“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel…”
There was a lot Paul wanted to say to the church in Phillipi, but he began his letter with an assurance that he was grateful for them, “I thank my God every time I remember you” he said. There is a lot I am keen to say in the coming months. I’m looking forward to preaching, meetings and, in due course, visits too. However, I want to start by saying thank you.
For seven months I’ve been able to do little for the fellowship other than pray, but those prayers have been filled with thanksgiving. I’m thankful that you have treated myself, Deborah and Katie with such love. You have cared for our needs practically, emotionally, financially and spiritually at no small cost to yourselves. There is simply nothing more we could possibly have asked for from the church. Thank you.
I’m thankful for our partnership in the gospel for the last three years, and whilst I’ve been clinging to the assurance of verse 6, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (how pastors need to be reminded that God is not dependant on them and their plans) I’m deeply thankful that our partnership will go on. It won’t be the same, there will be new challenges for us to face, but just as Paul was able to say “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (v12), I believe – and am praying – that the same will be true here. In Christ, nothing is wasted and we have nothing to fear.
Thanks for your prayers, your love and your support.
Grace and peace, Yours in Christ Jesus