AUTHOR: Paul
DATE: 61 AD
Key Message: Joy in Christ

The church at Philippi was the first church established by Paul in Europe (Acts 16) and he established this church on his second missionary journey.  Philippi was a small city, founded by King Philip of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great.

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the Philippian brethren (Phil 1:13-16).  This church had financially helped Paul at least two times before this letter already (4:16-18) and when they heard of his imprisonment, the church sent Epaphroditus with another gift. Paul’s letter to the  Philippians is to thank them for that gift, and it reveals his love and close relationship he had with this church, as well as teaching on the joy of the Lord that we can have in any situation in which we find ourselves.

A most important doctrinal passage is Phil. 2:5-11.  It explains how Jesus, in His incarnation and being both fully God and fully man, set aside His divinity to live a human life.  Making himself of no [divine] reputation, Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient unto death and was exalted above all. One of the most popular passages on prayer is found in Phil 4:6-7. Other favorite verses include 1:21, 23b; 3:10, 20; 4:8, 13. A significant autobiographical sketch appears in 3:4-14.

One of the most popular passages on prayer is found in Phil 4:6-7 and one of the most powerful passages on abundant life is found in Phil 4:8-9. Without a doubt, Paul expresses what should be every Christians greatest desire in these verses:

Phil 3:8,10  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Other favorite verses include Phil 1:21, Phil 23b; Phil 20; Phil 4:13.

In Galatians, Paul sounds fighting mad and tells them in no uncertain terms they are off track. In Romans, Paul sounds like a theology professor. In Thessalonians, Paul sounds like a youth leader giving encouragement and empowering them. In Philippians, Paul does not give a theology lesson or a problem-solving manual. Philippians is a thank-you letter filled with an endless stream of joyful remembrances and encouragements.  All of Philippians is about learning how our relationship with Christ impacts our inner response to difficult external events.

OUTLINE OF PHILIPPIANS

I. Greetings and Expressions of Gratitude, 1:1-11
II. Paul’s Personal Circumstances: The Preaching of Christ, 1:12-30
III. The Pattern of the Christian Life: The Humility of Christ, 2:1-30

A. The Exhortation to Humility, 2:1-4
B. The Epitome of Humility, 2:5-11
C. The Exercise of Humility, 2:12-18
D. The Examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus, 2:19-30

IV. The Prize of the Christian Life: The Knowledge of Christ, 3:1-21

A. The Warning Against Judaizers, 3:1-4a
B. The Example of Paul, 3:4b-14
C. The Exhortation to Others, 3:15-21

V. The Peace of the Christian Life: The Presence of Christ, 4:1-23

A. Peace with Others, 4:1-3
B. Peace with Self, 4:4-9
C. Peace with Circumstances, 4:10-23

Philippians

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Do not be anxious about anything.  (Phil 4:6)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control.  Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19.  As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.” 

Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it:  Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live:  Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.

God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble.  When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.  

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19

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