He who began a good work…

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…in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6 NASB
The Message translates the verse in this way “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this good work in you will bring it to a flourishing finish.” Like Kori, this is one of my life verses. There are too many good ones to choose just one verse ­čÖé I find such relief in this verse because it reminds me that it does not depend on me but Jesus. I may feel like a mess, a project that will never get finished, but God will complete what he started in me. That is a promise! ┬áBut today is not yet the day of Christ Jesus and I am a long way from perfection.
Paul seems really fond of the church in Philippi (the city of Philippi is in the region of Macedonia so when you read a verse about the Macedonians – such as Romans 15:26 -realize this includes Philippi). He shares how he prays for them in verses 9-11. If I am not ┬ásure how to specifically pray for someone, I think this is a great place to start.
In verse 12, Paul begins to share about his circumstances – imprisonment for the cause of Christ. Yet he is rejoicing. Why? Instead of it silencing the gospel, Paul has a new audience. Furthermore, others are preaching the gospel either because they have been emboldened by his witness or because they are trying to make him envious by their number of converts. ┬áPaul realized it was never about him so he can rejoice that Jesus is being proclaimed.
Read through Chapter 1:1-18 
Throughout the book take note of several key words – Christ, suffer, gospel, rejoice, mind/think. You may want to keep a list of the verses for each word. If you have extra time you can even do a word study on the Greek meanings of the words.
If your time permits, another additional assignment you can do is read Chapter 1 in different translation. Although I do not use it for study, I like the different perspective from the Message.
Questions to consider and discuss – you don’t have to comment on all unless you want to. You can share anything else you learned.

Are your frustrated by what you think your life should look like or are you content to let God complete his work however it pleases Him? (1:6)

Paul used prison as his pulpit. Do you allow your most difficult circumstances to be a platform for the gospel to reach others? (1:12)

When you hear the gospel is being proclaimed, how would you define gospel?

5 thoughts on “He who began a good work…

  1. These initial verses of the book of Philippians finds Paul writing from prison. This scripture passage projects joy, no matter that he is being held captive. He speaks of joy and gratitude in remembering the Philippians for their ongoing fervor in spreading the gospel as Paul taught. He sincerely encourages and prays for them to continue growing in knowledge and understanding, with the ultimate objective of developing Christlike character. His joy is also evident because his present audience–the guards–will also learn that Christ is the cause for his imprisonment. Finally, believers, because of Paul’s situation, became courageous to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that too brings joy to Paul.

    So we see that even under dire circumstances we can be joyful. That inner contentment has its basis on our relationship with Christ.

    At this stage in life, after having gone through childrearing, job changes, trials and triumphs in my family and personal life, you might say I am not too anxious or
    “frustrated by what I think my life should look like.” I do have random times when I make self-evaluations of whether I need to change direction, what I’d like to see in the next year, or where I’m at in my Christian walk and take small steps to get to the next goal or goals. For the most part, though, I am confident to let God keep working on me to grow as He wills.

    I define the gospel as Jesus being the sacrifice for us, to reconcile us to God from whom we were separated because of our sin. As believers in Christ, we are made whole, clean, acceptable to God, and will live with Him eternally.

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  2. Adela, I think you are at a place I hope to be. Contentment of where God has me.You probably have heard the story by Corrie Ten Boon about her parallel between her needlepoint and life. God showed her that she could only see the underside with the tangles and knots but when He turned over the work it was becoming a beautiful picture. I just can’t see God’s picture yet.

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  3. Today, at this moment, I am content in knowing that He who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. Each step of the way leading up to my surgery, which lasted 5 hours instead of 3, the Lord’s schedule was perfect. He continually builds trust in me in Him.

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  4. I would guess that my life is the opposite of your lives because i feel like I haven’t even begun. I’ve been married less than three years, I have no children, and I have yet to take on a real job. I want to be faithful to what God has planned for me, but what do I do while I have no certain guidance?

    The last verse, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,” stood out to me. In context, he is referring to the motives of the other prisoners, but i found it useful for myself as well. So many times I struggle to stay in the Word because I have no one to push me to stay consistent. Often I will put off reading because I’m not into it, but I think that the point of verse eighteen can be applied to studying as well. Even if someone’s motives aren’t entirely pure when they set out to study the Bible, Christ is being proclaimed.

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    • I disagree that you have yet to take on a “real job.” You are a wife which a a high calling and an adjunct professor of conversational English which is equipping the students for their futures.

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