“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” – Philippians 1:6
Intro – Joy in the midst of adversity (Philippians 1:1-2)
In seasons like this is really easy to lose perspective on what I’m doing and what for. Seasons of adversity could make us stumble and ignore the truth we ought the be firmly grabbed to. This happens because we are humans.
In this small portion we will see how Paul’s peace was not in what he could see but in Who is in control. We are not out of control, and we go through life seeing what will happen. God is always in control. This letter is addressed to everyone in the church of Philippi, so we all can apply it in our lives (“to all the saints in Christ Jesus”)
“Grace and peace to you.” Paul was in prison. The prisons of that time were not like the current ones but rather inhuman to the extreme. Still, Paul had joy.
Paul’s prayer for believers (Philippians 1:3-11)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” – Philippians 4:6
Praying in the midst of our difficulties seems to be difficult sometimes, as we are so self-absorbed with our own circumstances. We pray for deliverance, we pray for endurance that is a legit prayer but we forget to pray for taking everything of the trial we are going through. We want to delivered but we don’t pray for wisdom and to be refined by the trial. And even more often, we forget to pray for others.
It is natural for us to think that we are going through the worst possible and we forget our neighbor. We forget to thank (as in this case Paul is doing to the generosity and love of the Philippians). We ought to pray for my neighbor as much as we pray for ourselves. Hopefully in our case would be: Praying a LOT for ourselves, praying a LOT for others. We all need prayers.
Praying is a sign of love: “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” – 1:8
Ephesians 6:18: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
John 17:20: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;”
For what things do we pray for our brothers? The answer: for the same reasons we pray for ourselves. All according to the will of the Lord.
- Spiritual growth
- Peace in their lives in the Lord
Paul was NOT saying, “poor me, stop everything. God, you have to stop your plan because I am in this place going through what I am going through”. No. Paul knew that God was in control.
“Being confident…”. Are you confident?
You rest in the Lord knowing that the Lord when we pray knowing that He is the one who does the work. We don’t have to tell God what to do or not do. Who are we to pretend to do it. We don’t pray to Him for the results, we pray to Him for who He is. He has the plan, He has the means, He knows everything. We pray to Him as when a child comes to a father and tells him, crying what has just happened or thanks him for what his father has just done. The Lord delights in our prayers. Let us pour out our hearts to Him and ask for His will confident that He will complete the work.
Paul’s Confidence in the Lord’s Work (Philippians 1:6)
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Jesus is the one who sows, the one who causes it to be born, the one who makes it grow, the one who develops, the one who completes. Paul knew that he was not essential since the work is God’s. He will not leave his work incomplete. God is a God of order.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
The word joy and its variations is present at least 100 times in the Bible and 16 of them are present in this letter.
When Jesus Christ comes or when he calls us. We are not completed works or projects. We are being refined and sanctified every single second.
“rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” – Romans 12:12
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” – I Peter 1:6-7
The Work is of the Lord’s (Philippians 1:12-18)
Paul recognizes that God’s plan is perfect, and nothing is going to happen outside of His control. The gospel advances. God uses any situation and anyone for his work.
I repeat: The Lord can use any situation. Here, Paul is not promoting ecumenism or condoning evil motives, cults, or heresies. Paul is saying that despite all of this, the Lord will be glorified, and He has a plan for all of this. Instead of worrying and spending our time pointing out the bad in others, we should conduct ourselves correctly and preach the true gospel and the whole Bible. The gospel is preached and advances not by our strength but by His will.
“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
“(…) Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6
Knowing that the work is the Lord’s:
Let us see this in ourselves in verses 10 and 11:
“that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:10-11
What is being sincere? That our motives are the right ones. That praying, reading out bibles, helping others, tithing, coming to church, visiting the needy… are being performed with the right motives.
The rest(ing) and the rest (what is to come), we leave it to the Lord.
The best evangelism is living the work that the Lord has done in us and preaching the truth. We must devote our time and effort to this.
For me to live is Christ (Philippians 1:19-29)
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.” – Philippians 1:21-22
Nothing of here matters. If Christ died for me, I live for Him. If He lives in me, I belong to Him. And for the moment that I have to be here, I live for Him and I live to serve Him.
“though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” – Philippians 3:4-9
God doesn’t need me, but somehow, He wants me to serve Him.
I know that sometimes we want and say: Take me now!!! But as long as we are here it is to serve him because the Lord wants us to be here. May we show His glory reflected in us and may we live for Him. We must die to ourselves, and interests and He will provide.
“according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” – Philippians 1:20
We cannot surprise God. So let us live surprised by Him.
Everything belongs to Him and for Him, we go to Him. Let us walk a life that shows this and glorifies Him.
To examine us:
- Are we living as Paul says? Living is Christ?
- Is dying gain? Am I unattached to the things of this world?
- Am I seeking to honor and glorify Him privately?
- Am I leading myself by living his work in me and resting in him?
- Am I praying for my brother and for myself as I should?