Read Philippians 1.
Throughout Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi he covers such topics as suffering, perseverance, contentment, our mission, identity and loving Jesus no matter what your circumstances. In the meantime he writes one of the most quotable passages of Scripture ever. The introduction is not an accident. It sets the stage for the entire book and Chapter 1:6 is the thesis statement.
“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.”
Let’s review what we’ve studied so far: 1.) Paul defines his identity in terms of Christ. 2.) As Christians our righteousness is granted to us as a gift because of Jesus. 3.) God has given us grace and peace through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. 4.) Paul prays with a humble grateful attitude because of Jesus. 5.) Paul is partnered with the church of Philippi because at the core they are centered on Jesus.
Are you seeing the pattern emerging here? And this is how he concludes his introduction: I am confident of ONE THING: Jesus.
Paul’s confidence for the Philippians is that the God who initially worked salvation in them is good and faithful and that He will continue to completion the work that He started. There is almost a backhanded compliment in his comment as he implies “You guys still need some work. But I don’t worry because I trust Jesus will keep fixing you.”
<> In moments when you realize you are like the Philippians in that you “still need some work”, how do you generally respond?
<> When I’m facing my own failures I generally respond one of three ways: 1.) denial, 2.) justification or 3.) depression. I either act like I’m not messed up, try to convince myself I’m not that bad off or beat myself up. What is wrong with all of these reactions?
<> What changes in your reaction when you realize that God who started the work in you is going to continue working in you until He thinks you’re complete?
<> What are some changes that He is trying to work in you that you’re resisting?
Scales of Truth:
Phil. 1:6 can be understood on a personal level, but it also speaks on larger scales. Remember that Paul is writing to an entire church. This is a church that he planted, mentored, pastored and prayed for countless hours of the night.
<> What does it mean for God to have started a good work in a whole church and not just in one person?
<> How have you seen God start a good work in your church family?
<> Are you trusting Him to be faithful to complete the work He started?
<> What are some ways your church family needs to mature towards completion? Are you helping and praying toward that end?
At an even bigger level, God is at work in the whole scope of history to redeem a fallen and broken world. Go read Romans 8:22-28 and Revelation 21:1-5.
<> What is the final completion God has planned?
<> When God promises to continue working out the salvation He started in you, the good work He began in His church and ultimately to restore the world at large, what kind of confidence does that give you?
No matter how dark your life might get or feel, He is faithful. He has not given up on you. He has not given up on the world. He will continue to work faithfully until the day of completion.