Chapter 1

Greetings:
(Read Philippians 1:1-2)
Paul begins the letter with a standard greeting. Paul does not mention his apostleship in this epistle. He was known to this church because he was instrumental in founding this church.  Paul joins Timothy in the greeting because he was a fellow worker.  Paul and Timothy identify themselves as the bond servants of Jesus Christ.  Once they were slaves to Satan, now they have been bought with a price and set free to serve Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20). They do not seek any celebrity status. They have no will of their own and trust God to provide all their needs. There is no greater calling than being a servant of God. Paul addresses the letter to all the saints in Christ at Philippi. They are saints because they are in Christ. God  sets them apart for his use. It does not mean they are sinless but different from the world.  They are called to live holy life.  It is measured by their obedience to Christ. This also speaks of their spiritual location.  The saints are not an elite group of Christians.  Paul also addresses elders and deacons.  Each local church must have God ordained spiritual leadership to rule and serve the church. The church without godly leadership can't grow.  Elders take care of the spiritual needs and the deacons the physical needs. Paul greets believers with grace and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is the source and peace is the result. Grace is God’s unmerited favor lavished on us in Christ Jesus. Grace is also a Gentile greeting word.  Peace is the Jewish greeting. Peace means serenity. It is the deep sense of satisfaction and completeness one finds in Christ.  Grace and peace bring healthy harmony in the church. They come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:2).  Here we see a level of equality between God the Father and  Jesus Christ.  This is an affirmation of Christ’s deity.  These believers are from different backgrounds but united.  What united them was their identity in Christ (Acts 2:42). They are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Are you in Christ? Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
 
Thanksgiving:
(Read Philippians 1:3-5)
Paul was grateful to the believers of Philippi for their gift and for their partnership in the gospel ministry. He and Silas were God’s chosen instruments to take the gospel to Philippi (Acts 16:6-15).  It had been 10 years since Paul first visited them. Yet they were very fresh and  dear to him.  Paul thanked the Lord for them in all his remembrance of them. Paul remembers their acceptance of the gospel and their faithful partnership in the ministry.  These memories brought great joy to Paul. No one can praise and worship God in a vacuum.  Praising God is a beautiful thing (Psalms 147:1-2).  It is the healthiest of all human emotions and the highest form of memory (Psalms 103:1-3).  Christians must be thankful people to God for his salvation, protection and providence (Psalms 107:1-2; Luke 17;17).  We are told to give thanks  in all circumstances. It is the will of God in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The last days will be marked by unthankfulness (2 Timothy 3:2).  Christianity is more than knowing doctrines but it is a personal relationship with Christ (2 Timothy 1:12). Paul's prayer includes adoration, confession, joy, thanksgiving and supplication. Paul was thankful for their fellowship in the gospel enterprise from the first day until now. They were willing to identify with Paul in the ministry (Philippians 2:1; 3:10; 4:15).  Though Paul was separated from Philippians by 800 miles, he enjoyed their fellowship and friendship.  Evangelism is a team work. Pray that the Lord would give us a burden and vision for the lost souls.  
 
Partnership in the Gospel: 
(Read Philippians 1:6-8)
Paul is confident in the faithful partnership of Philippians in the ministry.  Paul knew that what God has begun in their life he will complete. It is God who saved them (Romans 8:30).  Salvation is all of God.  God who called us is faithful and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).  God enables us to persevere in faith until the day we are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.  Paul rejoices that these believers were willing to endure hardship for the defense and confirmation of the gospel with him.  Defense means to clear the obstacles for the preaching of the gospel (Philippians 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:16).  The word “apologetic” is derived from this word. Confirmation means to establish the validity of the gospel for its advancement. Defense is the negative side and confirmation is the positive side.  It is sad that these days there are many spectators and few participants in the ministry of evangelism. There must be an evangelistic purpose in Christian life and ministry.  Our hearts should be knit together in evangelism and in disciple making.  
 
