Philippians 1:1-11 | Joyfully Sharing in the Gospel
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
- Paul addresses and describes the Philippians as holy. Holy means to be ‘set apart’ – God has set his church apart from the world, as a people of their own with their own leaders (overseers and deacons).
- Paul’s letter to Titus further expands on the importance of godly leaders within the people of God.
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
- Paul is thankful and praying for the Philippians, but for what purpose? – because of their partnership in the gospel!
- This is because he too shares in the gospel, so this is a common grace between them
- partnership = fellowship
- Paul is thankful that the Philippians are partners in the gospel, and so now they have a common fellowship.They are on the same team, part of the same family, and belong to the same tribe.
- Like meeting someone who has a common interest or hobby to you, the nature of the relationship quickly deepens and you begin to talk for ages, all because you have a common fellowship with someone!
- We too should have joy, and pray with joy that our friends, family and acquaintances are partners in the gospel with us.
6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
- Where does Paul place the emphasis and responsibility of salvation? – on God. It is God who opens our hearts to the gospel and keep us secure in our faith.
- God both began the work and will continue it – we did not start it and we are not left to finish it
- In Acts 16 it describes the conversion of a woman named Lydia from Philippi, and notes that ‘the Lord opened her heart’ to the gospel. It is clearly God who began the good work in Lydia’s life and will be sure to bring it to completion.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
- ‘In chains or defending or confirming the gospel’ – Paul’s worldview is so Christ centred that he sees himself only doing two things: suffering for the gospel or ministering for the gospel (or both!)
- Again we see the reason for Paul’s love and joy for the Philippians is because they ‘share in God’s grace with him
- Our love for others in the church is directly affected by our thankfulness for our salvation!
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
- What is Paul’s response to the fellowship he shares with the Philippians? – that we would be so careful to live out this salvation, by growing in knowledge and insight so that we can discern what is best and live fruitful lives
- This is like when you buy an expensive gift for someone, you would have two desires for them: for them to be careful with it (knowledge/insight/discernment) and for them to use it well (fruitfulness). We must be conscientious and productive with the gospel!
- ‘to the glory and praise of God’ – Ultimately the purpose of the gospel and even our salvation is for the glory and praise of God.
That we would see the gift of salvation as so precious, be filled with an affection for other fellow recipients and be careful to live it out well.