Confidence, Certainty, and Cheer
Dr. J. Vernon McGee
When Paul the apostle arrived in the city of Philippi to begin his ministry in Europe, he received
very bad treatment. The entire city seemed to turn against him. He was arrested, seems to have
been tried by the citizens of the town, was delivered into the hands of a jailer, beaten within an
inch of his life, and put into the very darkest part of the dungeon.
The treatment that Paul received at the hands of the people of Philippi may give the impression
that there could be no strong ties of friendship between Paul and the people there. But the
facts are that the church in Philippi became closer to the apostle Paul than any other. He enjoyed
a more intimate relationship with that body of believers than with any other of the visible
churches he established. There were strong ties of love and fellowship. It is beautiful to behold,
and it is worthy of our emulation. They loved him, and he loved them.
Paul went to Philippi on his second missionary journey. It was the proper place to begin in
Europe. The city of Philippi had been named for King Philip of Macedonia. It was primarily a
Greek city, then the great Augustus Caesar of Rome made it a Roman colony. (In this epistle,
Paul says several things that are not understood unless you recognize that Philippi was a Roman
colony.) Therefore, in the city of Philippi there were Romans, Greeks, Jews, and Asians - it
was a cosmopolitan colony. For that reason, it was a good place to test the gospel in Europe.
Socially, the city of Philippi drew a higher type of person to the church. In other places, there
were many slaves, but there seemed to be more freedom in Philippi. The upper strata of society
was reached with the gospel, and, apparently, many were won from all the different races. When
Paul came to the city, a very remarkable businesswoman named Lydia was his first convert. And
then the Philippian jailer - a brutal and cruel Roman politician - ca ...
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