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Faithlife

Saints Together in Christ

Notes & Transcripts

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

We are going to journey together the rest of the year studying through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the saints in Philippi.
I want to challenge you all to read through this book many times from now until the years end. Read all 4 chapters at once, then read one chapter at a time, read one section at a time, until you digest it well and it becomes who you are. Do an inductive study. Let me give you 3 questions to ask as you read to help it sink in better. What, Now what, So What? or:
What does the scripture say?
What does the scripture mean? (not to you; what God intended it to mean)
What is God telling me to do after reading the scripture? (confess and repent; trust him more; go encourage someone; change my thinking or change my actions; etc.)
READ THE TEXT
Philippians
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Philippians 1:1–2 NASB95
1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:1–2 CSB
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:27 NASB95
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
PRAYER

Together

How many of you love ice cream cones? Without the ice cream? Just ain’t the same is it!
Peanut Butter and Jelly, Mac and Cheese, Mike and Joanna, BBQ and My stomach. Things are just better together.
Remember the Turtles?
I can't see me lovin' nobody but you For all my life When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue For all my life Me and you and you and me No matter how they toss the dice, it had to be The only one for me is you, and you for me So happy together
So happy together How is the weather So happy together We're happy together So happy together
Now If you ask most Christians to tell you the theme of this NT book 90-95% of them will tell you “joy,” which is probably thinking as well. I want to suggest to you that Paul’s theme is TOGETHER. You can pick up on this right from the beginning in Paul’s introduction. You can see it throughout the letter - the word or some kind of inference of together - 30x.
I want to challenge you all to read through this book many times from now until the years end. Read all 4 chapters at once, then read one chapter at a time, read one section at a time, until you digest it well and it becomes who you are. Do an inductive study. Let me give you 3 questions to ask as you read to help it sink in better. What, Now what, So What? or:
v.1 - He builds his foundation of togetherness by inform them that Timothy is with him together as fellow bondservants - doulos meaning “slave” This word in the Greek comes from another Greek word meaning “to bind together” They are bound together in Christ in subjection to Him. Serving him together.
What does the scripture say?
What does the scripture mean? (not to you; what God intended it to mean)
What is God telling me to do after reading the scripture? (confess and repent; trust him more; go encourage someone; change my thinking or change my actions; etc.)
Now If you ask most Christians to tell you the theme of this NT book 90-95% of them will tell you “joy,” which is probably thinking as well. I want to suggest to you that Paul’s theme is TOGETHER. You can pick up on this right from the beginning.
That is the picture of atonement and being a Christ follower
This is also seen as an allusion to his authority under God’s calling and appointment and God’s choice to work through Him in advancing the gospel.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. - MLK
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. - Helen Keller
Growth is never by mere chance. It is the result of forces working together - James Cash Penny
We’re all working together, that’s the secret. - Sam Walton
Togetherness is what Paul seeks to emphasize as the key element for success in any church. That’s why I titled this first sermon:
Togetherness is what he seeks to emphasize as the key element for success in any church. That’s why I titled this first sermon:

