Summary: God wants us to grow; He wants to keep working on us and in us, building us as individuals and as a church.
August 9, 2009 – A work has begun…in YOU. Philippians 1:1-11
Who of us has a project on the go? Ok, how about 2-3 projects…more? Anyone have something they wish they hadn’t started? Some folks like to work on just one thing at a time; plan it, prepare for it; do it till it’s done. Others can have several things in the works, in various stages of completion, with plans for several more in their mind, and still look for more things to do…We’re all a little different, and that’s a good thing, it gives a fantastic variety to our community, right?
Today, we are starting a new series through the book of Philippians. It’s a very ‘upbeat’ letter from Paul to a church that he planted himself. A main theme of the letter is ‘joy’; joy for good friendships, joy in suffering, joy in salvation, joy in fellow-servants of Christ, joy in just knowing Jesus, joy in serving the Lord, joy always, and he says it again…rejoice!
We’re going to take the next few weeks and walk through this book with the goal of encouraging each of us to live for Christ in every situation, in every part of life, whatever the occasion, whatever the cost. Turn in your Bible with me to the book of Philippians. It’s found in the middle of several of Paul’s letters to various churches. It’s page 830 in the bibles provided in the pews.
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers[a] and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Greeting – typical of Paul (thanks and a prayer for the church). Are we thankful and do we pray for our friends? Do we truly thank God for the people in our lives? Every person we have a relationship with, whether family or friend is a gift from God. We have the opportunity to grow with them and also to help them grow in Christ. Paul saw this in the people whom he started that church with.
I am thankful for each of you, those who have been here since the early days when the thought of planting a church out of a bible study group was just that, a thought. And for all who are part of what Westshore Community Church is today, I am filled with joy at the partnering we have together in building the church, here in this community. I get a sense of what Paul must have felt when he says, ‘every time I remember you…’ I am thankful for what each and every person brings to make this a special place.
And I hope and pray that we ALL feel that way, thankful, for what God is doing in our lives as individuals and as a family as we grow in love for God, and love for each other, as we grow in knowledge of His Word, as we reach out in love to this community through various ministries, like VBS, like Christmas Eve, and through future outreaches made possible by the addition of new people with new abilities and gifts…God is doing something new all the time.
And God will build His church, He will finish what He started. Look at verse 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. Paul is confident in his prayers and joyful for his friends because he knows that God is working in the lives of all of them. God started something, He began a project, and he will finish it. Does it bother you, or perhaps someone else, when you begin a project, and then leave it unfinished, perhaps never to be completed? I quite like working on things, whether it’s a job around the house, painting, working with wood, I even try my hand a t small bits of gardening. But when I start something, I like to see it finished.