THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 4-27-03

LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS: CHAPTER 1: "MAKING OUR LIFE LIKE JESUS"

WELCOME

Good morning and welcome to the Living Word program. What a privilege it is to have you with us today, as we together give this time to God. I know that we will all be encouraged and uplifted by our time together this morning. So, let's give our best to God so that He may be pleased with our offering. Furthermore, let's do all things according to His will - so that our worship will be received by Him in a good and perfect way. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer!

(Prayer)

Well, it's that time of the year again! Lot's of meetings are going on and opportunities for Christians to fellowship and worship God according to His Will. How wonderful it is to have these additional privileges to grow in the knowledge and service of Jesus Christ.

With this in mind I would like to remind you to take note of next Sunday. Many may already be aware, but on May 4th, we will be having our next Television taping of song for the Living Word program. As in the past, this taping will take place at our facility on Kansas Expressway in Springfield, Missouri, and the taping will begin at 2:00. The taping will be proceeded by a potluck to which all are invited, and all of these activities are planned in conjunction with the beginning of our meeting with Willie Franklin, which will also begin on the 4th and go through the 7th. Finally, let me mention that there will also be a youth rally on Saturday the 3rd to kick everything off. We hope many of you will take advantage of these great opportunities to serve and worship God. Hope to see you there.

It's now time to join in with the brethren as we begin our songs of praise to God. Please participate with the congregation as we sing together, "Be With Me Lord!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Today we will be starting a new discussion on another great book found in God's Word. So far we have been able to consider the letters of Paul to the Galatian and Ephesian brethren. This morning, we want to look at the next epistle found in the Bible which is entitled Philippians.

The book of Philippians is, once again, another letter written by the Apostle Paul. This inspired man of God did a wondrous job in helping us to know more about what God want of us as Christians. He accomplishes this by allowing us to consider the things he taught to the Christians at Philippi.

This letter was probably written around 60 a.d., or there after. We know this because, like the letter to the Ephesians this book is referred to as a Prison Epistle. Once again, this is due to the fact that it confirms internally that it was being written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome.

You might remember from our study of Ephesians, that we were able to see that Paul's letter to Ephesus focused on the body of Christ and the glorious church of our Lord. In the book of Philippians, we will see even more specifically the mind of Christ. A book written with deep feeling and love for the brethren. Also to those who were good friends and children in the faith. In this great book of God, we will be able to learn many encouraging lessons over the next several weeks. Issues ranging from church government to the duty of each individual child of God. All in all, trying to provoke the Christian heart to be more like it's Creator. Oh, how we each need to strive to have the mind of Christ, our savior.

So please stay with us this morning, and in a few minutes I will return and will be leading our lesson thoughts of the day, as we consider, "Paul's Letter To The Philippians." More specifically, "Chapter one: "Making Our Life Like Jesus." Now it's time to join in our second song of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation as we sing the hymn, "Blessed Assurance."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks for staying with us this Lord's Day morning as we now have the opportunity to go into God's Word and study His Will and find out exactly what really He wants us to do as children of God. As we have said, we are beginning a new book in the Bible, a new series so to speak in looking at the book of Philippians, another great letter which was written by the apostle Paul, a letter here which certainly was written to Christians and to brethren and beloved, and over and over different endearing terms that the apostle Paul used to these who would receive this book and read it publicly before the church as well as later copies being made and even circulated throughout churches of the region and probably as we see today, throughout churches in the entire world. So we can learn so much and I look forward to our study here in the book of Philippians because so many things are brought out in our relationship to again Christ Jesus, the mind of Christ, and furthermore the ideas of how that we must have similar minds. You know, just how Paul had the mind of Christ, as you and I have the mind of Christ, then we must again be in fellowship. We must be one, sharing the same mind, sharing the same hopes and the same promises, and finding our foundation in the same place, that is God's Word. And we must understand and strive to be one in all things that we do.

There if you'll look with me at chapter 1, that will be our emphasis for the day. IN fact, in chapter 1 we'll learn a lot of things about the book as we continue in our study there, but as always Paul here starts out by indicating that he is the author of this book which helps us so much to know that he is the author. I know that many dispute Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle. Although, most believe that Paul wrote it. One of the only books that we find that Paul doesn't just come out and say, "I Paul." Well here in Philippians, we find that he says, "Paul. Paul." In fact, he not only says, "Paul," but evidently Timothy clearly was with him. "Paul and Timothy bondservants of Jesus Christ." I love that word "bondservants" there. It's a word that we don't like today, a concept that really we consider as being unacceptable or unlikable. But here, Paul said that he and Timothy were "bondservants." They were slaves. They were owned by Jesus. Now how could Jesus own them? Well, he had paid the price. He had given His own blood to purchase them and through their obedience of becoming children of God, they were now slaves, bondservants, owned by God and required to follow His Will by choice, if they wanted to remain faithful in His sight and acceptable according to the Will of God.

