Faithlife Sermons

God Builds His Church

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

God Builds His Church – Philippians 1:1-2

(Acts 16:6-40)

HOFC 3/4/07  #1

I. Introduction & Review (Acts 16:6-40)

A. Introductory comments

1. For the next 3-4 months we will be studying Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi

a. Since we are going to spend some time in this book,

1) Establishing a strong background and context

b. Paul had planted the church on his second missionary journey (around 50 A.D.)

1) Read Acts 16 earlier
2) Spend some time this morning looking at this text

B. This letter is unique

1. Very personal – most of Paul’s letters

2. Written to a church he was very fond of

3. Not really a rebuke like other letters

II. The Planting of the Church in Philippi

A. As He Guided Paul, So God Has Led, and Will Lead, Us. v. 6-12

1. The Timing and Location Are Up to Him

a. Paul desired to go to Asia, but was forbidden by the HS

b. I or any of the other founding families would be happy to share our testimony of how God has orchestrated everything!

2. He Sends His People to the Places He Has Prepared.

a. Praying – God answered

b. What is your story?

B. God Alone Makes the Church Grow Three People Saved by the Power of Christ.

1. Lydia - God Makes the Blind to See. v. 13-15 (Luke 24:45)

a. The Gospel is Foolishness to the Lost. I Cor. 2:14 II Cor. 4:4 Rom. 8:7-8

b. Only God Can Open a Heart. John 6:44 Acts 13:48 I Cor. 3:6

2. The Slave Girl - He Sets the Captives Free. v. 16-18

a. The Power of God is Great

b. Some choose to remain in Bondage

3. The Jailer - God Miraculously Delivers From Death Unto Life. v. 25-34

a. The Miracle of the Earthquake v. 26

1) What was God's purpose? Acts 5:19; 12:19

b. The Miracle of the Not so Great Escape v. 27-28

1) Why didn't they escape? God used to break the soldier

c. The Miracle of the Conversion of the Hardened Soldier v. 29-34

4. Others v. 40 Phil. 1:1 brethren

C. God Builds a Varied and United Church

1. In Contrast to Some Modern "Church Growth" Theories

2. Beauty in Diversity

a. Male and Female

b. Upper, Lower, and Middle Class

c. Differing Ethnic, National, and Religious Origins.

D. The Glory in the Church is God’s alone

1. What HOFC is not about

a. Me or the leaders;

b. Not about the right blend of music styles;

c. Not about entertaining productions

d. Not about a program for every age group

2. This church is about the Triune God!

3. God builds it and he alone gets the glory

E. Summary of Acts 16

1. Paul was used of God to build a church in Philippi

2. You and I are being used of God to build HOFC

3. Let’s study this Letter together

a. Glean what Paul has to teach his beloved children in Philippi

4. What can we Glean: Purpose of the Letter

a. Formal purpose: Thank the Philippian church for their gift

b. Joy in spite of difficulties

c. Unity through humility

d. Warnings about those who corrupt the gospel

That’s the history of Paul and the Philippians prior to the letter. 

Little more context around the writing of the letter itself

III. Paul Sends a Letter to Philippi

A. Paul and His Situation

1. Wrote around 61 AD: end of 2 year imprisonment in Rome (10 yrs after founding)

2. Wrote the prison epistles during this time (Eph., Col., Phil. & Philemon) interesting connection

a. Ephesians (6 ch. div. into 2 halves: unity)

1) Ch. 1-3 – About what we believe
2) Ch. 4-6 – what we should do about it

b. Colossians

1) Expands on 1st half of Eph (1-3) –doctrinal in nature

c. Philippians

1) Expands on 2nd half of Eph (4-6) – practical in nature

d. Philemon – real-life application of Eph. 6

3. Received Epaphroditus who came to bring Paul a gift from the church in Philippi

a. This gift is a glimpse of the kind of church they were

B. The Church

1. The City of Philippi

a. Leading City of Macedonia and a Roman Colony (Acts 16:12)

1) Roman citizenship: Significant: many benefits
2) No taxes: ownership of property

b. Place where Roman soldiers retired

c. Famous: place where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the Roman Republican forces of Brutus and Cassius (the assassins of Julius Caesar).

d. Not many Jews residing there

1) They did not have a synagogue (Acts 16:13)
a) 10 men were required to establish

2. First Church in Europe (God’s providence)

3. Situation at time of writing

a. Poor but with Generous hearts: supported Paul several times:  (II Cor. 8:1-5)  have to read it…

1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (so poor but very generous)

b. Some see Philippi as the ideal church, but:

1) Internal strife (2:14; 4:2)

c. External pressures (1:27-30; 3:2; 18-19)

1) Paul chased from Philippi because of it
2) Probably both Greek and Jewish (we’ll see this as the letter progresses)


Now that we have a good idea about the author and the recipients and their relationship, let’s begin to look at the letter by looking at the greeting in v. 1-2 today.

