On Paul’s first missionary journey, he and Barnabas ministered in the region of Galatia. But after the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, these two men had a sharp disagreement over John Mark (for Mark had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia on the first journey), and due to a lack of agreement, Paul and Barnabas decided to go their separate ways. So as Paul set out on his second missionary journey, he decided to take Silas with him, and the two men set out towards Lystra in Acts 16. When they arrived there, they met a young man named Timothy, and they decided to allow Timothy to join them on their journey. Soon after leaving Lystra, these men arrived at Philippi where God quickly used their service to Him to advance the gospel. Under Paul’s preaching, the Holy Spirit brought Lydia to faith in Christ. Right after that, the demon possessed girl was healed. And after being thrown into prison, God literally “opened a door” for Paul to share the gospel with the Philippian jailer, and he got saved. Needless to say, a church was planted in Philippi. Years and years later, Paul found himself in Roman house arrest, and he wrote what we know as the four prison epistles: Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and yes, even Philippians. And even though this was a time of difficulty, the Apostle was filled with great joy. In fact, “joy” is the theme of Philippians. And even though Paul and Timothy had suffered for the sake of the gospel, they still found themselves to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their hearts were captivated by Christ’s love for them, and just as they spoke the gospel to Lydia, the demon possessed girl, and the jailer, they couldn’t wait to serve the Philippians by telling them about two specific things: God’s Grace and God’s Peace. In fact, these are the two blessings that they list in their opening greeting of this book. Grace, of course, is God’s undeserved favor. It is receiving something that you don’t deserve. In salvation, God pours out his grace to us in giving us His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who demonstrated His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. God also imparts to us His peace, which Paul later states “passes all understanding,” and that peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Questions that this text demands:
- Do you find the heart of service that was in Paul and Timothy in your life?
- Have you experienced God’s grace or are you still trying to earn it?
- Do you have the peace of Christ guarding your heart and mind?
Rev. Adam Mumpower, Senior Pastor