If you'll further notice there, as he mentions them as being bondservants of God, that he says there that "as they are bondservants, they are writing to the saints in Christ once again. You notice there "in Christ, slaves in Christ," and they're writing to "slaves in Christ" who are in the city of Philippi. And not just the saints who were there, or the members of the church or the followers, but also he says here, "those who are bishops and deacons." This is one of the first times that we have introduced to us, especially in epistles, and very, very clearly and early on the concept of the office of a bishop. Sure we have references that are made in other books, but here specifically the church that is addressed as saints, but then a church that must have been organized already properly according to what God said in relationship to His organization of the body of Christ. Here he says, "to you bishops, you overseers, the elders of the church." He says in a sense, "I greet you, the saints, the elders and the special servants, the deacons." These individuals who are getting out and caring for widows and special needs of the church just as we find again through the book of Acts, the book there that shows us again the working church, the earliest stages and how that people were learning there to institute the things that God had desired in a relationship to His Will.

Then as he always does, he submits a type of blessing, really a prayer that he might give up on a regular basis by saying that "he hopes that grace and peace will be to them and not through him but through God the Father that is in heaven as well as the Lord Jesus Christ."

So Paul here in a beautiful greeting not only tells us that he is the author, along with Timothy, but also the receivers are those Christians in Philippi, the whole church who are headed by the elders and also who have deacons that were actively evidently working in that church in accomplishing the organization that God had designed.

Then in verse 3, we see that Paul begins to express in a very endearing way how intimately really that he knew the brethren at Philippi, how much he loved them, and how really how close he was to them and longed to not only know how they were doing but also to see them again in the future. Probably one of my favorite verses in the Bible there is verse 3 where he said, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." In other words, I can just see Paul maybe sitting in a chair there in his home, again at this time under house arrest maybe in Rome, and just thinking of the brethren at Philippi and a smile coming on his face and an excitement because of their faith and their enthusiasm and their encouragement. He says, "I thank God every opportunity I can for the great people at Philippi and for your love and faith in Christ Jesus."

He goes on to express that opinion in verse 4 as he says, "Always in every prayer of mine making requests for you all in joy." There again that happiness. He says, "Asking God to continue to be with you and to help you and to make you all that you can be in His service." He says, "I joyfully and eagerly ask this opportunity I can as I approach the throne of God." So Paul mentions here that he's a praying man, obviously which we all need to be and he's praying to the brethren here, those that he loves and cares of so much at Philippi. And he mentions that they're always on his heart, always on his mind, and that he's thinking about them and that he's praying that God will help them in the best way that He can according to His Will.

And then verse 5, he again indicates the fellowship that they share, the fellowship through the gospel from the very first day until even now as he says, "Our bond is strong. Our faith is strong. Our unity is strong." Why? Because they were following the same God and they were following Him in the same way. And we know that because they were taught by Paul himself. How did they know what to do? They were told by Paul and Paul as we know was clearly told by the Holy Spirit. Isn't that why Paul said in verses like 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me as I also am imitating Christ." The example that Paul gave, the life that he lived, the sermons that he preached were all directly from God and therefore when we imitate, or they imitate the things that they had learned from Paul certainly then they would know that they were imitating the things of Christ Jesus as well.

Then as he mentions his great love and admiration and his willingness to pray and to hope the best for them, he then begins to emphasize their confidence and how that you and I even as Christians today should find great confidence just like those of Philippi. They knew that if they lived a certain way that is God's way, they could be assured that God would give them the blessings that are spoken of in the Bible and the reward of eternal life. So there in the next verse, verse 6, he says that "He was confident of this very thing that they were faithful in the gospel and that they were doing the Will of God and they were strong in His work and that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." He says, "I have every confidence and I know that you will remain strong until the last, until Christ comes again, the day of the Lord, until He comes again to take you home for eternity." He says, "I know you will remain bold and strong and courageous and do all that you should according to the Will of God."

Verse 7, "Just as it is right for me to think this thought of you because I have in my heart, in as much as both in my chains and in the defense and the confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me, of grace." There he says, "That grace that has been bestowed to me that I received from God, that I also enlightened you with through the revelation that God gave me and that I revealed to you and we are all obedient. Therefore, we all are recipients of the grace, the grace that we talked back about in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 8, the grace that saves man through faith."

Surely Paul had that grace. Surely the Philippians there had that faith because of their confidence and their boldness and their willingness to stand strong knowing that God was with them every step of the way.

