"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"
Philippi was a Roman colony. It served as a military base for the Romans. Because there wasn't a great deal of commerce, there were few Jews there. Consequently when Paul arrived there, after receiving the vision of the pleading Macedonian man, there was no synagogue there (Acts 16:6ff). In a short time he had made converts, ruined a fortune-telling business, wrecked a couple of prison doors, prevented a prison officer from 'huri-curi' and led an entire family to the Lord. When the magistrates found out that they had beaten Roman citizens they were acutely embarrassed and begged Paul and his team to leave immediately. When Paul was ready, after establishing the church there, he departed. Apparently the local officials treated the assembly with a lot of respect from that time on.
1. What young man accompanied Paul when he founded this church?
2. Who is the Epistle to the Philippians from (1:1)
3. Who did Paul say was the only one apart from him, who truly cared for the Philippian church? (2:19-24)
When Paul wrote this epistle he was probably in Rome awaiting the outcome of the Emperor's decision. this letter is filled with warmth for the church at Philippi. In many ways this was a final thankyou from an old apostle to one of his first churches. He thanks them for their support over the years both financially and other ways. He thanks them for sharing the gospel, He thanks them for their love toward him and each other. He then takes time to remind them of what he's been through and that his time on earth has nearly come to end. he gives some last warnings and words of advice to a church very close to his heart.
1. TO LIVE IS CHRIST
"For to me, to live is Christ, and die is gain"
4. What would staying alive mean for Paul?
5. What would dying mean for Paul?
Paul knew that his time was nearly up. But also he knew that he could have some say in actually when he departed. While in Roman chains he realised that his outcome could only go two ways - life or death. Even during these stressful days for Paul he saw that God truly was "working out all things together for good" (Rom 8:28).
6. While imprisoned, why did Paul praise God? (1:12-14)
2. LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU
"let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"
7. What is Paul urging the saints (2:1-2)
8. How does he say we should treat the other person? (2:3)
9. Who is the best example of this attitude (2:5)
The expression "made Himself of no reputation" is also translated "emptied Himself". Here (vs 6-7) Paul is saying that although Jesus was God, He voluntarily restricted the use of some of His attributes and became man. He emptied Himself of His Glory. In Jesus of Nazareth we clearly see a man who:
1. Exercised divine prerogatives
2. Openly claimed to be God and equal with God the Father
3. Received worship as God
4. Spoke as if God
5. Was recognized as God by His close disciples
6. Received divine titles
7. Lived a life that matched His claims, and
8. Displayed attributes of Deity.
3. PRESS ON
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
10. What's the best thing to do with mistakes based on this passage?
11. What's the best thing to do with sin? (refer to 1John 1:9)
12. Therefore, what's the best thing to do with a past full of mistakes and sin?
Its not only unnecessary, but also counter productive for the believer to "go back" into past memories or hurts. While secular (worldly) psychology has experimented with such things as memory retrieval, it has resulted in disasterous results. People have literally lost their sanity, health and family relationships because of these practices. One notable case in 'America led to a court battle. A psychologist had retrieved memories from a client in which he claims to have discovered parental sexual abuse of his client in her youngest years. The parents took the psychologist to court in a civil suit. The court proceedings revealed that the claims of sexual abuse were not true, and that the psychologist had used suggestive directions to cause his client to feel the pain of abuse. But, rather than admit his error, the pyschologist began claiming that his discoveries of abuse were true- but were from a "past life" of the client. This he did to explain why his client was having emotional problems. But the problems that the client got herself into by entertaining such folly were far more emotionally damaging than her original complaint! The Christian should have nothing to do with such practices. To do so is to reckon the cross of Christ and His blood as a worthless novelty.
13. What's a good way to prevent us from sinning? (2:12)
4. FINALLY BRETHREN
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things"
14. This is Paul's second 'finally brethren', where was his first?
It looks as though Paul meant to finish his epistle there but felt to go on. He warns against three types of people.
15. Who were these people? (3:2)
Paul states his exploits in Judaism. He certainly had a lot to boast about. He was trained in the best university of Tarsus (a university city), tutored by the leading teacher in Israel (reserved only for the cream of students), reared in a comfortable well-to-do family.
16. Yet with all his achievements, what did he consider his greatest aim? (3:10)
No matter what Paul's great achievements were both in Judaism and Christianity he put them all behind him and pressed on to attain his aim. Not only did Paul put his mistakes behind him, he also put his fabulous achievements for Christ behind him as well. We too can not rely on yesterday's experience with Christ. The spirits of pride and complacency love a Christian who only ever looks back to the past when he had power with God. Have you had a fresh encounter with Christ. There are three dangerous prayers that you can pray to assist you in your pursuit of Christ. Firstly, "Lord change me". Secondly, "Lord, speak to me". Thirdly, "Lord, use me".
So after trying to end his epistle the first time, he tries again.
17. How can we apply Phillipians 4:8?
18. How much financial support did Paul's ministry need to get by? (4:11)
Paul had learnt the lesson of contentment. Not only being content with little, but being content with a lot. The danger we face when God blesses us with a lot, is that we lose our contentment by forgetting God. Deuteronomy 8 has much to say about contentment during times of plenty.
19. Despite how much Paul did or didn't have how much could he do (4:13)?
Because the Philippian church were the most faithful givers of Paul's day, he reassured them that God would meet all their needs (4:19). Many years after Paul's affectionate letter, another man, Ignatius, wrote to the Philippian church. They had heard of his death sentence from the Roman Empire. He wrote thanking them for their concern and encouraging their faithfulness. Who would have guessed that a night in a Roman dungeon (Acts 16) would have resulted in one of the most powerful and Christlike churches in all history? A church that first displayed the character of Christ by their unity between a Roman centurion, a Seller of Purple, a former demon possessed fortune telling girl, and their families.
New Testament Survey
© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania