Philippians Study: Introduction 3

Studying PhilippiansAs we continue the introduction to our study of Philippians, we look to Acts 16 again.

Acts 16:6-9. Paul travels toward Asia and toward Europe. On this journey the Holy Spirit turns them from Asia and the Spirit of Christ turns them from Bithynia. Using a dream God directs Paul to Macedonia. These few lines testify to God’s sovereignty in salvation and its complexity. God directs Paul to avoid whole regions and instead directs him to a particular city and town, Macedonia and, specifically, Philippi.

God’s sovereign control of salvation is vivid in the Bible. His love acting in patience is the reason any are saved (2 Peter 3:9,15). Yet if God is sovereign, which we know (Romans 9:16), and not all are saved (Matthew 25:46), then God has decreed that some will not be saved (Romans 9:18-22). If this is not true then God is not sovereign.

Just like Acts 16, God sends His gospel to those He’s saving and withholds its power when it is not the right time or not His chosen people. The church at Philippi had to be founded at that time. And God made sure He put obedient Christians there to spread the gospel.

When is the last time you reflected on God’s grace in your salvation? What great and small circumstances did He construct so that you would hear the gospel and believe? Did He organize a worship service or a late-night meeting or a dinner or the placement of a gospel tract? How gracious has God shown Himself when He saved you? And how will He use you to save others? Are you an example of Christian piety? Are you the compassionate one at work/school? Do you love to relate your faith and mention the name of Jesus in any conversation you can? How will God use you to spread the power of His saving gospel?