Paul maintains a warm friendship with the church of Philippi. They are poor and persecuted but joyful and generous beyond their means. Paul’s letter to them, written from prison, reflects that effusive joy. Some references to Philippi in the other letters are discussed.
Some of Paul and Luke’s initial efforts at preaching in Philippi are chronicled. They meet and convert Lydia, a wealthy woman who would later be helpful in their other Macedonian efforts. They are arrested and beaten for their work, yet their are freed by the Lord through an earthquake. They convert their jailer and his family, but are asked to leave by the law in the town.
Paul entered Asia but the Holy Spirit prevented him from evangelizing. He has a vision of a Macedonian man encouraging him to come to Macedonia. Paul makes his way to Phillipi, a major city in Macedonia. Phillipi is a rich port city with access to farmland and gold. It is also the site of the Battle of Philippi, where Octavius Caesar and Marc Antony defeats the Roman Republic. Afterwards it becomes a home for Roman veterans to retire. Philippi also had easy access via the Egnatian Way to many other cities. However it was far outside of Christianity’s reach thus far.
Note: A map of Paul’s missionary journeys is frequently referred to in this episode and may be useful.
In this lecture we continue discussing some of the background history that leads to Philippians. We discuss the Council of Jerusalem, which decides the responsibilities of Gentiles with regard to Jewish law, and Paul’s initial plan for his mission which he intends to take to Asia Minor.
St. Paul has an effusive relationship with the Church of Philippi. Philippi was the beachhead of Christian evangelization in Europe. The stoning of Steven led to the scattering of the Church in Jerusalem and Judea. As a result, the faith spreads out to Gentile populations. Initially Gentile conversions were not a focus, but a side effect of evangelization in Judea. However, Barnabus and Saul are chosen by the Holy Spirit to seek out Gentiles specifically to bring into Church and teach them the Law of the Lord.
God is our creator, and ultimately holds life and death in His hands. It is His right to punish the Canaanites for their centuries of sin by ordering them to be wiped from the face of the earth by the Israelites. However, God is also beyond this earth. Jesus, after death, went down to the realm of the dead to preach to the spirits. Even those punished in this life may have hope in the next. Moses was forbidden from entering the Promised Land due to his sin, but as the Transfiguration shows, he was greatly rewarded by God.
Deuteronomy deserves continued study and meditation even beyond this course. Read it, think about it, pray on it, and teach it to your family. It is an accessible book to the disciple, and not just the scholar. It will reveal plain truths on how we can please God throughout your life.
This brings our study of Deuteronomy to a close. Thank you very much for listening, and stay tuned for the next course! If you profited from this study of this foundational book, please share it with friends and family who would likewise profit!
“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” This law seems like it is not applicable to those who do not have oxen. However, this particular law can be a teaching moment for God’s people. It shows that it is wrong to deprive any working creature of their just reward for labor, whether they are an animal or human. Underpaying a worker out of greed is violating this law.
This episode discusses the form of Law. For example, some laws are meant to set the Jews apart from other peoples, and some laws are written with the hardness of men’s hearts in mind. Then there are pieces that call men higher to God himself, to call men to have a believing heart. The realization of some of this Law in the Gospel is discussed.
These next couple of lectures discuss Deuteronomy as a whole. First, the role of the Law in our relationship with God is discussed. Then the Shema Israel and the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of the Law, is reviewed. God cannot be satisfied by our imperfect adherence to these Laws, but through His love and mercy our hearts will be circumcised to build a higher obedience.
Moses surveys the land of Canaan, and then passes away. The Lord Himself buries Moses, in a place that no-one knows. There is some speculation that Moses was assumed into Heaven as Elijah. No other prophet since has since known God face to face and performed such mighty deeds–except Jesus Christ.
Overall, Deuteronomy is an exhortation not just to know the Law of the Lord, but to follow it. Those who know the Law but do not follow it blaspheme the Lord to others. We must work to follow it with all our hearts, and graciously accept the mercy and grace of God when we fall short.
While this completes the chapter-by-chapter lectures of Deuteronomy, the next few episodes will continue the subject by addressing questions and further thoughts. Then we will move on to the next study.