Philippians 1:1-2, “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus humbled Himself as the greatest bondservant of all. He laid His life down for others. When Paul admits to the Philippians here at the beginning that he and Timothy are servants, they are ultimately looking to Jesus. After all, what good are saints, overseers, and deacons if they will not serve one another or the communities they live in?
Paul’s words in this letter are a testament to the kind of humility and servanthood we all must strive for. He served them with thanksgiving, exhortation, and correction. He became an example of suffering and displayed an honest struggle between living and dying because he knew the true worth of each. Many years prior to this letter Paul entered Philippi with the message of the gospel, and by it, saw the conversion of souls. As bondservants of Jesus Christ, we should be laying our own lives down specifically for the sake of the lost. When the whole Church lives this way; the saints, the overseers, and the deacons, show the world that Jesus was a humble servant who came to save the world from sin.
One great thing about the letter to the Philippians is that it is immediately applicable to every believer. Whether you’re a layman, an elder or deacon, it’s all impossible without the Spirit. Paul’s address to each of these is a testimony to the Spirit’s work among God’s people. This is so important in our own lives and in our local churches. When Paul wrote to Titus he instructed him to appoint elders in every Church, taught him how to recognize elders and with such leadership to instruct the Church unto fruitfulness.
When Paul opens this letter, he doesn’t name these three groups to exclude anyone, but to emphasize that everyone in the body of Christ, in order to grow, function, and serve one another, must depend on the grace that is in Jesus Christ and the peace we find in Him.
Paul specifically pronounces a blessing of grace and peace that comes from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is so important, especially at the beginning of his address. Before he ever attempts to call them to holiness, the fear of God, rejoicing, humility and to a life of imitating Christ, they must begin at the gospel. And what is the gospel? It’s favor that transcends our understanding of charity. We did not deserve it, earn it or ask for it, and yet, Christ came to reconcile us to the Father.
The gospel is so good because it has no beginning and end. It’s an eternal plan to adopt those whom He has chosen from before the foundations of the world. And because the gospel is eternal, grace is eternal. And because the grace we receive in Jesus is eternal, so is the peace it brings. It’s a peace like no other. It’s a peace that heals the deepest part of us because it crushes the very root of our pain; our sins against a holy God. Having our sins forgiven and washed clean, standing as the Church, all the saints, overseers and deacons have hope. Let us look to Christ as our example of servanthood, to the Spirit as the giver of spiritual gifts in the Church, and to the Father as the One from whom all blessing flow.