“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
As Pastor Mark shared with us, Paul wrote these words while under arrest. Paul’s statement was a kind of plot twist for his readers, who likely assumed that things were going badly for Paul and that his ministry was over. Yet Paul reports that he has a whole new set of ways to make Jesus known.
Reflect on your circumstances since March – have you seen this kind of plot twist? If not, ask God to show you the new ways He is at work.
Pastor Mark reminded us that Paul’s arrest did not change the mission (to make Christ known), only the mode (from extensive travel to visiting at home and through written communication).
How is God working in and through you to make Jesus known, even while we remain mostly at home?
“Whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me” (Philippians 1:7).
Paul has learned to see God’s grace at work in his life no matter where he is or what he is doing. And he believes this is true for the people he’s writing to as well.
How do you normally frame difficulties that come up in your life? Where can you see God’s grace at work today?
“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”
Not even being under arrest and chained to a guard stopped Paul from sharing the good news of Jesus. Others in the church were also encouraged by his example to share their faith.
Let this encourage us today to “proclaim without fear.”
“(From) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi…” (Philippians 1:1).
Paul had a clear sense of his mission and calling in life and that grounded his identity and direction. It is easy to lose that sense of clarity in the busyness of life.
Here’s a simple exercise to regain focus: look back through your calendar, texts, and social media posts for the last month or so. How did you use your time? Who were the primary people you communicated with? Does this reflect the direction of life you are called to? Are there any adjustments needed? Bring all this to prayer.
“Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-23).
Paul’s community reflected a very diverse group of people, of different ethnicities, language and cultural groups and religious backgrounds. The Philippian house churches were started by a group of wealthy Jewish businesswomen and a Roman jailer and his family.
Thank God today for how broad his family is. Ask God to broaden your community to reflect this diversity.