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February 15, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit begins a series entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel” with a message from Philippians 1:1-5 titled “An Overview of Philippians.”
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University will begin a study series entitled live worthy of the gospel, which is a study of the book of Philippians. There's a study booklet available that Dr. Pettit has written for this series. If you would like to follow along. You can order a printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com.
In today's message Steve will walk us through an introduction to the book of Philippians wanted to take your Bibles this morning and turn with me please to the book of Philippians Philippians this morning. Chapter 1 someone is again this morning by doing a basic overview of the book of Philippians we just sorta be a big picture and the reason were doing it this way is so that will have now. Once we get focus starting next week on our theme of live worthy of the gospel elites you have a foundation of understanding as we look at it specifically. So I'd like to begin this morning by reading the first five verses of this wonderful and beautiful book called the foot of the book to the Philippians chapter 1 verse one Paul and Timothy. The servants of Jesus Christ to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons gracefully to you and peace from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.
Here's why for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. I think all of us realize that it is a joy or it's a blessing to receive a special letter from someone that is important or somebody that is special to you. I brought this morning a picture that my father gave me before he passed away in this picture. If I can get it up here see it is a picture of of an event that takes place just about every year and that's called the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia I grew up in Columbia not far from here, and as a kid growing up I didn't realize at the time that my dad used to take me to the Masters and I would watch famous golfers like Jack Nicholas and Gary player and Arnold Palmer play and this is one of the holes they are at the Masters tournament and the fellow. This hitting the ball. There is a guy named Arnold Palmer and he was very famous in his day. The reason I brought it is over there at the end is a personal letter that my father received on not knowing it was coming from Arnold Palmer and it was a personal letter that he wrote to my dad because my father's brother used to be the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, and he had Arnold Palmer come in for an event and he told Arnold Palmer that my dad was one of his that that Arnold Palmer was his favorite golfer and he was part of Arnie's Army.
That kind of thing.
It's okay. He reached out wrote the special letter when my dad died he gave me this just as a reminder of what this letter meant to him personally. Now what you think with the moment. Here the church of Philippi are receiving a personal letter from the great apostle Paul that was written for them and not only was this letter from Paul who basically started the church in deeply love the people, but they also came to understand that this letter was literally the inspired writing of God. God was riding to this church.
Therefore, this letter was incredibly compelling. What is it that makes the book of Philippians so compelling. Well first of all because it gives us a glimpse into the life of the apostle Paul. We understand this were all interested in each other's lives. That's why you have. That's why you have Instagram that's why you have. That's why you have Facebook that's why you have all kinds of bit different things that you can do sending pictures to one another. That's why you turn on the TV said, and they have reality TV shows why because people are interested in each other is not just today it's always been that way. So when Paul writes this letter he is expressing his personal feelings his ball and he's also talking about his situation and his relationship to the Philippians, but secondly, this letter is compelling because in this.
The apostle Paul presents himself as an example to all believers of what a joy filled gospel centered spiritually mature Christian looks like. The reason I emphasize this is because every one of us here needs to have examples in our lives of believers who we want to be like what Christian. Do you want to be like. I remember as a young believer night was just growing in my faith. I was a sophomore in college and I decided to make the best Christians I knew my friends because I knew I needed their example. Bob Jones University, you are in the process of developing friendships, people who will impact your life.
People who will influence you.
And can I encourage you to do something always made somebody you think is more spiritual than you are friend and this is exactly what Paul did.
He set himself up appropriately. God leading to do this to be an example of what it means to be mature, gospel centered in a joy filled Christian so that's really what Philippians is all about, and this morning I'd like us to take a 10,000 foot view of this letter so that next week when we immerse ourselves in the theme of live worthy of the gospel. It just comes out much more clearly so three things I want to send out this morning. First of all let me talk to you little bit about the city of Philippi. It says here in verse one that he writes to the saints, which are at Philippi or if you are in. If you're in Greece today. They don't say Philippi. They say they say Philippi.
That's how they say the city could have been there a number of times in acts chapter 16 it describes a little bit more about Philippi and that is is called the chief city of the region known as Macedonia and it's a Roman colony know what it says it was a cheap city it's kind of like Atlanta, Georgia Georgia or maybe Charlotte North Carolina. It was the most important city in that region and the city was actually established by the father of Alexander the great's name was King Philip, and he built the city for three reasons. Number one, it was on a river so they had a water supply number two was very close to a tall mountain where they excavating gold and silver, and number three. It was on a road that was later improved.
That was a road that went all the way across northern Greece that went to the Adriatic Sea because it was that road that led to the country of Italy and the city of Rome.
Now Philip being such a humble man.
He named the city after himself. That's where you get the name Philippi. Now the city was large for a while but like cities do it. Over time, it declined until an event took place in 42 BC that change the city forever and that was a great battle was fought there like the battle of Gettysburg. It was a battle between 22 groups of men.
The first group were two men called Brutus and Cassius have ever heard of those guys. They were well known for something. What are they do. They were the murderers of Julius Caesar.
The other two men were a fellow named Mark Antony ever to him. He's a guy that fell in love with Cleopatra and another man named Octavian whose name was later changed when he became the Emperor to Augustus Caesar. In that battle, Brutus and catches were defeated and they were killed, and so as a result, the city of Philippi was awarded the right to become a Roman colony and we say colony were not talking about a big region were just talking about a city. So what was it that makes it a Roman colony. Well, everything about the city suddenly became Roman. Now we understand that the United States because when you travel around the United States, you find that you find the same things everywhere.
So what makes a city American Walmart, Home Depot in McDonald's or if you're in the South Chick-fil-A on me. That's just the way it is. So part of our culture.
Same thing back in those days, for example, a Roman colony met first of all, that they govern themselves under Roman law. It was a retirement community for Roman soldiers like they retire. For example, in Florida. The language was not Greece Greek. It was Latin, and the dress was Roman.
The leaders of the community were Romans. The temple was built to worship Caesar. The architecture of the buildings was Roman and the city was built with the same type roads they had in Rome. That's why they call Roman. That's what they called the Roman colonies little rodents and the people that lived there were very patriotic to Rome.
They were very proud and they were very pagan.
So that leads me to the second thing and that is Paul and the Philippian church. Now be honest with you, what eventually made Philippi famous was not the Romans because today if you were to go to Philippi all it is is a mound of rubble. It's just total ruins. There is no city there today and that would've remained as an insignificant mound of rubble. Had it not been for one visitor, a small Jewish convert to Christianity named Paul who came to the city of Philippi, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel. How did Paul get the Philippi well if you know the story. The book of acts.
Paul had missionary journeys in on his second journey he went with a man named Silas Paul and Silas in on his route through the country of Turkey.
He picked up a fellow named Timothy and they were directed to a city called Truax asked which is on the coast of Turkey in northern Turkey on the Aegean Sea and you know the city of Truax asked as an ancient city called the city of Troy and there the apostle Paul had a vision in the night, and he saw a man from Macedonia where was Macedonia right across the Aegean Sea in northern Greece and the man cried out, saying, come over in the Macedonia and help us. As you read the book of acts.
It tells us the story and at the same time, those three men picked up 1/4 man who wrote the book of acts in his name was Luke, and so they sell across the Aegean sea. It's a two-day trip. They spent the night on an island right in the middle of the Aegean sea called Samo to see him.
They spent the night of the local Holiday Inn Express got up the next morning and they they continued on to a city called the Opelousas today.
The city is called Kabbalah. I've actually stood on the shores of the Aegean CN Kabbalah looking out saying the island of Samo through C is a beautiful place.
And when Paul and his team arrived.
They walked 8 miles inland on the Ygnacio the way the Roman road and they came to the city of Philippi and as it was for Paul's custom he always started preaching, not out in the open form to the Gentiles. He always started with the Jews. Why, because the gospel was to go to the Jew first but there was a problem and that is in the city of Philippi. There was no Jewish synagogue. Why there were Jews there but no synagogue. Why, because in order for there to be a synagogue.
You have to have a quorum or a group of 10 adult men and they did not even have 10 men so typically what they would do is they would meet together by a river and so what we read in acts 16 in verse 13 it says, and on the Sabbath day. Paul went outside the gate to the Riverside where he suppose there was a place of prayer.
That's where the Jews would meet and we sat down and notice he says and we spoke to the women who had come together. Who was he speaking to primarily Gentiles could become proselytes to the Jewish religion. And what happened there.
Paul preached the gospel and the Lord opened up the heart of a woman who became the first convert in Europe where the first church in Europe was established and that convert was a woman named Lydia. She was very wealthy as a Gentile and she came from a town in Turkey or region. Turkey skews me name via Tyra and there we find the first European church.
