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Presentation 04. The Structure of the Book Opening and introduction 1:1-2 Paul and the Philippian Church 1:3-26 Exhortation and Examples 1:27-2:30 Three.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 04. The Structure of the Book Opening and introduction 1:1-2 Paul and the Philippian Church 1:3-26 Exhortation and Examples 1:27-2:30 Three."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 04

2 The Structure of the Book Opening and introduction 1:1-2 Paul and the Philippian Church 1:3-26 Exhortation and Examples 1:27-2:30 Three qualities to develop An Exhortation to Courage 1:29-30 A plea for Unity : the main problem addressed The mind of Christ 2:5-11 The outworking of God’s deposit 2:12-18 Warnings 3:1-4:1 Encouragement Gratitude and Final Greetings 4: 2-23 Presentation 04

3 Illustration: from Shakespeare's play Henry V. [C15 th ] As a young man prince Henry lived recklessly. His friends were town drunkards. One day his dying father sent for him and told him he would be the next king of England. Henry is shocked and said of the crown, "You won it, wore it, kept it and gave it to me". Henry vows that his new status will be reflected in his behaviour. From that day a great change took place in his life. He became one of the noblest kings of England. Similarly, Paul reminds us of our privileges, 'You have a crown that you don't deserve. Christ won it, wore it, and has given it to you’. Therefore as a member of the royal household, live worthy of your calling. In v27 Paul begins to motivate his readers. There’s a great difference between knowing Christian truths and living the Christian life. Paul wants his readers to recognise the ‘status’ God has conferred upon them and to live accordingly. Presentation 04

4 The daily conduct of the Philippians was not to be based upon whether or not Paul came to visit them v27… but by recognising their privilege. When special visitors come we can be on our best behaviour and say and do a whole variety of things in order to impress. Illustration: Some local authorities begin special clean-up operations only after they hear that the king or queen are coming to visit.... Consistency of Christian behaviour is not produced by asking, "Who is watching me?" but in asking, "Who am I ". Presentation 04

5 And to help them develop in a way that is worthy of their calling as citizens of another kingdom Paul encourages the development of 3 qualities. Steadfastness In v27 they are told to, "stand firm in one spirit". Paul is saying, 'hold your ground'. In an alien environment the one thing we need is tenacity: an ability to cling to Christ and his truth, a determination to stay loyal to him, to refuse to compromise. The inclination of our hearts may be to faintheartedness and our legs may turn to jelly in the face of opposition but God is able to make us stand. Rom.14.4 The Development of Three Qualities Presentation 04

6 Unity Secondly, they are to contend as ‘one man’. Nothing contributes to faintheartedness like disunity and divisiveness. It can undermine the moral and spiritual fibre of a fellowship. Satan was intent upon sowing the seeds of division in their midst. Paul ‘s expression ‘to contend as one man for the faith' uses a Greek word from which our English word 'athletics' comes. Originally it had to do with team wrestling. Competing teams would line up shoulder to shoulder. Victory was won not only by defeating the opponent immediately in front of you but by giving assistance and support to others in the team. Presentation 04

7 Fearlessness The third quality mentioned is 'fearlessness' v28 'without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you'. The word ‘frightened’ is very graphic. It describes the way in which a horse panics in a stressful situation. The Philippians had plenty of opponents. Paul was saying don’t shy away from them. This fearlessness is developed as only as our understanding of God’s power and rule in our world becomes clear. cf. Daniel's 3 friends; Dan Threatened with the fiery furnace they were really saying to the tyrant king, ‘You are not in charge God is, we are immortal until God calls us home’. Presentation 04

8 The fearlessness of the Philippians would we are told be a ‘sign’ to their enemies that they would be destroyed v28. This may be a reference to the great Roman spectacles in the Coliseum. At the end of gladiatorial combat the victor would stand over his opponent and await the sign or signal from the Roman emperor. Thumbs up meant spare your opponent, thumbs down meant put him to death. Two consequences follow a display of fearless consistent Christianity. First, it is to the wicked ‘a sign’ of their defeat and secondly, to the believer it is ‘a sign’ of his salvation. When the Christian stands firm under persecution the world cannot dismiss it as nothing. The failure of adversities to intimidate fearless believers is proof that God is carrying out his work. Think of the impact of the fearlessness of Maryam and Marzieh in Iran. This evidence of supernatural power will either harden hearts or melt them in repentance and faith. Presentation 04

