INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 4:1 – “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
The word “therefore” refers us back to Paul’s previous teachings on the many blessings awaiting the believer at the second coming of Christ (3:20-21). He will be using these eternal blessings that await God’s people as a motivating force to encourage them to “stand fast in the Lord”…
my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown,
As Paul addresses the believers in the church at Philippi, he describes them as:
1. my brethren – Paul and the Philippian believers were members of the same spiritual family.
2. dearly beloved – Paul loved them with a sacrificial love
3. longed for – Paul missed them and sincerely desired to be with them
4. my joy – They brought delight to Paul as he heard about them and thought about them
5. crown – Paul’s was rewarded for his faithfulness by hearing and seeing their obedience and service to Christ.
All of these titles show us that Paul loved and appreciated his dear Philippian friends. This helps to remind us that Paul was encouraging the Philippians from a heart of love only desiring the best for them.
so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
Paul encourages the believers to persevere in their service to Christ in the face of continuing opposition and danger. By remaining faithful they would probably face even greater hardships as their persecution would probably increase.
Why would Paul, one who loved them dearly, encourage them to take actions that would only increase their sufferings? It was because Paul understood that greater benefits lie in the spiritual blessings of obedience to Christ, then the temporal blessing of lesser opposition through compromise with the lost world.
Their faithfulness was a very important issue with Paul. He greatly desired to see them stand firm in their service to Christ in the midst of the persecutions they faced. This was so important to Paul that he had previously emphasized the need for continued faithfulness to them…
Php 1:27 – “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
Folks, are we continuing faithful in the face of the many trials and issues of life that take place? Keep in mind, not only does our faithfulness reap eternal rewards for us, but it also encourages other believers around us. All believers are members of the family of God, and as a family, our actions affect others in our family. We are not islands to ourselves whose actions only affect ourselves.
Tit 2:7-8 – “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
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