The Letter to the Philippian Church:
The Big Idea: Philippians shows us how God wants His people to experience triumphant joy, rejoicing in the Lord always, even in the midst of suffering, trials and temptations.
“This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. It is written to all of God’s people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” (Philippians 1:1-3, NLT).
At the beginning of this letter, we learn that it was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Philippi. Some people might protest, “Wait a minute, we’re reading someone else’s mail! We don’t live in Philippi, so this doesn’t apply to us.” However, we know that the Apostle Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) also wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT). Every verse of Scripture is profitable for us in our lives today.
Already in the first four verses, Paul has given us a sneak peek at how we can have joy in our lives. Three times he makes reference to Jesus Christ: “Slaves of Jesus Christ, believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you want to experience true and lasting joy in your life, it starts with a personal relationship with Jesus.
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy, because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” (Philippians 1:4-5, NLT).
In the letter, Paul expresses his appreciation to the Lord for the Philippian church. They were partners together with him in the work of the ministry. Later in this letter, Paul writes: “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.” (4:15-16, NLT).
So Paul is thanking them for their partnership in doing the work of the ministry. And right here at the beginning of this letter, we see Paul’s grand theme of joy: “I make my requests with a heart full of joy.” And remember – Paul’s writing from prison! He wasn’t sitting on a beach in Mexico sipping on an iced beverage with an umbrella in it. Paul’s joy wasn’t based on his location, it was based on a person – who he was with – Jesus Christ.
As a pastor, I am so thankful for all of my partners in our church in doing the work of the ministry. We have an amazing leadership team of elders and council members, not to mention several different ministry teams that serve the people in our church in community. From our different worship teams and sound ministry, to our children’s ministry teachers and helpers, nursery workers, youth ministry volunteers, ushers and greeters, to our prayer team, men’s and women’s ministry leaders, our Overcomer’s Outreach 12-step recovery meeting leaders, small group leaders, maintenance, janitorial and more. Like Paul, my heart is full of joy for our amazing team of volunteers and ministry workers. I love and appreciate them very much!
Pastor Chris Jordan