ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 237



IMMERSED IN PHILIPPIANS
T H E B E L I E V E R S I N P H I L I P P I in
the province of Macedonia, like the believers in Colosse, learned that Paul was in prison. So they also sent a
messenger, a man named Epaphroditus, to bring a generous gift and
to care for Paul.
The Philippians later heard that Epaphroditus had become gravely
ill, perhaps as a result of travel and caregiving—and no doubt a great
deal of stress. They sent word to find out how he was doing and must
have waited anxiously for news.
Paul responded by sending them a messenger—Epaphroditus himself! Paul explained in his letter that God had mercy on Epaphroditus
and healed him. Paul was now sending back his “true brother, co-
­worker, and fellow soldier” so the Philippians wouldn’t be concerned
about him. If E
­ paphroditus needed further recovery, he could do so
among friends now that he had completed his mission.
In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul also thanks the Philippians for their gift, shares his latest news, draws some spiritual lessons
from his experiences, and addresses some key issues in the church that
­Epaphroditus had reported. In the midst of all this, Paul weaves in the
theme of being “in Christ” and the need to press on in joy and endurance until the day of Christ’s return.
Paul was especially close to the church in Philippi, and they had been
steady in their friendship and support of Paul. So Paul’s letter is warm,
yet he acknowledges the hard realities and pressures that both he and
the church in Philippi are facing. While Paul is in prison in Rome, the
Philippians are following Christ in a challenging environment—a city
inhabited by veteran Roman soldiers. Nonetheless, Paul’s letter is filled
with words of confidence and hope, reminding the church that this very
pressure leads to the spread of God’s message.
In Philippians, as in all of his letters except Galatians, Paul begins with
a section of thanksgiving and prayer. Within this section, he introduces
some of the key points of the letter, including his strong partnership
with the Philippians and his desire that they continue to grow in knowledge and understanding. He expresses gratitude for their contribution
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