9 The Cost of Christian Conduct The immediate consequence of this bold lifestyle is suffering v29... Suffering is the cost of high profile, consistent, non-compromising Christianity. A Christian banker in charge of a large High Street bank was told he was to encourage business by entertaining clients at the bank's expense. He was told to take them to various night-clubs and shows, and buy them expensive meals. The manager chose to disregard this new policy, for it conflicted with his Christian conscience. God blessed his stand and he saw his branch flourish more than all the other branches. However, his convictions so angered the bank’s chief executives that he was dismissed. That is part of Christian suffering. Presentation 04

10 The Cost of Christian Conduct Now Paul calls this kind of suffering a 'grace gift', that is the literal meaning of the word ‘granted’ in v29. This is important to grasp, God's gift of grace not only equips us to believe the gospel but to suffer for it. Our faith may be the means of laying hold of salvation but it is our suffering that produces spiritual muscle and equips us to be the sons and daughters of the king of kings. When Christians live a life of ease they get spiritually flabby but in difficult times they become strong! Illustration: When a tree is buffeted by a storm then it sends its roots down deep into the soil. Similarly, we too put down roots into Christ in the storms of life. Knowing this equips us to rejoice even in suffering. Presentation 04

11 The Structure of the Book Opening and introduction 1:1-2 Paul and the Philippian Church 1:3-26 Exhortation and Examples 1:27-2:30 Three qualities to develop An Exhortation to Courage 1:29-30 The main problem addressed The mind of Christ 2:5-11 The outworking of God’s deposit 2:12-18 Two worked examples 2:19-30 Warnings 3:1-4:1 Encouragement Gratitude and Final Greetings 4: 2-23 Presentation 04

12 In Ch. 2 Paul begins to address the problem. Martin Luther in his diagnosis of the human condition writes, "man's basic trouble was that he was turned in upon himself". It was this problem that seemed to be diminishing the fruitfulness and effectiveness at the church in Philippi. The purpose of the gospel is to turn men inside out, to re- orientate their lives so that they are not constantly putting themselves first. The Galatians are told to "bear one another's burden's and so fulfil the law of Christ" Gal.6.2. The Roman church is exhorted to, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves" Rom And again, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbour for his good to build him up." Rom Presentation 04

13 The problem at Philippi is identified in v3-4 for some, motivated by selfish ambition and vain conceit were looking after their own interests rather than the interests of others. The unity of the church was under threat as a result. Selfishness produces discord. Even in Rome from where Paul is writing selfishness is rife cf v21, "everyone looks out for his own interests and not those of Jesus Christ." Addressing the problem; 1.Paul reminds them of what they presently experience through their union with Christ. 2.He then identifies their danger. 3.He provides an incentive and cites a compelling example to help them escape from it. Presentation 04

14 Their Present Experience 1. Union with Christ When discord develops between one church member and another we need to remember that both are ‘united to Christ’ and therefore to one another. Both are part of the same body. Any damage inflicted is self destructive. Hands and teeth usually get on well together particularly if the belong to the same body. Hands have been known to punch teeth and teeth have been known to bite hands but not from the same body. But that is what happens when Christians fight each other. They bite their own hand and punch their own teeth because they are part of the same body. Presentation 04

15 Paul recognises that there is “encouragement from being united to Christ” v1. The word ‘encouragement’ contains the idea of someone standing with you to bring encouragement to you. If I speak only English and you understand only Farsi then we have a problem. The problem is overcome by the presence of a dear brother standing at my side who acts as interpreter. And that is a great encouragement to both of us. In the same way to be united to Christ means having a constant encourager at our side. Jesus encourages Christians, who have fallen out with one another to find solutions. He is not there to take the side of one over against another. He encourages us to be patient with each other. He encourages humility and sacrifice, peace and reconciliation. Our union with him not only provides a pattern to follow but an empowering to follow it. Presentation 04

