The Search for Joy
God’s Fruit of Righteousness
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
If we were to search for joy, we probably would not go to prison to find our source of joy there. Yet, Paul, while imprisoned, writes this wonderful letter about having true joy and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord. Paul speaks of a warm and intimate relationship he and Timothy had with the church at Philippi and describes them both as, “servants of Jesus Christ,” which literally means, “slaves” of Jesus Christ. Being noted as a servant, bondservant or slave to Jesus Christ indicated a true willingness to be identified with Him having strong allegiance and loyalty.
As Paul awaits his trial in Rome, he has others on his mind, not himself. Paul is especially thankful for the saints in Philippi expressing his heart felt love for them and his longing to see them all again. Paul’s memory of Philippi could have brought great sorrow to mind for he had been illegally arrested, beaten and publicly humiliated before the people. A great lie and deception from Satan is that we cannot enjoy our lives in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. Paul found joy in remembering his friends and bringing them before the Throne of Grace in prayer. Paul’s prayer for his fellow believers in Philippi was that they may abound in love and mature in their Christian character, being sincere and without offence til the day of Christ.
Paul speaks of being filled with the fruits of righteousness which means when a person is truly filled with the Spirit of God this fruit brings praise and glory to God. Bearing fruit is leading the souls of men to the righteousness of God, And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3) and to give joyful praise to God with thankful hearts. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15).
Thought: As we reflect on the first eleven verses of Philippians, let us focus on verse 6 which reads, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” a perfect work of salvation. Paul writes these first few verses because of his great love for Christ, his over abounding love for the people of Philippi and the perfect work of salvation continuing in his own life. God’s redeeming and renewing work of salvation in the life of a believer continues until the glorious day of Jesus Christ. He who has began the work of redemption will continue to perform it until the return of our Lord to earth. What faithfulness God shows here to the redeemed and Paul establishes his unshakable confidence in the work of God in the lives of the people of Philippi as well as in himself. Paul is encouraging the Philippians that He that has begun this perfect work of salvation in them will continue to supernaturally transform them into the image of Christ and work in them until He comes.