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Philippians Chapter 1

Memory verses for this week: 1 John 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

Introduction:    We finished our study in Ephesians last week discussing the armour that God gives every believer in our battle with Satan.   This week we begin a new study as Paul writes to the believers in the church in Philippi.  

I.  The Opening Salutation 

Philippians 1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Paul identifies himself along with Timothy as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.   When we are truly servants of Jesus Christ, there is a pride associated with serving the Lord.  There are teachers, deacons, pastors, and other officers in the church.   But truly, we are all just servants of the Lord.   At Philippi, Paul’s apostleship had never been questioned as it had in other places.  Paul addresses the letter to ‘all the saints’ in Philippi, making mention of the bishops and deacons in the salutation.   This verse shows how that there are truly only two official officers in churches, that being bishops and deacons.  The qualifications for these officers are found in I Timothy. 

1 Timothy 3:1-13 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.   

As is the case today, some of the churches in Paul’s day have more than one bishop or one deacon.  Some of the bishops were called elders.  A church may have many preachers in it, but there is to be but one pastor.   Our church is an example of that with the Pastor and two other members who are preachers. (Dan Halog and Roy Damron.) 

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.


II.  The Thanksgiving 

3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,  

Paul said he was thankful for this group of believers every time he thought of them.   We should so live for the Lord that others think kindly and with love towards us when they are absent from us.  Paul said that the “Thanked God” for them because this church had helped him in the work of the Lord.   Verse 4 points out that Paul prayed for them on a continual basis.   In our prayers, we should remember one another.  It is good to remember the sick, and we are commanded in scripture to pray for the sick, but we should also pray for the believers that we might all grow in our work for the Lord.   Prayer has so much power, and we should be constantly in prayer with God.  Jesus set the example in that he prayed for His Disciples. 

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  

5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 

Paul knew the effect the church was having on those there in Philippi with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he says that he is thankful for their fellowship in the work of the Lord.   This fellowship was from the first day they were saved until now  as he writes the letter.   These fine Christians had helped Paul financially from the very beginning.   It is such a blessing for preachers and missionaries to have faithful support from the churches.   The gospel could not go forth into all the world if we were not willing to give to help those men who are abroad establishing new works and preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And Paul was not unthankful for all they had done, but said he thanks God for these people.   Paul points out that this good work of the Philippians originated in God’s Grace, and he was confident that what God had begun, he would finish it.  His words were “you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” referring to the return of Christ prior to the seven years of Tribulation which will soon be coming to earth.  We can be confident that any work God starts, He will finish.  One of my favorite verses in the bible was written by Paul with the leadership of the Holy Spirit over in II Timothy. 

2 Tim 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 

Verse 6 talks of how Paul was confident in this very thing…  Are we confident that God will do his part in our lives.   I was reading J. Vernon McGee’s commentary last night, and he told how that when he was called into the ministry, it was during the great depression and there appeared to be no way he would be able to go. 

J. Vernon McGee’s Commentary: 

Because this is my life verse and therefore very meaningful to me, I hope you won’t mind if I tell you about it. I was a very poor boy when I went away to college. My dad had been killed in an accident in a cotton gin when I was fourteen years old. My mother took my sister and me to Nashville, Tennessee. I had to get a permit that allowed a boy of fourteen to go to work, and I worked for a wholesale hardware concern. I had to be up by five o’clock in the morning to pick up the mail and have it sorted and on the desks of all the officials in each department. I should have been in school, and I wanted to go to school. Later I had the privilege of going back to school because a wonderful friend acted as a father to me. He had a son who was a drunkard. He had wanted his son to get a college education, but he didn’t; so the man helped me get a job, and I was able to go to college. Every year I thought it would be my last year. I never thought God would see me through—I had very little faith. The last year I was in college was during the depression; 1928 and 1929 were bad years. I couldn’t get a job and had no money.

On graduation day, after receiving my degree, I returned to my room in the dormitory, still in my cap and gown, and sat dejectedly on the edge of my bed. My roommate came and asked, “What in the world—did somebody die?” I said, “Just as well to. I thought God had called me to the ministry. I’m through college, the depression has hit, and I don’t even have a job for this summer. I haven’t a dime to go to seminary next year.” While we were still talking, the phone rang. It was for me. On the other end of the line was a dear little lady who asked me to stop by her home where she lived with her sister. They were both widows, and they looked as if they had come out of the antebellum days. They attended the church where I taught a class of intermediate boys, and I herded the boys into the church service every Sunday morning. The sisters sat in the pew behind us, and I always thought they disapproved. But in their home that day each handed me an envelope in memory of her husband. I left as soon as it was polite to go, hurried around the corner, and opened the envelopes. The first contained a check for $250; I hurriedly opened the other envelope and found another check for $250. Do you know what $500 was like during the depression? I felt like a millionaire!

That night the Sunday school had a banquet for me, a farewell banquet, and they gave me a check for $100. So now I had $600! That is the money with which I went to seminary the next year. That night at the banquet someone gave me this verse: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” That has been my life verse ever since that night.

Now let’s consider this verse for a moment.

“Being confident” is causative and could be translated, “Since I am confident of this very thing”—Paul knew what he was talking about. 

