This morning we’ll be looking at a story in the Bible that we have a fair amount of detail about. Sometimes we look at different stories in the Bible and wonder why we hear more about one person in a story than another person in the same story.
This morning we are going to be looking at the church at Philippi. We have a fair amount of detail about how the church at Philippi started. There was a jailer involved, Lydia a merchant was involved, Paul & Silas were there too, they ended up in prison because they cast a demon out of a girl.
The Beginning of the Church at Philippi
Acts 15 – There was a big gathering in Jerusalem to try to decide what the Christian church was going to require of Gentile believers. At this point a lot of the new believers were Jewish, but as Gentiles came to the faith there was quite a bit of disagreement about how this was going to work. The church in Jerusalem asked Paul, Silas, Barnabas, and Judah to take a letter to the churches and share their decision with them.
Acts 16:11-34 – Maybe Paul was willing to take the beating to meet the man in his dream. He waited to claim his Roman citizenship until after he was beaten and put into jail.
We have a record that the jailer and his household were baptized. We also know that Lydia and her household were part of the church there as well. What did these have in common? They lived in the same city, they were most likely Roman citizens, this was a military outpost where everything was done just as if you were in Rome. They were all sinners, and they all believed in the Lord and were baptized.
What things may have been different between these people? They probably had different social statuses. They likely had different income levels. It is also quite likely that they didn’t know each other prior to coming to know Jesus.
Pauls Letter to the Church at Philippi
Paul wrote many letters to the churches he was involved with. This letter was written about 10 years after the church had been started. This is considered one of Paul’s most personal letters to a church.
Philippians 1:1-30 – Paul really compliments and praises the church for the ways they have cared for him in the past. There are some very well known passages in Philippians. Paul is continually pointing back to Christ. He talks a fair amount about Epaphroditus. He was sent from the Philippian church. He was working very hard and got very sick (almost died!) and Paul wanted to be sure that the church back at Philippi was properly thanked for the help he had been.
Recurring Words in Philippians
There are some all-inclusive and all exclusive words that Paul uses here in this letter. This is a bit rambling, but there are nuggets of truth here and maybe one of them will stick out and help you.
- Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without murmuring and disputing…”
- Philippians 3:8 – “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”
- Philippians 3:21 – “he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”
- Philippians 4:12 – “everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
- Philippians 1:4 – ”Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy”
- Philippians 1:18 – ”whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice”
- Philippians 2:4 – Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
- Philippians 2:10-11 – Every knee. Every tongue.
- Philippians 1:20 – Paul is no longer very young. We see a tension between Pauls wanting to be helpful here on earth and longing to go home to be with the Father.
- Philippians 2:12 – You have always obeyed!
Peace is a buy product of not worrying about anything and praying about everything. You can’t do one without the other.
The question for us here is “what is that one thing in your life?” What is that one thing that we do in our life? Paul was pressing on towards the mark for the prize in Christ Jesus.