One of my favorite verses in the Bible (I seem to say that A LOT) is Philippians 1:6. I learned it as a kid, through a song I think. The verse goes like this: 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. In the HCSB version of the Bible it reads “I am sure of this” in place of “I am confident of this.” It means the same thing.
As I was contemplating what to share with the Lake Placid Baptist Church family after serving as pastor there for over 9 1/2 years, the LORD led me to Philippians 1:3-11. In those verses, the apostle Paul tells the church in Philippi how thankful He is for them, how much he prays for them, how much he appreciates the ways they partnered with him for the gospel, and his desire for them to live holy, pure lives that honor GOD. And he assures them that God has great plans for them! The kind of plans that gives you the faith to move mountains, or even soar from mountaintop to mountaintop as God empowers you to live a life of faith even if the circumstances of life are difficult.
Paul was writing to the Philippian church from a jail cell in Rome. He was in prison for proclaiming the good news about Jesus. Even though he is in prison when he writes, his letter is filled with optimism and hope. He is confident that God is not finished working with the Philippians yet – either individually, or as a church.
Take a moment to read this passage, then consider the questions to follow.
Philippians 1:3-11 (HCSB)
3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that ⌊comes⌋ through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Questions to Consider:
- Why is Paul thankful?
- To whom is Paul thankful?
- Describe the types of prayers that Paul prays for the Philippians.
- What does it mean to be partners in the gospel with someone?
- If someone asked you to explain the gospel of Jesus Christ, how would you explain it to them?
- According to verse 6, what is Paul sure of?
- What do we learn about Paul and about the Philippians from verse 7-8? How can we relate to these verses?
- As you read verses 9-11, what types of things will be evident in the lives of Christ-followers whose lives bring praise and glory to God?
- How will you apply the truths of verses 9-11 to your life today?
- Summarize verses 3-11 into a few sentences that you could share with some of your friends who are followers of Jesus Christ. You may or may not want to mention them by name. You may want to send your thoughts as an email or through social media to encourage others in their faith in Jesus Christ.