Continuing with his sermon series, Pastor Steve dove into Philippians 1 today, breaking down the first two verses in detail. It began with the note that Paul didn’t have to call himself an apostle—as with Galatians—because of the friendly relationship he had with the church at Philippi and his love for them. Steve also mentioned that Paul wrote this letter from prison. He added, “I don’t know what your Facebook posts would be from prison” before loudly pounding the podium and exclaiming, “This isn’t fair!”
The opening of verse 2 is especially significant, he said, because in saying, “Grace to you” Paul was mixing the Greeks, Romans and Hebrews together in his greeting. Inside the cultural basis the apostle was saying that God is all of these things to you. Then he read the verse before noting that it was a Trinitarian phrase even though he didn’t directly mention the Holy Spirit. He had Darryl put up a graphic of the Trinity that showed there is only one God, there are three divine persons, and that the persons are co-equal and co-eternal.
“The point is if we are going to know God and love Him deeply we need to know who He is,” Steve said. Then he read an excerpt from Jonathan Edwards’ writings from a book on the Trinity which talked about Edwards’ love for God’s majesty and splendor. Our view of God is often too low and we don’t see Him clearly because we are too occupied with meaningless things. The enemy is always working to get our eyes on trivialities so God will fade into the background.
Recalling the Egyptians who were martyred by ISIS last year and ended their life by singing praise songs, Steve asked if he would be willing to do that. But getting such strong images of courage into our head will affect how we look at God. When we meditate on who God is, our hearts will grow toward Him in worship. We will be like John, who fell down at Christ’s feet when he saw Him.
Next, Steve reviewed three erroneous views of the Trinity: 1) modalism, which says God takes different modes, 2) subordination, which says other parts of the Trinity are subordinated to God the Father, 3) three crowns, or tri-theism, in which there are three gods.
He concluded with a look at Philippians 2:6-11, where Paul makes reference to a song that was familiar to his audience—the same way if Steve said the first couple lines of Amazing Grace we could finish. This passage is an excerpt of a hymn that talks about how Jesus humbled Himself to come to earth; the Father didn’t have to do it. Steve encouraged us to read the entire book of Philippians this week to get the book’s flavor and have Jonathan Edwards-type experience: “Weep as you think about Jesus. I want us to experience this kind of deep emotion, based on biblical truth.”