Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unit 4 - Participation with Paul in the Mission of God's Grace

Note: My apologies to any online readers of the blog. My preparation time was cut short last week and I did not have the opportunity to place my lesson notes here on the blog. We continue this week with Unit 4 covering Philippians Chapter 4.


A. Philippians Ch. 4 is filled with well known and cherished verses.
1. v.4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
2. v.6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.
3. v.7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4. v.8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
5. v.13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
B. Phil. 4:1-3 - Paul publicly calls out two women leaders encouraging them to settle their differences
C. Phil. 4:4-7 - The Peace of God vs. the Peace of Rome
D. Phil. 4:8-11 - Friendship in Christ and the Sharing of Financial Resources
E. Phil. 4:12-13 - Security and Partnership in Christ
F. Phil. 4:14-20 - Partnership in Christ and a Life of Integrity

II. Phil. 4:4-7 - The Peace of God vs. the Peace of Rome

A. v. 4-5 talk of joy and gentleness
1. Barclay - "Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual prescence of Christ."
2. Greek word used is Epiekeia. Barclay - "Epiekeia is the quality of someone who knows that regulations are not the last word and knows when not to apply the letter of the law."
B. Paul says take everything to God in prayer
1. Pray for ourselves
2. Pray for forgiveness for the past
3. Pray for things needed in the present
4. Pray for future guidance
C. Paul says pray with thanksgiving
D. Barclay says when we pray must remember 3 things
1. The love of God
2. The wisdom of God
3. The power of God
E. Barclay - "The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God."

III. Phil. 4:8-11 - Friendship in Christ and the Sharing of Financial Resources

A. Paul gives a lesson on Christian living and thinking
1. True - set our thoughts on things which will never let us down
2. Honorable (semnos)- Barclay - "that which has the dignity of holiness upon it."
3. Just (dikaios)- Giving to God and others what is their due
4. Pure (hagnos)- Morally uncontaminated
5. Pleasing (prosphiles)- That which calls forth love
6. Commendable (eophema) - Fair-spoken
7. Excellence (arete) - Virtue
B. Paul says if Philippians focus on these things the "God of peace" will be with them.
C. Paul acknowledges the Philippians gift
1. Some controversy about Paul's choice of words
2. However, real lesson in this section is about being content with whatever life hands you
3. Ties in well with Paul's earlier advice about Christian living and thinking
4. If you're focused on God and Godly living you can't help but be content
5. If you're focused on wordly things you will always be disappointed and without joy
6. Barclay contrasts Stoicism and Paul. He summed up the differences by saying, "For the Stoics, contentment was a human achievment, for Paul, it was a divine gift."

IV. Phil. 4:12-13 - Security and Partnership in Christ

A. Phil. 4:13 - One of my favorite verses.
B. Paul feels secure knowing God is with him
C. Paul knows nothing can defeat him as he goes about doing God's work

V. Phil. 4:14-20 - Partnership in Christ and a Life of Integrity

A. Paul acknowledges joy in receipt of Philippians gift. However, joy isn't because of how they feel about him, but rather how they feel about God.
B. Perhaps this is why Paul only accepted gifs from the church at Philippi and not any of the other churchs he established. He recognized that they were giving not because of their love for Paul but for their love of God.
C. This is a lesson we all need to learn. Perhaps more of us would experience the true joy of giving if we recognized to whom we are giving the gift.

(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

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