This was the first epistle ever written to a Christian Church in Europe. Paul’s visit to Europe, not ostentatious in character, had tremendous repercussions throughout the whole continent. His going there was the result of what we now know as the “Macedonian Vision,” described for us in Acts 16:9. The context clearly shows that it was God’s will for the Gospel to enter into Europe.

Philippi was a Roman colony. It was named after Philip, father of Alexander the Great (see Acts 16). Very few Jews lived at Philippi, probably because it was a “military colony,” rather than a “mercantile city.” This would account for the fact that the opposition Paul and his companions received was from the Philippians themselves.

Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses


The component parts of a spiritual assembly are clearly defined. Saints, bishops, and deacons are distinct functions (Philippians 1:1). They can be in the same person, but they spring from a different source:

    - To be a saint comes from conversion.

    - To be a bishop comes from desire and character.

    - To be a deacon comes from spiritual gifts (see Romans 12:7).


Eldership is not in itself a spiritual gift. 1 Timothy 3:1 says, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, or elder, he desireth a good work.” Another has translated this “If a man stretcheth himself to overseership.” This implies deep and prolonged spiritual exercise before God, and a faithful ministry before men.

There are five duties that should characterize a true elder:

    1. He should be a pastor or shepherd to feed the flock.

    2. He should be a sentinel to protect the flock.

    3. He should be a pillar to support the flock.

    4. He should be an administrator to guide the flock.

    5. He should be an example to encourage the flock.

In 1 Timothy 3:5, the Spirit reveals to us that the elder has to take care of the Church of God, but he must take care of his own home first. He has to act on behalf of the Great Shepherd as an under-shepherd. His duties to the flock are laid out in Isaiah 40:11:

    1. He has to feed the flock as a shepherd.

    2. He has to gather the lambs in His arms.

    3. He has to carry them in his bosom.

    4. He has to gently lead those that are with young.

New Testament (Acts-Revelation)

Lesson 221: The Ascension Of Christ
Acts 1:1-11
Golden Text: Acts 1:11

I. The Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15, 10.

1. The Person Who gave it. He had the right by virtue of His Person and His work.

2. The power for it—“Himself;” v. 18. Note the “power” as seen in (1) His birth; Luke 1:35. (2) Ministry; Luke 4:32. (3) Miracles; Luke 4:36. (4) Forgiveness; Matthew 9:6. (5) Death; John 10:18. (6) Resurrection. Romans 1:4; Colossians 2:13-15. (7) Ascension; Ephesians 1:20. (8) Coming; Matthew 24:30.

3. The plan of it. (1) The command “go ye.” (2) The scope, “world.” (3) The theme, “the Gospel.” (4) The persons, “every creature.”

4. The persons to whom given—His disciples. (1) Chosen. Mark 3:14; John 15:16. (2) Saved; Matthew 16:16. (3) Taught. (4) Commissioned. (5) Equipped.

5. The privilege of it. Ambassadors, co-workers, witnesses, trustees, servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

6. The price of it. “Go” means leave. Cp. Luke 14:26.

7. The promise with it. “I am with you.” Cp Hebrews 13:5.

II. The Promise. Acts 1:4, 5.

1. Promised in O. T. Isaiah 32:15; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezek 11:19; Joel 228.

2. Promised in N. T. John 15:26—16:14.

III. The Questioning Disciples. Vs. 6-8.

1. The question; v. 6. (1) An earthly kingdom expected; Isaiah 2:2-4. (2) The King being rejected, the kingdom is in obeyance. Luke 19:14; Acts 3:14. (3) He will yet be King over the Earth; Psalm 2.


in the epistle to the Philippians we find much more of christian experience, and the development of the exercise of the heart, than in the generality of the epistles. It is in fact proper christian experience. Doctrine and practice are found in them all, but, with the exception of the second to Timothy which is of another nature, there is none that contains like this, the expression of the Christian’s experience in this toilsome life, and the resources which are open to him in passing thro...

