Intro: Sermon series through Paul's letter to Philippians. Why Philippians?
Reasons: More than any of Paul's other letters, Philippians encourages church to
rejoice. Need to hear! Also, Philippians is a deeply personal letter between friends.
Within that friendly context, Paul deals with the topic of church unity in this
letter. Need to learn how to develop deep friendships within our church, to be a
united church; need to learn how to work together in a united way. Philippians also
shows how the Gospel helps us deal with suffering, disappointment. Another relevant
issue! Let's dive in! (Read Philippians 1:1-2.)
The Authors! (Read Philippians 1:1a.) Who was Paul? (Read Philippians 3:4-6; Summarize Acts 9.) Also, Timothy, probably serving as Paul's
secretary. Who was Timothy? (Read Acts 16:1-3.) What brought these two different people together?
Hint in Philippians 1:1: Both servants/slaves of Jesus Christ! But
that's a result, not a cause! What caused them to become slaves of Jesus? What brought
these two different people together?
The Audience! (Read Philippians 1:1b.) Paul greets the church in the city of
Philippi. What should we know about Philippi? City in Macedonia, (think modern-day
Greece!) In mid-first century AD, a history of solid political allegiance to the
Roman government. Located on a fertile plain, near a mountain that had many minerals,
including gold. It was a politically significant and prosperous city. How did a
church get established there? (Summarize Acts 16.) A wealthy Jewish woman and her household. A desperate
pagan jailer and his household. What brought these different people together?
Hint in Philippians 1:1: All saints, "set apart/holy ones!" But
again, that's a result, not a cause! What caused them to become saints in Christ
Jesus? What brought them together in the first place?
The "All Together Now!" (Read Philippians 1:1b.) Paul does includes an unique element
in his greeting. Mentions church's overseers and deacons. Overseers? (Bishops, elders.)
Deacons? (Servants, helpers.) Why does Paul specifically mention them? To gently
remind them that they are part of the same church as everyone else! (Reread v.1!)
Sometimes division in a church between church leadership, everyone else. One of
Paul's desires for Philippi is church unity, including within the leadership. Overseers.
Deacons. Everyone else. What brings these different groups within the church together?
Again, all saints, "the set apart/holy ones." Result, not a cause! What brought
Paul and Timothy to be together as slaves of Jesus? What brought the different groups
within the Philippian church together? Answer's in v. 2!
The Answer! (Read Philippians 1:2.) May miss importance of Paul's statement,
b/c we treat greetings casually. Paul's greetings always include important themes
which he unpacks later in his letter. Paul's greeting is a prayer: may you experience
God's grace & peace!
Focus on "peace." Means "wholeness and well-being." Encompasses all aspects of life:
spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational! Paul's prayer is that whole
church will be brought together, will be at peace, as individuals, and as a group.
Original question: What brought the different people and groups within the Philippian
church together? Because of v. 2, let's rephrase question: What caused the different
people and groups within the Philippian church to experience wholeness, well-being,
Look at v. 2 again: "Grace to you-and peace..." Order never changes in letters.
Grace always precedes peace. Why? B/c Paul knows grace causes peace! At last; answer
to question! What brought the different peoples and groups within the Philippian
church to experience peace? God's grace! Peace is the result of God's grace!
What is grace? To answer that question, must ask: Why should God let you into heaven?
How can we gain a smile from God? Nothing we can do! Enemies, sinners, rebels against
God! (Read Philippians 3:18-19.) So where does grace come from? "God
the Father and Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:2) Motivated entirely by God's own loving
will; Father, Son, Holy Spirit worked together to show grace to sinners. (Read Philippians 2:6-8.) Did we deserve grace? Certainly not!
Grace is God's undeserved favor? Do we need grace? Desperately! Jesus shed His blood
to bring peace between God and humans. That same grace brings His people together,
enables us to live in actual, honest peace, kneeling humbly at the foot of His cross.
(Read John 12:32.) What brought the different people and groups within
the Philippian church together? God's entirely undeserved, humbling, amazing grace!
Peace is the result of God's grace!