Sermon: Think on These Things

#1624

Given 06-Nov-21; 70 minutes

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The epistle of Philippians contains some valuable advice to God's people today, having suffered some grievous trials which have bonded them together. According to some commentators, Philippians and Philemon are perhaps Paul's most intimate epistles, written for intense concern to gently correct and encourage. Philippi was a cosmopolitan city with many privileges and major distractions from the Kingdom of God, not unlike the countries inhabited by Jacob's offspring. When Paul first visited Philippi (Acts 16:12), he was inspired by the sacrifice and service of Lydia who was not ashamed of protecting God's ministers from wrongful persecution and harassment, housing them in her home. Paul apparently appealed to Lydia again in the epistle of Philippians, to intervene in the dispute between Euodia and Syntyche, deaconesses more concerned about their position on the pecking order of power than in selflessly serving, as exemplified by Lydia. Paul emphasizes that all of his impressive pedigree he counted as rubbish, impelling him to strive toward the goal God had laid out for him, with the ability to do all things (including enduring hardship and persecution) through Christ who strengthens him (Philippians 4:13). The entire book of Philippians proves a beacon of hope to those living in Philippi and to God's people living through similar circumstances today. Despite the prospect of being poured out as a drink offering (Philippians 2:17), Paul implored God's people, then and now, to rejoice as their faith is tested and purified by trials, and to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

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