Philippians 1:1–11 (NKJV)
1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:1-2
Paul offers a somewhat traditional greeting to the church at Philippi, including grace and peace to the saints. In this letter, though, he addresses the greeting, with some emphasis, to the deacons and bishops in the city. He also identifies himself as a bondservant, along with Timothy.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:3-11
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul shares his truly deep feelings of appreciation for the Philippians. He thanks God every time he remembers them, praying for their joy and offering thanks for their fellowship from the very beginning. He offers the statement that is often quoted, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ….” This was a product of his relationship and history with this church, knowing their support of him when he faced opposition, and their dedication to spreading the gospel and standing true to its message. They are filled with the grace of Christ, and are joyful partners in his ministry and the kingdom of Jesus Christ. After this glowing description of their sincere Christianity, Paul then proceeds to offer them a prayer that their love will continue to abound, and that their knowledge and discernment will also increase, so that they can judge between right and wrong, true and false, and be arbiters of sound judgment in all things. He wishes them fruit of their righteousness, which will bring glory to God through the work and ministry of Jesus Christ in them.
This opening statement is a far cry from the rebuke of the letters to the Corinthians. While Paul did give them some praise, it was nothing compared to this positive assessment of the lives and ministries of the Philippians. It appears that Paul draws a great deal of satisfaction and joy from the spiritual condition of the Philippian church. What type of message do you want to hear when your pastor or your overseer speaks of you? The Philippian church was lauded for their great fellowship and unity with one another and with Paul, for their perseverance in the face of opposition, and for the hopefulness that they will complete what God has called them to do. Paul speaks highly of their love for one another and for their support of the ministry of Christ as a whole. What great attributes would you have listed in your resume should someone else write it. Live in such a way that all who know you would offer you a Philippian resume and not a Corinthian resume.
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