Second part of verse 1 —
I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons.
Philippians 1:1b NLT
So last hour, I made it through the from (the sender), and now we move on to the to (the recipient). And Paul and Timothy aren’t casting their pearls to the swine, they are writing this to a specific audience — to “God’s holy people in Philipi…” so let’s stop right there.
If Brannon were to start out a sermon with a parable about the Kingdom of God, then offer the gospel to all who might receive it — then before preaching on the book of Philippians, fearfully and respectfully communicate in the same way Paul and Timothy identified their intended recipients as “God’s holy people here at The Well”, I wonder how shocked (and maybe even offended) some might be to understand that this message is written to a particular people — a holy and set apart people — that not everyone who came into contact with this letter might be a recipient.
What a delusion and complacency shattering stone the gospel can be when we are willing to let it shine its light upon us.
Are we coming into the sanctuary prepared in faith and covered in grace, and confessed and forgiven of our sins with no burdens still upon our shoulders and no chains still upon our members and no stains upon or garments so that when we hear a servant of the most high God proclaim, “I am a messenger from God, with a message for His holy people” that wr can come boldly into the throne room of grace to rightly receive and carry on this flaming fire to the ends of the earth, never letting the fire go out?
Shouldn’t we contemplate such things when we look at the FROM and the TO and be fully assured that this letter is indeed ours to receive? What if we hear it, but cannot receive it because wr don’t even truly believe it is for us — it might be better that we not even hear it if it isn’t for us! Imagine if a man dying from cancer received the doctor’s advice meant for a healthy man, and the healthy man received the doctor’s advice meant for the mam with cancer. Couldn’t the “keep on with what you are doing” lead to the death of the mam with cancer just as much as radical chemotherapy might lead to the death of the healthy man!
Are we “God’s holy people in Philipi”? Not if you are in Landrum. So we can acknowledge there may be some context specific to Philipi in this letter that we should be mindful of.
Now what about the question, Are you “God’s holy people”?
We can see that there are going to be common points in this book that all of “God’s holy people” can glean from — but what of those that aren’t “God’s holy people”?
What about those vessels created for wrath and destruction? What about those who are not God’s called and chosen elect? What about those in which Christ is not abiding? If you are in that group, I encourage you to stop right now and read the gospel books instead, and determine whether or not you are called to be a slave to Christ and “God’s holy people”. If you are not, it is because you will not believe, repent, and submit to the authority and love and mercy of God. And if that is the case, this book to “God’s holy people” is closed to you. Even though you may read it, and analyze it, and formulate your own ideas about it, it will not bear the fruit of Christ in your life until you are rooted in Him.
Ready to continue?
Maybe I can make it through verse 2 in less than 2 hours. 🙂