Philippians 1:6-11

Philippians 1:6-11

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the good work God started among church members, encourages them to continue in the faith, and offers practical advice.

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the idea of God’s work and presence in Christ-followers

V. 6 He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

What good work is Paul talking about?

My Background on the book of Philippians blog article introduces three people: Lydia an entrepreneur, a fortune teller slave girl, and a Roman jailor.

What do they have in common?

They all decided to follow Jesus when Paul shared the gospel with them. That’s the good work Paul talks about. Have you made that decision? When you do a spiritual transformation takes place in your life.

And your journey begins as a saint, which is described in Philippians 1:1-5. It’s an ongoing process of transforming into the image of Jesus. Paul is confident because the work of the Spirit is active and ongoing in the life of devoted Christ-followers who are molded into the image of Christ.

Read Galatians 5:22-23 to see what this transformation looks like.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Which of the fruits listed appear in your life? Which ones are lacking?

Paul is confident God will continue working in the life of the Philippian church. But reminds them it is an ongoing process in this life and only completed in the next.

Philippians 1:6-11 discusses the expression of God’s love in the life of Christ-followers

V. 9 I pray that your love may abound…

The Greek word for love in is agape and describes God’s unconditional love. It is the love God has for mankind. The love that motivated Him to offer His son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sin. And the love He expects Christ-followers to express towards others in an abundant, overflowing supply.

Agape love is better described by your actions–how you treat others–than your feelings for them. But your feelings–or affections–are for Jesus Christ. So you treat others with respect and in a loving manner to demonstrate your love for Christ.

Is there someone in your life God is nudging you to express agape love towards? Take a moment to pray for that person and ask God to reveal what agape love might look like in that relationship.

Philippians 1:6-11 advises the Philippian church how to live as disciples of Jesus

V.9 …more in knowledge and all discernment

The Greek word for knowledge is ginosko, which means to know and understand. And the Greek word for discernment is aisthanomai, which means to perceive and understand. But aisthanomai also includes the idea of judgment in decision-making. In other words, first you must know the difference between right and wrong and then exercise good judgement in applying it to life circumstances.

Take a moment to reflect on the two words. How have you demonstrated them in your own life?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe occasions when the two words synced together and when they did not.

V. 10 …approve the things that are excellent;

The Greek word for approve is dokimazo, which means to put to the test. It’s often used in relation to testing coins–determining what is genuine. And the Greek word for excellent is diaphoroteros, which means great, honorable, and what matters.

In other words, Paul encourages the saints to know God’s word, understand its meaning, and discern how to apply to the important matters in life.

V. 11 …being filled with the fruits of righteousness…

The Greek word for righteousness is dikaiosune and in this context implies your character and actions. Doing what’s right and pleasing in the eyes of God.

God’s Spirit transforms your character. One that strives to please God by knowing and properly applying His word. Which in turn, further transforms your character. It is never a straight, smooth line upward, but a jagged one of ups and downs. But through God’s power and by His grace, keeps ascending until you finally meet Jesus face to face.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:12-18. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Finding Grace: A Christian Detective Novel

Finding Grace: A Christian Detective Novel

Finding Grace is a Christian detective novel. And this is the first chapter. Finding Grace is the second novel in a series that began with Soul Pursuit. Finding Grace and Soul Pursuit are both available on Amazon.

~ONE~

I sat in an upright positioned, recliner chair across from Charles and Deborah Miller who rigidly shared the couch. We were in a well-appointed living room in their Washington Township home, which was tastefully decorated in the latest fashions and highest standards of home design. 

There was a lever on the right side of the chair for reclining in different layout positions, a semi-layout for comfortable reading, and a complete layout for napping. And in between positions, if you weren’t fully committed to either and wanted to nap with an open book in your lap.   

I resisted the urge to pull the lever.

Relaxing before an uptight couple wasn’t a good idea. Not sure if they were uptight because of their situation or just in general.  

Maybe both.

They looked composed at the moment. Charles looked trendy in his business casual slacks and Polo shirt, while Deborah, tastefully put together wearing a dress and makeup, would fit right in at a Junior League luncheon. But I sensed they were tightly wound, like two coiled springs about to release. Might be good to avoid that.

Deborah’s hands were folded in her lap, but in a constant, wringing motion. Charles sporadically tapped his right foot on the carpet. Fast tapping for a minute and then slower, more purposeful the next. Fluctuating emotions in syncopated rhythm. His foot was the drum major. Keeping time to whatever tune was playing in his head.

