The book of Philippians was written by Apostle Paul, to the church at Philippi. Philippi was a major Greek city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. The modern name for Philippi, is Filippoi, a hill town of Kavala, modern day Greece, which was also part of the Roman Empire. Reading through the Bible, we get to learn a bit of church history and all that took place then, and the journey to where we are now. It’s humbling to read what the disciples and apostles had to go through in order to spread the gospel, they truly paid the price!
Paul starts off with praise and thanksgiving to the church in Philippi because of their partnership in the gospel, “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.” It’s nice to partner with people who have the same goal and agenda as you, for how can two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3). Ratan Tata is also quoted saying, “if you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.” There is truly power in team work.
Everything has a beginning and an end, but praise be to God, who always brings everything to its completion. He didn’t create the plantation and animals when there was darkness and everything was formless, He had a plan and He’s plan had order, everything had to fall into place in the different days and when He finished creating, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good,” (Genesis 1:31). This is the reason that Paul writes to the Philippians in verse 6, “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.” The same God that begun the ministry, the project, the family, and every other calling that He’s called you to do, will be faithful to bring it to completion, because He is Faithful and True.
Trials come our way, hardships and situations that leave us wondering what to do and it is during these tough times, that the love of many grows cold and we assume that God has left us while in reality, He never left, it is us who did. Paul’s prayer to the church in Philippi and also to us who are reading the Bible today is that, “our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” The fact that we’re living in a dark world, doesn’t mean that you have to follow the ways of the world, but rather, to live a life that is pure and blameless.
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” Paul’s chains, served to spread the gospel, and we are now reaping the fruits, this also goes to show that, everything God allows into our lives is not to crush and finish us, but it is a beautiful story that will bring glory and honor to The Father. Isaiah compiles it very well in 61:3 “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour.” You might be in a situation right now that doesn’t make any sense, there’s confusion and a lot of questions of why! Am here to remind you, that Our God will make something beautiful come out of that messy situation you’re in right now – that’s what He does best, knowing the end from the beginning, and that hopeless situation in your sight, will bring glory to His name, just keep the faith.
“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” I have a question, Has your situation caused someone else to believe in God? has it elevated the faith of another? You see, God doesn’t bring situations in our lives just to change us, no! Everything that we go through is also meant for another person, that they too may believe, and their faith be built. Personally I have seen situations that my friends have gone through, and through their trials, my faith was uplifted. Miracles that have taken place all around us, remind us that their is a God in Heaven and He loves us very much. However, there are people who use the gospel and preach it out of envy as Paul outlines, “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.” To some, it’s like a competition to show they are better than the rest, but the rest out of the goodwill of the gospel and out of love. However, Paul gives a brilliant argument when he says, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” As the body of Christ, we shouldn’t be competing who’s a better preacher than the other, who’s a better miracle worker than the other! After all, aren’t we all for the same cause? Whether you preach, work miracles, “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable,” (Romans 11:29).
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We are alive because of Him, this very life that we live is precious and every minute counts, once a day is gone, you cannot bring it back, therefore, gratitude is a virtue that we need to embrace and not take life for granted. Our mortal bodies were made from mud, imagine that mud! isn’t God is amazing? but then because of sin, the bodies that we posses cannot see the Lord, they are subject to death. The irony about death however, is that, as much as we leave our loved ones behind, we are now able to see the Lord in all His brilliance and glory, 2Corinthians 5:8 “we are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and to be home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body, or away from it.”
“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” I don’t know about you, but as for me, there are those moments am like, I wish I could see my Lord right here, right now, then again I have those questions like, ‘have I really fulfilled and accomplished my God given purpose?’ Fact – we are all accountable and will have to answer to the Lord, what we did with all that He gave us. That said, I know I will see my Lord one day, when I cross to the other side, but before I do, I will work out my salvation with fear and trembling and serve Him in all the capacities His given me, bringing Him Glory and Honor, awaiting the day that He will say, “well done, good and faithful servant, come and share your master’s happiness,” Hallelujah.! Am sure this is something that we all want to hear and we should strive hard to attain, therefore as long as He gives you the breadth of life, Live for HIM, bringing Him Honor and fulfil your God given purpose.
As I finish, dearly beloved, live a life worthy of the gospel! “whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” doesn’t matter who is watching you or not, ‘stand firm in the One Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel, without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.’ And the next time that you go trough suffering, remember Philippians 1:29, “for it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.”
Memory verse Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”