Saints Together in Christ

v.1b - Paul’s statement is truthfully the Christian defined and Christianity defined. He is writing to believers/followers of Christ who gather in a local church in a particular area where the church had been planted a decade or so prior.
We find the story of this church plant in . Turn with me there.
- Holy Spirit prevents Paul from going where he wants. Paul’s vision is the Holy Spirit leading him to where these current saints were then sinners in need of a savior.
Philippi -
In 42 B.C. - The city became Roman province and took on everything Rome, the language, the customs, the form of government, and many structures similar. The people prided themselves on being literal Roman citizens. Many of the war veterans settled there.
The city took on everything Rome, the language, the customs, the form of government, and many structures similar. The people prided themselves on being literal Roman citizens. Many of the war veterans settled there.
Paul visited the city on his second missionary journey, and passes through on the third journey to pick up Luke, who had stayed behind.
Paul visited the city on his second missionary journey, and passes through on the third journey to pick up Luke, who had stayed behind.
Let’s take a look at these saints:
The church plant began in a small group Bible study held by several prominent women (not 10 Jewish men to have Synagogue). - the prominent woman here is Lydia from the city of Thyatira, meaning she is ethnically Asian.
She is a home owner in Philippi. If you described her class status - high society business woman. Economically she is very wealthy, being in the fashion industry as the “CEO” of her own clothing line. She has done very well for herself. She was prada before prada. She was a Real Housewife of Philippi.
If you described her class status - high society business woman. She was a Real Housewife of Philippi.
She is also “a God-fearer” meaning she believed in God, that he was One God, and that knowing His laws was a good thing. She needed the gospel and God brought Paul to her. He engages her intellectually. She is saved and baptized along with her whole household.
Notice the scope of the gospel. Notice it reaches across class and race. - a local slave girl interrupts the prayer meeting. Local meaning she was ethnically Greek. Slave meaning impoverished and exploited. In today’s context, she is the town drug addict; she is the girl working at the pony; she is the girl being trafficked across the midwest. Someone like her could be the young boy around town, abused and neglected in poverty, whose parents scam the system. The foster kids no one wants to take in.
She is acting irrational, so under the power of the Holy Spirit, he rebukes the demon holding her captive. Paul engages her spiritually. She is saved.
Off course, when people like her are saved, others do not like it - Paul jailed.
In the confines of the jail we find another sinner ready to become a saint. - This is another miraculous instance of God’s saving grace. He’s not a brainiac nor is he into the spiritual stuff. He was a Roman military guy turned blue-collar worker. Give him a time clock, good pay, a local place to hang out and have a beer, some big boy toys, free weekends and he is good to go. He is the middle class guy living in the local subdivision or just outside of town with a nice modest house, probably a gator or big 4-wheeler, maybe a fishing boat, maybe lots of hunting gear, or a Harley.
Lost prisoners=serious consequences. It drives him to suicide. His job is his life, and his life is his job. Paul helps the jailer see there is more to life than a job and possessions, really no life at all in those things. The missionaries could have fled (as most of us probably would have) but no, they stayed. The jailer was amazed and he and whole family were saved by amazing grace.
Paul reaches 3 different types of people with the same gospel but uses 3 different methods. The gospel, even today, takes on the context of the personal need. These people are all part of the local church.
But why does Paul call them saints?
A little boy attended a church that had beautiful stained-glass windows. He was told that the windows contained pictures of Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, Saint John, Saint Paul, and other saints. One day he was asked, “What is a saint?” He replied, “A saint is a person whom the light shines through.
So why does Paul call them saints?
He uses the word not only here but we find saints written by him and other writers 60x in the NT. Saint is the customary word for Christian. Saint is the Christian defined.

Saints

The word saint means sacred. The word means holy. What do we mean when we say a thing is Holy?
Look at your Bible and it says, “Holy Bible.” Israel is called “The Holy Land,” and Jerusalem is called “The Holy City.”
All 3 share are called Holy because they share something in common. They all belong to God. The Bible is God’s book; Israel is God’s land; Jerusalem is God’s city. They are all God’s property!
One thing that brings them all together.
Christians are called saints because you belong to God.
You become a saint the moment you changed positions by God’s work from being “in Adam” to “in Christ” becoming new creations
You and I are like these Philippian Christians. We are saints not because of anything about us. You become a saint the moment you changed positions from being “in Adam” to “in Christ” becoming new creations
Being “In Christ” because of the gospel is the one thing that brought those 3 different people and backgrounds all together, and being together in Christ for the advance of the gospel to others is what Paul encourages them to strive towards.
They were changed from death unto life by the transforming gospel. Everyone who is a true Christian has been changed, and you can be to if you turn from your sin and your selfishness to Jesus and his grace.
Paul called Jesus - Lord. To people who had worshipped the Emperor and put so much pride in being citizens of their country, Paul said Jesus is king and so you put Christ before your country and its trappings.
Certainly the body would not operate properly if its cells chose to go their own way. Do you know what we call a rebellion of the cells of your stomach? We call it indigestion! A revolt of your brain cells is called insanity. Any time the cells in our body don’t operate properly, it means that the body is sick, that something is wrong with it.
Many of the problems in the church today are a result of our forgetting that the church is a body with a head, Jesus Christ. Instead we sometimes try to operate the church by the wants and wishes of the cells - mostly not doing what they are designed to do.
“In Christ” is the attitude which should be the pattern of conduct for the Christian and the local church. If it wouldn’t please God don’t say it. If it wouldn’t honor God don’t do it.
Conclusion: Paul identified himself as a servant, legally owned by Jesus, whose entire purpose is determined by Jesus. He had no rights to claim anything for himself. How do you identify yourself? One who makes your own decisions. Someone who has a right to things because of who you are or what you have done.
Where does your grace and peace come from? Where does your joy come from? Music. Sports and Rec. People. Job. Money. Possessions. Church Buildings and Church items. Contemporary Church Movements. Old Traditions.
Here is what this Passage tells us:
“In Christ” - children/youth you have no more right to have church their way because they are the “future of the church.” “In Christ” - Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the doers of the church trying to lead the church to grow and change. Senior Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the givers and the prayers, trying to keep traditions from being lost. One rich woman, one impoverished girl, and one blue collar worker were all brought together by one gospel to serve One Lord. Unity not uniformity.
JFBC belongs to God. It was planted and grown by God. No one else can claim credit for anything done here. It was God’s working. If it lives, revives it will be because of God.
If you are a true member it is because you are in Christ. “In Christ” does not mean on a roll; nor in a building; nor at a worship service. It means you have been changed. It means you have been transformed by the gospel.
If you are in Christ you are saints by what Christ did, not by yourself.
Because of what Christ did for you in salvation you are obligated to live a holy live together with other saints, considering other saints more than self, living worthy of your salvation.
This passage tells us:

