What’s up everyone! It’s Pastor Kerr Howell Jr. here. Welcome to Gospel Home Brew a resource from River City Spokane. May God’s word `brew in you today, so that it can stir others as you share it together.
I am thrilled to continue our study through Philippians, the letter of indestructible Joy. So let us read the section of Scripture we will look at together. Open your Bible again to the letter to the Philippians and turn to chapter one verses one and two. Let’s read it together.
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to You and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-2)
Last week we looked at the audience, occasion, and author of this letter. But before we jump into the first section of the letter there is another person here that Paul lists in the letter: Timothy! Also, there are two massive words and the Two Givers of these massive words. You can look at this section as Lagniappe—a little extra awesomeness.
So let’s begin the trek of the companion and the Rescuer.
What more do these verses have to share with us? We learned about Paul, but who was Timothy?
Timothy was a boy from Lystra who became the pastor of the Ephesian church. He is one of the greatest companions of Paul. A boy raised in the scriptures who would become a legend in the scriptures. Paul did not only watch Timothy be re-born, but would be used to see him be conformed. During Paul’s first missionary journey (A.D. 46-47), Timothy was saved by God. Not only was Timothy a friend and co-worker with Paul, he and Paul had a father and son relationship. Paul loved Timothy, and Timothy loved Paul. Both would be a source of strength for each other. So who was Timothy?
The name Timothy means “honoring God.” Timothy became a huge part of Paul’s life during his second missionary journey (A.D. 48-51). Upon Paul’s return to Lystra, he was welcomed by people telling him how Timothy was a highly respected disciple. This was when Paul called Timothy to join hands in spreading the gospel of God. Timothy was also circumcised by Paul, because Timothy was a Greek and had not been “snipped.” The reason for circumcision was so that many Jews would be ministered to with the gospel. Timothy was a young man at the time of the circumcision. Ouch!
Timothy was trained by his father of the faith and, not only followed him places, but also was sent out on important missions. For example, Timothy was sent to Corinth when Paul could not go himself, and while Paul was in chains he sent this son to Philippi. This father and son relationship was so close that Paul names both of them in the beginnings of six out of the thirteen letters from Paul. Timothy received two of the final letters Paul would ever write, known as 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul would challenge this boy to the limits, exhorting him to stay true to his calling by God and to come see him before his death. The son would also experience something his father of the faith knew well: chains.
Paul saw some important events in Timothy’s life (conversion, growth, circumcision, co-worker, messenger, encourager), but would also be the one that oversaw Timothy’s ordination to the pastorate. Paul would send his son to the place he would serve with his life.
This is the Timothy that Paul mentions in this second letter to the Corinthians. Paul is joining himself with Timothy. The word that Paul uses most for Timothy is the word brother. This word has huge means and implications. In the single tense it means “a brother or near kinsmen,” but in the plural sense it means “a community based on identity of origin or life.” Notice what Paul is doing. He is linking them not because they are blood related, but because they are called related. Because of this, their identity is on the One that has called them: God. This displays the unity of all believers in Jesus. God unites all His children into one body and, therefore, the church of Jesus Christ is universal, not just a Spokane item. This word displays the brotherhood of all Christians to one another.
Do you see yourself as family in the church community that you are in?
If you do, the church is more than an event; it is a family reunion.
The Christian family is a huge family. Our fraternity throughout history may be the most notable one. Here Paul is not using this term to show Timothy and Paul’s close relationship, but the relationship that Timothy has with the ones who will read this letter: the Philippians. He is their brother in the faith. The key word is our. He is not mentioned in the beginning of the letter to say that Timothy co-authored or scribed this letter with Paul. It is to display that a fellow believer approves what the ink says and has a deep love for the readers. Timothy cared for the Philippian church just as much as Paul did. Tim’s heart was to see Christ in them fully formed. We are a huge family, because God is a huge God.
Grace to You and Peace
Next Paul writes down two massive words: Grace and peace. You see God created the Church. The church is a living and active creature, just like God is a living and active God. God is for the church. God had the church in His heart. Many times we focus on us having the affection for God in our hearts, minds, souls, and lives. However, the main focus we should constantly stare at is that we are in God’s heart, mind, soul, and existence. The same author who wrote this letter to the Philippians also wrote a letter to the church in Galatia and stated, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God.” This should bring you great peace.
Because of grace.
Charis is the Greek word for grace. This one word has many amazing meanings. In addition, grace is applied in many amazing ways. One way this word is used is in an objective way. Meaning, that it is to bestow pleasure or delight, or causes regard in an approving way. This favorable way displays the beauty or the loveliness of a person. This can go from the way a person acts or acts toward others, or the way a person speaks or speaks toward others.
Grace can also be used in a subjective way. Meaning, that the term brings attention specifically to the bestower themselves. It is not just the acts the person commits but who the person really is. For example, in Acts 7:10 the author talks not only about the favor Joseph had, but from where the favor comes. Luke writes down this word to show it as divine. Seven chapters later in Acts, grace is stressed as something that is free and universal to the children of God, but also displays that God, in His redemptive mercy for the sinner, has designed pleasure and joy for this redeemed sinner. It is universal and yet specific. Grace has the personal imprint of God. There is identity in this grace, because it is not only identifying what God has toward us, but who God is: He is the God of grace.
