The Letter To The Philippians, Part 2

Personal Devotional: The Letter to the Philippians, Part 2
Philippians 1: 3-14

We all know people who make our days better just by being around them. Their encouragement lifts our spirits. Some people make our lives better because they help carry our burdens.  They support us in precious and unexpected ways when we need them most.  Then, there are people who do both.  It seems like this last category characterizes the Philippian church.  The Philippian letter is unique among Paul’s writings because he wasn’t writing to address a specific issue or problem.  This letter was penned out of Paul’s sincere desire to thank and encourage his friends. Their faithfulness and support made them dear to his heart and had made his work in spreading the Gospel possible.

  • Read Philippians 1:3-6.  What does Paul do every time he thinks of the Philippian church? In verse 4, how does Paul give thanks for them? In verse 5, why does Paul feel joy?  Do you have brothers or sisters in Christ that you thank God for with joy because you have been partners in kingdom work?

It seems that Paul had forged a strong bond with the Philippian disciples in the approximately 10 years since he first planted the church there because they shared a common faith and a commitment to the work.  They may have had little in common when they first met, but their faith provided a foundation for friendship that was meaningful.

  •  We often caution children about carefully choosing their friends.  As adults, do we heed our own advice?  As adults, how important is it to have close friends that share our faith and commitment to the Gospel?  Consider each of the following passages: Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 13:20, Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10, John 15: 12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:33 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.  Are these verses directed primarily to children?  What do these verses have in common?

Most scholars believe that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi during his 2-year house arrest in Rome.  Though Paul was a prisoner physically, he didn’t let his circumstances prevent him from sharing the Gospel.

  • Read Philippians 1:1. Even though Paul is a prisoner of Rome, who does he say he serves? Read 1 Corinthians 7:22. Is Paul alone in his status as a slave to Christ?
  • Read Philippians 1: 12-14.  What is Paul’s perspective on being imprisoned? How would you describe his outlook on his current situation? Did Paul let his circumstance limit his desire or ability to share the Gospel? 
  • Relate Paul’s attitude in 1:12-14 to his perspective as a servant of Christ in verse 1:1. What is the connection?  What lesson from Paul can we apply to our lives while we live as 21st century believers in modern day exile?  How can we advance the Gospel because of our circumstances?

Paul refused to let his circumstances affect his desire or enthusiasm to share the Gospel.  Instead, he saw his circumstances as an opportunity to share the Gospel with those he might never have met otherwise.  Paul was able to do this because of the support and encouragement of his Christian family in Philippi. Relationship is not a small thing. God didn’t intend for His children to walk in discipleship alone. In His wisdom, God knew we would need the encouragement and support of one another to walk in discipleship.  He gave us Paul’s letter to Philippi to show us the benefit of leaning into Christian friendships above our earthly circumstances.  Like Paul, will you begin to lean into relationships with people you share a common faith with? Like Paul, those relationships will bring you joy.

Be blessed.  Be a blessing.   

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