They had invited me in, politely introduced themselves and asked me to sit. I was unsure who was supposed to start the conversation. I decided to let them, which led to an awkward silence. But now I felt obligated to it.

They called this meeting, and I was an audience of one. So, I wore my professional mask, inoffensive, non-committal, and politically neutral.  

Charles finally spoke.

“Our daughter is a freshman at the University of Dayton,” he said, “and we’ve lost contact with her. Haven’t heard from her in weeks.”

“Did she stop calling suddenly or gradually over time?” I asked.

“Gradually,” Charles answered.

“She’s a commuter,” said Deborah, “and at the beginning of the semester, she was home every night and most weekends. But as she made friends, she began staying with them on campus.”

“For campus social life,” I said.

“We expected her to engage socially,” said Charles. “That’s a part of college. At first, she called us regularly. But as the semester went on, it became less frequent. Until nothing.”

“Were you concerned when the calls became less frequent?”

“Not at first,” said Deborah. “Grace told us she was studying more on campus and joining campus activities. We thought it good she was becoming her own person.”

“When did you suspect things weren’t right?”

“We began to notice a difference in her when she came home,” said Charles.

“And one time when I called her at school, she was…out of it,” said Deborah.

“Like drunk or high?”

Deborah swallowed and looked at the floor. It was hard for her to admit. But she forced it out in a voice just slightly above a whisper.

“Yes.”

“How long since nothing?” I asked.

“Six weeks,” said Charles.

“Was she dating anyone? Any reason to believe someone would hurt her?”

“No to both,” said Charles. “She’s a good kid. But she’s never had this much freedom over her schedule before.”

“And maybe it’s gotten a little out of control?”

“Yes.”

“Did you file a missing person’s police report?”

“Of course,” said Charles.

He was getting defensive. Did he think I was questioning his commitment to being father of the year? I nodded in affirmation and widened the smile. A little less benign. A bit more sincere with a touch of empathy.

Of course, you’re father of the year. Husband too. Best boss ever. All-around good guy. And by the way, I accept check, cash, credit card and App payments.

“Routine investigation didn’t reveal anything,” he said. “At least nothing that indicated foul play. The detective told us college kids go through all kinds of adjustments. Especially freshmen. Said if we wanted something more thorough, we should consider a private detective.”

Charles tapped his foot faster and Deborah’s hand wringing turned white knuckled. More tightening. If they sprung now, they’d shoot through the ceiling.

Behind them on the couch, a large picture window presented a breezy Autumn day in Dayton, Ohio. The neighbor across the street was blowing leaves from his front yard to the curb, where a city truck would vacuum them up and haul them away for recycling. There was a sparse covering of leaves on the yard. The two large trees in the front yard were still over half-full. I congratulated myself for thinking half-full rather than half-empty. He could have waited longer to let more leaves fall before raking or blowing. But every homeowner was different. This one was probably a neat-freak extraordinary. Behind him, the yard was spotless. And he was halfway to the street with a neat line but was suddenly encountering two problems.

First, the leaves were slightly wet making them heavier and harder to blow. Second, he was blowing into a head wind. So, as the leaves launched into the air, they curled in the wind and floated back towards him, landing at his feet and even behind him. There was a rake leaning against one of the trees. An obvious solution. But he wasn’t having it. He had paid for this state-of-the-art technology and by golly, he was determined to use it.

Man and technology against nature. Old man and the sea. Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

 Maintaining the neat line was growing difficult and it clearly agitated him as he sped back and forth, trying to keep it together and move forwards towards the curb. I could see a lot of agitation on both sides of the street.  

Dude, It’s okay. Use the rake. It’s not a sign of weakness.

But no. He was all in with the leaf blower. Except nature was blowing back and winning.

I refocused on Charles and Deborah.

“Assuming no foul play, any thoughts on what’s going on with Grace that might contribute to a disappearance?”

“She was struggling emotionally,” said Deborah.

Deborah’s hands reflected the intensity of her emotions. The higher the emotion, the greater the hand wringing. Was it her fault? Charles’s fault? Their fault?

“I…uh, our marriage has been struggling too,” said Charles.

“More like unraveling,” said Deborah.

“It’s taken an emotional toll on Grace,” Charles said. 

“What did you expect? Learning that all those nights you said you were working late…you weren’t working.”

His face clouded.

“So, you start an affair as revenge and that’s supposed to help?”

They separated a little further on the couch and turned slightly to face one another. I was neither a marriage counselor nor a referee but wished I had a whistle to call a time out. Another awkward silence. Except this one bristled and I braced for ugly.

