Paul calls for the Philippians’ love to grow and abound in knowledge and in understanding. He discusses suffering, giving joy that his imprisonment has led his preaching the Gospel to have such a wide reach. He argues that persecution is a privilege and a sign of one’s devotion to Christ.
Paul is incredibly thankful to God for Philippi, and thankful for God’s grace and work through them. This thankfulness buoys him as he serves his prison sentence, and is a model for us as we are called to “rejoice always and in everything give thanks.”
Paul introduces himself and Timothy as servants of Christ Jesus, and the significance of this title is discussed. The letter is addressed to the entire community, not just the overseers and deacons. They are all saints, through grace in Jesus Christ. The titles of overseer and deacon also have different connotations in that time than today.
Paul maintains a warm friendship with the church of Philippi. They are poor and persecuted but joyful and generous beyond their means. Paul’s letter to them, written from prison, reflects that effusive joy. Some references to Philippi in the other letters are discussed.
Some of Paul and Luke’s initial efforts at preaching in Philippi are chronicled. They meet and convert Lydia, a wealthy woman who would later be helpful in their other Macedonian efforts. They are arrested and beaten for their work, yet their are freed by the Lord through an earthquake. They convert their jailer and his family, but are asked to leave by the law in the town.
Paul entered Asia but the Holy Spirit prevented him from evangelizing. He has a vision of a Macedonian man encouraging him to come to Macedonia. Paul makes his way to Phillipi, a major city in Macedonia. Phillipi is a rich port city with access to farmland and gold. It is also the site of the Battle of Philippi, where Octavius Caesar and Marc Antony defeats the Roman Republic. Afterwards it becomes a home for Roman veterans to retire. Philippi also had easy access via the Egnatian Way to many other cities. However it was far outside of Christianity’s reach thus far.
Note: A map of Paul’s missionary journeys is frequently referred to in this episode and may be useful.
In this lecture we continue discussing some of the background history that leads to Philippians. We discuss the Council of Jerusalem, which decides the responsibilities of Gentiles with regard to Jewish law, and Paul’s initial plan for his mission which he intends to take to Asia Minor.
St. Paul has an effusive relationship with the Church of Philippi. Philippi was the beachhead of Christian evangelization in Europe. The stoning of Steven led to the scattering of the Church in Jerusalem and Judea. As a result, the faith spreads out to Gentile populations. Initially Gentile conversions were not a focus, but a side effect of evangelization in Judea. However, Barnabus and Saul are chosen by the Holy Spirit to seek out Gentiles specifically to bring into Church and teach them the Law of the Lord.
God is our creator, and ultimately holds life and death in His hands. It is His right to punish the Canaanites for their centuries of sin by ordering them to be wiped from the face of the earth by the Israelites. However, God is also beyond this earth. Jesus, after death, went down to the realm of the dead to preach to the spirits. Even those punished in this life may have hope in the next. Moses was forbidden from entering the Promised Land due to his sin, but as the Transfiguration shows, he was greatly rewarded by God.
Deuteronomy deserves continued study and meditation even beyond this course. Read it, think about it, pray on it, and teach it to your family. It is an accessible book to the disciple, and not just the scholar. It will reveal plain truths on how we can please God throughout your life.
This brings our study of Deuteronomy to a close. Thank you very much for listening, and stay tuned for the next course! If you profited from this study of this foundational book, please share it with friends and family who would likewise profit!
“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” This law seems like it is not applicable to those who do not have oxen. However, this particular law can be a teaching moment for God’s people. It shows that it is wrong to deprive any working creature of their just reward for labor, whether they are an animal or human. Underpaying a worker out of greed is violating this law.