Prayer for Spiritual Growth:
(Read Philippians 1:9-11)
Paul was a man of prayer.  He did not just pray and forget about them. The church is a community of fellowship where believers pray for one another. Paul made it a habit to pray for the believers regularly.  Nobody can pray in a vacuum. Paul prayed that their love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all discernment (Philippians 1:9). He presupposes that they love one another.  It is the mark of discipleship (John 13:35).  It is also important to believe sound doctrine.  Love can’t replace sound doctrines.  This is the agape love which is sacrificial.  It seeks the highest good of others. This is not “You scratch my back and I will scratch your back kind of love”.  This is a love that loves the unlovely. It is a binding love that unites believers. It is not an impulsive human emotion.  The secret of loving is knowing Christ. Our love for Christ should abound more and more in knowledge and discernment. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between good and excellent.  Paul prays that this love should overflow more and more in their life. Love grows only when we grow in a personal relationship with Christ.  Jews had zeal for God, but not according to knowledge of God (Romans 10:2).  Also our love should grow in discernment.  Immature Christians lack discernment (Hebrews 5:14). He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).  Paul prayed that they may approve what is excellent so that they may stand blameless at the judgment seat of Christ (1:10-11). They should live a pure and blameless life.  The word “sincere or pure" means to be free from falsehood and be transparent in character.  We should not cause others to stumble in their faith by our duplicity. When Christians live such lives, God is glorified and others are blessed. Paul prayed for the believers that they may be filled with the fruits of righteousness.  It does not happen by self effort but only by the Holy Spirit (John 15:4-5). The fruit of righteousness are the characteristics of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). This happens when they live in fellowship with Christ.  Fellowship means to have something in common or partnership. They have common life and faith in the Lord. They are fellow workers and fellow citizens (1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:19). Fellowship fills us with the fruit of righteousness.  When we grow in fellowship, the church will grow spiritually. 
 
Paul's Imprisonment helped the Spread of the Gospel:
(Read Philippians 1:12-14)
Paul wanted the believers to know that his imprisonment did not hinder the spread of the gospel. His focus was not on himself but on the gospel and the churches.  Some of them were discouraged because Paul was imprisoned.  Paul wanted them to know that he turned his prison cell into a gospel hall.  Paul’s imprisonment did not stop his intercession, evangelism or writing.  When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he was chained to imperial guards for two years. He was allowed to welcome visitors and minister to them unhindered (Acts 28:30-31). Thus the palace guards came to know Christ.  So instead of being discouraged, Paul rejoiced that his bond helped the advancement of the gospel. Paul’s fearless example brought increased confidence to many believers to share the gospel with others. History shows that persecution usually makes Christians bolder witness for Christ. There is a parallel between Joseph and Paul. Joseph was forsaken and betrayed by his brothers.  But God intended it for the good of others (Gen 50:20).  Likewise Paul's experience gave  believers courage to preach the gospel boldly.  Paul's Sufferings did not hinder the work of God. It brought believers closer to God and one another. God can use our adverse circumstances to accomplish His glorious purpose.
  
Paul Rejoiced that Gospel is Preached:
(Read Philippians 1:15-18)
When Paul was in prison, some Christians were preaching the gospel from envy and rivalry but others from good will.  Unlike Galatians they were not  preaching  another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  Some preached supposing to add affliction to Paul in the prison out of jealousy and strife. These are marks of carnality (1 Corinthians 3:3).  Others preached boldly knowing that Paul was in prison for the defense of the gospel.  Only when we proclaim the right message with the right motives God will be glorified. Paul rejoiced that Christ was being openly preached.  Paul was bound, yet the word of God was not bound (2 Timothy 2:9). We should  rejoice when Christ is preached. Paul rejoiced that believers are praying for his release from the prison in Rome (Philippians 1:19).  He always depended on the prayers of other believers (Ephesians 6:18-19). Prayer is vital in any ministry.  Paul experienced victory and blessing even in the midst of his sufferings.