The neighbor across the street was making progress. He was down to two especially stubborn leaves. Big, wet, broad leaves that clung stubbornly to the grass, and when he did get a pocket of air underneath, curled up into the wind and blew right back to him.

Only two leaves, Dude. Pick them up and walk them down to the curb.

But there was a principle here. A contest. He had established rules that must be followed. An unbreakable code. And apparently, picking up the leaves and carrying them to the street was a violation. He must win the battle with technology.

But his blower lacked the air power to overcome the wind. Rather than admit defeat, he grew angry and more determined. He started punching the blower at the leaves like that extra umph would make the difference. And somehow, it worked. Or maybe the wind just died down. But regardless, the two leaves scooted steadily towards the street, and I silently cheered for him.

C’mon, Dude. You can do it. Keep delivering those air punches. They’re working.

Finally, the remaining two leaves were on the pile. The man turned to survey the yard. Victory at last. While the couple I faced looked more defeated.

“Does Grace have friends on campus I can talk to?”

“Susan and Julie were girls she knew. Fellow Centerville High School graduates a couple of years ahead of her. She stayed with them several times.”

Charles handed me a piece of paper with the names of the two girls and their cell phone numbers. The air was thick with tension. And I said the only thing I could think of to ease it.

“I’ll find her for you.”

Click here to purchase a copy of Finding Grace on Amazon.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:6-11

Philippians 1:1-5

Philippians 1:1-5 begins with a positive expression of joy and thanksgiving. Paul also discusses identity and encourages the Philippian church to continue growing in their faith.

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian servanthood

Paul starts by identifying himself and his audience.

Identity is a big deal in today’s culture. On one hand it’s a polarizing topic. But on another, confusing. Who am I? What determines it? How should I express myself?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Write a sentence or two that describes your identity and how you reached this conclusion. What influences and experiences formed and affirm it?

Paul identifies himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus Christ and his audience as saints.

The Greek word for servant is doulos, which means slave. Slavery was an accepted and common practice in the ancient world. Although its practice during that time was perhaps, different than how it’s perceived in American history.

The Old Testament also describes Moses, Jeremiah and Daniel as servants. Read Exodus 12:31, Jeremiah 25:4 and Daniel 9:6. The Hebrew word used is for servant is ebed. It means slave too, although it also presents a sense of authority. In other words, these prophets are messengers used as instruments, chosen by God.

Paul might be saying this about himself. He is first, a humble servant of Christ. But in the Philippian letter, he also carries the weight of authority.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe your relationship with Jesus Christ. Is it a slave and master relationship? Are you an instrument for God? What shapes your thoughts on this? Do your actions and attitudes support or contradict it?

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian sainthood

When used in a modern context, a saint often implies a sense of moral superiority. Someone who has reached a higher spiritual level than others. But that’s not what Paul means here. Because the Greek word for saints is hagios and also translated holy. It means to be set apart.

To be set apart as a follower of Jesus Christ does involve a distinction. It means to separate yourself from an immoral lifestyle and dedicate yourself to God through intentional, righteous living.

It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Or morally superior. Because you still sin. The difference is you strive not to sin. And demonstrate a life that is visibly recognizable as a follower of Jesus Christ.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Rate yourself on a scale between 1-10 as a saint set apart to God. What are some ways your life demonstrates it? How might you do better? What makes the difference?

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian partnership

Making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel

Christian ministry is not a spectator sport. Where pastors and church staff do the work and members of the congregation cheer them on. It’s a partnership. A we’re all in this together endeavor.

Paul expresses joy that the members of the Philippian church “get it.” They support him financially, but also spiritually and emotionally. And in spite of imprisonment, he prays for them with a sense of joy as they demonstrate lives obedient to Christ.

The point is, God desires his church to move together in community and ministry. And to work in unity. It’s not the promise of an easy life. But one filled with joy.

Join me next week as we look at Philippians 1:6-11. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:6-11

Background On The Book Of Philippians

Background on the book of Philippians begins with its author–the Apostle Paul. He wrote it as a letter to the church while he was imprisoned in Rome. Here are other elements that form the background on the book of Philippians.

Background on the book of Philippians involves the city of Philippi

The city of Philippi was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. It was a Roman colony where many Roman soldiers retired and its inhabitants enjoyed the privileges of Roman citizenship.

These colonies, located on the outskirts of the Roman empire, and populated with former soldiers, effectively secured the empire borders.

