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
Php 1:9-11 KJV – “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
In this text, Paul’s prayerful desire was for the Philippians to be graced in four basic areas:
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
1. Their Motive – Paul desired that their love would be overflowing in greater and greater ways; especially to motivate them to gain more knowledge of the Lord, His will for their lives, and the ability to make Godly decisions.
That ye may approve things that are excellent;
2. Their Judgment – Paul desired that they exercise Godly judgement by recognizing, affirming, and living according to, those things that excel in spiritual truth and importance.
that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
3. Their Testimony – Paul desired for the Philippians to have a testimony of being a genuine and separated to God throughout all their lives and generations until Christ comes again.
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
4. Their enablement – Finally Paul desires for their service to stem from Godly enablement. He desired for the Holy Spirit to control every aspect of their lives; allowing them to bear spiritual, blameless fruits; both of which are gracious gifts given to them by Christ. These spiritual fruits are to be utilized to “shine the light upon” God and cause Him to be honored and worshipped. They are not to be used to exalt the individual Christian, which would bring attention and praise to the Christian.
Paul’s desires for the Philippians should not only be our desire for other Christians, but our desire for our own personal lives as well:
As Christians, we should never underestimate the need for Godly motives, judgment, testimonies, and enablement as we live our lives for Christ….
1. So often we can go through the motions of Christian service with the wrong motives compelling us.
2. It is so easy to find ourselves using our own carnal judgements to make the day to day decisions to come our way.
3. It is so easy, to get side-tracked in our service that we find ourselves going through “religious” motions of service in the name of Christ, in a disingenuous way, confusing “going through the motions” without genuine holiness.
4. Perhaps the most prevalent of these pitfalls that can so easily take us off course, is when we serve the Lord of our own effort, strength and ability, without relying upon the Holy Spirit to enable us to accomplish that which the Lord has given us to do.
May we all be on guard for these pitfalls in our own lives, as well as being in prayer for our spiritual family that they would not be overcome by these as well. May we always seek to help other struggling Christians with words of instruction and encouragement to strengthen them as they seek to serve our Lord sincerely under the strengthen hand of the Holy Spirit.
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