Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi…
1. Servants of Jesus Christ is the most royal title which human beings can assume.
2. Saints take precedence of bishops and deacons forasmuch as character is immortal, while office is but temporary.
3. All blessing is with the absolute; even the chief of the apostles can only bless ministerially, not primarily.
I. THE POWER OF MEMORY. Remembrance is a very heaven or hell. Memory follows man like his own shadow. A man of gladsome recollections can never be absolutely alone. Whenever the apostle took an excursion across the mountains and through the valleys of his gone lifetime he caught sight of the loving Philippians, and their very names gladdened him — as a long-absent traveller might be gladdened by the pinnacles of the city of his home.
II. MAN SERVES GOD BY AIDING GOD'S SERVANTS. Paul thanked God for the blessing of kind, helpful men.
III. THE MORE ENLARGED AND SUSCEPTIBLE THE HEART, THE MORE EASILY CAN SERVICE BE RENDERED TO IT. It is easier to win the benediction of a great and noble heart than of a withered and sapless bone. Look at Elisha and the woman of Shunem; see Christ blessing the woman for her one box of nard; and Paul prostrating himself before God at the little kindnesses of the Philippians.
IV. HOW GOOD A THING IT IS TO SERVE THE GREAT, AND INFERENTIALLY, HOW SUBLIME A THING TO LIVE AND DIE IN THE SERVICE OF THE GREATEST. If Paul remembered these benefactions, he has also left this testimony: "God is not unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labour of love." In both cases it is a question of memory. Nor will God forget the man who never does a good deed.
V. EACH OF US SHOULD LEAVE A MEMORY THAT SHALL BE CHERISHED AND BLESSED. A noble life is not necessarily made up of great efforts, but of little acts of consideration, well-timed smiles of encouragement, gentle words and generous interpretations. Not one of us, how hidden and feeble soever, need live a sterile life.
VI. EVERY MAN MUST DETERMINE FOR HIMSELF THE MEMORY HE LEAVES BEHIND HIM; whether he will so live that "every remembrance" of him shall induce thankfulness to God, or his name be a burden which memory would willingly cast off.
VII. PAUL STANDS FORTH AS AN ILLUSTRIOUS MAN WHILE THE PHILIPPIANS ARE NOT KNOWN TO US BY MORE THAN THEIR GENERAL NAME. The hidden workers are not on that account to deem themselves useless. Where would the oak be but for invisible agents?
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: