Php 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Php 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Php 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Php 1:4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
Php 1:5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
Php 1:6 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;
Php 1:7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Serving Other Servants So That They May Serve
I love the way that Paul starts his letters, and the beginning of Philippians is one of the best. First he identifies himself, but then immediately includes a young “minister” and fellow bondservant of Christ. Paul is drawing attention to the next generation of leadership. Timothy is young and needs the support of the older generation. By mentioning Timothy in the letter he gives credence to the work that Timothy has been doing and makes himself equal with Timothy. The reader is asked to assume that the words written are not only from Paul but also from Timothy. This is a kind of “torch passing”. It shows that Paul has seen the Holy Spirit at work in Timothy’s life and that he now wants to bolster and uplift Timothy so that he will continue to do a great work for Christ Jesus. He wants his readers to recognize in Timothy as a man of God.
There should be more of this in church leadership. Too often people are afraid to encourage others and lift them up in Jesus. We become afraid that they may make a mistake and then make us look foolish for supporting them. We hold a sense of pride in our own accomplishments as leaders and we don’t want some young “upstart” to take our glory from us. Sometimes, we just want to do it all ourselves because we crave control or we feel strongly that “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” These are all results of our sinful nature and are not led by the Holy Spirit.
Leadership in Christ does not mean placing oneself above others but instead means placing oneself lower then others…seeking to uplift them and bring them to the fullness of a relationship with Jesus. Church leadership should be about serving, not being served.
Remembering Those Whom God Has Given Us
He loves his flock. Paul, as a shepherd, has such a heart for those whom he nurtured into the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can feel the love and his desire for them to continue to grow in the Spirit, to stay connected with each other and with Jesus.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…”
Each of us, by the mere fact that we are human beings, has influence upon other human beings. Strangers we come in brief contact with on a daily basis are affected simply by the countenance on our faces. Those whom we know more personally are affected by our words and our deeds. Loved ones find value in themselves by how we treat them. Friends can be kept or lost by the words that we speak to them.
“…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; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.”
If you are a Christian there are people in your life who have…
- Showed you Christ
- Shared themselves with you
- Influenced you
- Prayed with you
- Praised with you
…and they need to know how much you love them and appreciate the bond that you have with them in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Draw closer together for the sake of Jesus. Don’t let strife and petty backbiting cause walls of division to be built. Instead, reach out in love and remind those you know that Jesus loves them…that YOU love them…and that if we continue to God’s grace Jesus will complete us. He will make us into a body of believers who can accomplish His work.
Hold on to Jesus and never let go. He will continue to change you into His image. Relish this promise…
“…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…”
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You so much for the amazing people that You have put into my life. Help me to show them Your love in better ways. Make in me a clean heart that is not defiled with pride and pettiness, but instead is filled with You. May this message help someone who reads it.
Thank you for loving us so much! Amen.