Monday, August 24, 2009

8/24- Philippians 1:1-6 Praying and Continuing

(Overview of ruins at Philippi taken last November in a trip with my church)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

8/24- Philippians 1:1-6
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God's holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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.
Calvin abridged: Paul did not use important titles here because the Philippians knew him as an Apostle of Christ. “bishops” or “overseers” means pastors. He assigns several bishops to one church, so the title is more appropriately “pastor.” Paul gives thanks (vs. 3) to show his love to the Philippians and to exhort them to persevere in times to come.
Whenever he mentions joyful things, he breaks into thanksgiving to God (and we should as well). 4- Paul was saying whenever he prayed he remembered them. Joy refers to the past- their auspicious beginnings, and prayer refers to the future- their desired perfection. We are to rejoice in the blessings we receive, and are inspired to ask those things for which we are in need. 5- The ground of his joy is that they partake in the gospel (which is received by faith). “From the first day” is a reference to how quickly the Philippians responded, and how teachable they were. How rare and wonderful it is to follow God quickly and then to persevere in our faith. Many are slow and rebellious, and still more are fickle and inconsistent. 6- Paul was confident of their continued faith and growth. Some would ask why people dare to assure themselves of tomorrow when there are many obstacles and impediments to our faith. Paul did not derive this confidence from people, but from God. God does not forsake the work his hands have begun (Ps. 138:8; Isa. 64:8). He will complete what he has begun in us. When we are adopted and elected, this calling is effectual for us. Some ask if any one can be certain of the salvation of others as Paul is speaking not of himself but of the Philippians. The Spirit is my witness to my calling. We have no testimony to others except outward signs of God’s grace. The assurance of faith remains inwardly shut up, and does not extend itself to others. However, we ought to entertain good hope for others out of an equitable and kind judgment of charity. “Until the day of Christ Jesus” refers to the termination of our human conflict when we die. Our eyes should always focus on our hope in the blessed resurrection.

Thoughts: My blog will be going through Calvin’s commentary on the Philippians because it is a practical book and one of my favorites of Calvin. I will be editing Calvin’s words so they are more modern than the translation done in the 1800s, and abridging them putting the meat of what Calvin says in the text. Here are some thoughts for today’s verses: Paul prayed for his people- not just when they were sick, but for their spiritual well-being. So many in church in our culture and day pray for the physically sick, and overlook our spiritual sickness. While we cannot be fully assured of another’s salvation, we can be gracious and hopeful. God claimed for himself that he is slow to wrath and quick to give mercy- and we should be slow to condemn and quick to be kind, gracious, and merciful when speaking of another’s salvation. Paul knew that God was working in them, and was assuring them and him that God would continue that work- not forsake it.

Prayer: Lord, we remember those whose lives have intersected ours in our past who are continuing to follow you. Be gracious to them that they may continue in their faith and hope til the end.

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