The letter of Paul to the Philippians was written from prison among other things to encourage their walk in the Lord (1:25). Paul had four main purposes in writing this letter: (i). To thank them for their love and their partnership in the gospel (1:5, 4:10-19). (ii). To report on his situation, that he was not discouraged even though he was in prison (1:12-26, 4:10-19). (iii). To warn them about false teachers and their damaging doctrines and the need to stand firm against errors (2:27-28, 3:2-4, 18-19).
(iv). To share his desire for reconciliation between two women whose conflict was affecting the unity of the church (4:2-3).
Although written from prison, there is a joyous upbeat tone in the letter.
Scholars have observed that the word “joy/rejoice” occurs ~16x in the letter. While the church at Philippi may appear to be a healthy congregation, they must not rest on their past achievements (3:12) but must like Paul “press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (3:14).
But the occasion for the Philippian letter started in Acts 16, during Paul’s 2nd Missionary journey. Up until when Paul and his team had the vision to “come over to Macedonia and help us”, his ministry had focused around Asia Minor. The response to the Macedonian call signified the first time the gospel crossed over into Europe and from there to the rest of the world.
In this study we will see that even though God called Paul to carry the gospel into Europe, the path was rough with imprisonment and beatings. But in the end Paul’s mission to Macedonia was accomplished.
1. What roll did the Triune God play in the Call of Paul and his team to take the gospel into Macedonia, Europe and the rest of the world (vv. 6-10)?
2. What does the conversion of Lydia teach us about church attendant (worshipper of God) and responding to the gospel of Christ (Paul’s message), vv. 11-15?
3. Paul and Silas had been beaten, and thrown into prison for delivering a demon possessed girl. What is wrong with the girl’s testimony of Paul and Silas?
What is the outcome of their imprisonment? What can we learn from Paul and Silas’ attitude to suffering and pain (vv.16-27)?
4. What was the Jailer desperate question? What was Paul’s candid answer (vv. 29-31)? Have you personally responded to Christ’s good news?
This is one of the most fascinating stories of missionary work in the Bible. Here we see God calling Paul and Silas to go into Macedonia; using their preaching, and attitude to suffering and pain to convert Lydia, the Jailer and his household to faith in Christ. We also saw that church attendance does not equate to salvation. We must all place our personal faith on God’s good news for our own salvation.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household (ESV). Pressing On …(Moving Forward)