Philippians – From Beginning to End

Hi sweet women of the Word – partners with a purpose! I hope you had fun with our little word fest Monday. Isn’t God’s Word awesome! I want you to know you all bless me more than I can begin to say! Knowing you are walking with me through the book of Philippians really makes this girl’s heart smile big time!

I’m writing Wednesday’s lesson on the heels of some pretty difficult news. News that has rocked my world. I think a cloud has attached itself to me and is following me around everywhere I go. Ever felt like that? Ever wondered why life has to be so stinkin’ hard?

And so I find myself parked on Philippians 1:6 for our study – amazed and amused that God so ordains our steps that He has me on this specific verse at this specific time in my life! Sweet friends, God is the Master of details. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. And I need Philippians 1:6 today!

Perhaps you need Philippians 1:6 too. If not for now – for a time when you feel like your world is crashing in on you – or when you aren’t sure of your next step.

Let’s look at our key verse in the Amplified (By the way, I’m a huge Amp fan!):

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6

This one verse not only packs a powerful theological punch but it provides us with a precious promise as well.

Remember, Paul was writing to the church that was birthed on his second mission trip. So he was well aware of when the Lord began a good work in them. Here He reminds them that what God starts – God finishes.

Theologically, this verse speaks of the sovereignty of God as well as the eternality of salvation. Let’s first look at the sovereignty of God in the lives of His children. It’s a concept taught in both the Old and New Testament. God rules in the affairs of mankind. I don’t fully understand it; I can’t really explain it – but it is taught throughout Scripture – and so I trust it to be true.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN:

1. Read Hebrews 12:2 and explain how your faith originated and who will bring it to completion.

2. Read Psalm 57:2 and explain who brings to pass His purposes for you and I – and who completes them?

3. Read Psalm 138:8 and paraphrase what it says.

4. Now read Jeremiah 29:11. Describe the plans God has for each of us.

5. Read Psalm 139:13-18 and explain how God is involved in your life.

There are countless verses that remind us that we are not merely random souls with seemingly haphazard existences. We are carefully crafted creations by the Creator of the Universe. As born again believers, we are God’s masterpiece – He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

You see, it’s one thing to believe God has a plan for our lives, but it’s another thing to know that whatever that plan is, God is responsible for carrying it out. Where you and I fit into the picture, we’ll never know on this side of eternity. Can we mess things up? We certainly can. But as we walk with God – abiding in Him, He will bear fruit through us and our Heavenly Father will be glorified.

Today, I need to know God finishes what He starts. It helps me walk in hope when my heart is hurting. When I feel like my world is in pieces, I’m thankful He’s the Potter that puts me back together and uses me…scars an all.

It’s good to know that the Living God will not give up on us. He doesn’t walk away from the work of His hands. He may try us by fire, but He holds us in the palm of His hands.

I’m thankful there’s meaning in the madness – clarity in the confusion – beauty in our brokenness – and significance to our scars.

6. Are you in a painful or uncertain place in your life and need to know that God will not leave you hanging – that He won’t forsake you – that He will complete what He began in you long ago?

Stand fast, sweet friend and don’t loose heart. He’s not finished with you yet! As long as you’re breathing He’s still working on His masterpiece.

Philippians 1:6 also address the idea of eternal security. Some of you may not agree with the doctrine of the security of the believer, but as I’ve studied the Scriptures, I can come to no other conclusion. So let’s take a look at it a bit as we are reminded by Philippians 1:6 that what God initiates, God finishes.

7. Based on Philippians 1:6 and Hebrews 12:2, who begins and finishes the work started in the believer?

8. Read John 3:36. What tense of the verb is used to describe the eternal life those who believe in the Son have?

9. Read Romans 8:35-39. Based on these verses, can anything separate you from the love of God?

Again, there are so many verses that speak of our security in Christ. Security because our salvation was initiated by God, secured by Christ and is completed by God. He who began a good work in you, sweet sister, will complete it until the day Jesus Christ returns. You have His Word on it!

As we conclude todays lesson, I want to share one of the minor themes you may have picked up on in your reading of Philippians. It is the theme of “confidence.” Paul was a confident man, but his confidence what not in himself – it was in the Lord.

The original Greek word for confidence is peithō and it is used six times within the context of those four small chapters in Philippians. It means to be fully persuaded, to trust, to believe.

The last few days I’ve been crying out for heavenly help – for answers of the Divine kind. I’ve been seeking God for some breakthroughs, but He has brought me to brokenness. Many times, we must be broken before the breakthrough comes. Too much of us in the way of what Jesus wants to do. Necessary reminders that this life is not about us, but about Jesus. A call to use even the most painful places of our lives for His glory.

It’s not always easy. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be.

But we can be confident that no matter how difficult today is, our loving Father has our best interest at heart. He will see us through whatever we face and complete what He placed us on Planet Earth for. We may not understand it. It may be hard. But He has inscribed us on the palm of His hand; He loves us with an everlasting love; We are the apple of His eye, His friend and His child. Nothing can separate us from His love. He is forever holy, forever loving, forever good and forever God.

He is sovereignly God and we are eternally His!

Do you struggle with feeling like God has forsaken you? Do you find yourself in a painful place and needing God to pick up the pieces of your shattered hopes and dreams?

Maybe you’ve never given your life to Him in the first place and you’re not sure you’re eternally His. If that’s you, would you please email me and give me the opportunity to share with you how you can know for certain that you are eternally His? My email address is eternallyHis@mail.com.

I’d love to have you join us in our study of Philippians! You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.

© Stephanie Shott, 2011

2 Comments

  1. I am so glad for the way today's study went…securing our eternal salvation!

    Growing up I was taught contrary to that. So, I was going around trying to do good works so that I wouldn't go to hell. My testimony is more involved than that. Then end of the story is; I found out that I wasn't God's daughter at all, but I got it right and I know that my salvation is permanent.

    My husband asked a good question before, “If you can lose your salvation, how many or how severe of sins to you have to commit before you lose it?”

    Besides, who on this earth is strong enough to take back/give back something that God gave?

    Are there really those that believe that God's love isn't powerful enough to keep us for eternity?

  2. Kela ~ I'm so thankful for the liberating and comforting truth that what God starts, God finishes – including our salvation.

    Since we didn't earn it, we can't do anything to lose it. We'd live life on egg shells if we could lose something Jesus died to give us.

    Now we walk in freedom, knowing the eternal God died to give us an eternal relationship with Him.

    OH HOW GREAT THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD!!

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