In verse 8 Paul writes I long for all of you with the affection of Jesus.   Wouldn’t it be cool to have the compassion of Jesus?    I have Christ’s heart for you Paul said.   In chapter 2 Paul writes for everyone looks out for his own interests not those of Jesus Christ but then Paul commends Timothy.  Paul then writes but you know that Timothy proved himself.   Someone said tithes may build a building - a church, but tears will give it life.    Paul prayed with passion.   

    In verse 15 Paul writes that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry.   Paul could have been discouraged about that.   Instead Paul writes at least Jesus is being preached and God can use that.   Here he is in jail in Rome.   He is far from the churches that God used him to plant.   I read that he was chained constantly to a Roman soldier.   There is no privacy to even go the bathroom alone.   Maybe at times Paul gets down but he kept looking at Jesus and pointing others to Jesus.   

     There was once a farmer who began to look at his farm through critical eyes.    Every place he looked on his farm he saw something wrong.    So he decided to sell and move somewhere else.    He contracted a realtor who came out to look things over.   Then the realtor called to get the farmer’s approval for an ad for the newspaper.   The ad spoke of a good location, a well-maintained house, sturdy barns, lush pasture, a beautiful pond, fertile soil and a great view.   The farmer listened carefully then he asked the realtor to read it again.   Finally the farmer responded, “Don’t put the ad in the newspaper.  I’ve always wanted a place like that.   I think I’ll stay right where I am.”  

      We can be like that.   We want that job, church, that spouse and children, a certain home we choose and then we get frustrated or run into an obstacle or start thinking negative thoughts and then we think we would be better off with a change and we need to reevaluate our thinking.  The grass is not better on the other side of the fence.   There are dry times.   There are tough times no matter where you go.   Christian growth is not easy.   To be Christ like is a lifelong commitment and challenge and you will be tested.   You will be tested in your family, your marriage, your resources and money, your health – whatever and God allows that testing but we need to grow through it and over it.    Paul had to persevere in jail.   I am glad he was there.  Are you glad Paul was in jail?   He wrote this letter from jail.   He had no idea what God was doing.   Paul may have prayed at times - God why am I rotting in this jail?   Let me out of here.   What he wrote was hey all these guys are getting the gospel preached to them around here.   Paul writes some of the brothers are stronger and they are encouraged to speak the word of God more fearlessly because I am in jail.   You look for the good in the bad.   All things work for good sooner or later if we walk with God and obey God and if we hang in there with the Lord the results are far greater than we can imagine.   It will be worth it all; the song writer said when we see Jesus.  

    I read where President Ronald Reagan was once challenged by a college student who said it was impossible for Reagan’s generation to understand his.  “You grew up in a different world,” the student said. “Today we have television, jet planes, space travel, nuclear energy, computers. . .”    Taking advantage of a pause in the student’s litany, Reagan said, “You’re right. We didn’t have those things when we were young.  We invented them.”   Nancy Reagan wrote in her memoirs that she hoped it gave the student a different perspective.   What do we see of Paul’s perspective of life in this chapter?   We see many things but in verse 21 he states for me to live is Christ and to die is to gain. Jesus was his life.  Whether the times were good or bad Jesus was his all in all.