Chapter Two Christ, The Believer's Example

The Lowly Mind (Philippians 2:1-4)

The last word of Philippians 2:4 is the keynote of this section: “others.” The overpowering, dominating note in the life of our Lord on earth was “others,” and because of “others” He died. He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for [others]” (Mark 10:45). He lived for others; He died for others. He did not know what selfishness was. Unselfish devotion for the good of others summed up His entire life, which was lived wholly in subjection to the Father’s will.

God the Father Himself lives, reverently be it said, for others. He finds His delight, His joy, in lavishing blessings on others. He pours His rain and sends His sunshine on the just and the unjust alike. He gave His Son for others. And having not withheld His own Son, but having “delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

We are included in the “others” for whom the Lord Jesus Christ endured so much. It is not surprising then that if we follow His steps, we will find ourselves called on to live for others and even to lay down our lives for them.

Chapter Three Christ, The Believer's Object

The Epistle of Joy (Philippians 3:1-3)

Careful students of Paul’s Epistles will notice the frequent occurrence of parenthetical passages. In Philippians, for example, it seems that the apostle was about to conclude abruptly in 3:1, for he had completed the main part of his treatise, but suddenly he was moved by the Spirit of God to launch into an altogether different topic. So he added a kind of parenthesis before he actually finished his letter.

Another example is seen in the Epistle to the Ephesians. All of chapter 3, after verse 1, is parenthetical, and in chapter 4 he concluded what he had started to say in 3:1. (Compare Ephesians 3:1 and 4:1.)

In Philippians 3:1 Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren.” Yet in 4:8 where he introduced his closing remarks, he used the same expression: “Finally, brethren.” All of chapter 3 is a new subject, a message for which we can truly thank God, for we would have lost much precious ministry if it had been omitted.

It has often been said that this letter to the Philippians is the Epistle of joy, and indeed it is. As the apostle wrote, his heart was filled with the joyful recollection of his past experiences in scenes so dear to him. He wanted his fellow believers in Philippi to complete his joy by sharing with him in the gladness that was his in Christ, so he exhorted them to “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). Circumstances may be anything but conducive to either peace or gladness, yet the trusting soul can always look above the restlessness of earth to the throne where Christ sits exalted as Lord at God’s right hand. He is over all.

Chapter Four Christ, The Believer’s Strength

Steadfastness and Unity (Philippians 4:1-3) Having concluded the long parenthesis of chapter 3, the apostle again exhorted believers to strive for steadfastness and unity. It is evident that there was incipient division in the assembly of believers at Philippi. The Epistle to the Philippians was written in order to deal with this problem, but Paul did not put his finger on the difficulty immediately. The ministry of chapters 1-3 was an attempt to prepare the hearts of the offenders for a ...

Author Biography

Henry Allan Ironside, one of the twentieth century’s greatest preachers, was born in Toronto, Canada, on October 14,1876. He lived his life by faith; his needs at crucial moments were met in the most remarkable ways. Though his classes stopped with grammar school, his fondness for reading and an incredibly retentive memory put learning to use. His scholarship was well recognized in academic circles with Wheaton College awarding an honorary Litt.D. in 1930 and Bob Jones University an honorar...

The Written Ministry Of H. A. Ironside

Expositions Joshua Ezra Nehemiah Esther Psalms (1-41 only) Proverbs Song of Solomon Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel The Minor Prophets Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans 1 & 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 & 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 & 2 Peter 1,2, & 3 John Jude Revelation Doctrinal Works ...


A Heritage of Ministry… Paul and Timothy Loizeaux began their printing and publishing activities in the farming community of Vinton, Iowa, in 1876. Their tools were rudimentary: a hand press, several fonts of loose type, ink, and a small supply of paper. There was certainly no dream of a thriving commercial enterprise. It was merely the means of supplying the literature needs for their own ministries, with the hope that the Lord would grant a wider circulation. It wasn’t a business; it wa...
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