In Philippians 1:3-8 we learn that Paul’s heart was
full of affection and appreciation for each member
of the church at Philippi, and that he was extremely
grateful for their assistance in the progress of the
gospel. We learn that the Philippian saints, like Paul,
were devoted to the gospel’s progress, that they loved
him, and that their faithfulness to him and his work was
a long-term commitment.
Paul’s habit (vss. 3-4) of continual thanksgiving
evidences his great appreciation. The Philippian saints
were cemented firmly in the apostle’s heart. They were
such a great cause for joy in his life that each time he
took them before the throne of God in prayer he did
so with thanksgiving. This passage impresses upon
us the importance of being prayerfully mindful of
our brethren. We should thank God regularly for the
faithful work of everyone in the kingdom. Our love for
them will force us to do it!
Paul’s confidence (vs. 6) emphasizes his faith in God
and in the good work of the Philippian church. There is
no question that Paul firmly believed God’s promise to
give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6) in his work and in theirs.
He remained in a state of confidence that the Lord
would bring the Philippians work to completion. In fact,
he was so confident that he suggested that their work
would continue to bear fruit until the Lord returns. This
confidence was built through their faithful co-laboring
and it further emphasizes the feeling of closeness that
they shared. This passage should be a great source of
encouragement to us because, though we may not be
able to see the full fruit of our labor today, God has
promised to give the increase and we can be confident
in His ability to execute.
Paul’s rationale (vss. 5, 7-8) was the faithful work of
the brethren. Paul identified them as partners with him
in “bonds,” “defense,” and “confirmation.” Thus, they
not only supported him during his imprisonment but
likely some of them had suffered for the faith as well.
These brethren had proven themselves as steadfast
soldiers of the cross and this was the basis of Paul’s
confidence and thanksgiving. To be sure, they were a
source of encouragement for Paul and they should be a
source of encouragement for us as well, as we strive to
stand firm in a hostile world (1 Cor. 15:58).
The Christians at Philippi were steadfast in their
faithfulness to Paul and the work of the gospel. They
supported Paul and they struggled along beside him.
Thus, Paul wanted them to know how thankful he was
for each and every one of them. May God help us to
express our gratitude in like fashion.