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Philippians: Earthly Conduct of Heavenly Citizens by Dwight Edwards Chapter 1:1-30 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: As usual, Paul introduces himself and addresses the recipients of his letter. Though Paul alone wrote this letter, he says it comes from Paul and Timothy. The reason may be that since he was going to send Timothy to them (2:19), he wanted to elevate Timothy in authority. Beginning
  Philippians:Earthly Conduct of Heavenly Citizens  byDwight Edwards Chapter 1:1-30 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, withthe bishops and deacons: As usual, Paul introduces himself and addresses the recipients of his letter. Though Paul alone wrote this let-ter, he says it comes from Paul and Timothy. The reason may be that since he was going to send Timothy to them(2:19), he wanted to elevate Timothy in authority. Beginning the letter by naming Timothy as virtually his right handman would set the stage for Timothy's gaining of their respect.This letter is addressed to all the saints, not just a chosen few. Thus, this epistle is relevant to every believer for instruction and application.Why does he address them as saints in Christ Jesus''? It seems somewhat redundant to address them thisway, since a saint is someone in Christ Jesus. Perhaps Paul is wanting to stress unity by using this dative of sphere.Perhaps most significant from all this is the fact that we as saints live in two spheres at the same time: inChrist, in Philippi. It is important to note the order Paul gives here: first in Christ, second in the world. Too manytimes as Christians we reverse the order. Our position in Christ should drastically affect how we live in our city.If we focus only on being in Christ then it will be easy to fall into a monastic, self-absorbed approach tospirituality. five may become salt and light, but it will be of little value since we will be divorced and separatedfrom those who desperately need to see the supernatural. Christ was a friend of sinners. If we only concentrate on being in Philippi (i.e., the world) then we may easily become absorbed into our culture and be salt that has lost its savor. We will become a thermometer rather than a thermostat--one who merely re-flects the conditions around us rather than altering them.The truly dangerous Christian is one who takes care to concentrate on both, somewhat like Moses; meetingwith God on the mountaintop and then transporting His glory to the people below and impacting his culture. Ex.34:29-35.Paul concludes this verse with the elders and deacons. This clearly shows that there was a distinction be-tween elders and deacons in the early church. It also shows a plurality of elders in the church, for as far as we knowthere was only one church in Philippi.This is a very unique way of addressing this church. No other letter is addressed in the same manner.This book is being written to the saints, elders, and deacons in Philippi. Not one person is exempt from thecontents of this book. Much of the book speaks about selflessness and servanthood. Thus it could be that Paul wants tomake it crystal clear that the leaders of the church must also obey what he says. This is especially important since anychurch's leadership greatly determines the spirituality of that church. Hence the elders and deacons must be servantsas all the saints. Also it is interesting to note that the pastor, preacher, minister, etc. of the church is not mentioned. This is because the only head of the local church is Christ (Col. 1:18) and the pastor(s) are only undershepherds (I Pet.5:1-5). The New Testament gives no support for one man running a church, it is always to be a plurality of qualifiedleadership. See I Tim 5:17, Titus 1:5, I Pet 5:1-4, Acts 20:17, etc. This insures a necessary system of checks and bal-ances and also keeps any one person from receiving the glory which belongs to Christ alone. 1:2. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul gives a standard greeting here. We see that grace and peace in the believer's life must come from Godand Christ. God is addressed here as our Father and Christ is our Lord. This is an important balance to keep in perspec-tive. We are thoroughly secure in the father --> son relationship we have with God, for we are eternally ACCEPTED © 1997 Biblical Studies Press1  in the Beloved. Eph. 1:6. Nothing, but nothing can separate us from the love of God. It must also be remembered how-ever, that Christ is our Lord. We have been bought with a price and our bodies are no longer our own. We now are the property of Jesus Christ and are subject to His desires for our life. Therefore we are ACCOUNTABLE   as well as AC-CEPTED.Churches out of balance usually have one of these truths missing. The legalistic church is settled into a mas-ter --> slave relationship only. The libertine church is settled into a father (overly indulgent) --> son relationship. The balanced church sees both sides of the coin. 1:3. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Paul begins his prologue with I continually give thanks to my God. . . . The word translated I givethanks, ( eucharisto ) is present tense and each use in the N.T. is directed towards God. Paul's life was permeated witha spirit of thanksgiving, regardless of circumstances, and we are enjoined to live accordingly. I Thess. 5:18.He describes the reason for his thanksgiving as upon every remembrance of you or as often as I makemention of you. BAG lists both of these as possible translations. It is clear that these believers brought a deep senseof rejoicing to Paul's heart whenever he thought of them. What is it that stirs our heart to rejoicing? Is it our posses-sions, our accomplishments, our pleasures; or is it the person of God, the people of God, and the program of God? IIIJn. 3,4. 