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The Royal - Book Six: Letters (Week 1)
Miles McPherson - November 7, 2010

Message Recap

1. Epistles make up 21 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
(NOTE: All New Testament books are epistles except for the four gospels, Acts and Revelation).

2. Epistles were letters written to either a group or an individual for a specific occasion.
These are letters from someone to someone else for a specific reason – to thank, encourage, or give direction.

3. Epistles were written to address issues in the first century church.
These were real people in real places in the first century. We must ask as we read: does the issue with which this church is dealing apply to us as well?

4. Epistles usually address one of four issues:

  1. Behavior needing correction
    The author may write to a church because of their bad behavior (as in 1 Corinthians) and give correction.
  2. Warning against false teachings
    The author may warn the recipients that they are being mislead (as in Galatians, where the believers were fally prey to legalism.)
  3. Misunderstanding between author and audience.
    The writer acknowledges that there is sometimes gossip traveling around about him, but he wishes to set the record straight.
  4. Encouragement
    As our own pastors encourages us, the author encourages the church to follow Christ and persevere.
Epistles Reading Rules

Read the entire epistle (Philippians 1) 2-3 times and answer 5 questions:

1. Who wrote the epistle?
Answer: Paul (Philippians 1:1)

Paul identifies himself as a bondservant. He is wholeheartedly committed with everything entrusted to him. Following Jesus with all we are is to say, “I’m a slave to Christ and I’ll do whatever He wants, whenever He wants me to and I’ll give Him whatever He wants me to give.”

2. To whom was it written?
Answer: Saints in Philippi (Philippians 1:1)

Paul thanks God for their partnership in ministry (gifts and finances). Be a partner with your church leaders in ministry. Sitting in a seat every other Sunday is not partnering. Fellowship with gospel is more than sitting in church. It is giving of time and money, being willing to Do Something.

3. Why was it written or what issue or conflict caused the letter to be written?
Answer: To thank the saints (Philippians 1:3-57) and encourage unity (1:27-28, 2:1-2).

Hopefully you have an opportunity before you die to accept Jesus as your Savior. Maybe you already have, but you haven’t really changed your behavior at all, which brings the question: did you just recite a prayer or did you give your life to Christ? If you want to know for certain that you are saved, just walk with God and watch your life change; the evidence of your prayer and the reality of your salvation will be evident. Paul tells us in these verses that we can be confident that God works with us on these things until we die.

4. What does the author say about that issue that caused the letter to be written?
Answer: Be unified (Philippians 1:27-28).

Read and discover what God communicated to the people then.
Read: Philippians 1:27-30

Discover: Paul encourages the Philippians to be unified in their faith. Are you living in unity with the believers in your life?

5. How does it relate and challenge us today?

Reflect, pray and determine what God communicating to us now. Respond and do something. Pray and decide what God wants to do in and through you in the future.

Be unified in your faith expression.
What if all of us had faith all the time? Served unselfishly all the time? Prayed all the time? Joining together in our faith expression is very powerful. Believing the same Bible, submitting to the same God, working together to show God’s love and reveal Christ to others would have an amazing impact. God’s organization and coordination can use us to accomplish His goals like a well-oiled machine.

Be unified in your bold defense of our faith against your enemies.
When you see a brother or sister in Christ being put down for his/her faith, encourage the person. Stand up with him/her. Acknowledge your own faith and be unified as belivers. You need never be ashamed of the Gospel.

Be unified in your suffering for the faith.
Many people think that walking with God brings blessings. It does bring blessing, but not necessarily in the earthly sense (money, power, comfort, luxury, etc.) Being blessed means you have more of what God wants FOR you. But all Christians suffer adversity as well, and we are called to be united in our suffering, bonding together in prayer for and support of one another.

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