The book of Philippians is commonly called one of Paul’s prison epistles. Paul wrote two other epistles during his prison stay. The New Testament books of Ephesians and Colossians.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a call by God

God uses Christ-followers to carry out his will. And God initially called Paul while traveling to the city of Damascus. At the time, Paul actively persecuted the Christian church. But on the road to Damascus, God appeared to him in a blinding light.

Because of the encounter, Paul commits his life to Christ and makes a course correction. Ok actually, a complete change in direction. And what the Bible calls repentance.

Has God ever affected a course correction in your life? Take a moment to reflect and write down what it involved. How did it impact your life today?

Then Paul dreamed about a man from Macedonia who asked for his help. And he concluded God was calling him to go there and preach the gospel.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a woman entreprenuer

So Paul ends up in the city of Phillip and on the Sabbath, he looks for a group of Jewish worshipers to join. And he meets Lydia, a business woman who sells purple cloth.

She’s described as a “worshiper of God” which probably means she practiced the Jewish faith. But when Paul shares the gospel with her, she opens her heart to faith in Jesus and is baptized. And immediately offers her home as a meeting place for other followers of Jesus.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a fortune teller

Next Paul encounters a young, demon possessed slave girl. And the demon gives her the power of fortune telling, which is highly profitable for her owners.

As Paul and Silas share the gospel around the city, she follows them for several days announcing, These men are servants of the Most High God who proclaim to you the way of salvation.

It’s easy to imagine her mocking tone of voice. As if to say, these guys are complete losers. Take them seriously and you’re a loser too. Similar to the way many skeptics view Christ-followers today.

But after several days of this verbal onslaught, Paul had enough. He commanded the evil spirit to leave her.

It obeys Paul’s command and with the vacating spirit went the slave girl’s fortune telling abilities. Her lucrative income. Which left her owners very unhappy.

So they dragged Paul and Silas before the city rulers and complained. And the rulers–seeking to please the citizenship–had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown in jail.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a suicidal jailer

That evening around midnight, with bruised bodies and feet lock in stocks, Paul and Silas do just what you expect after a hard beating…pray and sing hymns to God.

Suddenly, an earthquake occurs, prison doors fly open, chains fall off, and the jailer behaves with a clear head. He draws his sword to kill himself. An impulsive, act first, think later, knee jerk reaction that accomplishes half your goal.

He stops, however, when Paul assures him no one has escaped. And he falls before them and asks how to be saved.

They share the gospel with him, he believes in Jesus, and then takes them into his house and treats their wounds.

The next day, the city rulers told the Jailer to let Paul and Silas go. But Paul tells him to inform those leaders that he and Silas are Roman citizens who were denied due process. And demands the city rulers to personally escort them from jail.

Which they do. Afterwards, Paul and Silas encourage their new group of believers and leave.

And so you get a glimpse into the beginning of the Philippian church.

Join me next week as I dive into Philippians 1:1-5.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Finding Grace: A Christian Detective Novel

The Fiction Novel Finding Grace

The fiction novel Finding Grace is a Christian Detective novel. It is the second book in my series that began with Soul Pursuit. The main character is Jack Sterling, a former Navy SEAL, who works as a private detective for Glenn Howard, a retired Brigadier General. The story takes place in Dayton, Ohio.

The fiction novel Finding Grace involves a plot to find a missing person

In Soul Pursuit, Jack confronts Christianity for the first time. He resists it at first, but eventually faces a spiritual crises and makes the decision to follow Jesus Christ. In Finding Grace, Jack begins to learn how to live out his new faith in daily life.

Jack is hired to find Grace Miller, a freshman at the University of Dayton who is missing. And judging by the leads he uncovers, her journey follows a degrading path of moral decline.

Can he find her? And if so, in what condition?

The fiction novel Finding Grace follows the theme of God’s grace

We all mess up. The Bible calls it sin. And clearly communicates God’s grace as the solution to sin. So talking about God’s grace offers people hope. But experiencing God’s grace is transformational.

And this theme of grace is explored throughout the novel through characters and dialogue.

It appears Grace is in trouble. Will she experience that transformational grace or is Jack too late?

The fiction novel Finding Grace involves a sub-plot about Paxco, LLC.

Soul Pursuit also introduces the mysterious Paxco, LLC. It is buying up all the property on his street and Jack wants to know why. But the novel ends with that mystery unsolved. However, in Finding Grace, Jack is determined to find out.

Because now, only two neighbors remain on his street. And one of them is receiving foreclosure notices from the bank.

But learning who the owners are turns out to be harder than expected. And a greater threat than to just his neighborhood.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and freelance copywriter. He publishes humorous Christian drama, books, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.