Sunday, November 27, 2016

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 2: Thanksgiving and Prayer

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 2:
Thanksgiving and Prayer
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.


Today we look at Paul’s Thanksgiving (or being grateful) and his prayer for the church in Phillipi.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 1:3-11
 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

a. In all my prayers for ALL of you
                                                                                                               i. I always pray with joy

                                                                                                            ii. Because of your partnership in the Gospel from Day 1 until now

                                                                                                         iii. And I am confident in this;

b. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion
                                                                                                               i. Until the Day of Christ Jesus

c. Why was this statement important?
                                                                                                               i. Division in the church over false doctrine of “instant perfection” as opposed to the true doctrine of Gradual Work of Holy Spirit.

1. This false doctrine is dangerous (as all false doctrines)

2. If you teach people are instantly perfect when they come to the Lord, and they are not, this proves 1 of two things to new converts.
a. The whole “God-thing” is not true

b. I am not worthy enough for God so why try

                                                                                                            ii. Dissension in unity of Body between two women

1. Paul writes, when there is no unity in the Body, God cannot use you.

a. It is right for me to feel this way about ALL of you
                                                                                                               i. Again and again Paul uses the term “ALL of you”, to imply there is no true division in the body, only dissension, pride or arrogance that needs to be dealt with.

                                                                                                            ii. In the case of False Doctrine, correction can be made through scripture

                                                                                                         iii. In the case where people are the problem, correction must be made on an individual level
1. i.e. examining yourself

2. casting down imaginations exalting against Christ as the Head
a. pride
b. arrogance
c. selfishness
d. self-centeredness
e. hate
f. Unforgiveness
g. Envy
h. Etc..

b. Whether in chains, defending or confirming the Gospel
                                                                                                               i. ALL of you share in God’s grace with me
1. Paul thanking the church for their financial support, and their continual generosity

2. Paul states that those who give to the church get to share in what the church accomplishes, even if they are not the ones preaching.

3. i.e. our website 20,000+ visitors
4. our website – 398,000+ views
5. our church website – thousands of visitors
6. our facebook page – followers and shares
7. our twitter – followers and shares
8. Google+ followers and shares
9. And every Sunday service
10. Every Bible Study
11. Every Seminary student who graduates
a. This little church has effected about half a million people DIRECTLY!

b. Whose lives have they touched??

c. God knows how I long for ALL of you
                                                                                                               i. With the affection of Christ Jesus

                                                                                                            ii. LIT. God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
1. What was Christ Jesus’ affection?
a. A deep longing INSIDE

b. The way Christ longs for people to have salvation

c. What would stop Jesus? Nothing

d. What would stop Paul? Nothing as well

a. That your love may abound more and more in
                                                                                                               i. Knowledge
1. Meaning they educate themselves on what love IS
a. I Corinthians 13
                                                                                                            ii. And depth of insight
1. Come to a full understanding of the knowledge so they could apply it

2. Therefore squashing dissensions

3. Preventing division

4. Ending senseless feuds

5. How? Because these things come about because people are not ACTING in love

6. Paul’s hope was they would educate themselves on what love is, then come to an understanding so that they would treat each other the way they were supposed to.

7. Remember, Paul’s overall message to the Philippian church is “Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

                                                                                                         iii. So Paul prays their love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…

b. So that you may be able to discern what is best
                                                                                                               i. And therefore be pure and blameless for the Day of Christ
                                                                                                            ii. What is best? UNITY in the Body of Christ
                                                                                                         iii. What is best? Without unity God cannot use us

c. Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ
                                                                                                               i. To the glory and praise of God

                                                                                                            ii. This discernment comes from the Holy Spirit, it is a fruit of Righteousness

                                                                                                         iii. Not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ when we submit to Him and the will of God.

CONCLUSION – thanksgiving and prayer for this thanksgiving

Paul brings the sense of unity in the church by addressing them as “ALL” repeatedly.

He addresses the error of false doctrine of instant perfection by stating he is confident that Christ who BEGAN and work would continue it until PERFECTION on the Day of Christ.

And with issues between congregation members not getting along, he brings into the equation, a prayer for true knowledge of love, and the depth of insight on how to apply that knowledge to our lives to keep peace and unity among the Body of Christ at all costs, so we can be used by God for the Kingdom.

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