A Journey Through Philippians
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 1:6
Today, I’m kicking off something a little different - over the coming months, instead of doing somewhat “random” encouraging messages, I’m going to do a deeper dive through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It’s an encouraging letter, that contains some of the most important passages in all of scripture, with regard to Jesus and our day-by-day journey of life. I invite you along for this journey, which may take us until at least Advent, but maybe through the end of the year or beyond, depending on how things go.
Now, let’s dive right in!
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
First, notice who this letter is from, Paul and Timothy. It’s a tag team.
Next, notice who this letter is to, all God’s holy people… at Philippi. It’s written to an entire community.
And then, they offer a grace and peace… from God our Father and Jesus Christ. There’s no single individual - whether it’s the authors, the recipients, or the God behind and in it all, it’s community.
We all need community, more than just the voices in our heads, to bounce things off of, to correct us, support us, encourage us, and help us when we get sideways. And reading scripture in community is tremendously important. It helps us from walking away confused and it helps us from walking away with a skewed understanding of what God may or may not be saying.
To illustrate this, Paul talks about the thankfulness and joy that comes from remembering this community of believers in Philippi. He’s nowhere near them when he writes this. He’s in chains, bound for Rome, and his eventual death, but remembering how they supported him in the past - the meals they shared together, the worship they enjoyed, the times of prayer and service - and knowing they’re still doing it… this brings him great joy, even in a difficult season.
And to top it off, he proclaims a powerful word that we must hear now:
“he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
GOD is doing a work. GOD was doing a work. GOD continues to do a work. That work is happening in us individually, but most importantly, in us corporately, communally. There is indeed much to lament locally and beyond. We’ve experienced loss, we have financial deficits and relational deficits - some people have left, some people still aren’t comfortable gathering together or serving - our gathered numbers aren’t what they used to be pre-covid… and yet…
And yet, I will stand beside Paul’s words, God’s words to the church in Philippi - “he who began a GOOD work in you will carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus.”
GOD is doing a work. And GOD will complete that work. I honestly have no firm handle on all of what that work entails. I believe part of it involves providing a safe space for children to grow. I believe part of it involves feeding the hungry. I believe part of it involves bringing freedom to prisoners and setting the oppressed free and most certainly proclaiming the love of God to everyone!
And I believe part of it involves YOU. YOU who are reading this now - whether you’re a member of CUPC or not. If you’re reading this, I believe YOU are part of the work that God is doing among us here and now. And you are invited to gather, to give and to go out into your world with an eye to sharing Jesus love.
We’re Welcoming YOU to Grow in Jesus,