16 The word ‘encouragement’ also contains the idea of "exhortation". Paul’s exhortation carries all the authority of Christ to which his readers are expected to respond. Let me illustrate: I've sometimes overheard one brother tell another to do something only to be met with the response "Why should I". Then the reply, "Because dad says so" is given. That usually gets them moving! Now it is something like that which Paul has in mind, "Promote unity by cutting the food supply that feeds your selfishness. Why? Because Jesus says so." “encouragement from being united to Christ” Presentation 04

17 2. Then Paul asks about the ‘comfort of love’. Any redeemed man or woman is a new person because of the love of God. Love lies at the root of our experience of salvation. Christians can quickly forget this particularly in the heat of their dispute with another. But when we remember God’s love in the moment of crisis, we realise how foolish it is to allow hostility to exist between ourselves and another Christian both of whose existence and survival is totally dependant upon God’s love. Presentation 04

18 “Comfort from his love” Let me give another illustration: An understanding wife knows if her husband comes home from the office, tired after a demanding day, irritated by busy traffic, hot because the car’s a/c broke down then, he’s one kind of man. But she also knows that a cold shower, a good meal and a little tender care will make a new man out of him. If experience of a wife’s loving comfort can change a husband’s outlook how much will our knowledge and experience of the sheer wonder of God’s love for us change do the same? It will soften rather than harden us. And that shift in temperament will communicates itself to the Christian we were upset with. Presentation 04

19 “Comfort from his love” But better still is the unconditional nature of Christ’s love. He has not said, "I will love you if you improve on those irksome aspects of your personality that make your character so repulsive". No! He loves us warts and all. What a comfort that is! Now having received such unconditional love we are expected to pass it on. Jesus said, "love one another as I have loved you" Jn Our love has to be patterned on his love. Paul knows that other Christians can sometimes be hard to get along with, they might be cantankerous, their personality might rub you up the wrong way. How easy it is to have a selfish disregard for such people. But our love is to be patterned on Jesus’ love. Presentation 04

20 3. Fellowship with the Spirit Now to be bound to Christ means we are united to and have fellowship with his Spirit. Now the Spirit of Christ is a humble Spirit. He is opposed to all that savours of selfishness and egotism. Just one example of the tension in this church fellowship is found in [4.2]. And Paul expects these two women and others in church to ask, ‘How then is it possible for the two of us who are indwelt by the same Spirit [who is opposed to selfishness] to fight with each other and so betray a proud, hard and unyielding heart?’ Presentation 04

21 If we are Christians we have ‘fellowship with the Spirit’. ‘Fellowship’ is a favourite church word. It can mean anything from coffee after church to an annual picnic. But it involves much more than socialising. The root meaning is ‘sharing, having something in common’. The Christians in Jerusalem had “all things in common”. They shared everything. Fellowship is one of the most beautiful privileges in Christian experience. It lifts a person out of his isolation and introduces him to a life of caring, sharing and ministering to one another’s needs. This is the relationship that the Holy Spirit has brought us into and not one where we fight with each other. Presentation 04

22 Instead of being influenced by the Spirit as thy ought, the believers at Philippi were influenced by another spirit. Cf v3.... The word translated "selfish ambition" carries the idea of ‘quarrelsomeness. And the word "vain conceit" contains the idea of having an ‘inflated opinion of oneself,’ of seeing oneself as the only one of any real importance. The only person with an opinion worth listening to. What a danger to God’s work. There was some rivalry between the two great C18 th evangelists, Wesley and Whitefield. Whitefield's supporters in the UK wanted him to start a church carrying his name. Their reason was that John Wesley’s supporters had such a church. Whitefield replied, Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of Jesus is advanced. Let us look above names and parties, let Christ be our all in all...I know my place even to be servant of all". Whitefield realised the great danger of selfish ambition and vain conceit in the work of Christ. Do we? Is our reputation, our honour, our opinion, our ideas more important to us that the cause of our Lord Jesus? Presentation 04


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