- Lesson 7 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Pure Joy” focuses on Philippians 2:12-18.
In the first part of this passage, the Apostle Paul gave the church of Philippi this same parental instruction found in the lesson introduction, because he knew he would not always be there to watch over their every move. Paul saw it would be easy for the church to stray away from the narrow path he had set them on before he left. So, he gave them specific directions to follow to help them stay true to God’s calling.
The Philippian church still was relatively young and going through some growing pains. So, Paul encouraged the Christians at Philippi to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He was not telling them they should fear their salvation, but a certain respect comes with salvation, and they should be willing to show that respect on a continual basis. As they work through their salvation, they will realize only God can and has saved them. That knowledge alone not only should comfort them, but also should cause them a certain amount of fear knowing that without God’s mercy, they would have no hope for salvation.
A plan and a purpose
In verse 13, Paul stated God does everything in our lives with a reason and a purpose. As believers, we can find comfort in his words just as the people from the church of Philippi did. These words offer hope and can bring peace to our hearts. God is a God with a plan, and he follows that plan in our lives. Ultimately, God’s goal is to fulfill his good purpose in our lives.
If we avail ourselves, if we obey God, if we have the right attitude, then we will be part of that plan and we will live a life that is satisfyingly abundant and joyful. Will our lives be perfect? No! Will we be rewarded financially? Not guaranteed. Will we have the perfect family or perfect job? Uncertain. If we are living the life Paul has instructed us to live, then the things the world uses to measures success no longer matter to us because our focus has changed. We now find ourselves looking at things that have eternal value and all other things just fade away.
Paul encouraged believers to continue moving forward on their journey, in their personal and spiritual growth. If we stop growing as believers, the church will suffer and will not be able to effectively reach the lost for Christ. Paul’s words to the church of Philippi still ring true for our churches today. Those growing and vibrant churches are full of believers who are growing in their personal faith, who are living their faith on a daily basis, and who are willing to share that faith in their own community. Is your church growing and vibrant? If not, what can you do to make a change?
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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