Philippi was a leading city in Macadonia. Paul arrived there on his second missionary journey and established a church, which largely comprised of Gentiles(Acts 16: 12-40)
It is evident from the content of this book that Paul wrote this letter to the Philipians from prison. (Phil 1:13-14) 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
When the Philipian church heard of his imprisonment they sent him gifts. Paul was wishing to thank them for the gifts, and was also taking the opportunity to advise them of his circumstances. He was also encouraging the Philipians to stand firm, exhort them to humility and commending Timothy and Epapharoditus.
This church was a special delight to Paul, because the members had responded in such an exemplary way when he had collected funds for the church in Jerusalem. It is evident that Paul had a great bond of love and confidence in them and that appeared to be unequalled with any of the other churches. As a consequence this appears to be the most personal of letters that he wrote. Paul has a lot to say about the gospel and repeatedly points out its significance in his ministry. It is also significant that Paul mentions the words “Joy” or “rejoice” which occur sixteen times in this letter. He knew how to encourage when he himself had adverse circumstances.
It was with a heart full of praise when Paul wrote, “I thank my God (not our, or your) in all my remembrance of you.” Paul had a personal intimate relationship with God.
How is this level of relationship born and nurtured?
An intimate relationship is two ways. (Listening, benefits both parties)
Paul goes onto write Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Why was Paul confident?
Therefore God was committed to complete that which he had commenced.
Therefore if we walk in the light of what has been revealed to us with right attitude God will perform and carry out what He has started.
Paul was not rapped up in his own circumstance, which would have been very easy.
He says Phil 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.
Paul had an amazing attitude to persecution and problems. He saw beyond the problem into the purpose. (Phil 1:13-21) 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Paul saw the purpose and not the problem. He understood that God was sovereign and saw beyond the present times to eternal values. He didn’t know that his letters would be read and influence millions of people. If he hadn’t been in prison, the letters wouldn’t have been written, or influenced many to salvation. We don’t know in the now what might be in the future.
Satan meant it to harm us but God meant it for our good.
We have been born for purpose.
Phil 1:29-30 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
God brought us to birth for eternity not this life. This life is only our preparation.
Paul said:- Phil 1:20-24 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Paul recognised the outworking of God in his life no matter what might happen to him. We are called to die, to self.
Persevering in Prayer and Praise
His prayer for them is constant, (Phil 1:4) in all my prayers for all of you. Not on the odd occasion, not selective but ALL.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. When we pray in line with Gods divine purposes, we are destined to see Gods answers.
He also prays that they will be prepared for the day of Christ?.
Phil 1:10-11 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.
Paul, wants to see God glorified by rich fruits of righteousness demonstrated in their lives, but for the purpose of bringing Glory of God.
Paul recognises the effect of the Philippians prayers. Phil 1:19-20 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
Paul noting the gifts that the church has made in spreading the gospel. They have shared in his ministry.
Phil 1:4-5 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
The Philippians are partners in the spread of the gospel, as they were in Thessalonica (Phil. 4:15), in Corinth (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11:7 -10), and now in Rome. Through their gifts and prayers they were a vital link in Paul's ministry. They kept the life - line to Paul’s missions open. Paul is thinking of their cooperation in the work of spreading the Gospel. They have given everything they have materially and spiritually for the cause of Christ. This is true koinonia.
Participation - Koinonia
Koinonia, is a having in common, partnership, communion, fellowship, sharing in common; that which is the outcome of fellowship, a contribution. It means “fellowship,” “joint participation,” “partnership,” these are various words we use to translate. koinonia.
Here is a demonstration in Paul of a pure heart and a motive in the support of those who preach the gospel. Phil 1:15-18. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
It can be so easy to criticise the methodology or presentation of Evangelists, but let us not forget that the scripture says:- 1 Cor 9:22 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
Phil 1:27-28 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God.