Philippians – Week #1 – Notes for church family

Philippians 1:1-11

1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ

The title of “Lord” (kyrios in Greek) is especially significant in this letter. As a Roman colony, Philippi would have had a prominent cult dedicated to worshiping the emperor. It would have been common for residents—Roman citizens or not—to participate in the imperial religion, even if they worshiped other pagan gods. From public statues to household shrines, the environment of Philippi called for honoring Caesar above all. However, by affirming that Jesus is Lord, Paul challenges the Philippian Christians to redirect their allegiance. Compare Phil 2:11.

1:5 participation The Philippians provided financial support that helped Paul spread the gospel message (4:15, 18). Their partnership in his ministry is the reason he prays with joy

1:6 one who began Refers to God. Paul is certain that the Philippians will progress in faith because God is committed to transforming them. The day of Christ Jesus Refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ. In Paul’s letters, the “Day of Christ” is synonymous with the OT phrase “Day of the Lord” (see note on Luke 17:22).


Crank some blanks 


  • Salvation is _____________ work
  • Salvation is a _____________ work
  • Salvation is a _____________ work

 Application Question:  

What comes to mind when you think of God?

Despite the negative appearance of the circumstances, God is still in control and still accomplishing His purposes in the life of Paul and in our own lives. Beginning the “good work” was not a mistake that will be left incomplete.

What wrong perspective do you need to surrender?

1:7 my imprisonment Romans did not use prisons for punishment, but only to detain those awaiting trial or execution.

Final Big Idea of the First Chapter

Paul is saying, Listen to this thing I’m praying for you!!  

1:9 love As Paul explains later, love (agapē) involves putting others before oneself (Philippians 2:3–4).

Knowledge The knowledge that Paul has in mind is not just intellectual but experiential, acquired through acts of love. All discernment The Greek term used here, aisthēsis, refers to the ability to make decisions for the benefit of others.

1:10 what is superior When the Philippians’ love abounds, they will be able to determine what is most valuable or beneficial to the community of believers.

Pure and blameless Refers to being without fault.

1:11 fruit of righteousness Refers to the natural results of belonging to Christ, whose death and resurrection bring righteousness to all who believe


Going Deeper This Next Week

Key Verses:  – Try memorizing one of these verses this week 

Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 

Philippians 1:9-11  – And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Going Deeper Bible Study Link – Click Me

Looking ahead!

 Questions we will be asking ourselves while we work through this beautiful book written to this church in Philippi:

  1. What can we learn from the Philippians about our relationship to suffering as Christians?  How is it going to affect the way we respond to current and future suffering?
  2. Can we say with Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to dies is gain?”  If you can’t, think about what has replaced Christ’s rightful place in your life.
  3. What have you learned from Jesus’ example that you can apply to your own life?  Do you have the attitude of Christ in respect to God and others? Do you regard others as more important than yourself?
  4. Do you allow your circumstances to affect your peace? What is keeping you from His peace? After reading Philippians 4 do we see ways to handle life’s anxieties?
  5. What have we learned about our own needs and sharing with others in need?


Spiritual Disciplines #4 – Prayer

I’ve been wrestling with the discipline of prayer this past week. I have to be reminded to pray way too much. I pray when a request is given. I pray when I hear of a need. I pray when nobody else at the dinner table will do it. In fact, most meals I get the honor of praying for the food. I think that is one of the unsaid perks that come along with being the pastor. All of these particular prayers are good and needed, but I’m struggling to call them a discipline.  


Our definition of spiritual discipline – Practices that are the guaranteed places of spiritual transformation.   


More often than not, my prayers seem to miss the target of a spiritual discipline. Therein lies the reason I’m wrestling with the discipline of prayer. My prayers tend to be a function of duty or responsibility. The spiritual discipline of prayer is much more. Again, let us not beat ourselves up, but let us seek together something more in our prayer lives. I’m seeking along with you. 


How do you turn something from a responsibility to a transforming spiritual practice? Prayer needs to move from simple words and thoughts to something more significant.  


Richard Rohr said, “ Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence.” 


Prayer is a word that describes a relationship. Disciplines of prayer provide patterns for attending to God throughout the day. They open us to the divine dialogue through the intentional encounter with the Trinity. In Donald Whitney’s work on spiritual disciplines, he compares learning to pray like learning a foreign language. It is clunky and awkward at the beginning, and to become more fluent, you must immerse yourself in the language and practice, practice, practice. This is where the secular definition of discipline is essential: to train or develop by instruction and exercise, especially in self-control. Learning to pray requires training and instruction.  


