Scripture reading for October 1st: Philippians 2:19-3:3
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” Philippians 3:1
Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians from jail. He was there suffering for preaching the Gospel and was not sure whether this imprisonment would lead to his death. As he waited on the Lord, he filled his time writing to the churches he founded encouraging them to stay faithful to Christ and the Gospel. This message was a repetition of his earlier preaching and teaching.
He encouraged these saints to rejoice in the Lord! God is faithful to His word and to His people! We can count on God using everything for good to those who love Him. He started the good work in the Philippians and would continue it until the Day of Christ! (Philippians 1:6) Even in Paul’s own situation, all that happened to him was working for Christ’s glory! Even the guard in the palace had opportunity to hear the Gospel because of his imprisonment! (Philippians 1:12-14)
Paul also reminded the saints that even though false teachers had come and were preaching Christ for gain, that would still advance the cause of Christ! God’s faithfulness would promote His plans and protect Paul and they could rejoice! Even if Paul was executed, to die was gain! (Philippians 1:21, 23) Departing to be with Christ would be far better than living in this life! These were truths worth repeating to the saints who were themselves suffering.
Paul noted the attitude that marked Jesus Christ, encouraging these saints to imitate it. Jesus humbled Himself and obeyed God, even in the face of the most difficult suffering–the cross! He was willing to die that we might be saved. He saw the joy of our salvation by faith and offered His life for us! (Hebrews 12:2) Paul also demonstrated an attitude of rejoicing and encouraged the Philippians as well! (Philippians 2:17-18)
In the world we live in, Christians need repeated encouragement! Troubles, persecution, and the battle with Satan and our flesh can get us down. We gather together for the hope and encouragement of the Lord, often repeating the stories and scriptures that call us to trust, obey, and rejoice. We worship Christ and imitate His attitude of joyful obedience! Repeating the same truths brings help to stay on track!