Philippians: Christ Centered
Lesson 2 Christ Our Life - Philippians 1:1-26
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Who was the letter from?
Paul and Timothy, who may have acted as his amanuensis.
How did Paul describe himself and Timothy?
As servants (Grk Douloi) This word literally meant bond-servant, a slave who had chosen to be bound to a master.
Who was the letter to?
The saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi.
What is a saint?
From the Greek word hagios which meant sanctified one, one separated and set apart.
In what way are we also servants and saints to Jesus Christ?
We are also purchased slaves bound to our Lord, bought by his death for us.
We are also saints because we are set apart, separated to serve God and also separated from this world and its sin.
Paul’s greeting combines an Old and a New Testament greeting in this salutation. What are the two greetings?
Peace in the OT and to Jews today is Shalom. It means more than just no hostility, it means completeness and harmony both between God and myself and in my self. Grace is the word charis, the undeserved, unmerited love and mercy of God.
Why do you think Paul added these two words together in his greeting?
Perhaps to show the unity of both Jew and Gentile in the church of Jesus Christ, through the Gospel.
Prayer and Thanksgiving 1:3-11
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
In the chart record Paul’s prayer by the words he uses writing about it.
Attitude toward God
Attitude toward Philippi
Upon every remembrance
In every prayer
Have you in my heart
you are partakers of my grace
I long after you
your love may abound more and more in knowledge and in judgment
you may approve excellent things
be sincere and without offence
filled with the fruits of righteousness unto the glory and praise of God
What can I learn from Paul about prayer in this passage?
It should be spontaneous, it should be specific, my attitude should be in accord with who I am praying to, not the circumstance I am in. My requests should be for higher and greater things, eternal and spiritual things more than the physical things I am often praying for. It should focus on Christ.
Warren Wiersbe in his Bible Exposition Commentary of Philippians had this outline for the opening passage of the book.
1:3-6 I have you in my mind (every remembrance)
1:7-8 I have you in my heart (I have you in my heart)
1:9-11 I have you in my prayers (this I pray, that ye may be)
Paul and the Power of the Gospel 1:12-26
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Vs. 1-12 From this passage, what do you think the Philippians were concerned about when they wrote to Paul?
Paul’s imprisonment. Would the gospel continue if Paul was killed or left in prison? they wondered.
In verses 13 and 14 Paul mentions two ways that his imprisonment had advanced the Gospel. What are they?
Paul’s bonds are seen in the palace (he had gained a reputation among the soldiers) and many other brethren are braver to preach without fear.
Vss. 15- 17 What were the motives of those now bolder to preach?
One of love for Paul, one of contention against Paul.
Vs. 18 What was Paul’s attitude toward this situation? Why?
Rejoicing now and in the future. Because, for whatever the motivation, the word of Christ was being preached.
Vss. 19-20 What was Paul’s belief concerning his circumstances in prison?
That it would result in his salvation (deliverance) through their prayers and the supply of the Holy Spirit. That Jesus would be magnified, either by his death or by his life.
Vs. 20. What did Paul hope would be the end result of this imprisonment?
That he would not be ashamed, and that in boldness Christ would be magnified in his physical suffering.
Vs. 21. It is easy to understand who Paul’s life, wherever he was or whatever he was doing, would show Christ, but what does he mean by to die is gain?
It would his own gain, for he would be with Jesus.
Vs. 22 Paul’s struggle to make the right choice is seen in the construction of this sentence. His struggle seems to come through in his words. What is the thought he was conveying?
If, however (it is granted to me) to live in the flesh, this (will result in) fruitful labor for me. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Vs 23 What was Paul’s own personal desire at this stage of his life?
To depart (ἀναλύω, an-a-luo) and be with the Lord. This word originally was used for a soldier breaking camp or a ship weighing anchor and setting sail.
Vs. 23-24. What was the deciding factor in bring Paul to a decision of staying and continuing in the work, when his desire was to go home to be with Jesus?
He chose what was best for those others, that he had given the Gospel to, rather than his own desire.
Vs. 25 What did Paul say was the final outcome of his being in prison, the work of the Gospel and his prayed for release?
The Philippians would grow spiritually. The word “furtherance” has the meaning of a pioneer advancing into the wilderness by cutting his way through untracked territory.
Vs. 26 What was Paul’s final encouragement for the Philippians in regard to his dilemma?
That they would rejoice even more in Jesus because Paul would see them again.
In just the opening verses of this we learn so much about what it means to have Christ as our life. It means we pray differently, with spiritual and eternal requests. We share a deep, abiding and intimate spiritual bond with our family in Christ, and we make our choices based upon the understanding that “For me to live is Christ.”
We choose to serve Christ who gave his life for ours and we choose to serve others that those he died for may grow and know the joy of faith in Him.