Read Philippians 1:1-11
Jesus changes lives. After an encounter with Him, Zacchaeus committed to repaying everyone he had cheated and gave half his possessions to the poor. Peter was transformed from a reckless fisherman who denied Christ to a bold preacher of the gospel who led thousands to faith in Jesus. And Paul changed from leading a zealous persecution of the church to becoming a missionary who planted churches and took the gospel to Europe.
Our identity in Christ will produce what the apostle Paul calls “the fruit of righteousness” (v. 11). Salvation through Jesus made us righteous, and sanctification in Christ is the process of seeing the fruit or evidence.
Paul gives several examples of this fruit in the opening verses of his letter to the church in Philippi. First, they were partners with him in the work of sharing the gospel (v. 4). Despite the struggles and persecution that Paul describes later in the letter, this church was committed to the good news of salvation through Jesus.
Second, the church supported Paul (v. 7). They shared financial resources with him and answered the call to send gifts to the persecuted church in Jerusalem. The Philippians also embraced missionaries like Timothy and Epaphroditus, which allowed the ministry of spreading the gospel and strengthening the churches to flourish.
Finally, the church was growing in both love and spiritual discernment (v. 10). They weren’t perfect—Paul addresses doctrinal and relational concerns later— but this growth was evidence that Jesus was working in them and they were using the gifts they had for the “glory and praise of God” (v. 11). Because their identity was rooted in Christ, they had confidence that He would sustain them.
APPLY THE WORD
Are you supporting missionaries in the ministry of spreading the gospel? Financial support is important, and a commitment to pray for a missionary is invaluable. Missionaries love receiving regular emails or letters, and remembering their birthdays and holidays with special cards or care packages can be tremendously encouraging.