For me to live is Christ:
(Read Philippians 1:19-22)
Paul’s purpose of life was to live for Christ. He did not want to bring disgrace to the gospel of Christ (Titus 2:11-12). Paul knew that the Roman government may sentence him to death but he wanted to glorify Christ by life or by death.  He wanted others to see Christ through him.  Here “flesh” refers to the body.  Believers are exhorted to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1).  Paul desired to magnify Christ through his life and death.  For him to live is Christ and to die is gain. He was saved by the grace of God.  Christ was the source and substance of his life. He now lives by faith in the Son of God who loved and gave himself for him (Galatians 2:20).  Paul’s burning passion was to know Christ and fellowship with Him (Philippians 3:10).  As we know Christ we make him known to others. Many people chose to live for pleasure, prestige and power.  For them dying is not gain.  But for Paul, living was Christ and dying was even better. For him death is a promotion. Death will not interrupt his conscious fellowship with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).  It is gain because death will free Paul from temptation, sorrow and sufferings.   He will be rewarded for his faithful service.  He will receive a glorified body and joins with those who died in Christ.  When Christians are consumed with the love of Christ, neither life nor death can destroy their joy.
 
Paul's Dilemma:
(Read Philippians 1:23-26)
For Paul Christ was everything in life and in death. He rejoiced in the gospel in all circumstances. He found joy knowing that God has a purpose for all that happens in his life. He was ready to be in the presence of the Lord (2 Timothy 4:6).  Paul knew that absent from the body is at home with the Lord. There is no place of torment in between (2 Corinthians 5:8).  But Paul faces a personal dilemma (Philippians ‚Äč1:23).  He was caught up between a wish and a necessity.  Paul wonders whether he should remain on earth or to be with Christ. It would be far better to be with Christ but it was necessary for him to be with believers for their spiritual growth.  So for their sake, Paul decided to live and labor for Christ. Someone has said “I am often weary in the work, but never weary of it”.  Paul placed others before him.  He was confident that he would be a blessing to believers. Only those who progress in the faith will experience joy in Christian life. Paul wants believers to know that the true source of joy is Jesus Christ.  Philippians were sad because Paul was in the Roman prison. But he wanted them to know that they would rejoice at his reunion with him.  They were exhorted to give serious attention to what they have learned.  Paul knew that the sacrifices he made to serve Christ were worth much in the end.  Do you have a burden for the spiritual growth of others?  Are you available to serve Christ?
 
Live Worthy of the Gospel: 
(Read Philippians 1:27-30)
Paul exhorts believers to give serious attention to their conduct.  They should live worthy of the gospel.  They are the citizens of heaven and their conduct should reflect the character of Christ.  Then only others will be attracted to Jesus Christ (Titus 2:10).   The Christians should walk the talk.  Only the Gospel can bring transformation in life.  The believers should strive together for the faith of the gospel. The best argument of Christianity is Christians. Only a united church can resist the devil.  Christians who take a strong position for Christ will face opposition (2 Timothy 3:12).  They should not be frightened by their adversaries (John 16:33).  This is a clear sign to their enemies that they are going to be destroyed but that you are going to be saved(1:28).  Opposition is the evidence of our salvation.  For we have been given not only the privilege to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him (1 Peter 2:19-20).  Paul considered suffering for the gospel a privilege (2 Timothy 2:12). Some suffering is our own making. Not all suffering is due to sin but the power of God could be seen in us (John 9:1-4).  A glorious future awaits for those who suffer for the sake of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Those who suffer for gospel will reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12). Philippians had difficulty identifying with Paul in his suffering.  Paul says "We are in the struggle together" (1:30).  Since they face opposition now, they have no difficulty identifying with Paul in his suffering.  Christians should comfort those who suffer for the gospel.  We are called to commit to the gospel not when it is convenient but also not when so convenient. God uses sufferings to mature and develop spiritual character in life (Romans 5:3-5).