Introduction to Philippians

1:1 Paul and Timothy, bond servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi

Who is Paul?

Acts 9:1-30 , Acts 22, Acts 26 and Galatians 1:13-24 contain details about Paul’s’ conversion and early life as a follower of Jesus. Read these and consider…. In Acts 9:15-16 God called Paul to be His chosen instrument for the Gentiles .

What has God called you to do? 

How do you feel knowing that, like Paul  in Gal 1:16, God set you apart from your mother’s womb?

In Galatians 1:16, Paul said he did not immediately consult with “flesh and blood” but sought God. Do you seek God’s wisdom before you ask what others think?

Acts 28:16-24 tells us about Paul’s circumstances during the time he wrote this letter. I am sure he never imagined a handful of ladies thousands of miles apart, 2000 years later, reading and discussing his letter. Isn’t God amazing?

Before moving on to the next section. please share observations, comments or answers…..

 

8 thoughts on “Introduction to Philippians

  1. It is incredible how Saul was “recruited” for Jesus. One minute persecuting believers, the next a champion for the gospel. And the means to attain that, God dramatically blinds Saul on the way to Damascus, tells him to continue on to the city, where God arranges for his servant Ananias to lay hands on Saul, and God restores Saul’s sight. Through this restoration of sight, Saul is transformed and begins preaching about Jesus being indeed the Son of God.

    I cannot claim that my calling was as dramatic. However, as a wife, then homemaker and mother, I feel I am just as responsible in the domestic arena in carrying on and teaching God’s truth. With an empty nest, my hope is that the torch was passed effectively to the children so that they too can pass on Christ’s legacy to their children, and so forth.

    I regret my ignorance of the meaning of being “set apart” (Gal 1:15) in my earlier walk. If that were so, I might have carried myself with greater confidence.

    And finally, although i know it is the right direction to seek God’s wisdom first, oftentimes I immediately have a need to go to someone (in flesh and blood) and get their input. It just seems the convenient and quick way to get answers. By the way, it says Paul went to Arabia, then returned to Damascus. But was that the way he sought God,..by going away?

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  2. I think “going away” as Paul did is one way we can seek God (retreats) but also daily solitude allows us to hear the still small voice of God when so much else is clamoring for our attention. The temptation is that I will talk to my husband or friend now and then seek God when I have more time instead of stopping in that moment to be still and know that He is God.

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  3. Our highest calling is to believe in Christ and to live for Him all of our days. (John 20:31)

    If living the life I have been is being “set apart” that’s all I know and ever really desired. Although, earlier in my years I wanted to be liked and like the things of the world, I was too afraid to be indulged. I believe God was protecting me from a life of regret. Not to say I was perfect either.

    In the last couple of years God has pressed upon my heart to be more fervent in my prayer life. I’m learning to try to go to God first before I go to “flesh and blood” but like Adela it is sometimes convenient to do the latter.

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  4. Paul, as Saul, was a great enemy of Jesus Christ. Served under the authority of the chief priest with pride in his God and his status in Judaism. Persecuting and trying to destroy the people who called on Jesus’ name.

    However, he was set apart from his mother’s womb and called through God’s grace for His instrument to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, to suffer for Christ, and bring glory to God.

    When it pleased God (God’s timing?), the Lord revealed Himself to Saul, and spent solitary time with him. Saul’s blindness to the beauty of the gospel was removed by direct revelation of Jesus Himself which must have strongly impacted him to go forth without hesitation or reliance on the religious leadership of the chief priest or other apostles in Jerusalem. He put himself under the authority of Jesus Christ alone.

    His changed life wasn’t accepted by Jerusalem, and God sent him to the Gentiles. But the churches of Judea, which were in Christ, glorified God because of Paul’s transformation.

    – The question about “calling” always troubled me because I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant or how I could clearly know it without directly hearing it from Jesus. Other than trying to be ready or willing to share the good news to whoever or whenever God allows, a uniqueness of my life could be that I am childless, and God has interestingly used that to glorify Himself during different times throughout my life. My calling might be to be satisfied in God’s grace and rejoice in Him.

    – Knowing God set me apart from my mother’s womb for His purpose, gives me contentment for any situation in my life. For we know that He will finish the work He started. However, I need to remember that I must yield to His will and guidance.

    – I typically don’t ask others opinion first, but it doesn’t mean I always seek God’s wisdom first. I need to carefully examine if it is God’s will or my own desire.

    – As a believer, I desire to apply Paul’s attitude of being fully convinced and putting my complete trust in Jesus.

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    • Miki, your question about calling is actually why I posed the question to the group. I don’t have trouble grasping that I am set apart for God to live a life pleasing to Him but I have trouble believing that my unique calling is hand-picked by God just as Paul’s was. Maybe you have heard this story that there was a wise Rabbi Zusya who at the end of his life contemplated being face to face with God. He thought God would ask him “Why weren’t you Moses?” but instead God asked “Why weren’t you Zusya?”

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      • Lynn, thank you for your reply and the story of Rabbi Zusha. I have never heard of it. I found it on line and it was interesting. It had made me think and meditate on it.

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  5. Paul, a persecuter of Jesus Christ, appointed as a minister and appointed not only to the things which he has seen but also to the things in which God will appear to him. He is also called a chosen instrument of God to bear His name before the Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel. In Galatians 1:15-16, he is set apart even from his mother’s womb and called through God’s grace to reveal God’s Son in him so that he might preach God among the Gentiles. He did not immediately consult with flesh and blood; he went away to Arabia and returned once more to Damascus.

    Wherever we are, and in whatever age we are living in, we are called (chosen) by God to bear His name as we have been by God’s grace set apart even from our mother’s womb.

    Before I was born, God set me apart and by His grace, He called me to bear His name as a wife and mother. While I tended to consult with flesh and blood more before, today, seeking Jesus’ desire has become much more important to me. He is my closest friend and dearest friend.

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  6. I think most children who grow up in the church have heard the story of Saul/ Paul multiple times. While I think the message of his conversion is profound in showing God’s saving power (the message usually spoken in Sunday school) for me it speaks to the potential he has planned for those who aren’t yet converted. Before Saul was even born, God knew what he would do in his life. Living in another country where the word of God is rarely spoken, I feel like I have been called to share Christ’s love with those around me in all situations. I enjoy being able to have dialogues with my university students and feel that there are times when I can sow seeds, but I think our greater calling is with the other expats. The idea of being set apart is something I struggle with. Being the only believers, we try to find ways in which to relate to the people we spend most of our time without contradicting what we believe. I would hope, even if I never personally witness someone coming to Christ that the little things Drew and I do would point others to God’s glory.

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