Daily Devotional Thoughts Introduction To Philippians Part 2 This week we begin our walk through Philippians.  Before we actually dig into the book itself let's explore the background and get our foundation lain securely down.  Here is a map to help us get oriented.   I share these comments from Albert Barnes as we commence: Philippi was the first place in Europe where the gospel was preached; . . . . and . . . . [t]he gospel was first preached here in very interesting circumstances by Paul and Silas. Paul had been called by a remarkable vision (Acts 16:9) to go into Macedonia, and the first place where he preached was Philippi - having made his way, as his custom was, directly to the capital. The first person to whom he preached was Lydia, a seller of purple, from Thyatira, in Asia Minor. She was converted, and received Paul and Silas into her house, and entertained them hospitably. In consequence of Paul’s casting out an evil spirit from a “damsel possessed of a spirit of divination,” by which the hope of gain by those who kept her in their employ was destroyed, the populace was excited, and Paul and Silas were thrown into the inner prison, and their feet were made fast in the stocks. Here, at midnight, God interposed in a remarkable manner. An earthquake shook the prison; their bonds were loosened; the doors of the prison were thrown open, and their keeper, who before had treated them with special severity, was converted, and all his family were baptized. It was in such solemn circumstances that the gospel was first introduced into Europe. After the tumult, and the conversion of the jailor, Paul was honorably released, and soon left the city; (Acts 16:40). He subsequently visited Macedonia before his imprisonment at Rome, and doubtless went to Philippi (Acts 1:1- 2). It is supposed, that after his first imprisonment at Rome, he was released and again visited the churches which he had founded. In this Epistle (1:25-26; 2:24) he expresses a confident hope that he would be released, and would be permitted to see them again; and there is a probability that his wishes in regard to this were accomplished;      . . . .  (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible - Introduction to Phillipians). Monday - The Jailer and his family join Christianity - Part 2. Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household (Acts 16:29-34). Let’s review the jailer’s question and Paul’s response.  The jailer asked the most important question that can ever be asked.  “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul’s answer? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Notice Paul didn’t give him a long list of things to do to be saved.  What did Paul tell him? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Boiled down to it’s essence salvation comes as we believe on Jesus Christ.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Do you believe Jesus died that you might live?  What is standing between you and God today?  Are you willing to let go and believe God loves you and that He is eagerly waiting to forgive you of every sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness?  Why not let that happen just now?  Just ask His forgiveness and cleansing and believe He has indeed welcomed you home. Tuesday - The Jailer and his family join Christianity - Part 3. "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:30b-31). Yesterday we reviewed Paul’s succinct answer to “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Now, we are told the “demons believe—and tremble”  (James 2:19) yet they are not saved.  So what kind of belief is required that I might be saved?  Very simply, saving belief is a belief that does result in a changed life.  Believing one is saved eternally without a corresponding changed life, a life now lived for Christ, is at best a delusion and at worst presumption.  Real faith in Christ always results in obedience to Christ.  James put it this way: Don’t you know “that faith without works is dead?”  What kind of works does faith produce?  Obedience.  When we catch a glimpse of God’s love, and really believe God wants our love and presence throughout eternity, when we realize He does everything necessary to secure our salvation, our response is to love Him in return.  “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  And love produces obedience. Jesus Himself said,  “‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’” (John 14:15). To summarize.  When we come to Christ we pass from death to life.  The longer we walk with Christ, the more our lives become like His.  Sometimes old sinful habits are broken instantaneously, at other times the change is so slow as to be almost imperceptible.  The key concept is that we should always be growing more like Christ.  Fortunately, our salvation is not based on attaining a specified level of perfect performance.  If it was, we would be hopelessly lost forever.  Our salvation is based on the redeeming work of Christ and when we accept that we Wenesday - The Jailer and his family join Christianity - Part 4. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household (Acts 16:29-34). Today’s text emphatically states that salvation came as the jailer believed in Christ Jesus.  Yesterday we discussed the difference between dead faith (belief that causes the demons to tremble but does not result in their salvation) and living faith (faith that produces works or lives changed from bent on sinning to bent on serving God). Today we notice that Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house.”  We don’t know precisely what was taught in that crash course (Christianity 101) but here are some fundamentals of salvation: 1) Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31; John 3:16; ). 2) Repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:9). 3) Keep His commandments as a response of love (John 14:15). 4) Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).  Our journey never ends, we should always be growing in our walk with God and always realizing that the growing is not the basis for but the result of the salvation God gives (Ephesians 2:8,9). Thursday - Paul and Silas released from prison. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, "Let those men go." So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace." But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out." And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed (Acts 16:35-40). Paul was a Roman citizen and knew his Roman rights had been violated.  They were beaten publicly without a trial and consequently while uncondemned.  When the magistrates realized their prisoners were citizens of Rome they couldn’t get them out of there quickly enough!  God has an infinite number of ways to bring deliverance to His children. Are you a prisoner of circumstances entirely not of your making?  Or maybe you are a prisoner of wrong decisions and poor choices made long ago, maybe you’re bound by bad habits developed over many years.  Friend, God is big enough to release you from your prison.  Ask Him just now, know that He is eager to bring you help and victory.  Move forward today! Friday - In our last devotional, Paul and Silas were released from the Philippian prison they stopped by to encourage the new believers at Philippi, then they departed.  Over the last two weeks we watched Paul and Silas founding Christianity in Philippi.  Now, we move into our study of the book of Philippians. Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:1-2). Today we’ll look at some word definitions in Paul’s salutation.  First, Paul and Timothy are bondservants of Jesus Christ.  The word translated “bondservant” means “slave.”  We should note that Paul had been a prisoner for a long period of time.  His prison was most likely located in Rome when he wrote this epistle.  Notice though, that he pays no attention to his earthly bondage but instead he focuses on his calling as a bondservant or slave of Jesus Christ.  Philippians was written to the “saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.”  “Saint” is translated from a Greek word which means sacred, a holy thing, a saint.  We see the same name given to the believers in Romans 1:7.  Here are Barnes comments on “saints”:  The word “saints,” . . . means those who are holy, or those who are devoted or consecrated to God. The radical idea of the word is what is separated from a common to a sacred use, . . . .  It is applied to any thing that is set apart to the service of God, to the temple, to the sacrifices, to the utensils about the temple, to the garments, etc. of the priests, and to the priests themselves. It was applied to the Jews as a people separated from other nations, and devoted or consecrated to God, while other nations were devoted to the service of idols. It is also applied to Christians, as being a people devoted or set apart to the service of God. The radical idea then, as applied to Christians, is, that “they are separated from other men, and other objects and pursuits, and consecrated to the service of God.” This is the special characteristic of the saints (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Romans 1:7).  Are you a saint today?  As used in the New Testament, you are a saint if you believe in Jesus Christ and have become His bondservant.  And the paradox is that only as you become a slave of Jesus Christ do you become truly free.  Serve Satan and stay in perpetual bondage.  Serve Christ and go free!  Freedom is yours for the asking!
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