Why is that so important because for many of us here. We are the result of Paul's ministry to bring the gospel to Europe, which spread throughout Europe, and eventually it came overseas to the United States of America or to the Americas when they came over with the gospel. So we find here the first European church and Paul love these people you know it's always a wonderful thing to be in a church where you feel like your pastor loves you and this church loved Paul and Paul love this church in this church brought joy to his heart and they supported Paul financially like no other church so why did Paul write in this letter were with her.
What was the reason behind it or the circumstances was very clear that when Paul wrote this letter. He was in prison.
How do we know. Look at chapter 1 in verse seven it says even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart. Inasmuch as both he and my bonds. Those word bonds refers to his imprisonment in verses 13 and 14. He talks about his bonds. In Christ, so we know he's writing this from prison. So how do we know that he's writing it from Rome will notice what he says in verse 13 so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the pallets that were palace in the Greek is the word for the praetorian guard of the Caesars in chapter 4 and verse 22.
He speaks of the gospel being spread in the Caesars household. So what does that tell us he's writing the letter from Rome and he is imprisoned.
If you read the book of acts chapter 28. It tells us that Paul spent two years imprisoned in Rome under house arrest and he was chained all the time to two Roman soldiers. So what we call this letter is we call this a prison epistle, and therefore them, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. So why did Paul write the letter will basically it was it was built all of a visit, a church member from Philippi made to him whose name was a pampered guidance. The distance from Rome to Philippi is 800 miles. This man traveled 800 miles to meet with Paul and particularly to bring him what we call a love offering your heart of a love offering I live by love offering for 29 years.
It's a gift. The church gives and why did they bring it because in ancient times. The only way a man in prison could eat or be closed.
Is he had to be supported by his friends or family so they were literally supporting him in his bonds, and so Paul and pampered. I just meet each other.
Could you imagine what that was like peers. Paul and house arrest can't go anywhere and suddenly an ox comes to the door.
The door opens a standing there is a pampered guidance.
Could you imagine how happy you would be coming.
Some of you have not seen each other for five months and you come back and you just you just so happy to be here. Why because your friends a pampered guidance and Paul were friends and so he comes in and they sit down and they have a conversation and what are they talk about my wife used to ask me when I would go out to eat with the pastor she would say. What did Joe talk about us and what you think. We talked about. We talked about the church we call it preacher talk what preachers talk about the talk about the church. That's what they did. So this letter was written in response to that conversation, and so the last thing I want talk about is the reason Paul wrote the letter and their five reasons 11 give them very quickly to you. Number one, Paul was writing to express gratitude for their generous gift. It was a thank you letter when I was a kid growing up, my parents made me do something. I hated to do and that is every Christmas gift I received. I had to write a personal thank you letter to the people to send it to me. I hated it, but I'm so glad I learned you know why because generosity and Thanksgiving are to go together and anybody. This been good to you deserves a thanks giving. That's what Paul was doing so, we read in chapter 4 and verse to 10. He says I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last your care of me at first. Again, he writes in verse 15 and you Philippians know that in the beginning of the gospel. When I left Macedonia. No church entered into partnership with me and giving and receiving. Except you only in verse 18. He says I'm well supplied, having received from a pampered diet is the gift you sent so truly he was expressing gratitude is a thank you letter. Secondly, he wrote the letter to explain or to update his new and as we all understand communication is always an updating of what's going on because people are concerned about what's happening now and so when Paul writes this letter to the Philippians he actually wants to help them with some things that they were very, very worried about how many of you have already had some I text you write you and ask you, how are you doing at Bob Jones I'm able to have people do that yet.
Most everybody here how many of you have Artie happy to write you and say were really concerned that you don't get covered 19 Ranger view of others that they don't really care okay I get that but obviously there were concerning what were they concerned about what first of all, they actually heard a pampered I just gotten sick and he did. He almost died from his in a pampered guidance himself was distressed over there worry and so the apostle Paul wanted a pampered diet is to take the letter back to the Philippians, so that they would see he's well and they would stop worrying and they would start rejoicing when the most important themes of the book of Philippians and that's why everyone of you all to read it this semester is it addresses one of the greatest problems Christian struggle with and that is the problem of anxiety, and in this case, sickness and health could become a joy stealer, you know that you can be joyful even in the midst of cancer and he wanted them to find joy in the midst of the anxieties of life.
