Philippians was the book we studied last week. Last year’s Youth Camp had a goal for the students to memorize the entire book. Some met that goal. Yesterday during Sunday School, a couple of girls were quoting passages from memory. It is an excellent choice to do so.
After the opening, Paul says:
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (Philippians 1:3 KJV)
Alone, that is a beautiful verse. It tells us Paul knows these people, loves them, thinks of them often. He appreciates them and speaks of them to God. It also tells us that Paul prays. His prayers included gratitude for this church. For him to do so tells us that this church heeds and follows God’s word.
The next few verses confirm what we read in verse three. Later we see perfection has not been achieved, but the people are still growing in faith. We do find specific difficulties, but these are not seen as obstacles. Paul sees beyond his prison and finds positive outcomes. For example:
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. (Philippians 1:14-17 KJV)
Paul does not name the preacher of envy, strife and insincere contention. Neither is Paul brought low by such a preacher. Instead, he sees the positive in the situation:
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:18 KJV)
There are times I hear such preachers. Some spend their pulpit time denigrating other Christian churches. Some interpret God’s word to lessen Christ’s position, denying His divinity. Some preach material gain, whether it be in heaven or earth. Some preach Christ crucified, as did Paul:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24 KJV)
There are many verses between: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (Philippians 2:14 KJV)
And: I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2 KJV)
Yet the message is the same. Christians should work together without disputes, being of the same mind. There is but one Christ after whom we are called. Our name is His. His message is ours. He has given us but two commandments that are the foundation of all others.
My problem is that I could list every verse in all four chapters and fill sheets with their substance. Instead, I’ll close today as Paul’s joy, even imprisoned in Rome, overflows to spill upon us today:
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 KJV)
Please, feel free to do so!