1:4. always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, Paul continues his accolade of praise to God and describes the occasion of his thanksgiving.This verse gives us a look into Paul's tremendous heart for prayer.(1) He prayed FREQUENTLY-- always (  pantote ) at all times. I Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18; Is. 62:6,7.(2) He prayed SPECIFICALLY-- making request ( deesin-- the word for a specific petition arising from aneed, Rienecker) Eph. 6: 18,19.(3) He prayed SELFLESSLY-- for you all (lit.-- on behalf of all of you ) I Tim. 2:1,2; Mtt. 6:9,10.(4) He prayed JOYOUSLY-- with joy Acts 16:25, Is. 56:7.For Paul, prayer was the matrix of his ministry, the womb from which all spiritual ministry came forth. 1:5. for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, Paul now gives the REASON for his thanksgiving to God (1:3a). The gospel ( evangelion -- good news, won-derful announcement, etc.) could refer either to the basic message necessary for regeneration (I Cor. 15:1-4) or to theentire body of Christian doctrine (Rom. 16:25). Probably it has reference to both here.The word for fellowship ( koinonia ) basically has the meaning of partnership and was often used to de-scribe business partners, husband and wife, etc. In what sense then were the Philippians partners with him in the ad-vance of the gospel? No doubt they were partners with him in the obedience and proclamation of the gospel. But inview of the circumstances behind this letter. we ought to carefully consider the use of  koinonia as found in Heb.13:16, Rom. 15:16, II Cor. 8:4, and 9:13. In these places it refers to sharing or giving of money or goods. Thus it couldwell be that Paul has in mind particularly their monetary partnership with him in the spreading of the gospel. This isstrengthened greatly by 4:15 which uses the same key words: evangelion (gospel) and koinonia (sharing, fellowship).One of the major purposes for this letter is to thank; them for their financial help (4:14-17) and so this wouldfit in well with the context of the book.The idea of monetary partnership with those proclaiming the gospel is very vivid in the N.T. We can winfriends for eternity by properly investing unrighteous mammon. (Lk. 16:9) Also 4:14-19 will further emphasize thisgreat truth; also III John 6-8. Note also the consistency of their giving, from the first day until now. Theirs was not an occasional offeringgiven at a moment of crisis (as is so often the case today), but a steady supply of ammunition to those battling thekingdom of darkness in other locations.The essential thing to see from this passage is Paul's perspective on laboring together for the same cause (i.e.,the gospel). The Philippians were SENDERS, Paul and his companions were GOERS. One was the arrow, the other was the bow. Neither was more important than the other for they were INTERDEPENDENT. When William Careywent to India he told his friends, I will go down but you must hold the rope. Who are we helping hold the rope © 1997 Biblical Studies Press2  for, through prayer and financial support? We can only do so much, but most of us could probably be holding moreropes than we are. 1:6. being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until theday of Jesus Christ; Paul continues his flow of thought by describing his confidence in God's continuance of their good work untilthe day of Christ. Having expressed his thanks for their financial support from the first day until ( achri ) now, henow expresses his conviction that this good work will continue to bear fruit until ( achris ) Christ's return (4:17).The other possibility in interpreting this passage is that God will continue the sanctification of these believersuntil Christ returns. Gal. 3:3 is an excellent support for this option in that it uses two key words in this verse: begin ( enarchomai ) and complete or perfect ( epiteleo ).The verse could easily be translated, being confident of this same thing, that the One having begun a goodwork by ( en ) you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ. Thus the same God who inspired them to give to himwill multiply the value or fruit (4:17) of their gift until the day Christ returns! There is much to commend this view:(1) The occasion of the letter.(2) The similar idea found in 4:15-18, especially 4:17-- the fruit which is abounding (pres. ptcp.) to your ac-count. (3) The use of the same words in II Cor. 8, 9, another important passage concerning financial giving. a. COMPLETE (  EPITELEO )--II Cor. 8:6,11b. FELLOWSHIP (  KOINONIA )--II Cor. 8:4c. WORK (  ERGON  )--IICor. 9:8This is a tremendous promise which should stimulate us to greater giving. Our support of a missionary maywell begin a spiritual avalanche as one impacted life touches and sets off another and that one another, and another,etc. Who can possibly calculate the minions of lives the Philippians have impacted over the centuries as God has kepttheir deposit earning interest through this letter! It is God's work from beginning to end; He is simply looking for channels to begin the initial work through! II Tim. 1:12, Phil. 4:17, Is. 60:22, Jn. 6:9-13. 1:7. just as it is right for me to thinly this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both inmy chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. This verse probably ought to be taken back to 1:3,4 rather than a continuation of vs. 6. His thanksgiving to-wards God for them (3) and his joy in praying for them (4) is well justified ( just as it is right . . . ). He gives two rea-sons why it is right for me to think this of you all. . . . (1) The place they held in his heart. In light of the tremendous opposition Paul faced, the faithful support of these believers was a tremendous source of joy and encouragement (4:1).