INTRO: In Acts 16:9 we are told that in Troas the apostle Paul saw, in a vision, a Macedonian man saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. I wonder what he expected to find when he arrived in Europe to preach the gospel there for the first time? From the port city of Neapolis he and his companions traveled the short distance to the city of Philippi. The text indicates that there was no welcoming party awaiting him. In fact, they were abiding there certain days. As the story of Philippi developed, I think I would say it was not a particularly auspicious beginning. Yet, one cannot read the little book of Philippians without knowing that this was a very strong and good church. What might we select as highlights here?
I. A CONGREGATION WITH SCRIPTURAL ORGANIZATION - 1:1
A. There are significant words here: servants, saints, bishops, deacons
1. servants is the word for slave - a word often used by Paul
2. saints comes from the word for holy - consecrated to Gods service
3. all Christians are both servants and saints!
B. Bishops and deacons speak of specific organization of congregation
1. Acts 14:23 & Acts 20:17,28 - note the importance of organization
2. 1 Tim 3:1,8 - men must be scripturally qualified for both offices
3. scriptural organization involving scripturally qualified men is a must if the church is to be protected, advancing, meeting needs
II. THE GOSPEL CAN REACH INTO UNEXPECTED PLACES - 1:12,13
A. As a prisoner of Rome and in Rome, Paul still proclaims the gospel
1. he is a prisoner because he proclaimed the gospel ... the Christ
2. but he is most assuredly not a silenced prisoner
3. Phil 1:20 - his desire is Christ shall be magnified
B. But v. 13 tells us that the gospel is spreading to the praetorian guard
1. now, the praetorian guard was the elite military unit guarding Caesar
2. these were men loyal to Rome, to their duty
3. but the gospel message knows no social, economic, geographic limits!
III. A WONDERFUL LOOK AT JESUS - 2:5-11
A. Some great affirmations about Him?
1. He was/is equal with God - Jno 1:1
2. He was willing to leave heaven in behalf of humanity - Jno 1:14
3. He was willing to die a criminals death to save us - Jno 10:17,18
B. But there is a challenge here ... His mind in us!
1. His disposition is in made himself of no reputation, servant, humbled, obedient
2. and this disposition must be in us if we are to be true saints
3. only with this disposition can the hope of Phil 2:2 be realized among us
IV. WHATS IMPORTANT? WHATS NOT IMPORTANT? - 3:4-8
A. From persecutor to persecuted
1. Paul had been a man whom the religious establishment of his nation and culture considered of impeccable credentials
2. he refers to what things were gain to me - he had reveled in this praise
3. but all of those things once considered to important were just refuse - his only interest? That I may win Christ
B. I have a strong suspicion most of us struggle with whats important
1. when all of life is over, whats important is at 3:11
2. all of your decisions must be made in view of winning Christ - your schooling, your occupation, your marriage, your entertainment, etc.
3. how willing are we to give up things many consider to be very important or attractive in order to be truly saints?
V. A CHURCH THAT CARED FOR MISSIONARIES - 4:10-16
A. This church supported missionary preachers!
1. Phil 4:15,16 - their support was apparently not short termed
2. and they must have been the only church which did provide support
3. for some reason their support was interrupted for a time - but whatever had hindered their support was overcome ... and it flourished again
B. We cannot, must not forget the mission statement - Mt 28:19,20
1. most of us (as far as foreign evangelism is concerned) are givers
2. and we must not let those men on foreign fields be neglected in $$$
3. I often come back in my thinking to Phil 4:18 which tells me that the money we send to preach the word is a sacrifice of sweet smell which is well pleasing to God!
CLOSE: The letter to the Philippian church is very different from all the other letters of the apostle Paul. A very large part of the difference is, I think, in the sentiment of 4:1. These were Pauls dearly beloved friends in Christ! Everything, therefore, was very, very personal.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 November 2003
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)