Wednesday, October 10, 2007



Philippians is one of the many epistles that follow the five Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. Epistles are not the apostles wives, but letters written to the followers of Jesus in various cities to encourage and exhort them in their walk. The book of Philippians is one of the few actual letters written to the believers. It isn't a treatise or theological study, but a personal letter from Paul and Timothy. It's also interesting to note that it is not just Paul alone who wrote it, but with Timothy. Note how many books in the epistles mention more than one author. We seem to miss that point too often. Jesus started this dynamic of doing things together-two by two-and how powerful it can be, even promising to be in the midst of two or three who come together in His name to do anything.

1Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note the term "saints". This is literally "holy ones" and it refers to the believers, but especially denoting that they are those who are separated unto God for His mission. There was never an understanding in the New Testament that there was a group of believers that were not on a mission for God, just spectators, but all were to be participators!

3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

This is a wonderful letter displaying our important it is to be focused on the "others" in your life-those other believers you are encouraging and bringing along in the faith-those you are walking with to this end. These believers were always in Paul's prayers and these were prayers of joy because of their participation in the gospel.

6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Here is one of the 3 promises mentioned yesterday. The prayers for these other believers were prayers of confidence that God was at work in them and that He would keep working in their hearts until Jesus returns. Note they were in his heart. Paul was imprisoned while writing this letter with Timothy's help. Although there are differing views as to where he was-Caesarea by the Sea or Rome, I believe this letter was written when Paul was in prison (actually house-arrest in Rome.) What makes this interesting is that he is overflowing with this letter of joy and love while he, himself, is locked up!

9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, Note the prayer is that their love will abound more and more and that it will abound in the full, experiential knowledge of Jesus and one another and, that their love might abound in discernment-the ability to decipher right and wrong, wise and foolish.

10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Note the purpose of the prayer is "so that you may approve the things that are excellent". This literally means that they might TEST OUT you would a metal for its genuineness. Don't waste time with the things that don't matter, but test out everything in order to be walk more faithfully with Jesus and with one another until Jesus comes back.

QUESTION: Who are the others in your life and are you keeping them in your prayers? It is simply to easy to live your life ALL ABOUT YOU with a self-centeredness that ultimately becomes destructive to you. As a follower of Jesus, you are meant to be different from the world's ways. You are separated unto the Lord for His mission and His mission is for you to love Him and His people. WHEN YOU ARE ALL WRAPPED UP IN YOURSELF, YOU MAKE A VERY SMALL PACKAGE!