But I want to bring out another point there in verse 7 is the fact that he begins to mention the idea of his chains. There for the first time in this book talking about how that he had been in chains and really was one even in his chains and imprisonment was still proclaiming and standing strong for God. Once again in all of these things, he found great encouragement. He found great truth in them. He found great discernment according to the Word of God in their lives and in everything that they did. The Philippians were found to be those who were making their lives like Jesus. In fact, if you'll notice with me in verses 8 through 11, he says there, "For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with my affection in Christ Jesus and this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God." Here it was again. Because of their faith, their willingness to do the work, to have and produce fruits of righteousness so that the world might see that they were faithful, so that God would know that they were faithful, and as he said here once again "Until the day of Christ so that they might live without offense."

Oh wouldn't it be wonderful if you and I could have a man like Paul say the very same things about us? See how really motivated he was and how great he was and mighty he was in the things of God and to see then how he was willing to again endear himself and so much in a human way to show his love for others. Yes, we need to do the very same thing today and encourage one another in the work of the Lord. That's where it goes then in verse 12 that "they should preach Christ," and he spends basically verses 13-18 again encouraging them to preach no matter what, no matter what may come their way and he uses himself as an example in verse 13 as he again says that "it has become evident to the whole palace guard and to all the rest that my chains are in Christ." He says that everybody understands now that "the reason I am now under house arrest and sitting here unable to have freedom is the reality that I believe in Jesus and that I have been preaching according to His Will." In fact, verse 14 mentions his chains again and it talks about how that without fear, he still proclaimed the Word of God and still stood for Him and did... You see, Paul was saying, "Follow my example. Preach Christ. Be strong and do it for the right reasons."

In verse 15 he says, "Don't do it for selfish reasons." In verse 16, "Don't preach the gospel out of selfish ambition and for reasons that you should not and add something even worse to his chains as he might hear the Philippians are doing something for the wrong reason, but he says, "Because of your love for God, preach and proclaim and do what God has asked. Live for Christ. Make yourselves exemplifying that which Christ desires in your life," and that's what he goes on to talk about then in verses 19 and 20 that "they might be bold in Christ, that they might magnify Him in the body and through everything that they do they might live whether it be life or it be death." Then he gives a good example by saying, "Look. I am perplexed here. I don't know what I desire." Because he says in verse 21, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." A very, very familiar verse to us who have studied the Word of God before.

Then in verse 22, he says, "Because when I am alive I know that I have fruit to bear. I know that I have work to do for Christ. I have things to accomplish and things that he says I might even be able to help you with in my labors." But then he says, "I am hard-pressed," verse 23, "I'm tore between the two because if I depart I'm with God, I'm with Christ. I receive the reward that I've been promised, but if I remain," he says, "you see, then I'm able to continue to serve." Well, he clearly indicates in verse 23 that the better was to be with Christ. But he also clearly indicates in verse 24 that to remain in the flesh really was more needful for many Christians of the day including the ones of Philippi. He says, "For me to be in the flesh, I can help you. I can assist you. I can make you better people and help you to live like you should." For me to live then is Christ, receiving Christ and the rewards of Christ, to die is gain.

There again, the example. Are we living the example that Christ wants?

He ends chapter 1 in verses 27-30 in talking about the great sufferings that they should be willing to endure. He's already mentioned here his sufferings and chains that he was willing to bear in relationship to his stance for Christ. Then he reminds them to "let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ." That tells me right off that the gospel of Christ not only encompasses the death, burial and resurrection, but he says here, "your conduct should be that which is exemplary of the gospel of Christ." Our actions can represent the gospel of Christ, the life of Christ and furthermore he says, "and don't let your adversaries terrify you or tear you down or keep you from serving your God," verse 28, "but rather be willing to suffer for the name of Christ.

Verse 29 says, "You have been granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him but to also suffer for Him," and then he says that "you need to be willing to suffer because you saw in me and now hear this also in me." You see, in everything that Paul tries to demonstrate to the church here at Philippi, he says again to make your life count for Jesus no matter what may come. He says, "I have every confidence in you and I set every example for you and I show you that I am willing to stand for God come no matter what may." But yet he says, "You also be strong and let me every time I hear the Philippians remain to be joyful and to be excited and to continue thanking God."

Brethren, we need to do the very same thing. Let us live Christian lives today that surely allow God and the world to know that we are doing what Christ has asked and in every part of our lives, Christ can be seen and we demonstrate the love that He has shown to us also.

(SONG # 3 - "I Will Sing The Wondrous Story!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Thanks for putting God first and choosing to be with us this morning. I hope you have benefited from our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God.

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May we all learn to be more Christ-like, by clothing ourselves in all those characteristics which make us to be like Him!

(Program closing)