Hey, to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ,
May God’s love and blessing come to each of you during this time of struggle against an unseen enemy.
Crisis in Philippi
This week I was privileged to do an extensive study of Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi, a Roman city of about twelve to fifteen thousand people in eastern Macedonia. The Holy Spirit spoke to Paul’s heart, causing him to travel into Macedonia through the Roman city of Philippi while he went through Asia. Philippi was a city where the believers struggled as a diverse community of believers from vastly different economic standings, cultural backgrounds, and traditional Jewish perspectives, and lived among a Roman populace hostile to the followers of Christ. The brethren in Philippi met in private homes, caused to hide from the threats that surrounded them.
Struggling with Purpose
The people of Philippi, while earnest believers in the message of Christ, and early supporters through gifts to Paul’s ministry, struggled with their purpose as evangelists in the name of Jesus. Some, as Paul pointed out, preached Jesus as a means of competing with Paul or other believers due to envy, or selfish ambition, and some as a means of creating problems for Paul to hamper his ministry and make his time in jail more miserable. Paul described the Philippians as a group of believers whom he loved and longed to be among for their strength of faith and growing courage in the Lord, and as the one group of believers who continuously supported his ministry. His relationship with the brethren may be characterized as that of a fatherly figure. When he arrived in Philippi, he cared for his children, who he carefully trained, holding the cup of grace to their lips as a parent helps a toddler with their first cup of juice.
Crisis Makes Us Bold
Paul’s letter challenged the people of Philippi to be bold, to take advantage of the changes in their environment, and to carefully hold the cup of grace to the lips of the unbelievers around them. We, too, need to be bold and take advantage of the crisis as we poke our heads carefully through our doors and wave to our neighbors from a distance. People are scared, feeling threatened, and looking for a word, any word of encouragement. Let them hear God’s word, boldly spoken with the backing of eternal grace, carefully fed as a father, holding the cup of love to their lips.
Let me know your thoughts!