Now, my friend, let me ask you this: Is this practical for you and me? I don’t know what your circumstances are, but if you are a child of God, I am sure you can testify that God has brought you up to the present moment, hasn’t He? Can’t you look back over your life and see how He has led you and provided for you? Then why should you be concerned about tomorrow? Do you think He is going to let you down now? I confess that this was my thinking when I finished college. 

I felt called to the ministry, but there was no possible way for me to go on to seminary. However, I had a wonderful heavenly Father who, through Philippians 1:6, put His arms around me and said, “I’ll see you through.”

And I want to testify today that He is still keeping His promise. It has been a comfort to me since I have had several bouts with cancer to know that my heavenly Father said, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” He is a good Doctor also; in fact, He is the Great Physician, and He has said, “Whatever I have in store for you, I’m going to see you through until the day of Jesus Christ.” So I am in His hands.


III.  Paul’s Prayer 

8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.


Paul longed to be with these Christian friends.  I know when I am away from home I have a tremendous desire to be back home with my family and Christian friends…. Where you have support and people love you.  This was what Paul refers to here as he longs to be back with them.


Albert Barnes in Barnes Notes commented about the term of longing after them in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 

Title:   Barnes Notes on the New Testament

Author:   Barnes, Albert 

In the bowels of Jesus Christ—The word “bowels,” in the Scriptures denotes
the upper viscera—the region of the heart and lungs: see the notes at Isa. 16:11.
That region was regarded as the seat of affection, sympathy, and compassion, as
the heart is with us. The allusion here is to the sympathy, tenderness, and love of
the Redeemer; and probably the meaning is, that Paul regarded them with
something of the affection which the Lord Jesus had for them. This was the most tender

and strongest expression which he could find to denote the ardor of his attachment.  

In the next few verses, Paul prays for four things.   In verse 9, he prays that their love may abound more and more. 

9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;  

Jesus commands that we love one another. 

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

1 Corinthians 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

Charity (love) is the greatest gift a Christian can have.

Matthew 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of    God;

We are to have love foremost for God, but we find there in II Timothy that in the end times, men will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.  I believe we can see that all around us today. 

The second thing he prays is that they may approve things that are excellent. 

10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;  

The third thing he prays is that they may be sincere. 

How can we be sincere and without offence?  We have to bring our bodies under subjection each day, and renew our minds in the things of the Lord. 

1 Cor 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

1 Cor 9:26  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

1 Cor 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.


Joshua called for the people to serve the Lord in sincerity and truth. 

Joshua 24:14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

The fourth thing he prays for them is to be filled with the fruits of righteousness.

11Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.  

The only way we can be filled with righteousness is by having Christ as our Lord and Savior and living according to His Word.   It we have those four things listed above, we will bring glory and honor to God.

Those four were:   

1.  Our Love may abound more and more

2.  That we might approve things that are more excellent.

3.  That we might be sincere

4. That we might be filled with the fruits of righteousness.


IV.  What was Accomplished by Paul being in Prison 

12But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened
unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13So that my
bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

Could God use Paul’s imprisonment there in Rome for good?  I don’t think we realize all the good that God accomplishes when we go through difficult times.  Paul says that because of him being imprisoned, the Gospel had been carried to places it had never been before.  By his bonds, the gospel was preached in the palace and all places.   I’m sure you can look back in your life and see the molding God made in your life at times when he put the pressure on you.  Those are hard times, but God works it to good for us. 

14And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.  

Many of the brethren had been strengthened by Paul’s bonds and were much more bold to speak the word without fear. 

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.


15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.  

Paul didn’t know if the reason the gospel was being preached was in pretence or in truth, but this he did know.  Christ was being preached, and when that happens, men and women are going to be saved.   Paul rejoiced because the truth was preached about Christ. 

19For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 

The word salvation Paul uses here in verse19 is in reference to his physical deliverance.  Paul at this point still had the hope that he would be freed from his bonds.  But no matter what happened, he said that he wanted to magnify Christ with his body, whether by his life or by his death.   Do you have that kind of dedication to God?   It takes the grace of God to have that kind of dedication.   I heard a preacher one time say that if you’re willing to die for Jesus, will you live for him if God chooses to let you live?   That should be our desire.. walk in righteousness and make our lives count for God.  It won’t be easy, but God will be honored if we will live separated lives that make a difference. 

 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23For I am in a strait
betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25And having this
confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your
furtherance and joy of faith; 26That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus
Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Paul testifies that an extension of his life was not something he greatly desired, but his desire was to depart and to be with Christ which was great gain.  But if God chose to keep him here on earth for the churches, he was willing to remain that he might encourage and exhort them on to a greater service to the Lord.  His terminology was “Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” meaning those Philippians there in the church of Philippi.


V.  The Exhortation 

27Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that
whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Paul’s desire is that their manner of life would be such that was worthy of the gospel of Christ.   He wanted them to make their lives count for Jesus. 

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 

28And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token
of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29For unto you it is given in
the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Paul asks them to Stand fast in one spirit and to have the same mind.  What mind is that?  The mind of Christ. 

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 

Paul also wanted them to strive together for the faith of the gospel.  Not individuals, but together to accomplish this.


Mark 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

And he wanted them to stand against Satan and not be afraid of their enemy.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

In verse 29, Paul warns them that they would suffer for Christ.  If they crucified our Savior, we should not be surprised when we are not too popular with the masses.


Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily,  the care of all the churches.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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