"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
Paul's Thanksgiving For The Philippians (Ph 1:3-8)
1. In the last study we examined the salutation of Paul and Timothy to
the brethren at Philippi (Ph 1:1-2)
2. As is quite common in Paul's epistles, an expression of thanksgiving
follows the salutation
3. In this epistle to the Philippians, we find Paul's thanksgiving in
verses 3-8, where we begin to look into "the window of Paul's own
[As we examine this passage, three things stand out, the first being
that Paul is...]
I. THANKFUL FOR THEIR FELLOWSHIP (Ph 1:3-5)
A. THE MEMORIES OF THEIR FELLOWSHIP WAS A SOURCE OF GREAT JOY...
1. Every time he remembered them, it made him glad!
2. The memories were a source of frequent joy, because every
time he prayed, he included them
a. Here we get a glimpse into the prayer life of the apostle
b. It evidently included frequent prayers for those with whom he
had labored in the past - cf. Col 1:3; 1 Th 1:2
3. The joyful memories were the result of sharing together in the
work of the gospel
a. "From the first day..."
1) From the day that Lydia opened her home to him
2) As recorded in Acts 16:15
b. "...until now."
1) This would include the "giving and receiving" when he
first left Macedonia, and also in Thessalonica - Ph 4:15-16
2) And now that he is in Rome, with the gift sent to him by
Epaphroditus - Ph 4:18
B. THIS ILLUSTRATES THE BLESSING OF "PLEASANT MEMORIES", AND THE
"FELLOWSHIP" THAT CREATES THEM...
1. Pleasant memories are a blessing in difficult times...
a. Despite imprisonment, Paul could pray with joyful
thanksgiving as he remembered the Philippians
b. As one person put it: "God gave us memory so that we might
have roses in December."
2. But memory can be a curse instead of a blessing!
a. If we have spent our lives in sin and have troubled those
around us, memory can be a curse!
b. As someone said: "Most people live the first half of their
life making the second half of their life miserable!"
c. For memories to be a blessing to us, we must be a blessing to
3. The sort of fellowship experienced between Paul and the
Philippians creates the most precious memories!
a. Fellowship in the gospel of Christ!
b. Sharing together in spreading the Word, either directly by
teaching or indirectly by supporting those who teach
[How comforting it must have been for Paul, though experiencing
imprisonment, to be able to look back upon his relationship with the
Philippians with such joyful memories!
What kind of memories are we creating today? It will affect the kind
of future we have!
As Paul continues his expression of thanksgiving, he writes that he
II. CONFIDENT GOD WILL COMPLETE HIS WORK IN THEM (Ph 1:6-7)
A. THE BASIS FOR SUCH CONFIDENCE...
1. Certainly it involves the faithfulness of God Himself, as
expressed throughout the Scriptures
a. E.g., in helping us to handle temptations - 1 Cor 10:13
b. E.g., in providing forgiveness when we succumb to temptations
- 1 Jn 1:9
2. But Paul also took into consideration the faithfulness of the
a. They were willing to share in his chains - cf. Ph 2:29-30
b. They were willing to share in the defense and confirmation of
the gospel (through their support of Paul)
c. As such, they were sharing together in the grace of God!
B. THIS PASSAGE SHOULD REMIND US THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE IN OUR GROWTH
1. That God "began a good work" in our conversion, a work that
a. His providence, in giving us an opportunity to hear the
gospel - Ti 2:11
b. His regeneration, when we responded to the commands of the
gospel - Ti 3:4-7
2. As we continue to "work out our own salvation", God is right
there with us:
a. Certainly we must cooperate with God - Ph 2:12
b. But God is truly at work within us! - Ph 2:13
c. And He provides whatever help we need - Ph 4:13
3. This Divine Help will be with us "until the day of Jesus Christ"
a. The "Day" when Christ comes to be glorified - 2 Th 1:10
b. The same "Day" we will be glorified with Him, by virtue of
God's goodness and work in conjunction with our faith - 2 Th 1:11-12
[With such help as the basis of our confidence, as long as we are
faithful and partakers of God's grace, He will complete His work in us!
(but note carefully Heb 3:12-14).
Finally, we notice in this thanksgiving of Paul...]
III. HIS DEEP LONGING FOR THEM (Ph 1:8)
A. IN EXPRESSING THE DEPTH OF HIS AFFECTION FOR THEM...
1. He calls upon God as a witness!
a. He Who knows the hearts of all men
b. And certainly Who knows the heart of Paul!
2. He describes it as the "affection of Jesus Christ"!
a. I.e., the same sort of love Jesus has toward us
b. Even as Jesus commanded His disciples, to love one another as
He loved us - Jn 13:34
B. THIS SORT OF LOVE SHOULD CHARACTERIZE ALL DISCIPLES...
1. This is how the world will know that we are truly the disciples
of Jesus - Jn 13:35
2. Such love comes only by being taught by God - cf. 1 Th 4:9-10
3. And how does He teach us? Through the example of His Own Son!
- 1 Jn 3:16
1. How close Paul must have felt toward the brethren at Philippi!
2. And this is understandable, because it was the pleasant memories of
their fellowship in the gospel of Christ that gave Paul such joy and
confidence in the well-being of the Philippians
3. Note how all these things relate together:
a. Joy and confidence comes from pleasant memories
b. Pleasant memories come from fellowship in the gospel of Christ
4. If we lack the joy and confidence we desire, the key is to create
pleasant memories by sharing with other workers in the spread of the
a. Has God begun a good work in you? (via your obedience to the
b. Will He complete it until the day of Jesus Christ? (via your
faithful service to the Lord?)
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