Study Notes

Philippians 1:3-11


As you recall from last week's study, Paul is writing to the church in Philippi - a church which he had founded by simply going to that city and preaching the gospel.

1:3-5 Always Offering Prayer

Paul was a man who prayed a lot. And he prayed in so many ways - making intercession by praying for the needs of others, praying about his own life and circumstances, praying in the Spirit when he worshiped. He instructed the Thessalonian church to

1Ths. 5:17 pray without ceasing

When you start, you really never run out of things to talk to the Lord about. Sure, your list of needs might only take ten minutes, but there's so much that other people are in need of. And then of course there is the worship and adoration that we should be giving to the Lord in prayer. But even if you've prayed for a couple of hours, and finally run out of everything you can think of, there is still the opportunity to give thanks to God for every Christian that you know.

Paul says here that every time he remembers the Philippians, he thanks God. You recall from our last study the events of Acts 16. Of how entire families had been saved. Of how God had done such a work in people's hearts there in Philippi. Paul had to give thanks every time he thought back to that trip and to those people.

Koinonia In The Gospel

He says that every time he prays for them, he has joy in his prayer because of their "participation in the gospel." The Greek word rendered "participation" here is probably familiar to many of you. It is "koy-nohn-EE-ah."

"Koy-nohn-EE-ah" is intimate fellowship. It is when we get beyond the surface layer of a small talk, bypassing conversations about news, our

cars, our latest home improvement projects. It is getting to the heart and sharing our lives with one another in Christ. Sharing with each other about what God's doing in our lives, what He's showing us, how He's leading us. We connect with one another as we tell what we're learning in the Scriptures, about what we're convicted in, and what we're encouraged by. It is the level of communication that says, "Forget talking about football and the weather - tell me your testimony, about when you were born again!"

The power of the early church was partly founded on this intimate fellowship. Luke tells us that they were...

Acts 2:42 ...continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

This was the foundation of the first century church. They were in the Word, in prayer, having communion, and experiencing that koy-nohn-EE-ah with each other.

But that fellowship wasn't just with one another - it was with the gospel itself. They were intimate with the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ. They had been building their Christian faith from the first day they heard. It was an integral part of their lives. It was thier participation in, thier fellowship with, the gospel that made Paul so happy every time he prayed.

1:6 The Good Work Perfected In You

Paul could tell by what was happening in their lives that they were truly saved. That the gospel had a real impact on them. They were changed people, and getting better all the time.

It is encouraging to lead someone to Christ and watch them grow. You see old sin habits dropping off, an excitement for the Bible and the things of God. You observe them becoming more and more like Jesus as the weeks and months and years pass.

No wonder Paul has so much joy over the Philippians! As I look around the sanctuary each week, I am so blessed when I see people that God is perfecting. I see people that came out of oppressive religious systems, and now they are flourishing in freedom. I see those that were addicted to drugs and alchol who would now never even consider going back to that lifestyle. I see people that were angry and abusive now walking in gentleness and joy. Others who were addicted that have now been set free. I see people whose faces were hardened by the bitterness of sin who now have a new heart - many of them look like completely different people! Lives are being transformed.

Paul told the Corinthians of this, about how as we behold the Lord's image, we all...

2Cor. 3:18 ...are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory...

It is continuous transformation that happens as we see the Lord working in our lives, perfecting us from the inside by His Spirit.

1:7-8 I Have You In My Heart

Paul loved these people so much. His heart could have just burst with his affection for them. It wasn't that these Philippians were more likable than other people. It wasn't because they were more friendly than others, or had more of the same interests that Paul had. It was simply because they were Christian. They were partakers of grace, just like Paul was. That was their common bond, the unity that they had.

When you have Christ in common, you don't need to be the same age, come from the same background, or enjoy the same things. Before I was saved, I chose friends that listened to the same bands, moved in the same circles, took the same drugs. But now, my new heart has room to love so many people. I love to sit and chat with the seniors about the long lives that the've lived with Christ. I love to color with the young children and have them tell me when they asked Jesus into their heart. I love to talk with the teenagers about what God is showing them for their lives.

Every partaker of grace should have a place in your heart.

And you don't have to muster it up - God does the work as you walk with Him. I cannot explain the supernatural love He has given me for Christians. It is certainly nothing that I can fake, and nothing I have done to create. It is God working supernaturally in me.

I was sitting in a pastors' prayer meeting last Tuesday morning, and I was just overwhelmed with love for these guys as we prayed. There was a Presbyterian pastor, and Evangelical Free pastor, a pastor of a seeker-sensitive church, a charismatic guy, and a Baptist. Each of us has a different doctrinal slant, and a completely different philosophy of ministry. And even though I don't necessarily agree with things that these guys would focus on in their churches, I just love them all. I consider them my friends, with whom I have great koy-nohn-EE-ah with.

Do you have love like this for other Christians? Is your heart bursting at the seams for people who are partakers of grace?

Or do you judge them? Do you merely tolerate them? Do you look down on them?" That does not make you a spiritual Christian. The apostle John wrote,

1John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Let God love people through you. If there are things that are preventing that, follow the instructions of Ephesians 4...

Eph. 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

It's time for all of us to open up and let that love flow through us,

having tender hearts towards each other, being forgiving, and truly loving each other.

You All

Another thing I'd like to point out, in case you haven't noticed yet, is that Paul has said, "you all" three times in these last five verses. He prayed for ALL of them (v. 4), he had ALL of them in his heart (v. 7), and he longed for ALL of them (v. 8). He didn't just love certain ones, didn't just pray for some, didn't think, "If I come back to that church, I hope THAT PERSON isn't there."

As you think about our church here, the people in it, do you have that same view as Paul? Or do you come to one service, because you know THEY will be at the other one? Do you skip the potluck, the church picnic, or the home fellowship because you don't want to be around THEM? I can tell you with all honesty, if that is your perspective, then they are not the problem. Your heart is the problem.

1:9-11 Praying For Abounding Love

In spite of how much they loved God and one another, Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love would just keep increasing.

And he wanted it to abound not only in quanity and intensity, but in real knowledge and all discernment. He wanted them to keep maturing, to understand what was righteous and pure for them as Christians to be involved in. They weren't perfect yet, and Paul prayed that God would keep on perfecting them.

His desire for them was that they would be blameless in the day of Christ. You see, someday we're each going to appear before God. On that day, we will go through a judgment. Not a judgment of heaven or hell, but what we did with Christ in our lives.

Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 3:12-15 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is {to be} revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.

How have you been building since you became a Christian? Will you be sincere and blameless in the day of Christ? Have you been filled with the fruit of rigteousness that comes from Christ? Give your entire life over to Jesus today.

Jude 24 Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy

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