104 verses in Philippians.
7 times we read the words “joy”, “gladness”.
10 times we read the words “glad”, “rejoice”, “rejoiced”.
Read: 1:4, 1:18, 1:25, 2:2, 2:16-18, 3:1, 3:3, 4:1, 4:4

Every 6.1 verses, Paul mentions being joyful, rejoicing, or being glad.
He was in jail in Rome, awaiting possible execution, but still found much to be joyful about.
It is wise to notice how he lived.

I.    Paul Had Joy Because Of Fellowship

A.   He Had A Correct View Of Self V. 1a

1.   Paul was an apostle, & the spiritual father of this church. (10 years prior, Acts 16)
2.   Yet he did not present himself as an “exalted father”, or a suffering “super saint”.
3.   He presented himself as a bondservant of Jesus, not even a prisoner of Rome.
4.   Bondservant- a slave, bondman, man of servile condition, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.

a.   Before seeing himself as anything else, he saw himself as a bondservant.
b.   He was a willing slave to Jesus.  Not a forced position/relationship.
c.   First & foremost a bondservant.  Everything else came under that heading.

5.   Paul’s correct spiritual view of himself prevented schisms between him and these people.

a.   He was not self-exalting, or self-focusing because of hardships.

6.   Note-How do you view yourself?  That view will affect your joy with others.
7.   Are you superior, a misunderstood victim, a super saint, or slave of Jesus?

B.  He Wished Well For All Believers Vs. 1b, 2

1.  All the saints.  Saints- Hagios- a most holy thing, (by way of faith in Jesus)

a.   People become saints when they accept Christ, not if they behave well.
b.   Christians are imputed Jesus’ righteousness & holiness. (Romans 3:22)
c.   We don’t always act that like a saint, but that is what a Christian is.
d.   Christians are set apart by God, and for God.
e.   A positional truth we need to grow and mature in.
f.    NOTE- Saints includes bishops & deacons: church leaders.

2.  Grace & Peace- Paul’s standard greeting for Believers.  God’s grace & peace.
3.  Paul extended this holy greeting upon all the Christians in Philippi.

a.   Were there no problematic people in Philippi?  Yes, there were.

i.    2:1-4 There were disputes due to pride and lack of humility.
ii.   2:12,14 They needed exhortation to get along.
iii.  4:2 Euodia & Syntyche were fighting, arguing.
iv.  implore- parakaleo- to come alongside & exhort.  Loving correction.
v.   He didn’t say, “What’s wrong with you? You think you have it bad?”
vi.  4:3 These were gospel veterans who were fighting and arguing.

b.   Paul saw all the saints as saints and wished grace and peace upon them all.
c.   Paul had joy because he saw God’s people as God saw them.

C. Past Co-Laboring Produced Present Joy Vs. 3-8

1.   V. 3- He thanked God for them.  They shared their lives and goods with each other.
2.   V. 4- Every time he prayed for them, joy well up inside him.
3.   V. 5- Why? Because of their fellowship w/him in serving God.

a.   Paul served God, & they assisted.  A high calling done in partnership.
b.   Paul’s present joy came from previously serving God with other Christians and having a correct view of himself.  This is the path to joy.

4.   Their interaction with Paul had been deep and costly on some level.
5.   Paul was a liability; people didn’t want to help him, etc.
6.   It isn’t always admirable to relate to those in prison.
7.   Risky to partner w/a man who preaches Jesus, causes riots, & goes to jail often.
8.   V. 7- Paul & the Philippians needed God’s grace to accomplish those things.
9.   V. 7- Partakers of grace- They had all needed God’s divine assistance together.
10. V. 10- The memories of God’s grace sustaining them all brought joy to Paul.
11. Mutual suffering brings the affection of Jesus Christ, resulting in joy.
12. NOTE- If joy is lacking in your life, is it because you are a solitary Christian?

a.   Christians do hurt one another, but isolation is not a better choice.
b.   Do everything you can to partner and be partnered with through life.
c.   Allow yourself to be helped, and to help other Believers.
d.   Christianity is, by God’s design, a life of community and interaction.

II.   The Past Created Joyful Prayer

A.  He Prayed That They Would Grow In Love V. 9

      1. They were very loving people, but Paul prayed that they would grow in love.
      2. He prayed for love that has understanding and ethical/moral discernment
      3. This is different than naïve love, emotionally driven love, or “anything goes” love.

B.   That They Would Grow In Discernment V. 10

      1. Love that discerns and is ethical helps one approve of things excellent.
      2. Sincere- speaks of inner values and behavior
      3. Without offense-speaks of external things said and done
      4. Till the day of Christ- that they would grow all their days until Jesus comes.

C.   That They Would Be Filled With Righteousness V. 11

      1. Being filled with fruits of righteousness is a result of connection with Jesus.
      2. John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
      3. The Philippians had been very fruitful.
      4. Yet Paul prayed that they would be exceedingly, abundantly fruitful.
      5. They were an incredible group that could become more incredible.

D.  Paul Was Confident In God’s Faithfulness V. 6

      1. Paul had so much confidence Paul had in God regarding these people.
      2. How did he come to this place of joyful confidence of God’s work in others?
      3. By co-laboring, being in community with them, allowing them to help him, and helping them, watching God work, knowing the heart of God.
      4. Christians around us need to be encouraged that God isn’t done with them yet.