Bethel Baptist Church Service: August 15, 2018: 10:15 AM
Paul’s final instruction to the Church at Philippi sketches the history of the city, the founding of the Church and its special place in the Ministry of Paul as his crowning achievement. Philippi was a city in Greece founded by King Philip 11 of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great, as Philip began to exercise Macedonian hegemony over cities of ancient Greece. Later Philippi became a Roman colony after Rome defeated the Macedonian Empire and replaced it as the Imperial power.
It was at a battle at Philippi that the Roman Civil War ended when Mark Anthony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius who had killed Julius Caesar. It was at a battle at Philippi that Octavian defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra of Egypt to become the unquestioned Emperor of the Roman Empire. Philippi was the home to many veterans of the Roman army. Citizens of Philippi had Roman citizenship
Philippi was the first place that the Gospel of Jesus was preached in Europe as Paul answered Macedonia in CE 49/50. Paul was jailed in Philippi. The jailer and family were converted. Philippi had no synagogue because for that to happen the city had to have at least 10 married Jewish men living there. Paul visited Philippi in CE 55 and again in CE 56.
The letter to the Philippians was written by Paul in CE59/60 while he was in Prison in Rome. That is, after a ten-year relationship with the Church he had founded with the assistance of Silas and the cooperation of Lydia whose household he baptized and where the Church at Philippi first met.
In Philippians 4: Verse 1 Paul declares the Church at Philippi to be his joy and crown. Not the diadem of the royal rule but the platted wreath of leaves, the Stephanus, of Olympic glory.
Paul’s final instruction to the Church at Philippi highlights the fact that unlike the church at Corinth there were no major divisions and no gross immorality, no heresy compared to the church at Colossi and no need for a full statement of the faith as to the Church at Rome. The church at Philippi was comprised of a diverse membership of mature Gentile believers who were earnest, sincerely and soundly follow the Lord.
Paul’s first instruction to the Philippian church was to continue. Stand fast in the Lord.
Paul’s second instruction was for the church to find a way to settle the quarrel between two of its leaders. Paul did not say what the quarrel was about. He did not take sides. Instead, Paul invited peacemakers to step in. Ernest and sincere leaders sometimes quarrel, but unity is in the Lord.
Paul’s third instruction was to rejoice in the Lord always and show forbearance. There is joy in the Lord.
Paul’s fourth instruction is not to worry about anything but to pray with thanksgiving about everything. There is peace in the Lord.
Paul’s fifth instruction was for the Philippian believers to set their minds in a godly groove. Whatsoever things are noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report meditate on these things.