Another way grace is subjective is that it brings the attention of the receiver’s treasuring of this pleasure, delight, and approving regard. It is what causes the thankfulness of the child of God. It causes the child of God to glory in God. It stirs the affections of the rescued. It brings the fullness of joy in the child of God. It is what causes their life to be a life-sign of “thanks” to and for God. It is what causes the “keep on keeping on”. It is the treasuring of God toward a believer that causes the treasuring of God in a believer toward God.
Grace in a way places in the New Testament the displays of the effects of grace. Meaning, it magnifies the spiritual state of those who have experienced its exercise. This applies to both the state of the believer and the proof of the state by the transformation of the believer. Romans 5:2 gives a clear picture of the state of grace when Paul says, “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice.” 2 Corinthians 8:6 gives us a clear picture of the evidence of the state of grace when Paul writes, “Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.” One chapter later in 2 Corinthians, Paul applies grace to the summation of everything the Corinthians received and will continue to receive by their giving.
So here in Philippians chapter one verse two, Paul is showing that the Philippians being chosen into the family of God displays the favor they have with their Father. To have favor from God is to have favor with God. Paul desired that his readers receive God’s grace. They needed grace and he was letting them know the importance of God’s grace, because it is the displaying of and glorifying of God. Paul knew that his readers needed grace to persevere suffering and the Christian life, just as he was doing.
Peace is the Greek word eirene. This word can be used as a noun or verb. As a noun, it can mean harmonious relationships between men and nations, friendliness, freedom from harshness, troubles and torment, the bringing of order in the believer’s life and in the churches, the harmonious relationship between God and man, rest, and contentment. This word can also display the idea of the wholeness or entireness of this state.
Listen to these meanings!
Peace is something that the church has received. Wrath no longer describes us. He has (re)created us to come together as a family. There are no longer divisions of races or ethnicities. He has caused us to think rightly about each other and has caused us to be in relationship with each other. We are no longer to hold each other at a distance. He has brought the nations together. We no longer will hold an alliance with a flag, but with an object that brings us to Him: the cross. Just as the Philippians would no longer hold alliance to Rome (which many of them were retired soldiers), but to the true King or Emperor of the universes: Jesus. Now we no longer look at the color of our skin, because we are all the same color—red. We have been drenched in the blood. It is all over us. God has opened our eyes to see each other as He sees us.
Peace has caused us to be friends of God and not enemies. We no longer need to run from, but run to Him. He has spoken for us and takes great pleasure in speaking to us. He has caused us to love Him. However, though we can rejoice in that we are His friend, let’s rejoice more in that God is our friend. The holy God is friends with sinners! Christ is so gracious (beautiful). He does not have to do this. He makes peace with us. He does not have to.
Jesus did not do anything wrong (we did). Jesus is not the one who betrayed us…We betrayed Him! He is not the one who hid…We did! He is not the one who exchanged His glory…We did! He is not the one who still to this day curses and belittles him…We do! Yet, despite all this, He is the one who made peace with us and for us. He did it all. God’s wrath is no longer on us! God made peace with sinners by crushing the sinless One. The sinless One substituted Himself to make peace with the sin-full ones. We have been made right.
The awesome truth is this: There is more grace in Jesus, than there is sin in us!
This is highly important to hold on to, because this causes one to view everything from God differently. God has caused our souls to be at rest in Him. We no longer have to stress out to make a name for ourselves. God gives us the greatest name, His name. His name is on the line. He is hallowing His own name by making peace with us. The last thing God has done in peace is cause His child to be content satisfied (content). This peace transforms our eyes from looking to ourselves or others to looking to God for joy. God has caused God’s identity to manifest in us. God is satisfied in us, because God has satisfied Himself in redeeming us. We do not need to work to get this identity; He did the work. We are called to rest in His identity. The greatest comfort Paul can give his readers is this reminder of the Majesty’s sovereignty.
From God Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
The reminder was where the grace and peace comes from. When one forgets the Originator, one forgets the source of all things. In so doing, one relies on one’s strength to achieve to receive. The two benefits are joined and fitted together. The grace of God brings forth the peace of God. You cannot get one without the other. Notice Paul, by the way he words this phrase, is showing where grace and peace only come from. Paul depends on God for everything, and will later state, “I count everything as loss, except the surpassing worth of know Jesus as my Lord” . This is a blessing he is sending to his readers, but it also is a petition to the One who gives the blessing.
When one knows that God is for them and has them in His heart, then one realizes the grace that has been displayed and given, when one has the peace within to take whatever comes from then on from the outside. Being mindful of God causes one to treasure the graciousness of God even when enemies of God are tormenting, threatening and killing you. Both these benefits come from the Father and the Son. Just as the benefits are joined together, so are the Benefactors. The Son made peace by the cross and resurrection, and the reason this peace exists is because it originated from the Father, the One who sent the Son on this mission.
The readers need this grace and peace, and it only comes by God bestowing them through God the Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Why do they need this grace and peace?
Because, to grow in Jesus continually, the believer needs to grasp and cling to these two foundation truths. The Philippians did. Do you? Do you find encouragement in the opening of Paul’s letter? If not, could it be that you have not dwelled on what God actually did for you and continues to do for you? Brew on this week: You have grace and peace because of what God the Father did through God the Son for you.
This is pastor Kerr. I hope you were stirred today and pray that the Gospel Home Brew podcast would cause God’s Word to brew your minds and hearts as you prepare to trek Philippians and live these truths with others. See you next Week!