The Most Wonderful Greeting
This is a wonderful welcome since it shows the theme of grace. These things that we've been discussing are works of God's grace—joy, unity, partnership, conversions, new churches, generosity, and such. By God's grace we become Christians, servants of Jesus, and it's by God's grace that we enjoy out Christian life. The expressions "of Christ," "in Christ," and "from God" all feature God's work in joining/uniting us to Jesus. Notice three confirmations of grace in this little welcome.
To begin with, grace is shown in the existence of the senders of the letter: Paul and Timothy (1:1a). Paul had been a Jew who loathed Christians. In any case, at that point he met Jesus. Did he deserve this? No. It was grace. He clarifies his great transformation in Philippians 3:1-11. He clarifies how he was a religious individual, yet he was unable and couldn’t earn righteousness. Righteousness was given to him simply by faith in Christ. It was a gift. Thus, he was changed. What might be said about Timothy? His mom was Jewish, and his dad was a Greek. He turned into a Christian by God's grace. He heard the gospel, believed and believed. He had been changed by grace. These two men were currently "slaves of Christ Jesus." There's humility here. They don't speak anything about their titles except to say they are servants of Jesus. What might be said about you? What's your story? Is it true that you are a Christian? Do you think Christianity is tied in with being religious? It's most certainly not. It's about Christ. It’s about trusting that Jesus Christ has lived the life we couldn’t live and then died the death we should have died. It's tied in with accepting Jesus as your Savior, Lord, and Treasure. You can do that at this point. Lydia heard and believed (Acts 16). Timothy heard and believed. Will you believe?
Second, grace is shown in the recipients of the letter: the Philippians (1:1b). Paul calls them "saints." How did they become saints? Was it by performing religious customs? No! It wasn't a direct result of their conduct and behavior. Grace qualifies the unqualified. They became saints when they changed positions. They were once in Adam, yet through faith in the gospel message they became "in Christ" new creations. Are you in Christ? That is not quite the same as being in a congregation building. You might be in a worship service yet not in Christ. If you’re in Christ, then you have every spiritual blessing. Further, a portion of the Philippian Christians even became " overseers and deacons." What about that? Recall how the congregation began? A business woman (Lydia, a slave young lady, a jailer, and some different proselytes (converts). Furthermore, presently, some of them were now Christian leaders (Syntyche and Euodia). Isn't so surprising? At times when I am making rounds I get asked, "So what do you do?" When I reveal to them, I'm a Pastor, their jaws drop. Clearly, I don't resemble a Pastor or Minister of the Gospel. I'm certain a portion of these Philippians were really amazed that they were called leaders. “Grace qualifies us and therefore let us “ "Continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His purpose." Phil 2:12-23. Stay blessed.
At last, grace is shown in this Trinitarian blessing (1:2). Paul helps us to remember the wellspring of grace and harmony! Where do grace and harmony come from? They come from our Triune God. Paul specifies the Father and the Son, the Lord Jesus, however we realize that such grace and harmony get through the Holy Spirit's work in our souls. Peter calls God "the God of all grace" (1 Pet 5:10), and certainly so, He is the God of all grace. We have obtained grace from the Father, grace from the Son, and grace from the Spirit. Therefore, we have peace. We have rest. We have blessing. Out of this position, and out of this blessing, we are called to live a mission-oriented life of holiness. By grace, we are servants of Jesus and God's saints. Bless His holy name! In the first century one could be murdered for saying Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord. However this is what Christians did. How could it be that these ordinary people turned the world upside down? Is Jesus your King? Paul proceeds to say that you will either bow the knee to Jesus now or do so later, when it's past the point of no return (Phil 2:5-11). Scripture entreats you: bow to the King now. Stay blessed.
Below are some questions that I would like to pause based on the few scriptures that we have learned from the book of Philippians for the past Month:
1. Based on the scriptures that have referenced in Acts 16 (Paul’s first missionary journey to Macedonia-Philippi) and introduction in the book of Philippians 1:1-18; What do you find most encouraging in that chapter? What do you find most challenging? You can Go back and read Acts 16:6-40 and Philippians 1:1-18.
2. What encouragement can you find in Acts 16?
3. What are some common themes in Philippians 1:1-18? Which theme strikes you as being especially relevant for your life from what we have learned so far?
4. How did you benefit from the applicable lessons that we have studied or learned from the book of Philippians? Praise the Lord, yesterday we learned about applying emotional intelligence in our lives, relationships, jobs and etc. What can we learn about church planting from Acts 16?
5. What do you find encouraging about Paul’s greeting (1:1-2)? Stop and pray for the Lord to open up your heart and your eyes to behold wonderful things from this study.
6. What are some of the differences between a “partner in the gospel” and a casual attender on Sunday?