I always tend to skip over the greetings at the end of Paul’s books, but today was
different. When I saw who it was sending greetings, I sat amazed at God’s grace to include these greetings in his Holy Word. How important it is to greet those in this fight of the ages. Mutual encouragement, holy kisses, bond of camaraderie, our holy brotherhood is so important to us. As a United States Citizen half way around the world, when I meet another American, I feel a small sense of home with that person even though I do not know them. Knowing that my brothers and sisters in the Lord are in the same boat as I in this world that is hostile to God makes me want to hold them up and honor them for their commitment to Christ. Greeting each other is doing just that – honoring them or acknowledging their commitment.
21 Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who chooses people from all walks of life to be included in my family. Nothing and no one is too hard for me to reach. I call people from the most unlikely places. Who would have thought people in Caesar’s household or his palace guard could be reached. Humans make external judgment as to who to invite into the kingdom, but I know the heart of all men. There are lost souls who are looking for eternal life in all walks of life; from scientists to missionaries, from drug addicts to house wives. They span the globe living in the capitols of the nations of the world to the deepest darkest jungles. No one is too hard or beyond reaching with my gospel.
Keep greeting each other and keep encouraging one another, so that they too can see your courage and shine for me where they are at. The more you realize how many children I have in difficult places (behind the iron curtain, under radical Muslim control, alone in families who are atheists, or inside highly materialistic environments) the more courage you will have that you are not alone. See how I even have children in the household of Caesar? He claims to be a god and his subjects are supposed to worship him. Yet my children live in his household at great peril to their own lives. Do you feel like a “nobody” Christian who does not have what it takes to stand up for me? Can you imagine what these believers in Caesar’s household must have felt like? Take courage stand up for me where you are at and hold forth my gospel to those who live and work around you so that they can see and receive my life.
1 Pet 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Wherever you work or live, you can live both a godly life and one worthy of respect without repelling the professional and secular people around you by having a “holier than thou” attitude. Sometimes our godly standards will offend, but make sure that it is not you the messenger rather it is the gospel which is offensive. You are to be attractive by the Holy Spirit controlling of your life; where as the message of the Gospel is what points out people’s sin. Some of my fondest times of witnessing were when I was employed in secular environments. People don’t mind your message when they know that there is mutual love and respect. If you spend time listening to them, they will see your genuine interest and listen to you.
As we live in environments which are harmful to our Christian characters, it is that much more important that we exercise mutual encouragement to each other to stay strong in our faiths. This is what Paul talks about in Rom 1:11 as the key to our corporate strength in the midst of our battle against the ruler and principalities of the heavenly places. Next time you are in church, greet someone with a holy Kiss – handshake – hug who is in a hard environment and encourage them in the Lord. You may just be saving him or her from shipwrecking their faith.
That is it for Philippians for now,