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Relational Encouragement

Philippians 2:19

One of the great blessings of knowing Jesus Christ is that we are never alone (2 Timothy 4:16-18).  Even though we may be posted away from home without like-minded company or Christian fellowship, the Lord is with us (Joshua 1:9).  But it was never His plan for us to be permanently isolated.  When we come to Jesus, we come into His family: we have brothers and sisters, role models and those who take their example from us.  The church is not a building but a vast international company of people who honour Jesus and love each other.  And almost wherever you go, you will find family in God (He

Highly Commended

Philippians 2:20-21

The secular world seems to have fallen in love with commendations.  After centuries of demanding obedience as a duty for the privilege of being employed, many hospitals, offices, factories and retail outlets have walls decorated with plaques and certificates to the finest workers.  'Highly commended', 'best salesperson', 'most productive assembler', 'excellent customer relations' are some of the plaudits.  Of course, it is right to recognise and advertise such people.  Hard work, loyalty, enterprise and long service all come with a price tag - self-sacrifice.

Successful Apprenticeship

Philippians 2:22

Although the fashion for apprenticeships comes and goes, the principle of 'learning on the job' while being overseen by an expert, is very good.  In Britain we know that plumbers, electricians, builders and bakers who have served an apprenticeship will usually have a detailed understanding of their trade, knowing how do deal with unusual problems.  After more formal academic training, the same learning style exists in medicine, law, surveying, architecture, aviation and seamanship.  It should also be the normal pattern of Christian discipleship (Philippians 4:9).  Indeed, the word ‘disciple

Relational Ministry

Philippians 2:23-24

Some churches mimic corporate business in the scale and complexity of their programmes.  And it may be necessary.  Larger or more diverse ministry settings demand a higher degree of organisation in order to get the right people in the right place at the right time.  But there is a dangerous illusion which lurks in the shadow of that style.  Bigger and busier does not always mean more blessing.  God's blessing is a mark of His relationship with us and comes through people, brothers and sisters who He sends in Christ's Name (Isaiah 65:23), rather than projects and buildings.  The people are t

Gospel Care

Philippians 2:25

Gospel words and loving care should not be separated.  Epaphroditus had come from Philippi with gifts to sustain Paul during imprisonment (Philippians 4:18). In modern terms, he might appear to be an aid worker.  But he came with a heart for the Lord, the commission of the church who trusted him to carry their money and practical gifts.  He had a genuine concern for the apostle (Philippians 2:30).  However, the heart of this man is revealed by Paul’s description of 'brother', 'fellow-worker' and 'fellow-soldier'.

Health and Welfare

Philippians 2:26-28

Normal people are very concerned when loved ones are unwell or left alone.  Normal Christians feel like that about God's family in difficulties, wherever they may be.  Sickness had overtaken Epaphroditus after arriving to help Paul.  Word got back to believers in Philippi that their 'special envoy' was unwell, and as Epaphroditus heard of their concern, he was distressed to have caused them so much grief.  And at that time, they did not know that he had almost died.  Paul was deeply concerned for him too; and attributes his recovery to God's mercy - otherwise he would have been devastated a

Honour the Brave

Philippians 2:29-30

Brave people should be honoured.  Those who put their own life on the line to save others are wonderful examples of selfless courage in the face of danger.  Of course, not all risky activities are 'brave' in that sense.  Some extreme sports are simply foolhardy.  Their goal is death-defying personal achievement: it is essentially selfish (although we often admire people like that).  But those whose personal risk saved another's life, ought to be highly commended.

Reminder to Rejoice

Philippians 3:1

Glad hearts are a tonic for everybody.  Nobody really wants to be surrounded by grumpy, morose, complaining, anxious or angry people.  Yet it is easy enough to become like that ourselves.  All we need is a little trouble of any kind, and we can spiral down into self-preservation mode, denying our security in Christ.  Paul is in prison, but he instructs 'free' people to rejoice in the Lord!  He does not apologise for repeating himself (Philippians 1:18; Philippians 2:17-18; Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:10), because he knows that rejoicing is an essential spiritual protection.

Marks of Insecure Religion

Philippians 3:2-3

Despite many attempts to dispose of religion, human beings have an inbuilt urge to seek out the God who made them (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Acts 17:27).  Even those who scoff at the idea, find it will not easily leave them ...

Irrelevant Spiritual Claims

Philippians 3:4-6

Pride gets everywhere: it is the essence of sin which has infused the whole human race.  Pride says that, ‘It is from me, of me, due to me and the glory goes to me’.  No wonder that pride will always try to exclude Jesus, because, "From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory for ever! Amen" (Romans 11:36).