Saturday, October 2, 2010

Unit 2 - Shaping Christian Community Around the Story of Christ

I. Introduction

A. What the Lesson Writer Skipped Over
B. The Politics of Life in a Hostile City
C. The Politics of Christian Unity
D. The Politics of Grace

II. What the Lesson Writer Skipped Over (Ch. 1:12-26)

A. Concerning the Effect of Paul's Imprisonment on the Gospel

1. His imprisonment opened the way for preaching to the Praetorian Guard
2. His imprisonment generated new courage among others to "speak the word of God most fearlessly"
3. His imprisonment opened the way for others to preach the Gospel
a. those whose motives were not pure, nevertheless they proclaimed Christ
b. God worked through them; all that mattered was that Christ was preached

B. Concerning the Effect of Paul's Imprisonment upon the Church and Himself

1. Paul is torn between his desire to be with the Lord and to continue his ministry here on earth (and revisit the church at Philippi).
2. Sharing of his innermost thoughts shows his high regard for the people of Philippi

III. The Politics of Life in a Hostile City

A. Philippi was a Roman colony

1. People of Philippi understood what it meant to be Roman citizen
2. Paul calls them to a higher citizenship
a. Greek word "conversari" - to conduct oneself - Paul is saying 'Let your behavior be worthy of those who are pledged to Christ.'
b. Greek word "politeuesthai" - to be a citizen - Paul is saying 'remember that you have an even higher duty than that as a Roman citizen. You must live as befits a citizen of the Kingdom of God.'

IV. The Politics of Christian Unity

A. Paul affirms their faith and calls for progress and maturity

B. Clearly there was discord amongst the people in the church at Philippi

1. Don't know with certainty what was causing the discord.
2. However, do know what Paul regarded as inappropriate:
a. Selfish ambition - some people more interested in advancing themselves than advancing God's work
b. Personal Prestige - prestige for many people is an even greater temptation than wealth. We should do good deeds, not in order that others may glorify us, but that they may glorify God.
c. Concentration on Self - elimination of others, object of life becomes not to help others but to put them down.
3. Paul set down 5 considerations which ought to prevent disharmony:
a. No one can walk in disunity with other people and be in unity with Christ
b. Power of Christian love should keep us in unity.
c. The Holy Spirit binds individuals to God and to one another
d. The exiistence of human compassion should keep people from disunity
e. Personal plea from Paul - if they want to bring him personal joy, they must perfect their fellowship.

V. The Politics of Grace

A. Barclay - "Nowhere in the New Testament is the work of salvation more succinctly stated."

1. Greek word "katergazesthai" - conveys idea of bringing to completion. Paul is saying keep going until the work of salvation is fully achieved in you.
2. Greek word Paul uses for 'work' "energein" - always used to express the action of God and always used of effective action.

B. The Signs of Salvation

1. Sign of effective action - continual progress - a journey towards God
2. Sign of 'fear and trembing' - comes from acknowledging our human helplessness
a. not running away from God in fear
b. rather, running towards God in acknowledging that without Him we can not effectively face life.
3. Sign of serenity and certainty
4. Sign of purity
5. Sign of missionary endeavor

(1) Interpretation Bible Studies: Philippians and Galations, Stanley P. Saunders, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001
(2) The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, William Barclay, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003
(3) Interpretation Bible Commentary: Philippians, Fred B. Craddock, John Knox Press, 1985

No comments:

Post a Comment