WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 6, 2013
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MESSAGES AND MOTIVES
(Exalt CHRIST by the way you live your life)
The city of Philippi was named after Philip II of Macedonia, who was the father of Alexander the great. Philip captured the city from the Thracians in 358 B.C. It is located about 10 miles northwest of the seaport of Neopolis. It was near there, that, Mark Anthony and Octavius (Caesar Augustus) defeated Brutus and Cassius after they had murdered the Roman Emperor of Julius Caesar. Shortly after that, Philippi became a colony of the original Roman Empire.
In A.D. 52, Paul visited this city, during his second missionary journey with Silas. It became the first European city in which a Christian church was established. Lydia and her family, and later, the Philippian jailer and his household, were all converted to Christianity by Paul and Silas, during the two men’s visit and incarceration there in Philippi (Acts 16:6-40).
Ironically, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, while under house arrest in Rome, some 10 years later. It was written in response to the financial generosity of the Philippian Church, during and after his visit there in Macedonia. Paul says that, they were the only church to respond in such a way, when he delivered to them, the good news about CHRIST JESUS (Philippians 4:15-16).
After a sincere prayer of thanksgiving for, and vote of confidence in, the Christian Church at Philippi (vs. 1-11), Paul moves on to describe some of the problems that he was currently faced with in Rome. He wanted all of the Christian brothers and sisters to know that everything that was happening to him in Rome would contribute to the spread of the Good News about JESUS CHRIST (vs. 12-14)). And even though some were preaching out of jealousy and rivalry to Paul, most were preaching out of a love for him, and most of all, a love for JESUS CHRIST. Paul was confident that the prayers of the saints and the SPIRIT of CHRIST JESUS would deliver him from his pain (vs. 15-19).
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “earnest expectation” or “hope for the future” is “apokaradokia” (a-pok-a-ra-do-kee-yah). It describes the attitude of a man who scans the horizon, with his head stretched forward, as he eagerly anticipates the first signs of the coming of the glory of GOD. You see, for Paul, life was not a long, hopelessly defeated waiting, but rather, it was a thriving and very vivid expectation of eternal joy.
The Christian has always been, is now, and will forever be, a part of the human experience. By that I mean, from within, we all have to suffer with our own “sin nature”, which is, in the Greek “epithumia”, and it is that battle that constantly goes on within ourselves between “reason” and “passion”. When we give in to “passion” we sin, but when we yield to the “reasoning” of the HOLY SPIRIT, we are able to avoid the clutches of sin. In addition to suffering with our own sin nature, we are also affected by the sins of others. However, we must learn how to, in the power of CHRIST, live in a world that is full of death and decay, and we must also withstand the suffering caused by sins that are not our own, just as JESUS did.
In Philippians 1, verse 20, Paul says that he lived in “earnest expectation and hope” that he would never do anything that would cause shame to himself, or to CHRIST JESUS, neither in life, nor, in death. He resolved that his living would be for CHRIST, and that his dying for CHRIST would be even better. He was torn between two desires, living in service to CHRIST, and dying for the sake of CHRIST. But he reasoned in the only “unselfish” way that he could, that it would be better for those who were lost, that he lived on, working in hopes that one day they too, could experience the joy that he himself had found in CHRIST JESUS.
To exalt CHRIST through our behavior results in a life well lived. In the biblical times the word “conversation” meant “your whole way of life”, how you lived, and what your manner of living was, what you did, and how you did it. Sadly, today it only means “the way you talk”, and has nothing to do with the way you really are.
Professed Christians must begin to let their “conversation” (way of life) be worthy of CHRIST, because we are, in reality, professing to be citizens of Heaven. We must give up the desire to conform to the ways of the world, even, and especially in the church house. We have to transform from the world before we can enter into Heaven, and we can take nothing of this world with us when we make our transitions. We must make sure that our “messages” and our “motives” line up with the Word of GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website