INTRO: With this lesson I plan to begin a series of lessons from the book of Philippians. I do not know that the series will proceed on consecutive Sunday evenings needs will perhaps determine that. But we will look fairly extensively into this happiest of Pauls letters. There are so many lessons about the church, about Christian responsibility, about daily life as a Christian in this letter. As we begin let us observe that at Philippi was for Paul a Church of Friends. The intimacy he felt for them we may feel as we read this tender letter.
I. PAUL AND TIMOTHY SLAVES OF JESUS
A. Lets begin with relationship of Paul and Timothy
1. began in Acts 16:1-3a ... Timothy, a fine young disciple
2. 1 Tim 1:2 a close relationship
3. I note that Paul does not make an inferior of the younger man ... here, he writes of them as equals before Jesus
B. But they are the slaves of Jesus Christ
1. he does not begin with an affirmation of apostleship these people knew him well; would receive the letter gladly; no authoritative beginning necessary
2. slaves ... a strong sentiment
a. most in Philippi were free men (note Acts 16:38) - in this very Roman city freedom highly valued ... yet, here are these prominent disciples as slaves ... emphasize:
b. absolute possession of Christ 1 Cor 6:20
c. absolute obedience to Christ Ps 40:8
d. the title of privilege ... servant referred to Gods great heroes of the O.T. (Josh 1:2)
e. to be the slave of Christ is the way of perfect freedom (Rom 6:18-22 and Jno 8:36)
3. of Jesus in humility he directs attention to Jesus
II. THE RECIPIENTS SAINTS IN JESUS
A. saints ... what a marvelous word
1. unfortunately, it has developed meanings not intended
2. the church does not make saints
3. who or what are saints?
a. all Christians are saints - Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2
b. saints are those in Christ ... the term refers to a changed relationship (note Rom 6:3-5 and the union which takes place in baptism)
c. saints are different from others - Eph 5:3 concern for behaving in a way that becometh saints (Phil 1:27)
B. Who are some of these saints so well known to wirter?
1. Lydia - a merchant princess, Jew, upper class
2. slave girl - Greek, nonperson, lower class
3. jailer - Roman, middle class, among foundation of Philippian society
C. A point to consider: the gospel is for all
1. church at Philippi was a total mixture
2. Col 3:10,11 a fact profoundly seen in Philippi
3. people - all people - need to be included in our concern, our ministering ... are we as careful in our concern for the needs and souls as we should be?
III. THE MATURITY OF THIS CHURCH?
A. The key to our knowing --- bishops and deacons
1. these friends and saints had grown spiritually
2. keep in mind, too, that this church is not one with large core of well prepared Jews our Philippian brethren had pagan backgrounds
B. Too, this church shows the pattern of organization
1. plurality of elders and deacons in each church
2. departures from that pattern followed so quickly thus, the falling away
CLOSE: Two things I hope we will remember as we begin to know the Philippian church: we are all the bond servants of Jesus Christ, and we are all saints in Jesus Christ. Ours is a life of service growing out of a special relationship.
Cecil A. Hutson
07 November 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)