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Wednesday in the Word                                                                                            Minister Joseph Williams

Philippians 1:27-2:1-4                                                                                                     January 30, 2013

Introduction: The apostle Paul is writing this letter to the believers at the church in Philippi to express his gratitude for the gift that was sent to him during his incarceration in Rome. Paul expresses joyful exuberance for the continued faithfulness of these saints with which he shares partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul has great confidence that theses saints will continue in their good works for the Gospel, even to the return of Christ at which time He will judge the world.(vv.l:3-6) However, Paul uses this occasion to do a little "spiritual maintenance" until such time as he is able to visit them in person. Paul is happy with the work that they are doing for the kingdom; however he is letting them know that they can be even better.

vv.1:27-30: In recognizing that all whom are called to believe in the risen Christ are also called to suffer for the same, Paul urges these Saints at Philippi to be aware of the manner in which their behaviors are viewed by the unbelievers among them that oppose the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul’s desire for them is that their conduct would be beneficial to the Gospel and not a hindrance. As the apostolic leader of these Christians at Philippi, Paul contends that an appearance by him should not be the guiding factor in their conduct, but the desire to be found attractive in sharing the good news of Christ should drive them to be found pleasing to those that would oppose their efforts. Paul is essentially saying that they must be doers of the Word (the teachings of Christ) and not only teachers or preachers of the Word. He is saying that their opposition must be able to see the love of Christ in their actions as well as in their speech. The apostle calls for them to stand united and to be singular in vision as they contend for the acceptance and trust of the Gospel to the people and to do so without fear of the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. This in and of itself is an exhibit of steadfast faith in the omnipotence of Christ Jesus. Paul, almost as a reminder, lets them know that there’s far more to this Christian walk than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting as it applies to our character development through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:1-5).

vv.2:1-2: In these next verses the apostle is urging the church to live in unity by following the example of the life and sacrifice of Christ. Paul uses an "if, then" analogy to get his point across. The idea here is that if they have received the things he mentions, then they are bound with a responsibility to do the things he is about to describe. Paul is essentially saying, if you have been inspired to hope, or have been given promise since being joined together with Christ, if you have received any consolation from the love of Christ in times of trouble that caused you to experience joy in the midst of it, if you have experienced community and companionship with the Spirit of God, have you received any care and been shown unmerited favor; Paul is saying if these things are true of the gifts that they have been given then the following must apply. Be like—minded — be agreeable with one another in the Lord; having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose — loving one another as Christ loved the Church and being united in loyalty and the cause of Christ.

vv.3-4: Paul is saying in these verses, don’t waste your time trying to get to the head of the line or begin to consider yourselves higher or better than others, but put yourself aside in favor of helping others get ahead. Don’t be so obsessed with gaining an advantage for yourselves; instead try forgetting about yourselves long enough to help someone in need.

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