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The People of God

Many churches have a tradition of having visitors fill out a visitors’ card that states their names and their home churches. During a time of welcome, the cards are read aloud for the congregation to hear the names of those who are visiting. The visitors have the opportunity to bring greetings from their home churches. This tradition is rooted in the acknowledgement of the common bond in Christ that is shared by churches all over the world.

Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with a series of greetings to the saints of Jesus Christ. He mentions both the people of God who are in Philippi and the people of God with him in Rome who sent their greetings. No matter where they were geographically and no matter what their material circumstances, they shared the bond of being “in Christ Jesus” (v. 21).

In verse 22, Paul sent greetings to the church from believers he had met in prison. Some were imprisoned alongside of him, but his other greetings came from “those who belong to Caesar’s household.” The household of Caesar referred to any of the persons, slaves or free, living within the palace. Being a member of Caesar’s household, no matter what the rank, gave a person a certain amount of privilege. How the message of Christianity infiltrated the ranks of Caesar is not known, but Paul had met like-minded believers even in that unlikely setting.

Paul concluded this book with greetings that emphasized the value of Christian community. As we rejoice in our Savior, we also recognize the value of our deep connection with fellow believers. They support us, pray with us, and rejoice with us, in good times and in bad. The friendship of the saints is utterly vital to our Christian walk.

Apply the Word

Philippians reminds us to have the mind of Christ, to rejoice in Him no matter our circumstances, and to pursue fellowship with believers even when it requires us to set aside our personal preferences. Which key theme from this letter is God emphasizing for you? Ask the Holy Spirit to allow His Word to shape your life to become more like Christ.

BY Jamie Janosz

Jamie Janosz serves as a content development manager for Moody Bible Institute. She writes monthly devotionals for Today in the Word and has published non-fiction essays with Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Recently Jamie wrote a book titled When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up (Moody Publishers). Jamie studied theology and writing at Moody Bible Institute, Columbia College, and Illinois State University. She lives on the Atlantic coast of Florida with her husband, Milt, and daughter, Sabrina.

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