Introductory Notes The Church At Philippi By Arno C. Gaebelein

First Edition, 1922 Revised Edition, 1997 © 1997 by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc. Baltimore, Maryland Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the King James version of the Bible. Introductory notes taken from Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible © 1970, 1985 by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc. Introductory Notes The Church At Philippi By Arno C. Gaebelein The city of Philippi was originally a military post built by Philip the Great to keep in check the wi...

Outline Of The Book Of Philippians

I. Christ As The Believer’s Life (1:1-30) “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21). II. Christ As The Believer’s Example (2:1-30) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5). III. Christ As The Believer’s Goal (3:1-21) “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings” (3:10). IV. Christ As The Believer’s Strength (4:1-23) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me

Author's Introduction

The account of the labors and sufferings of the apostle Paul and his companions in Philippi is given in Acts 16. They went to Macedonia in response to a vision Paul had seen at Troas: a vision of a man of that country calling for help. But apparently when they reached the capital, no such man was waiting for them. Instead they came in touch with a few women who were accustomed to gather for prayer in a quiet place by the riverside outside the city. There the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to listen to the words of Paul. Others also were reached, among them some brethren (Acts 16:40). But it was when Paul was cast into prison that the greatest work was done. The jailer and his household were won for Christ before the messengers of God’s grace departed for Thessalonica.

The infant church was very dear to the heart of the apostle, and he was very dear to the Philippian believers. After he left them, they showed their love and care at various times and probably for a number of years. But at last they lost touch with him, apparently during his imprisonment at Caesarea. When he was in Rome they again communicated with him. Fearing he might be in need, they sent him an expression of their love with a trusted and beloved brother named Epaphroditus. Having fulfilled his ministry, this faithful man became sick, and his illness was of sufficient duration for word of it to reach Philippi and cause anxiety among the saints there. News of their concern reached Rome about the time that Epaphroditus became convalescent. He decided to return at once, and Paul entrusted him with his letter to the Philippians. Apparently the letter was dictated to him by the apostle.

Chapter One Christ, The Believer's Life

Salutation (Philippians 1:1-2)

In many of his letters Paul linked himself with younger and less experienced fellow-laborers, as in his greeting here. An apostle by the Lord’s call, Paul occupied a unique place as His special messenger to the Gentiles. But he never stood aloof in complacent dignity, apart from others who were engaged in the same ministry. He had taken Timothy with him when the young man had not been a believer for long, and later in this letter Paul testified of the truth that was in Timothy.

In his care for the development of the younger brethren, Paul became a model for older teachers and evangelists throughout the dispensation. If others are to follow in the ministry, more experienced men must take personal interest in less experienced brothers who show promise. By associating with young believers in ministry, the older men can lead and encourage them in the path of faith. It is often the other way, and the young become disheartened and slip back into worldly pursuits. If they had been wisely advised and helped when needed, they might have become able ministers of the truth.

Paul and Timothy took no official title in Philippians 1:1. They simply called themselves “servants of Jesus Christ.” The word translated “servants” here means “bondmen.” Paul and Timothy were purchased servants and as such belonged entirely to Him whom they gladly owned as their anointed Master. They were His and renounced all rights to do the will of the flesh.

It is not only ministering brethren who are designated “servants of Jesus Christ” in Scripture. This name is used of all Christians. Though sons and heirs, we are also bondmen of love, whose delight it should be to yield ourselves to Him, as befitting those who are alive from the dead.

Chapter 10 The Mind of Christ Exemplified in the Apostle Paul

Philippians 2:17-18 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. (vv. 17-18) The apostolic writer now goes on to cite, though in an apparently casual way, three examples of men of like passions with their fellow believers who have exemplified in their ways the spirit of Christ. The first of these is himself and of his testimony we shall now speak. The other two are Timothy...

Chapter 9 "Working Out Salvation"

Philippians 2:12-16

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (vv. 12-16)

Having thus occupied the hearts of the saints at Philippi with the self-abnegation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle, as guided by the Holy Spirit, goes on, in the balance of this chapter, to apply the truth in a practical way.

First, the verses now before us refer to assembly life and responsibility. Then, from verse 17 to the end of this chapter, three men are brought before us who were seeking to manifest in their lives the devotedness and self-denying concern for others that was seen in Christ as a man on earth.

Verse 12 has often perplexed those who thought they saw clearly from Scripture the simplicity of salvation by grace, apart from works. Here, in seeming contrast to this, the apostle tells the saints to work out their own salvation, and that with fear and trembling, as though possibly there were danger that salvation might be forfeited because of failure in properly working it out.

Chapter 7 "The Kenosis"

Philippians 2:5-8

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, (vv. 5-8)

We now come to consider one of the most sublime and wonderful mysteries in all Scripture: what has been called by theologians, “The Doctrine of the Kenosis.” The title comes from the Greek expression rendered in our King James Version, “made Himself of no reputation”—an expression which really means “emptied Himself” or “divested Himself.” Its full force will come before us as we proceed with our study.

It is a noticeable thing that doctrines are never presented in Scripture merely as dogmas to be accepted by the faithful on pain of expulsion from the Christian company. The most important doctrines are brought in by the Holy Spirit in what we might call an exceedingly natural way. I do not use the word natural here in contrast to spiritual, but rather in the sense simply of sequence to the subject, introduced without special emphasis. In this particular instance before us, the doctrine of our Lord’s self-emptying comes in simply as the supreme illustration of that lowliness of mind which should characterize all who profess to be followers of the Savior. It follows naturally upon the exhortation of the fourth verse, which we have already considered.

Chapter 6 "Others"

Philippians 2:1-4

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others, (vv. 1-4)

The last word of this section is the keynote—others. This was the overpower ing, dominating note in the life of our Lord on earth and because of this He died. “ [He] came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for”—others! He lived for others; He died for others. Selfishness He knew not. Unselfish devotion for the good of others summed up His whole life, and all in subjection to the Father’s will. For God, the Father Himself, lives, reverently be it said, for others. He finds His delight, His joy, in lavishing blessing on others. He pours His rain, and sends His sunshine upon the just and the unjust alike. He gave His Son for others. Having not withheld His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him also freely give us all things?—we, who are included in the others for whom the Lord Jesus Christ endured so much. What wonder then that, if we would follow His steps, we find ourselves called upon to live for others, and even to lay down our lives for the brethren!

Introductory Thoughts

The account of the labors and sufferings of the apostle Paul and his companions in Philippi is given in the sixteenth chapter of the Acts. They went to Macedonia in response to the vision of a man of that country calling for help, which Paul had seen at Troas. But when they reached the capital, there was apparently no such man feeling his need and awaiting them. Instead, they came first in touch with a few women who were accustomed to gather for prayer in a quiet place by the riverside outsi...

Chapter 5 Unity in Gospel Testimony

Philippians 1:27-30 Only let your conversation [or, behavior] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, bu...
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