The Apostle Paul wrote thirteen books of the New Testament. All of them were letters. Of the thirteen letters, eleven of them were written to seven different churches. Philippians is the only letter that we have in the New Testament where Paul never one time corrects bad teaching, rebukes bad behavior, or handled a bad situation. We see only a completely positive letter to a church he wrote. This was a church that was full of joy. It was a church that gave joy to the pastor that founded it and gave joy to the people who attended it. Nineteen times you will find in this book the words “rejoice, joy, and gladness.” When you read this book you realize this is what a church should look like on the inside to the people who attend it, but it is also what a church ought to look like from the outside to people who don’t attend it. I want to share with you today the three things that are true about that church that I want to be true about the church today, both to insiders and to outsiders. I want to be a church wanted.
Philippi was an ancient city in Northern Greece that, in its day, was a bustling metropolitan city with a strong industrial base and a great economy. Paul visited there around 50 A.D. and founded the first church in Europe there. In the book of Philippians in the New Testament, Paul is writing to this church from prison ten years later. If Paul had a favorite church, this might have been it. And as we study this letter to the church at Philippi, you will find out why. This church was overflowing with joy, and there is a lot we can learn about to live our lives joyfully as we read Paul’s words to the Philippians. In this series, we are going to take a closer look at Paul’s words of encouragement to this church, and in doing so, I believe we will be encouraged as well to find joy, capture joy, and spread joy as we follow Christ.