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The Gospel in Philippians
The church at Philippi held a special significance to the apostle Paul since it was the first church he planted in Europe (Acts 16:6-40). Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians in their faith and spiritual progress, and his imprisonment meant that he could only accomplish this by writing a letter. Therefore, Paul wrote to the Philippians, prompted in part by his reception of their latest gift, sent with Epaphroditus, a member of the congregation. It could have been a letter of great anguish, with the possibility of an execution looming, but Paul wanted to reassure the church that he was still joyful through his faith in Christ. He was also eager to thank them for their continued support when rejecting him because of his imprisonment would have been more culturally acceptable. In his letter, Paul encouraged the Philippians to live out their lives as citizens of heaven, evidenced by a growing commitment to serve God by serving one another. This way of life that Paul encouraged was manifested uniquely in Jesus Christ. And those who would follow Christ’s example, in service to one another with love and good deeds, would have the hope that God would vindicate them on the day of Christ and so they must rejoice!
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