>Time to Study Philippians -Week Eight-

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Greetings to the ladies of our Philippians study~
Welcome to Week Eight – our final week!
This study, and the homework from our previous study, is a condensed version of Mining God’s Word – How To Study the Bible; Foundation Series by Bethlehem College and Seminary Press. I highly recommend that you purchase your own workbook at www(dot)bethlehemcollegeandseminary(dot)org – it would be a great tool for you to have.

“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’
             ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:35-38

May our spirits be as willing as Mary’s when God calls on us!
Let’s start with our homework assignment #1
Here is what I have written for the main point of Phil. 3:1-16:
            All of Paul’s abundantly Jewish heritage and his qualifications as God-fearing Jew won’t save him – only Christ and His righteousness can! Therefore, Paul’s hope rests in Him and Him alone. To have Christ, or to belong to Christ, is more valuable than any else this life has to offer.

Homework assignment #2

The main point of Phil. 3:17 – 4:9

            Paul encourages the Philippians to follow his example in Godly living – to put it into practice, because they belong to God’s kingdom. He also is very bold with them by repeating his commands to rejoice, to have unity, and to stand firm. He also commands them to train their thoughts to be Godly.
I had also asked you to read through the entire book of Philippians and record all the instances where joy, or rejoice is found. Whose joy? Why is there joy? etc.
Here is my list of the joy theme:
1:4 – joy – Paul has joy while praying because of their partnership in the gospel
1:18 – rejoice  – Paul rejoices because the gospel is proclaimed
1:18 – rejoice – Paul continues to rejoices because of the hope of his deliverance (future-looking)
1:25 – joy – refers to the Philippians’ progress and joy in the faith.
2:2 – joy – Paul’s joy will be complete when they are like-minded; live in unity
2:17 – rejoice – Paul will rejoice with the Philippians, even while in chains, when they stand firm, so that all his labor with them has not been in vain. 
2:18 – rejoice – Philippians should rejoice with Paul whether or not he is suffering
2:28 – rejoice –Philippians to rejoice upon seeing Epaphroditus again (don’t hide their feelings from him)
2:29 – joy – the Philippians are to have joy and honor men like Epaphroditus.
3:1 – rejoice – Paul tells them to rejoice “in the Lord”. Don’t get side tracked by the circumcision laws.
4:1 – joy – Paul refers to the brothers as his “joy and crown” (Isn’t nice to know when we give someone else joy?)
4:4 – rejoice – Paul is commanding them to rejoice, again and again. Don’t stop rejoicing! Be anxious for nothing…
4:10 – rejoiced – how Paul felt or reacted when the Philippians were able to renew their concern for him.
For the Written summary of the theme of joy, I would like to quote directly from the Mining God’s Word workbook (pg. 93) because what the authors’ have said is excellent, and worth having you read:

The theme of joy in Philippians is striking for several reasons. First, it is clear that joy can survive and even flourish in the context of suffering. Paul rejoices despite those seeking to afflict him (1:18); he rejoices even though he is being poured out as a drink offering (2:17); he commands the Philippians to rejoice even thought hey are suffering (1:29). Second, it is striking that joy is commanded. This is a repeated and emphasized injunction of the letter (2:18, 3:1, 4:4).

It is assumed that the Philippians have the capacity to obey Paul’s command. Third, Paul places joy at the center of Christian life. He will continue his ministry to the Philippians for their “joy in the faith” (1:25), he sets himself up as a model of joy (2:17 – 18), and as we already stated, he repeatedly command s the Philippians to rejoice. Fourth, seeing joy cannot be an impure pursuit because Paul desires it (2:2) and sends Epaphroditus for the joy of the Philippians (2:28), and unabashedly commands it. Fifth, and most importantly, joy is rooted in God. Paul uses the phrase “rejoice in the Lord” three times (3:1, 4:4, 10). Although the Philippians are often what prompts Paul’s rejoicing (whether it be their partnership or faith or help), the context of the letter makes it clear that Paul’s rejoicing is over the way in which God is being exalted in them as a work of grace (1:6, 2:13). So at every turn Paul shatters the common ideas about joy. Joy can exist in the midst of suffering, it can be commanded, it is at the center of Christian life, it should be pursued, and it is rooted in God alone.

Isn’t that a fabulous summary?
For today’s class, I will attempt to wrap up the rest of Philippians (4:10 –23). Please read these verses now and then come back.
OK, here is my summary:
Paul tells the Philippians that he rejoices greatly in the Lord and then explains why. He wants no misunderstanding between them. He acknowledges that they have always cared for him even though they may not have had the financial means to do so.  He seems to draw similarities between ‘being in need’ and also ‘having all of his needs met’, by the fact that he always relies and trusts in God no matter what circumstances God has placed him in. A sign of true contentment – an example he wants them to imitate. However, he wants them to know he is grateful and thankful that they remembered him and blessed him. He even calls to mind how many times in the past they have come to his aid. He equates the ‘fragrant offering’ that is acceptable to God, to the pleasing aroma of the OT sacrifices that were also acceptable to God. He reminds them that, as God has supplied his needs through them, that God will also supply their needs. He draws to a close with a Doxology (a liturgical expression to praise God), and then sends the final greetings from the saints with him, making a special point of mentioning the saints within Caesar’s household. This is a rather bold statement that lets the saints at Philippi know that the gospel message had spread even into Caesar’s household! Nothing can thwart the movement of the spirit of God.
That’s it. We’re finished with Philippians. Do you know more about the book of Philippians than when we started 8 weeks ago? Can you explain the reasons why Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians? Is being in prison a blessing or a curse? Can it be both?  Should it be both? Should we allow doubts/controversies into our hearts that are different from the gospel? Do we need more than Christ and His love and sacrifice to make our lives complete? Are your thoughts aligned with Christ Jesus? Do you want to be remembered as a Godly woman or one who is chastised for bickering? Can you grasp the idea of joy as a command? Is joy another emotion, like anger, that can come and go, or is it a reflection of the Holy Spirit living within each of us? (“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Gal. 5:22)
Thank you for working through this Epistle with me. I have enjoyed the time thinking through Paul’s teachings while writing it down for you. It has solidified what I already know, and reminded me of things I had forgotten.  May God be honored and praised by our lives from this day forth. Remember, the gospel of Christ is tidings of comfort and joy.
Blessings on your homes! Bye, bye~
Yours sister in Christ,
Eileen

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