“In Christ”

“In Christ” - children/youth you have no more right to have church your way because you are the “future of the church.” “In Christ” - Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the doers of the church trying to lead the church to grow and change for the future of the church. “In Christ” - Senior Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the givers and the prayers, trying to keep traditions and past of the church from being lost. One rich woman, one impoverished girl, and one blue collar worker were all brought together by one gospel to serve One Lord. Each of you are brought together by one gospel to serve One Lord. Unity not uniformity. It’s about Jesus. It’s about Jesus. It’s about Jesus.
As members of the body of Christ, we can be compared to pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece has protrusions and indentations. The protrusions represent our strengths (gifts, talents, abilities), and the indentations represent our weaknesses (faults, limitations, shortcomings, undeveloped areas). The beautiful thing is that the pieces complement one another and produce a beautiful whole.
Just as each piece of a puzzle is important, so each member of the body of Christ is important and can minister to the other members of the body.
Just as, when one piece is missing from the puzzle, its absence is very obvious and damages the picture, so also is the whole weakened when we are absent from the body of Christ. Or is we try to fight in the wrong spot. Or if we try to keep others from fitting in the right spot.
Just as, when each piece of a puzzle is in place, any one piece is not conspicuous but blends in to form the whole picture, so it should be in the body of Christ.202[1]
A jigsaw puzzle is the picture of unity. The only blemish on the vastly generous church was a lack of humility - leading to disputes and disunity. The Godhead - Three persons One God - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - The Trinity is the perfection of unity. Unity was important to Paul because together in unity the church advances the gospel on Mission. Joy is a by product of unity. Thus, unity must be our number one priority. Unity in the church is a vision of heaven for the world. Does the community look at JFBC and see a vision of heaven?
“In Christ” - children/youth you have no more right to have church their way because they are the “future of the church.” “In Christ” - Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the doers of the church trying to lead the church to grow and change. Senior Adults you have no more right to have church your way because you are the givers and the prayers, trying to keep traditions from being lost. One rich woman, one impoverished girl, and one blue collar worker were all brought together by one gospel to serve One Lord. Unity not uniformity.
A jigsaw puzzle is the picture of unity. The Godhead - Three persons One God - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - The Trinity is the perfection of unity. Unity was extremely important to Paul. The only blemish on the vastly generous church was a lack of humility - leading to disputes and disunity.
How many of you believe the country and the world is in a chaotic tailspin heading straight for hell? Do you believe the country is uniting together or being driven farther apart because of politics and the media?
How can the Church step into the gap and provide a solution to the chaos and discord of society when its members are so busy treating its own members (brothers and sisters) in many of the same ways we see out there?
God wants to make sure we think rightly because we are Saints together in Christ. Some of you might need to change your way of thinking about church. Some of you may need to repent of how you have acted toward others in church. Some of you may need to encourage others a little more. Some of you may need to ask God’s help to work together with ones that are not easy to work with. We all need to live with unity as our number one goal at JFBC, without it the church has nothing but a shell, a puzzle with twisted and missing pieces.
EVEN IF

Invitation to Respond

Unity is kept together by love. Unity is repaired by forgiveness. Which do you need to give more of today? During the invitation, go find the ones you need to give it to.
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