As we embark on this journey together in understanding the unique role Emmanuel Baptist Church has in “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision”, as your pastor, I thought it would be beneficial for us all to spend 40 Days in Philippians.
There are three primary words that Paul repeats throughout this letter:
- The Gospel
- Our Attitude/Mind
Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison back to the church in Philippi. A church that had a unique beginning which truly demonstrated the power of the gospel.
Before we actually dive into Philippians, let’s go back to the beginning and see how this church was started. God in His divine sovereignty saved three very unlikely people to birth this congregation: a wealthy fashionista, a demon-possessed slave girl, and a blue-collar prison worker.
Read Acts 16:11-15
Lydia was a dealer in purple goods. In other words, she was a wealthy businesswoman who was involved in the fashion industry of her day. She was a prominent fashionista who had a house big enough for everyone to meet together for church.
But notice what God does to her in verse 14. God opens her heart to receive the gospel.
If you are a Christian, this has happened to you. When the gospel was shared with you, God reached down from heaven and replaced your heart of stone with a heart of flesh and caused you to be born again. (see Ezekiel 36:25-27, Ephesians 2:4-9, and John 3:1-8)
This is the miracle of the new birth or regeneration. As those who were once dead in our sins and enslaved to the world, the flesh, and the devil, God has overcome our rebellion and opened our hearts to see the glory and beauty of Jesus.
Read Acts 16:16-24
The Bible doesn’t tell us if this poor young demon-possessd girl got saved, but many scholars believe she was taken in by Lydia and became a part of the church. In verse 16 literally it means that this girl had a “python spirit”—a snake demon. Think about the stark contrast between a wealthy fashionista and the snake girl! Isn’t it just like our great God to bring two totally different people together to birth a church!
And yet there is still another family that needs to be saved to birth this church in Philippi—a blue-collar prison worker.
Read Acts 16:25-40
Verse 31 is crucial to this passage. Authentic salvation comes in believing in the Lord Jesus alone as Master and King!
The church in Philippi was birthed in a beautiful picture of unity along with diversity. How in the world could a fashionista, a snake girl, and a prison worker come together and start a church???
Only in the power of the GOSPEL!! The gospel unites all races, colors, socio-economic barriers, and cultural differences to create a wonderful family knit together as one with a passionate love for Jesus.
As we start this journey of 40 Days in Philippians, it is imperative we begin with an awe of our great God and His power in the gospel to unite believers together as one in His Son.
Spend some time right now praising God for your salvation. Thank Him that He took you out of the depths of your sin and caused you to be born again by opening up your heart to see Jesus as Lord! Thank God for the diversity we have at Emmanuel and how we have been united together as a family!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I absolutely love how You have knit us together as a church with so much diversity! Thank you for the power of Your gospel! Thank you that you have saved me from my sin by opening up my heart to Jesus! I’m excited to start this journey in Philippians. I want to be teachable and open to whatever You have planned to teach me! My desire is to be obedient to your word! May you birth revival in my heart as I saturate myself in Your Word over the next 40 days!