Phil 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. NIV
This often quoted passage, is one of the most encouraging pieces of scripture I can think of. The Apostle Paul begins a personal letter to the church at Philippi, which had been established shortly after Paul visited the city on his second missionary journey. It is evident by looking at verses 12-14, that he was a prisoner at the time he wrote the letter.
What you see in verse 5 is that the Philippians had partnered with Paul in ministry. How had they done that? One way was by sending Ephaphroditus to minister personally to him. Another way was by sending Paul financial gifts, to make his imprisonment a little more comfortable (Ph 4:14-19). They had done this on at least two other occasions.
This is a result of the good work that Jesus had begun in the Philippians. As you read through all of chapter one, you can see that the practical application of God’s spiritual work in the believers at Philippi, had stimulated great affection from Paul. Notice, in verses 3 and 4, how Paul prays for this group of committed believers in Christ.
When God begins a good work in your heart, it should also be demonstrated through practical application. In verse 9, Paul mentions that he prays that their love would abound more and more. It stands to reason then, that their love must have already been abounding! When Christ comes into our hearts, one of the first changes that we will see is that our love for Jesus will be demonstrated in love for other believers (Jn 13:35).
This kind of love (agapee- love without conditions or expectation of anything in return) is a love that only Christ can give. It is visible proof of one’s relationship with God. This love must be the motivation for any good works. Without it, Paul says our actions gain nothing (1Cor 13:1-3).
Here is the best news of all. Look back at verse 6. Who was it that began this good work in these people? It is God. When did it begin? It began on the day that they received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the day of their salvation. How long will it continue? It will continue until the “day of of Christ Jesus.” That means until He returns for His church or until your personal day of meeting Him face to face arrives.
Remember, it is He who begins the work in you and He is the one who “carries it on to completion.” That means that no matter what is going on in your life, He is working. When you feel discouraged, beaten up by the world, He is working. When you are excited about life, He is working. When you can’t understand what is going on around you, He is working. He is always working to complete the work of love that He began in you and He will finish the job! Don’t ever let anyone, including the enemy of your soul, who is the father of lies, convince you otherwise. Be confident (convinced by argument), just as the Apostle Paul was, that God will do His great work in you. Then, give Him thanks and praise for His glorious work!
God Bless You
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