Archive for January 27th, 2011

Philippians 1

Philippians 1 is the letter from Paul and Timothy to the church at Philippi.  They are writing to the believers there and begin by mentioning two of the groups in leadership in the early church – “overseers and deacons”.  Other places call them elders and deacons – but these are the two groups that provided direction and service for the early body.   The overseers fulfilled a spiritual leadership role – guiding the foundation of the church and providing spiritual oversight and control.  The deacons served the physical needs of the body and the ministry – meeting tangible needs and serving people to make sure the work of the ministry was fulfilled.  Two important roles that seem necessary in the functional church.

Paul goes on to remind the church of their “partnership in the gospel”.  We are not alone in sharing the gospel.  We are part of God’s family and we are His servant.  Sometimes we feel like we are out on a limb doing it on our own.  That is not how it really is.  In fact, Paul reminds us that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”.  God makes things happen – not us.  We are the vessel – He is the one who makes it happen.  Do you cling to that promise – that God will bring to fruition that which He has began to do in us and through us.  What a powerful promise to claim.

Paul then talks about his prayers for this body – a great example of what we might pray for those in our circle.  He asks that:

–       “love may abound

–       Knowledge

–       Discernment

–       Approve what is excellent

–       Be pure and blameless

–       Filled with the fruit of righteousness

–       Giving glory and praise to God

What a powerful set of things to pray for – Paul and Timothy are praying this way for the church.  We need to be doing the same.  We need to lift each other up and place the well-being of the body at the throne of grace.

Then Paul writes one of the most powerful realities in all of scripture: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”.  Wow – those are powerful words.  Have you considered that for your life?  Do you feel that way – that living is good but spending eternity with Jesus is far better?  Hard to get the old arms around isn’t it?  But it is true – we are far better with Jesus than living our life here on earth.  But Paul gives our role in life a strong requirement – “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…..standing firm in the Spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel and not frightened by your opponents”.  We need to live a life worthy of the Lord – one that stands firm and is not swayed by any who oppose the message of Jesus.  Are you worthy?  Do you stand firm?  That is God’s call for our life.  To be His messenger faithful to walk in His ways without regard to what others may think or how they may respond or react.  Be worthy of Christ!

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