Message of the Day: What God Has Started, He Will Finish!
Text: Philippians 1:3-7
Key Verse: Philippians 1:6
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (NKJV)
Philippi was an important city in the province of Macedonia, a vast plain and gold-producing region, in the north of Greece. It was one of the select cities that the Romans established as colonies ( Colonia Augusta Julia Philipensis), which were centres of Roman life in a non-Roman world. It is located on the main highway leading from the eastern provinces to Rome, the so-called Egnatian Way, which connected Rome with Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul). This very significant road bisected the city’s forum and was the chief cause of its prosperity and political importance.
Paul first visited this region in his second missionary journey, and the church in Philippi was the first church that he established in Europe, together with Silas and Timothy, around 48-49 A.D. (Acts 16). Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth, and the jailer of Philippi were among the converts. He visited it twice during his third missionary journey, and seems to have retained a special affection for it.
After his third missionary journey and subsequent arrest in Jerusalem, Paul was sent to Rome to present his case to Caesar. He was imprisoned in Rome for two years (61-63 A.D.), and possibly wrote his letter to the Philippian church towards the end of that time. About 10 years after he had founded the church in Philippi and about three or four years after he had last visited there. Apparently he had begun to wonder if they had forgotten him (4:10).
Then Epaphroditus arrived from faraway Philippi. He was sent by the church in Philippi as its representative to give Paul whatever help he needed. Paul was deeply touched. Epaphroditus brought news of the church in Philippi, together with a gift of money and goods from the Philippian believers. While with Paul, Epaphroditus became seriously ill. News of his illness travelled back to the Philippians, and news of their concern travelled back to Paul. When he recovered (2:25–30; 4:18), Paul sent him to Philippi with this beautiful letter.
Paul uses the letter to thank the Philippians for their gift and their partnership in his ministry “from the first day until now.” That is; from the day Lydia, the purple seller, and the jail guard were converted to the Christian faith (Acts 16); until the period of his imprisonment.
Paul here is fully convinced that God would carry on to completion the work that he begun in the Philippian church. It is important to note that Paul affirms that the work was begun by God. It was not by Paul’s and his team’s (Silas and Timothy) agency or intent. Since it was begun by God, Paul was confident that it would be carried on and will be complete at the coming of Christ. The fact that God started the work is a guarantee or a pledge that he will also finish it. He would not leave it unfinished.
We learn two things here. First, appreciate the people who help us in our life endeavors: those who partner and stay with us in every season of our life. Great partnership brings out the best in everyone. And the best way to bring out and develop the best in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.
Second, any work that God begins, he will surely finish. Not everything that we do today can lay the foundation of a certain conviction that we will do the same tomorrow. If our perseverance depended only on ourselves and our strength, there could be no sure evidence that we will reach the end. So acknowledge God’s role, put him first in every work that we do. There shall be nothing lacking on God’s part to support us until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fee, Gordon D. & Stuart, Douglas. How To Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2004.
Halley, Henry H. Halley’s Bible Handbook. ePub Format. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
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