The first week of memorizing the book of Philippians is now behind us and I think we had a strong beginning. Looking through the little Memory Moleskine it appears that we started off easy with the memory work. Further in, the weeks involve a lot more memorization than this. We each spent time individually working on our verses during the week, but once a day we gathered to read them over together. A couple of evenings, Isaac was the one to remind us to get our books and read together.
One of the precious things about spending a week focusing on a small portion of Scripture is the chance to really reflect on what it means. In fact, the lesson in our Bible study from 2 Peter addressed Scripture memorization.
"… I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles…" -2 Peter 3: 1-2The immediate context of Peter's encouragement to remember the Scriptures was to guard against the teachings of "scoffers"; the broader context of his letter was warning against false teachers. When we are immersed in the Word of God through memorization, meditation, and the teaching and preaching in church, we are prepared for the attacks on the Scriptures which are the first assault on our faith.
All of this to say that I have been blessed by spending time in the first 6 verses of Philippians this week.
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. –Philippians 1: 1-6
- It is a joy to pray for other believers.
- Certainty in the preservation of God for His saints. Not only the preservation, but also the initiation of the "good work" is in the hands of the Lord.
- No 'small talk', straight into the teaching of truth!
- This letter was written to the lay people as well as the overseers and deacons. It wasn't meant to be filtered through to the people of the church, but delivered directly to them as written.
- This was written to "the saints in Christ Jesus", not to the general public. The promises of God to His saints are intended specifically for them. The Father's gifts for His children are especially designed for them, not for his enemies.
I realize that categorizing some as "children" and the rest as "enemies" sounds harsh, but according to Scripture we were all enemies until the Lord condescended to extend His great mercy towards us and draw His children into His family. Before we were children of God we were children of wrath. So much more does our gratitude and love for the Lord abound in knowing that there was nothing that we could have done to earn this salvation, and yet He saved us.
And so much more, as well, are we humbled by knowing that there was nothing that we could have done to earn this salvation. We don't know who else may also be called into the family of God, so we pray that the lost would be saved and that we would be used for that purpose, to the glory and praise of God.
"…but God shows His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." -Romans 5:8-11
So I rejoice in this salvation, in the love of the Lord, and in the fellowship of the saints; praying for and with them, and learning the undiluted Word of God in church and at home.
Onward to week 2!