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Psalm 1 1
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

clip_image066Background

Psalm 1 can be viewed as a preface to the whole Book of Psalms. It uses contrasting similes of the destiny of the good and the wicked. The psalm views life as activity and that each in life chooses either the good or the bad. Each “way” brings its inevitable consequences. The wise through their good actions will experience life as a tree, rooted in fertile earth and watered by the closeness of God’s living water. The wicked will find themselves without firm roots and will find death (being separated from God).

Biblical Truths

The first Psalm is not placed at the beginning by chance. It is generally agreed that it is both an introduction to the Psalms and a synopsis, not only of the Book of Psalms but also of the message of the whole Bible. Although this Psalm was written more than two and a half thousand years ago, it deals with a question that men and women are still asking today: “How can I be happy?” And the Bible, and Psalm 1 in particular, claims to have the answer. ‘Blessed (Or ‘happy’) is the man…….’

Items for Discussion

  • What is the root of happiness according to psalm 1?
  • In our lives today, what could the following mean: the tree; the stream; the fruit; the leaves;the chaff; the wind?
  • What must we do, according to Psalm 1 to be rooted in happiness?
  • Re-read verse 3. What does this verse tell you about someone rooted in God?

 

Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Background

The Letter to the Saints at Philippi differs in some respects from any of the preceding letters of the Apostle Paul. It contains less logic and more of the heart. We find the expression of the Christian’s experience in this toilsome life, and the resources which are open to us in passing through it, and the motives which ought to govern us. We may even say that this letter gives us the experience of Christian life in its highest and most perfect expression rather than its normal condition under the power of the Spirit of God.

The account of the founding of the church at Philippi, which occurred in A. D. 50 or 51, is given in Acts, Chapter 16. Led by a vision at Troas the apostle, on his second great missionary journey, crossed into Europe, landing at Neapolis, and proceeding from thence at once to Philippi, which was “the chief city of that part of Macedonia.” This city had already some claims to a place in history. It received its name from Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, who added to his dominions the little Thracian town which existed there before, rebuilt and fortified it, and gave it its new name in the year B. C. 358. In B. C. 42, about ninety-two years before Paul visited it, it was the field of the decisive battle between Brutus and Cassius, the leaders of the Republicans, and the Triumvirate of Imperialists, one of whom was subsequently Augustus Caesar. But the place has a higher interest to the Christian world from the fact that here was planted the first congregation of Christians that ever existed on the soil of Europe.

It was not only the scene of gospel triumphs but of suffering for the cross of Christ. Here it was that Paul and Silas were beaten, cast into the stocks in the inner prison, by the grace of God converted and baptized their jailer and his household before the dawn, and were honorably released by the magistrates in the morning, as Roman citizens, unjustly beaten and imprisoned.

The occasion for writing this letter was quite natural. Paul was in prison, and the Philippians (who were very dear to him, and who, at the commencement of his labors, had testified about their affection for him by similar gifts) had just sent assistance to the apostle by the hand of Epaphroditus at a moment when, as it appears, he had been in need. A prison, where Paul was deprived of care, was part of the Philippians love that they thought of him. The Paul therefore speaks more than once of the Philippians’ fellowship with the gospel: that is to say, they took part in the labors, the trials, and the necessities-the preaching of the gospel.

Biblical Truths 2

This chapter embraces the following points:

I. The salutation to the church, Philippians 1:1-2.

II. Philippians 1:3-8, the apostle expresses his gratitude for the evidence which they had given of love to God, and for their fidelity in the gospel from the time when it was first proclaimed among them. He says that he was confident that this would continue, and that God, who had so mercifully imparted grace to them to be faithful, would do it to the end.

III. He expresses the earnest hope that they might abound more and more in knowledge, and be without offence to the day of Christ, Philippians 1:9-11.

Items for Discussion

  • Paul is grateful for the feedback. Why is feedback so important to the human spirit?
  • Do you see any congregational responsibilities being expressed/acted out in this Scripture?
  • Why is it hard for us to always give positive feedback at those appropriate moments?
  • What types of feedback would you think appropriate for the following groups: children of the church; teens of the church; older generation in the church; members participating in the activities and duties of the church and the leadership of the church?
  • Can you find any similarities in the advice being given in Psalm 1 that is supported by Paul’s salutation to the church at Philippi?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we create a culture of awareness, support and praise in our church where, we like the church at Philippi, can support those around us in need?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Barnes’ Notes
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