Last Sunday we touched on the two opening verses of Philippians, so if you missed it I’d encourage you to listen in the link on the sermon below! In verse 3 Paul moves into an overview of his thankfulness to the believers in Philippi and into a prayer for them which shows again the depth of his love for those gathered in the city.
We see clearly from this passage that Paul has no regrets or hurt from his previous visits to the city, nor does he hold any ill-will to the people there. Paul probably had more justification than most would have to think of Philippi as a horrible place. The city leaders were the same ones who had seen him set a young woman free from bondage and in return had stripped him naked, beat him with sticks, put him in stocks and kicked him out of the city. As he writes to the believers his heart is full of joy as he thinks about them.
It is important to note though that Paul’s feelings of joy as he thinks about the believers is not just the feelings of an old man who is remembering the good times of the past. In verse 5 – he makes it clear that the joy he feels is also because of their faithfulness in sharing the gospel. He describes the church as having been his partners – not just in the past, but also to this very moment. The consistency of their faith, and their heart for mission is of great joy to him, as it would be to God. Paul had been an incredible missionary and we know that a number of the different churches or groups that he had established had not been faithful in following Christ – but here he reflects on the value of the church in Philippi for their consistent witness. It is easy to skim over that this morning, but I think it is worthwhile pausing for a moment and considering the importance of being consistent in our faith and in heart to tell others about Christ.
Paul continues to encourage the believers gathered in the city – reminding them to be joyful because God is over all things!
Listen along as we continue to work through the passage!