INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Philippians 1:3-5 – “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”
After Paul shares his desire for God’s grace to be shown to the Philippians, he now turns his attention to the grace God has shown to him. What is the first received grace that comes to Paul’s mind? It is his memories of the Philippian saints and the privilege of being able to pray for them.
“Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy”
Paul’s natural loving response to the wonderful memories he had of the Philippians was to pray for them. Stop and think about it… as Paul remembered their faithfulness and the encouragement he received from them, he would stop and thank God for them and ask the Lord to meet their spiritual and physical needs whatever they may be.
The gracious privilege of praying for them was a joyous thrill to Paul’s heart.
“For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”
One of the sources of Paul’s great joy was based upon their fellowship as believers in Christ. One of the ideas behind the word “fellowship” is “to share in common”. In other words, Paul possessed great joy in praying for the saints at Philippi because they shared so much in common. One of the reasons they shared so much in common was because Paul had been acquainted with the church “from the first day until now” (the very beginning of their church).
What did they share in common? Their salvation, their faithfulness in service to Christ, the persecutions they faced, their spiritual and physical needs etc etc etc. Because they shared much in common, Paul understood much about what they were going through, this enabled him to more intelligently pray for their needs.
Paul held a privileged position of prayer for them, because he understood much more about their experiences and needs than most other saints.
From Paul’s thankfulness and prayer we can learn much about our relationship with other Christians. Here is a quick rundown of the lessons we can learn:
1. We should be thankful for the memories that we have of wonderful times we have shared with our spiritual family members and the living testimony for Christ, and the example they set for us.
2. We should always be mindful of what our spiritual kindred are going through and the needs they have in their lives. Especially we should use the experiences we have shared with them to better pray for them and their needs.
3. We should never take for granted the privilege we have to pray for others. This allows us to be a part of the blessings they receive when their spiritual and physical needs are met.
4. Our prayers should come from a joyful heart of love as we appreciate our spiritual siblings and seek to give of ourselves, through prayer, to meet their needs.
May we all be more effective prayer warriors for members of God’s family. May we all seek to learn from the thankfulness and prayer life of the Apostle Paul and live them out in our lives as we seek to serve our Lord!
Questions, Comments, or Suggestions?
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