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Philippians 1.1

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I.        Philippians

A.      Background

1.      Letter

a)      Author

(1)   Paul

(a)   Jew who killed Christians before miraculously converting to Christianity.

(b)   Became the greatest missionary that Christianity has ever seen.

(c)    Wrote many books in the New Testament.

b)      Recipients

(1)   The church at Phillipi

(a)   Started by Paul after Paul received a vision to go to Europe and spread the gospel (Acts 16).

(b)   Prominent city in the Roman Empire because it was on a main road.

(c)    Not a lot of Jews lived there, so it was mostly Gentiles in the church.

c)      Occasion of Writing

(1)   In Prison

(a)   Paul writes this letter several years after he planted the church.

(b)   Paul writes the letter while he is in prison because he tells the Philippians that he is in chains.

d)      Purpose for Writing

(1)   To Say Thank You!

(a)   The Philippians had helped Paul out while he was in jail, and he wanted to say thank you!

(b)   He wanted to tell the Philippians how joyful he was for the things that were happening in the church and explain to them what real joy was all about.

(c)    To express concern and help the church because Paul was a pastor at heart.

B.      Our pursuit of Joy

1.      Pursuing Joy in the US

a)      Being Joyful is our Right.

(1)   The Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

(2)   We feel it is our right to be able to live, to have freedom, and to pursue being happy.  The being happy part is the only thing that is not guaranteed.

b)      How we pursue Joy:

(1)   For athletes:  Being good at sports

(2)   For academics:  Getting good grades

(3)   Being popular and having people like you

(4)   Having lots of friends

(5)   Having a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

2.      Not finding joy.  Is our country a happy country?

a)      The number one category of presctiption drugs in the US:  anti-depressants.  (If anyone takes anti-depressants, that is not a bad thing!)

b)      The #3 cause of death in teenage females?  Suicide.

3.      Why the pursuit of Joy isn’t going well:

a)      We put our hope in a person or a thing that will not satisfy us.

(1)   If we succeed in sports, how long will that last?  Only until the next game.

(2)   If we get a good grade on a test, how long will that last?  Only until the next grade.

(3)   If we are excited about a relationship, how long will that last?  Until we dump or get dumped.

(4)   What happens if the thing that we are hoping will bring us joy doesn’t ever happen?  What if the success never comes?  What if the boyfriend or girlfriend never shows up?  What if we never make the team?  What if we never get into the in-crowd?

C.      Finding Joy as a Slave

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.      Servant / Slave

a)      Whether you like it or not, you are a slave, and most often it is to the things that we think will bring us joy.  (see above).

(1)   We become slaves to these things and they are our masters.

(a)   What does that mean?  It means that our life becomes focused on these things and they become our motivation for everything that we do.

(i)     Sports        \

(ii)   Academics --  we neglect other things and other people so we will succeed in these things.

(iii) Friends      /

b)      True Joy is being a slave to Christ.

(1)   True joy is found in having Christ as your master.  Because when he is your master, you are not a slave to anything else.

(a)   Jesus is the best master because he loves you more than anyone can ever love you.

(b)   He has done more for you than anyone could ever ask or imagine.

(c)    He has prepared a place for you and is coming back for you.

(2)   True joy doesn’t mean that you are free.  Being a slave to Christ is not all fun and games.

So what?

What am I a slave to?

How can I be released from that?

How can I become a slave of Christ at school?

Will it really bring me joy if I am a slave to Christ?

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