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A Lasting Work

Philippians 1: 1 This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Just imagine the encouragement Paul felt when he received this gift from the church at Phillipi when he was in a Roman prison. We don't have to imagine because Paul writes his feelings toward this encouraging group of believers who showed their love for him when he had a need. 3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. Paul's thoughts and memories about these people keep him going even when in a tough situation, like prison. Paul goes on to tell why he feels like he does about this church in verses 7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.

His attachment to these people was set into motion when they served side by side in sharing the Good News. They were one in heart and one in spirit and the work that they did was very successful and good. God truly blessed the work and their like-minded attitude caused a great love by Paul for these people. So anything they sent to him was a blessing because of their connection. The Gospel. What better connection is there? Paul wanted them to experience even more of the tender compassion of Christ Jesus, and he prayed for that church almost constantly, and he wanted them to understand what really mattered. In fact, in verses 10 and 11, he says 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[b]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Paul knew if they kept their priorities straight their work would be A Lasting Work and not fall to the side like so many others. Paul was staring his death squarely in the face and his words to this first church in Europe were very poignant words of encouragement and affirmation to hold onto the gospel message as their focus, which is a fruit of their salvation. Paul knew that their continued adherence to the power of God to salvation would keep the message living and growing and his work would continue on.

I have known such a great group of people myself who served with me in presenting the gospel message to thousands and who saw the lives God changed. My love for those fellow believers is deep and lasting and I echo what Paul was trying to say to this very important group of believers. I too, want to see that work continue on and grow because, with God's help, it will. Praise God for A Lasting Work, and praise God for the people who believed and responded. May that specific work continue to keep the Gospel message their main priority.


The Pilgrimage Continues.


David Warren

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