The church at Philippi began with Paul’s ministry to a small group of God-fearers that where worshiping along a riverbank (Acts 16:111-13). I love the diversity that was part of the church at Philippi right from the beginning. Lydia is a wealthy Asian woman; the slave girl is an oppressed Greek, and the jailer was a middle class Roman. All were ultimately transformed by the Gospel and part of the church’s genesis.
As Paul is writing this letter he is under arrest (probably in Ephesus) and understandably thinks that it might lead to his death apart from God’s intervention. The Philippians had sent a gift to support him and now he is writing them a thank you and words of encouragement. While the setting for the letter is difficulty and trial the theme is joy, joy in spite of circumstances. Paul even declares that the Gospel advances regardless of circumstance and opposition.
Paul shows us in his letter that within suffering and self-sacrifice, true and lasting joy is born. The book could rightly be titled, “The Epistle of Joy.” It’s an important message even today because so many are struggling with life and are attracted to the allure of the prosperity gospel and the American Dream. Lydia was religious and empty; the slave girl was oppressed and angry, and the Roman jailer was indifferent and cruel. All were lost in their lives but what else could they live for? Paul cries out, “To live is Christ and die is gain”!
Join us for this inspiring and practical application of Philippians to our everyday lives and learn how you too can liveSTRONG.
- 4/11 – Philippians 1:1-11, He Who Began a Work in You
- 4/18 – Philippians 1:12-30, Live a Worthy Life
- 4/25 – Philippians 2:1-18, Imitate Christ
- 5/02 – Philippians 2:19-29, Be Faithful
- 5/09 – Philippians 3:1-11, Be Confident in Christ
- 5/16 – Philippians 3:12-21, Press Toward the Goal
- 5/23 – Philippians 4:1-9, Set Your Mind on These
- 5/30 – Philippians 4:10-23, I Can