Philippians 1 – Prayer for Thankfulness & Phillipi

Ruins of ancient temple in Thassos Island – Greece

The other day, we had talked about Astrology and to show how old it is, how long people have been duped by the devil with it, tomorrow we’ll look at…

Philippians 1
Prayer for Thankfulness

1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

An island with crystal beaches and lush greenery, Thassos is the northernmost island of the Aegean Sea, very close to the coasts of the mainland.
Ideal for family and relaxing holidays, Thassos island has gorgeous beaches, either organized or totally secluded.
The mountainous villages in the inland have traditional architecture, with stone houses, paved streets and grey-tiled roofs.
The surrounding landscape is great for trekking with paths leading to abandoned places, castle ruins and caves.
The most interesting sightseeing in Thassos Greece is the Ancient Agora, while the Monastery of Archangel Michael offers breathtaking view to the Aegean Sea.

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Paul always thanked God for all believers, but he also thanked Him for everything he had or didn’t have.  Paul thanked God for the good times he had and the bad times.  He thanked Him for allowing him to live on earth and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

“Work in you” – Paul was confident, not only of what God had done “for” the readers in forgiving their sins, but also of what he had done “in” them.  “Work” refers to God’s activity in saving them.

“Day of Jesus Christ” – His return, when their salvation will be brought to completion.  It is God who initiates salvation, who continues it and who will one day bring it to its consummation.

7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

“Partakers of my grace” – not even imprisonment and persecution can change such sharing.  Even in Paul’s imprisonment they willingly identified themselves with Paul by sending Epaphroditus and their financial gifts. 

They had become one with Paul in his persecution, and all believers become one in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, i.e.,” the old and new man of self” (Rom 6:6-10; Eph 2:15-16, 4:22-32;  Col 3:9-17).

Via Egnatia was the main Roman road, from the Adriatic Sea along the northern shore of the Aegean Sea through Thrace to Byzantium.
The Via Egnatia was built by a Roman senator named Gnaeus Egnatius, who served as praetor with the powers of proconsul in the newly conquered province of Macedonia in the late 140s B.C.

Like all Roman roads, the pavement of the Via Egnatia was about six meters wide.
In Philippi, large tracts survive. The road passed along the central market, and a sewer made sure that the street was never too wet or dirty.

It was repaired several times; on one place, you can still see that old tombstones and honorific inscriptions were reused.

8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

“Filled with the fruits of righteousness” – what is expected of all Christians, see the note in v. 7.

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Everything that happened to Paul God allowed or caused for His purpose.

13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

“The one preach Christ of contention” – those who preach with wrong, insincere motives do so out of a sense of competition with Paul and so think they are making his imprisonment more difficult to bear.

After preaching the gospel in Philippi, Paul passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia on his way to Thessalonica.
Amphipolis was one of the most important cities of Macedonia in antiquity – it was the capitol of one of the four republics into which the Romans divided Macedonia in order to break up her political unity.

The Via Engatia ran through the city, and is one of the reasons the city remained important during the time for the early church.

The remains of four early basilicas have been discovered and make it clear that Amphipolis was a notable religious center.

“Not sincerely” – not all preaching of the gospel is based on proper motives but out of greedy desire to increase their pocket book and/or to be admired by others, e.g., Rick Warren, the Catholic Church.

17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

18 What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

“For me to live is Christ” – the new man.

“To die is gain” – the old man.

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

“Fruit of my labor” – the spreading of the gospel and the up building of the church.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Philippian Jail
This traditional place of Paul and Silas’s imprisonment is of dubious authenticity, but it remembers the attack on these men and their subsequent flogging and imprisonment.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

27 Only let your conversation 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;

28 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.

29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Philippi

Philippi is located about 9 mi. inland (north) of Neapolis (modern Kavala).

It was founded in the fourth century B.C. After the battle of Philippi, in 42 B.C., veterans of the Roman legions were settled there and in 27 B.C. the city became a Roman Colony.

It was an important city of Macedonia, and the main highway from the east that headed towards Rome, the 493 mile long Via Egnatia, ran through the city.

The city of Philippi in Paul’s day boasted a remarkably colorful history:

* In 359 B.C. the orator Callistratus and some Greek colonists from the island of Thasos founded a colony, called Krenides in northern Greece near Macedonia and Thrace.

* In 356 B.C. Philip II of Macedon seized the gold mines near the site, fortified the city wall, drained the nearby marshes, constructed a theater, increased the city’s size and renamed it after himself.

* Alexander the Great (the son of Philip II) used Philippi as a base for his conquests.

* In the 2nd century B.C. Macedonia was captured by the Romans and Philippi became a Roman outpost.

* In 42 B.C., in the civil war following Julius Caesar’s assassination, Octavian (Augustus) and Mark Antony defeated the forces of Cassius and Brutus at a major battle near Philippi.

* Octavian, also victorious in a subsequent war against Mark Antony and Cleopatra, renamed the city Colonia Julia Augusta Philippensis and settled a number of Roman veterans there.

* Paul’s missionary work in Europe began at Philippi, and it was there that the first baptisms in Europe took place (Acts 16:9-33).

Situated near the Via Egnatia, Philippi lay between Asia and Europe and was thus an excellent base of operations for Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, since she could acquire this commodity from the east and sell it to Romans and Greeks in the west.

Acts 16:12 is sometimes taken to mean that Philippi was the administrative center of the district of Macedonia, but the Greek text of this verse is uncertain and may actually mean that Philippi was “a city of the first district of Macedonia.”

Paul arrived in Macedonia around 50 C.E.
Paul arrived by boat, most tourists arrive by by plane.

Paul landed at Neapolis (now Kavala), a small beautiful fishing village at the time and now a small, still beautiful, city with an aqueduct built at the time of sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (1521-1566) still pretty much intact.

Thessalonica, a city then, a bigger city now, the capital of the Greek province of Macedonia. Paul traveled about 9 miles on foot with a couple of companions along the Via Egnatia to Philippi.

Tourists travel about 90 miles on a large air-conditioned tour bus along the modern highway to Philippi.

Evidence from Pliny the Elder (Natural History, 4.38) indicates that the capital city of this region was Amphipolis. A theater that was in use in Paul’s day can still be found in Philippi, and a stone crypt near the forum is traditionally identified as Paul’s jail, although this tradition has not been verified.

The Philippi of Paul’s day was essentially a Roman city in Greece. Its Roman citizens enjoyed the same legal rights as those in Italy, and Latin became the common language of the city.

The heavy Roman presence in Philippi may account for the greeting from “Caesar’s household” in Phil 4:22. Still, Paul reminded his Christian readers, their citizenship was in heaven (Phil 3:20).

…the Zodiac.