More thoughts to come on prayer. I’d love to hear how each one of you practice praying. What are your methods? How do you pray? Please send me an email with your thoughts. or 


Spiritual Disciplines #3 – Worship

Spiritual Disciplines #3 – Worship

Based on my ability to parent, I’m learning that it is quite challenging to encourage someone to do something they have zero desire to do. I have a cute 6th grader that I’m partially responsible for developing into a contributing member of society. There are days when it is clear that my encouragement is not inspiring him to read, clean his room, or even eventually pay his taxes. He seems to be locked into if it isn’t fun, I’m not interested mentality. I do imagine that he might wake up one morning and do all the things I’ve asked of him with joy and ambition.  

I see a correlation between encouraging my son to clean his room and convincing some of you that you should love to worship.  

Worship is a discipline that will transform you.  I so long for you all to desire to do it. 

The spiritual discipline of worship is such a vulnerable experience. Worship forces us to express in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable. Worship asks us to sing songs that don’t quite fit our personalities. Worship can be a struggle. I have found myself over the years being intentionally distracted or needing to go to the bathroom when the music starts in the church. So I get it. It’s not always easy to worship.  

The following excerpt is from the book I’m using to help shape some of our focus on spiritual disciplines, The Spiritual Discipline Handbook:

The heart of worship is to seek to know and love God in our unique way. Each one of us fulfills some part of the divine image. Each one of us loves and glorifies God in a particular way that no one else can. It should not surprise us then that worship styles and tastes differ: traditional, contemporary, liturgical, charismatic. One style of worship is not better than another. The quality of worship emerges from the heart and its focus. Worship can touch our deepest feelings. But that is not a litmus test for worship. Feelings can come and go. But the joyous Trinity remains forever worthy. Above and before all other good things remain the Pearl of great price, the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.  


Spiritual Exercise


  1. Consider the many names of God uses to reveal himself to us. Which of these names identifies where God is in your life now? Talk to God about what this revelation of who he is meant to you.  
  2. Think of the times you have been deeply moved in worship. What was happening in your life at that time? What was going on in worship? Put yourself in places where you most easily connect with God in worship. 
  3. Write a letter or song to God, expressing your love and honor of him.
  4. Come before God with an open and listening ear. Write the question, “What do I value most” at the top of the bulletin on a Sunday morning. Answer the question


I’ve attached a  Bible Study to bring the spiritual discipline of Bible Study into the worship realm.  


Read Revelation 4–5


What is God’s ultimate purpose for men and women? To worship him! The Westminster Catechism puts it this way: The chief end of human beings is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”


What images come to mind when you think of worship?


PERSONAL REFLECTION. Why is worship important? What role does it play in your relationship with God.


To truly worship God we must see who he is and realize what he has done. In Revelation 4–5 we enter with the apostle John into the heavenly realms, where we observe the response of those who truly see the Lord. John is writing to believers around A.D. 90–95 during the reign of the emperor Domitian, a time of tremendous persecution. They were living in a world where evil was rampant and apparently all-powerful. However, John’s focus on God in all his glory would have been an apt reminder that evil is not in control. God’s purpose stands; he controls the world’s destiny. The worship pictured in these chapters reorients our thinking too, giving us a vision of God’s character and rule in the world. Read Revelation 4.


  1. Imagine all that John experienced in his glimpse into heaven. Describe what he saw, heard and felt.


  1. What is the first and primary sight that meets his eyes (vv. 2–3)?


What is the significance of this?


  1. What do we learn about God’s character from John’s description in this chapter?


  1. What response does this evoke from the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (vv. 6–11)?


  1. How does this compare or contrast with your experiences of worshiping God?


  1. Read Revelation 5. What characters are involved in 5:1–7, and what is the nature of their activity?


  1. Jesus is described both as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5) and as “a Lamb looking as if it had been slain” (5:6). What do these names tell us about who Jesus is?


  1. In 5:9–10 what do we learn about the results of Christ’s death?


  1. Reread 5:8–14, identifying the different beings worshiping the Lamb. What different forms of worship do you see?


  1. What does this variety suggest about our attitude toward forms of worship which are very different from what we are accustomed to?


  1. Compare your worship with that of Revelation 4 and 5. What are the similarities and differences?


In what ways would you like for your worship to be more like what is described here?


Considering God’s character as seen in Revelation 4 and 5, spend some time now worshiping him in brief expressions of praise and thanksgiving.


This passage has focused on the God we worship, but worship also affects the person worshiping. Read Isaiah 6:1–8. What elements of worship do you find in this passage, and in what ways does Isaiah’s vision of God in his glory affect his own perspective and actions?


Sterk, A., & Scazzero, P. (1999). Christian Disciplines: 12 Studies for Individuals or Groups (pp. 18–21). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Connect: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press.