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Philippians 1:6-11

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Turn in your Bibles to Philippians 1:6-11

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Philippians 1:6–11 NLT
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Recap (Context, Context, Context)

Paul is writing to a church that he loves and started 10 years earlier.
When Paul writes this letter he is under house arrest in Rome.
The letter mentions joy and rejoicing more then any other letter.
In verses 3-5 Paul introduces the idea of his prayers for and memories of the church in Philippi. (Note: his memories and prayers are intertwined.)
Last time we finished off by talking about the common ground that Paul had with the Philippian church: The gospel.
What do you think about when you talk to God?
Usually we are talking to God based on the way we think about life. So if our thoughts on life are wrong then our prayers are probably wrong.

Verse 6-8

Context: Paul is talking about his mindset as he prayed for the Philippian church. He just mentioned their “first day” in verse 5 and now talks about what God began in them.
Summary: Paul is now states his deeply held conviction that the gospel work that was started in them 10 years earlier would be completed by God. And it was fitting for him to think this because they were dear to him, loved with the affection of Christ and mutual recipients of God’s grace.
There are a few key words that we come across in these three verses: Confident (vs. 6), Begun (vs. 6), Think (vs. 7).

The word “confident” πείθω

Our word “confident” in verse 6 is used by Paul 23 times throughout his letters. It is found six times in Philippians. Sometime the word is translated “persuaded” or “trust”. Most closely related to our idea of a deeply held conviction.
(, , ; ;
If you take a cross-section of the use of this word in the NT you find some of our favorite verses. It is a word closely connected with a prized Christian mindset.
Implication: Paul is stating one of the developed beliefs that sits at the core of who he is. Paul has developed some strong convictions.

The word “Begun”

This word is tied in with what Paul was referencing when he talked about their “first days”.
also uses the word “begun”
Galatians 3:3 NKJV
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Substantiation of verse 7 and Structural Laws

Keyword: “because”
Cause: I have you in my heart… you all are partakers with me of grace.
Effect: it is right for me to think this of you all
Implication: Paul is saying that it is only right for him to have these thoughts of gratitude and confidence based on how dear they are to him and their mutual experience of God’s grace. God put that love in his heart and it served as a basis for these strong convictions.
Also, Paul is getting Gods grace while in chains and as he defends the Gospel. The Philippians are getting God’s grace as the gospel work is being furthered in them. And so his confidence and gratitude is well founded.

“Partakers with me of grace” is comparable to his statement in vs 5 “fellowship in the gospel”.

Second: “Are you willing to be a part of people’s lives in this way?”
Illustration: Dave Shirley’s marriage class about not having faith in people, but having faith in God in the person.
Second: “Are you willing to be a Christian who participates in people’s lives in this way?”
Illustration: I know of pastors who do not want to be on Facebook because they can’t handle seeing the “other side” of people in their congregation. They say it is too discouraging. I would suggest that they need to have Paul’s confidence in God’s work in their life.

Verses 9-11 Paul’s Prayer

Philippians 1:9–11 NKJV
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Context: In verse 3 and 4 Paul began to talk about his prayers for the Philippian church. Now he is going to layout the specific request that he was making to God on their behalf.
We are given similar prayers by Paul in , , ; .
Paul also made specific requests for prayer in , , .
Why did Paul tell the church what he was praying?
That they might anticipate the work
That they might Recognize it when it happens
Pray it for others
Summary of the Prayer: Paul asks God to increase their love beyond the brim of the jar, and that as it overflowed it would be a wise love guided by knowledge and discernment. As this love overflows in them they are evaluating and identifying the best expressions of that love. Put another way… they are bearing the fruit of God in a way that glorifies God.
This prayer is kind of like a Rube Goldberg Machine

Preach the Text

The spiritual perspective that Paul served as a basis for his prayers.

Big Idea #1 - Perspective

In America we have the historic stain of slavery and segregation; both concepts based on superficial perspectives. People looked at skin color and determined social value. From there actions of abuse and discrimination were taken.
Paul: “Just as it is right for me to think this of you all”
Thinking as a Christian about others is an act fueled by love. Love makes that individual transparent and not opaque. Love for others comes from God and we see - by faith - God’s work being accomplished in them.
Read verse 8 and then ask this question: “Do we see, evaluate, judge and asses people as opaque or transparent? Are we able to see through them and onto the work God is doing in their life?”
1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Illustration: Dave Shirley’s marriage class about not having faith in people, but having faith in God in the person.
Second: “Are you willing to be a Christian who participates in people’s lives in this way?”
Illustration: I know of pastors who do not want to be on Facebook because they can’t handle seeing the “other side” of people in their congregation. They say it is too discouraging. I would suggest that they need to have Paul’s confidence in God’s work in their life.
I’M ENCOURAGED because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced, and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot, and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son, Jesus, and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the gospel gives mankind hope.
- Benjamin Watson, Under Our Skin

The Gospel Perspective

Created
Fallen
Redeemed
Made New
Second: “Are you willing to be a Christian who participates in people’s lives in this way?”
Illustration: I know of pastors who do not want to be on Facebook because they can’t handle seeing the “other side” of people in their congregation. They say it is too discouraging. I would suggest that they need to have Paul’s confidence in God’s work in their life.
Lord, may we be a people who trust in you as we look at the people around us. May it be an overflowing work of your love in us and an expression of faith towards you.

Big Idea #2 - Prayer

There is sometime a concept in Christian circles that people young in their faith are enthusiastic and overly zealous, but as they mature they will become more sober minded. And one might think that true Christian maturity is a dullness, less energy, less enthusiasm, and a bit more cynicism about life.
It might bring to mind the image of Walter Matthau playing Dennis the Menace’ neighbor; Mr. Wilson.
But this prayer of Paul teaches us that maturing as a Christian doesn’t sour us. Instead the work God wants to accomplish in our lives is to make us overflow with love that is more perfectly guided into the fruitful actions He has planned.
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