IV. Paul’s Greeting (Read 1:1-2)

A. Paul and Timothy: Slaves of Christ (v. 1)

1. Paul usually starts his letters: identifying himself as an Apostle

a. Established his authority

b. Here: Lays aside:

1) Already modeling the humility he will teach in chapter 2
2) Reveals the personal, loving nature of the letter

2. Paul uses the Greek word, δουλοι: bond-servants or literally slaves

a. Infers ownership: their lives are not their own

1) They are totally at the disposal of their master

b. Before his conversion on the Damascus road Paul was a slave to sin

c. Now, he and Timothy are still slaves

1) Slaves of Christ: Not of men
2) This drove them to great feats of bravery and self-sacrifice
3) The slavery of which Paul speaks is that of willing, joyful submission

3. Why Timothy?  Did he help write the letter?

a. Not co-author:

1) Added as a witness of the truths about which Paul is going to teach

b. He was there at the founding of the church (Acts 16:11-40; I Thess 2:2) and likely heading back soon – commendation in ch. 2

c. Remainder of content written from 1st person singular perspective (1:3 I thank my God)

B. To the Saints

1. All the Saints

a. Remember I said that one of the themes (purposes) of the letter is to encourage unity

b. Paul makes this point even in the greeting!

2. Are you saints?  (I Cor 1:2)

a. Do consider yourself saintly? 

1) Who do you think of?  Mother Theresa?  St. Paul?

b. A saint is anyone set apart by the Lord for his glory

1) Just as God called Israel Exod. 19:6 

6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

c. In this sense, all Christians are saints: set apart in holiness (I Cor. 1:2)

1) Notice Paul says those who are saints are “called to be saints
2) God makes sinners into saints
3) Then makes them into a church

3. Saints In Christ

a. Truth be told we’re all anything but holy if we examine ourselves in our own flesh

b. Our holiness is a result of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection.

c. In Christ we are holy:

d. Double Imputation

1) His righteousness is imputed to us
2) Our sins were imputed to Christ
3) Therefore: God treats us as holy/sanctified and, on the cross, treated Christ as sin

e. Two types of holiness:

1) Your initial setting apart is called Justification: ALL OF CHRIST
2) Your ongoing progressive growth is called sanctification: ALL OF CHRIST through work of the HOLY SPIRIT

f. Don’t ever separate who you are from Christ

1) Obedience without Christ is legalism
2) Christ without obedience is antinomianism
3) Both addressed in Ch. 3

C. Saints need godly leaders over them: two offices (with the overseers and deacons)

1. Paul’s special mention of them has resulted in much discussion as to why.

a. Though this letter is very gentle and loving

b. There is instruction and warning

c. The leaders will have special responsibility to carry out the instructions

2. Overseers (elders)

a. The Terms Overseer (Bishop), Elder (Presbyter), and Pastor (if used of an office) refer to the same office. Acts 20

1) 17 – πρεσβυτέρους – “elders”
2) 28 ἐπισκόπους –“bishops/overseers”

b. Men who are humble servants

1) Like Paul
2) Christ is example
3) Care for all the sheep

c. Plurality of elders

1) Pattern of early church
a) There was likely only one church in Philippi (Paul uses plural overseers)
2) Different gifts & functions

d. Men who are called and qualified

1) Not a popularity contest: God calls those who are to serve in this capacity
2) Qualified
a) I Tim 3:1-7
b) Titus 1:5-9
c) I Peter 5:1-3

3. Deacons

a. God has established a division of labor

1) Elders: ministry of Word & prayer
2) Deacons: works of service within the church        

b. Also supernaturally gifted and called

c. None yet: be in prayer that God would raise up for us:  Church needs both!

D. Greetings – Paul takes standard greeting and changes it to the gospel focused (grace & peace)

1. Grace

a. Unmerited favor – really even worse than that – we not only don’t deserve the blessings of God – we deserve the opposite.

b. Must come first – before the peace is established.

2. Peace is the outcome of saving work of Christ applied to believers by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9) (Hebrew concept of Shalom)

3. Do You Desire Peace?

4. Only true source – reconciliation with God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ

a. Peace comes by repentance

b. Peace comes by faith

5. Christ-centered beginning to the message

a. Bond-servants of Christ

b. Saints in Christ

c. Grace and Peace from Christ!

V. Conclusion

A. Growing HOFC - Evangelism

B. HOFC needs Saintly Slaves

1. People set apart and sanctified

a. Called and Justified

b. Growing in holiness

2. HOFC Needs bond-servants of King Jesus

a. The Lord Jesus taught us that you can not serve two masters. (Matt 6:24)

b. Paul in Romans 6 tells you that you are slaves to the one whom you obey.  (Rom 6:16)

3. Remember both Saint and Slave are in and of Christ.

4. He is our All in All: In him: Grace & Peace


*** SEVEN Membership ***


Public Commitment to Membership in Heritage of Faith Church

The respondent(s) will respond following each question.

1.      Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent to redeem the world, do you love and trust him as the One who saves you from your sin, and do you with repentance and joy embrace him as Lord of your life?

2.      Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God revealing Christ and his redemption, and do you agree with all the articles of the Christian faith as taught in God’s Word?

3.      Do you accept the gracious promises of God sealed to you in your baptism and do you affirm your union with Christ and his church which your baptism signifies?

4.      Do you promise to do all you can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen your love and commitment to Christ by sharing faithfully in the life of the church, honoring and submitting to its authority; and do you join with the people of God in doing the work of the Lord everywhere?

Following the appropriate responses the leader reading the questions will say,

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I now welcome you to all the privileges of full communion.  I welcome you to full participation in the life of the church.  I welcome you to its responsibilities, its privileges, its sufferings, and its joys.”

Related Media
Related Sermons