He wanted the Philippian believers to know that even though he was in prison. The gospel was advancing to you know why because he had to Roman soldiers chained to them every four hours they would change and what you think.
Apostle Paul talked about it and talk about the soccer teams in Rome. He talked about Jesus in the gospel was being spread and so he wanted them to rejoice in that he wanted them to know that though he appreciates the gift he's not unhappy and miserable in prison but he's also learned that in prison he can have joy and contentment. So he writes to update their circumstances so that they would not worry, but they would be filled with joy the number two he wrote to expose the false teachers as we know the New Testament many times talked about error false teaching wolves in sheep's clothing. Paul desired that the believers be unified for the sake of the gospel.
Therefore, he exposes current theological error and charges believers to be wary of it factors in Ephesians, Paul says, a little bit different. He tells the believers don't be carried about with every wind of doctrine, you'll wind of doctrine, as is was blowing by. I've been a Christian now for 45 years and 45 years of my faith.
There's never been a time that there wasn't something blowing by when I say something blowing by I mean, it generally doesn't last. It comes in at goats. Do you know that in the last five months since 13 March we had to step stop own campus classes to the time that you arrived back in school in the last five months the weeds of false teaching have been popping up all over the United States on telling we are living in a time of significant theological error, because it usually is something that is new, something that is emotional and something that is divisive and usually it has something to do with a social or cultural issue is extremely important that it's Christian's we discern between what is true and what is false what is trying to what is wrong and Paul is writing to the Philippian believers.
He says law put on your thinking cap understand there are things that are happening in your world that are taking you away from the truth of the gospel. So I want to warn all of you as young Christians because you are young not to be caught up in everything that's blowing by, look at things very quick carefully and don't look at the surface but look at the look at the heart of the matter. Don't let your emotions pull you away from what is true. The devil will always pull you from one side to the other because always understand is that in the midst of that which is false. There's always points of truth. Always remember that error always wears truths, clothing, and economist you and it seems true but it doesn't smell right, it doesn't look right. It doesn't seem right. That's why he writes to them. He wants to expose the false teachers in their day. There were mixing grace with law impulses that doesn't work, he said, of all people. I was exemplary as a Jewish believer. My life was was was it will exemplify what it meant to be a true Jew but he said when I counted it all together. Compared to Christ. It was a pile of dong so I said, you gotta be really clear about the number for the fourth reason, he wrote, was to exhort the believers to live worthy of the gospel. That's really the theme of our semester live worthy of the gospel where we found that find it in verse 27 notice what he says. He says only let your conversation be as a become of the gospel of Christ.
Let me translate it this way you'll find it in the ESV or the Naz meet it's it's only let your lifestyle be as it is worthy of the gospel. What Paul wanted the believers to do was to live worthy of the gospel this exactly what Jesus told his disciples, going all the world preach the gospel live it out. The spreading of the message of the finished work of the cross is the unfinished work of the church.
Believers are exhorted to work together to be united as partners in getting the gospel while the most important thing that we can do is to live it out in our life and the spread throughout the world. That's the heartbeat of Paul and that should be the heartbeat of this campus and then finally he wrote this so that they could experience true joy 16 times Paul makes joy as a distinctive feature of Philippians.
What is joy.
It is the Christians billboard is the greatest thing we have, to attract people to Jesus Christ and the joy that Paul experience was when they made the gospel.
The main focus, and they for them and their thinking was more like Jesus Christ. We set it for years in evangelism. The main thing is always to keep the main thing the main thing the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
What is the main thing it's the gospel. When you get into a church where the gospel is the focus, and people are living and people are preaching it and you're saying the power of the gospel being a factual in the lives of people nipping say what happens in his dying church and so Paul was focused on being joy filled Christ centered gospel focus spiritually mature believers living worthy of the gospel. That's her passion for the semester and all the Lord will use these challenges.
This semester that we would get out spread the gospel is a tough day to spread the gospel focus every body is separated from one another, but I but believe me, if you are serious about spreading the gospel. You thought I was a quick preach and if you're serious about sharing the gospel, God will always open the door of opportunity. Father, thank you for your word. Help us Lord to live worthy of the gospel in Jesus name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the book of Philippians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow is we continue the study in Philippians on The Daily Platform