This autumn we will explore Paul’s letter to the Philippians. An incredible letter written to the first church that Paul planted in Europe. Paul loved the church in Philippi, and as a result Philippians is often referred to as the New Testament letter of joy. Although writing from prison, and potentially awaiting execution, Paul assures the faithful believers in Philippi that he is in good spirits as a servant of the Gospel.
The chief theme of Philippians is encouragement. Unlike the letters to the churches in Corinth and Galatia, this letter is almost entirely positive. Paul wanted to encourage this healthy church to continue to live out their lives as citizens of heaven, evidenced by an ever increasing desire to serve God and one another. This progress in discipleship is a result of the the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, as believers seek to live under the Lordship of Christ and follow His supreme example. While the church in Philippi were doing great things and remaining faithful despite the pressure around them, Paul’s encouragement is for them to keep going, and to keep growing. Philippians is a call to active faith, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). Paul is adamant that the world is too perilous, and the Gospel to glorious, to allow ourselves to become content with past victories and successes. His message to the church is to keep striving on for Christ.