Pastor Paul's Perspective

Encouragement & Expectation

An Apostle's Love Letter

The Apostle Paul would be described as more like a pitbull than a poodle. And yet, in Philippians chapter one, you can't help but notice the softer side of the sometime contentious Apostle. This softer side is seen in:
1:7 - "I have you in my heart . . . "
1:8 - "how greatly I long for you . . . "

In fact, throughout Philippians 1 Paul is expressing his love and care for the Philippians as he writes both words of encouragement and words of expectation.

  • Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to be "confident" (1:6) of the work God had begun in them and know that this work will one day be complete when Jesus Christ returns. So Philippians - be encouraged that God is at work in you!!!
  • Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to be "confident" (1;25) because of their "progress and joy of faith". Be encouraged with your progress and spiritual growth!!!

  • Paul expected the believers in Philippi to "approve the things that are excellent . . ." (1:10) and to be "filled with the fruits of righteousness" (1:11).
  • Paul expected the believers in Philippi to have their "conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ".


Paul writes of his love (encouragement) for the Philippians as well as his expectations for the conduct of these dear friends of his.

As I studied Philippians 1, I have come to see it as a love letter. And this love letter reminded me of my younger days when I was off at college and my girlfriend (now my wife) would write me letters. In Brenda's love letters to me she would include both encouragement and expectations.

Her encouragement came in the form how much she missed me, how she couldn't wait to see me, and - quite frankly - how much she dug me. 

The expectations she included in her love letters were things like, "Sorber, behave yourself and stay away from other girls or I'll poke your eyes out . . . " or she might even speak of the expectation of spending the rest of our lives together.

I loved getting those letters of encouragement and expectation.

This Sunday, September 23, at both the 9:30 and 11am services, I will be preaching on Philippians 1 about Paul's love letter to the church. A letter of encouragement and a letter of expectations.

I believe this letter was not only for the Philippians; it's for us too. It's for us to be encouraged in the work God has begun in our lives. To be encouraged by the "progress of our joy of faith". To be living up to Paul's expectations of "conduct" and "striving for the gospel". We can certainly learn a great deal from this chapter in Philippians - a love letter from the Apostle Paul.

Looking forward to Sunday. Hope to see you here.

Pastor Paul
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