Paul wrote to the Philippians to encourage them over against an imminent threat from outside.
In his greetings (vv 1-2)
Paul identified himself and Timothy as "servants of Christ Jesus" and the church at Philippi as "saints" (those set aside for God's special purposes). And he wished them both "grace" (Greek 'Charis') and "peace" (Hebrew 'Shalom' of OT) "from God our Father" (Christian's peculiarly familial designation) "and the Lord Jesus Christ" (authority figure).
In his thanksgiving and encouragement (vv 3-8)
Paul "prayed with joy" for their common purpose/calling of "your sharing in the gospel".
"The one who began a good work among/in you" (true both in personal life and within the their interpersonal relationships as a church) "will bring it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus."
Paul really cared about them (other-centered) rather than his own imprisonment (self-centered) "for all of you share in God's grace with me."
In his prayer (vv 9-11)
Paul meant - "that your love may overflow more and more" (for it is love that holds them together) "with knowledge and full insight (their mind and heart be together synced) "to discern what is best" (not just settle for less than the best as we often do) "and to be pure and blameless producing the harvest of righteousness" (to this fruitful life we are called to grow, not possible on our own) "that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God" (the ultimate purpose of our Christian life and calling).
For the glory of God - reveals the character of God before people through our daily life (bringing hope, goodness, light, etc.)
For the praise of God - lifts up our hearts above the present struggles/problems with hope in the great God.
Paul’s affirmation and prayer introduce the main themes of the whole letter.
We are utterly dependent on God’s grace for our salvation and for our spiritual life. Yet, there is a role for us as well: intentionality. We need to embrace our identity in Christ and our purpose in life, and we need to keep asking God to help us to become the people he has called us to be.
For self-reflection and discussion
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