(2) The partnership they shared with him in advancing the gospel. They were faithful friends at all times,whether he was in prison ( in my chains ) or out ( in the defense and confirmation of the gospel ). Regardless of Paul's state, they were all partakers (co-partners) of the grace. Grace prompted them to alleviate his imprisonment,to cooperate with him in defending and propagating the gospel, and to suffer for its sake. VINCENT 1:8. For God is my witness, hour greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Paul continues to amplify on the place they held in his heart. For (  gar  ) probably should be related back to7a, just as it is right to think (or feel,  phroneo ) this of you all because I have you in my heart. . . . Only God could know the depth of affection which Paul had for these believers, so he writes, . . . God ismy witness. The word for greatly long ( epipotheo ) is a very strong word for desire, used of a baby longing for itsmother's milk (I Pet. 2:2) and of a thirsty deer for water (Ps. 42:1). Not only do we see the INTENSITY of Paul's love but also the EXTENT of it-- for you all. How could Paul love that deeply and widely? The answer is given in the restof the verse, with (or 'in') the affection (lit. 'compassion,'  splanchnon ) of Jesus Christ. This love was not generatedfrom Paul, but from Christ Himself. The word for affection or compassion' is often used of Christ (Mtt. 9:36, Mk.1:41 ) and is a word which speaks of being deeply moved internally. J.B. LlGHTFOOT writes, The believer has noyearnings apart from his Lord; his pulse beats with the heart of Christ. Two very critical ingredients are revealed in these verses for developing deep and heartfelt love for other be-lievers:(1) CONSISTENT AND INTENSE PRAYER FOR THEM (1:3,4) © 1997 Biblical Studies Press3  (2) DESPERATE DEPENDENCE UPON THE POWER OF CHRIST (1:8) 1:9. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. Paul now launches into the GOAL of his longing and affection for them (vs. 8)--THEIR SPIRITUAL MA-TURITY (9-l l ).He prays first of all for two primary features of their love.(1) ITS ABUNDANCE-- . . . that your love may abound still more and more . . . The word for abound (  perisseuo ) means to have in abundance or overflow. These believers had al-ready demonstrated love in abundance, but Paul prays that it will overflow even more. (I Thess. 4:12) Goddesires that genuine love ( agape ) be the badge of our discipleship (Jn. 13:34,35) and that it only increasesas time goes on. (2) ITS DISCERNMENT-- . . . in knowledge and all discernment . . . Love that is blind and undiscerning is not real love. God desires that our love be not only RICHLY ABUN-DANT but also WELL-DIRECI ED.KNOWLEDGE ( epignosis ) may be described as a firm conception of those spiritual principles whichwould guide the no in their relations with one another and the world. (LKGNT)DISCERNMENT ( aisthesis ) is insight, experience, denoting moral understanding. (BAG) It is closely re-lated to the word translated senses in Heb. 5:14.Probably the difference between these two words is that knowledge speaks of clear perception in a broad,general sense; while discernment emphasizes the particular, practical applications of this knowledge. knowledge isthe general regulator and guide. Discernment applies knowledge to the finer details of the individual life, and ful-fills itself in the various phases of Christian tact. VINCENTThere is a very significant balance to be noted in this verse--LOVE and TRUTH. This balance is noted inmany places, particularly Eph. 4:15-- but, speaking the truth in love. . . . Also II Jn. 1-3; Jn. 1:14; Pr. 3:3,4; Ps.89:14. If love is the river of blessing, then truth is its banks directing and controlling its flow. Our lives must be char-acterized by COMPASSION and CONVICTION. If we lack COMPASSION we will have a message but no audience.If we lack CONVICTION we will have an audience but no message. Truth without charity is often intolerant and even persecuting, as charity without truth is weak inconcession and untrustworthy in judgment. But charity, loyal to truth and rejoicing in it, has thewisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove. JOSHUA SWARTZ 1:10. that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense tillthe day of Christ, Paul continues his prayer by describing the purpose for their knowledge and all discernment -- that youmay approve the things that are excellent. . . . The word for approve ( dokimazo ) was used of assaying metals, test-ing for genuine money, or sifting wheat from chaff. Fundamentally it means to approve after testing. Thus we are being enjoined to sit t through the objects or choices at hand and pour out ourselves for the things that are excellent. The word translated excellent means differing (l Cor. 15:41, Gal. 4:1) or better (Mtt. 6:26, 10:31, 12:12).The thought here is, as BAG nicely translates, the things that really matter. Often the choice is not betweengood and bad, but between good and best. That which is best is that which is of ENDURING VALUE, the things thatreally matter. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for food which endures to everlasting life. . . . Jn. 6:27also Isa. 51:6-8, II Pet. 3:10-15.The goal of this abounding and perceptive love is now given-- that you may be sincere and without offensetill the day of Christ. The word for sincere ( eilikrinees ) means pure, genuine, etc. It may mean tested by sunlight, though theetymology of this has never been proven conclusively. In any case, the emphasis is upon a life of open integrity; onewhich is devoid of hypocrisy and insincerity. The Latin word from which sincere is derived literally means withoutwax (  sincerus ). In that day pottery which had been cracked was sometimes waned over to conceal the flaw. When the pottery was used for cooking or heated in some other way, the was would melt and the crack would become evident.Thus pottery which was genuine and pure was considered sincerus-- without wax. The sincerity of our faith is © 1997 Biblical Studies Press4
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