Paul wrote Philippians from a prison cell. He recalls the day the people of Philippi received the gospel (Acts 16). Paul had visited this European city on his second missionary journey. On arrival, he found a group of women meeting by the river for prayer. He explained to them that Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. That day Lydia, a business woman from Thyatira opened her heart to receive Christ.
Then, a demon-possessed slave girl who made a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes received Christ. The girl’s ability to foretell the future vanished after Paul cast an evil spirit from her. Her owners went ballistic. They seized Paul and his companion Silas, had them flogged and thrown in jail.
Paul and Silas, full of confidence in the Lord, prayed and sang hymns at midnight, rejoicing that they were thrown into prison because of Christ. As their voices rose to heaven, an earthquake struck the city collapsing the prison walls. Believing all the prisoners had escaped, the jailer attempted to commit suicide. After listening to Paul explain the gospel of Jesus, the jailer asked the question that’s made him famous, “What must I do to be saved?”
Paul replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” That night the Philippian jailer and his entire family believed in Christ and were baptized.
Looking back on the events of his trip to Philippi, Paul remembers the first converts – Lydia, a woman of wealth, the slave girl, the jailer and his family, and some of the prisoners. He urges the Philippians to look to the future with the same confidence in Christ they had when they first believed. He writes:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Paul remembered God’s past good works, experienced them in the present and therefore had confidence God would continue His good work in the future.
Prayer: Lord, help us to develop the same confidence in You that Paul demonstrated. Help us to trust You without reservation, no matter what our circumstances.