Business as Usual
Paul is positive to the end. Why shouldn't he be? He may have been imprisoned far away from the church which had provided his greatest support, but he was not downcast. These few sentences might have been the last he ever sent to them, but there is no suggestion of gloom, or self-pity. Instead he sends a great message of 'business as usual'! Although Paul planted the church in Philippi, he did not own it. All the believers in Philippi belonged to God, not to the apostle. They were God's precious 'saints' (the New Testament word for all believers - people who have been made holy by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:14)). Even though they were persecuted (Philippians 1:29), they belonged to Him, and He would continue the work of sanctifying them, long after Paul has gone to glory, until they receive their reward (Acts 20:32).
Paul was not isolated. He has other believers around him, and they are also praying for the church in Philippi. Furthermore, some of the new believers in Rome are part of Caesar's household. As a result of gospel preaching, the news about Jesus has got right into the imperial palace (Philippians 1:12-14). Some who served the top man in the empire also served Jesus Christ. The future of Christianity was not just in the hands of a captive apostle, who fully expected to die for his faith. God was in charge: He had already placed His gospel in the hands of key influencers. Its truth was convincing and its power was transforming. The Gospel was and is unstoppable. It was business as usual.
No wonder that Paul reminds them that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ continued to be with them. That grace is His gift to God’s children – undeserved salvation through His sacrificial love. His grace that enabled them to give and be sustained in their poverty, and grace to serve sacrificially. Through His grace it was business as usual.
This is a message for the church today. Wherever you are, and however isolated you feel, God is still at work. If you have received Him (www.crosscheck.org.uk for a fuller explanation), you are one of His saints; and He is committed to refining you so that you will be like Jesus. You are part of a worldwide network of believers. The gospel you have believed is still delivering new-born believers into Christ's Kingdom. And the grace of Christ is still available for you and for them, today. So every day really is 'business as usual' for followers of Jesus! Go with that confidence, to work and holiday, to church and family and the Lord will be with you!
© Dr Paul Adams