In the summer of 1635, Charles I issued the proclamation that marked the birth of the Royal Mail. It wasn’t until 1840 that the world’s first adhesive postage stamp turned the Post Office into a genuine public service. During the First World War, at its peak, 12.5 million letters left Britain for Flanders meaning the transportation of 16,000 mail bags every day. These letters invariably would have been a source of comfort and joy and would have been read and re-read and treasured.
When was the last time you actually wrote a letter? We are more than likely to send an e mail or a text as we live in a “now” electronic reliant age.
The apostle Paul wrote a number of letters including to the church in Philippi which was founded by Paul on his second missionary journey during a period of persecution.
The letter is a spiritual “love letter” to the church containing outbursts of warm affection and gratitude whilst being written under extreme hard circumstances in prison.
In the opening verses of this letter, Paul speaks much of the concern and desire for the believers that they may be built up in their faith. Speaking of grace and peace, he is expressing a desire that they should know the joy of knowing God as Father and the peace of being reconciled to God which comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Speaking that “their love may abound” – not an increase in emotion but that they may have an increasing knowledge and depth of insight. This will lead initially to being able to discern not just what is good and right but what is best, to be pure and blameless to the end. To have a growth in holiness of life that is right before God but ultimately all this will be to the praise and glory of God. How this was to be done is the subject of the rest of the letter.
In his letters, Paul uses the phrases; “In Christ Jesus” 48 times, “In Christ” 34 times and “In the Lord” 50 times. Clearly being in our Lord Jesus Christ was for Paul the very essence of Christianity.
However what does it mean?.....To live continually in the atmosphere and Spirit of Christ, to live a life where we never feel separated from Him and where we feel His presence, strength and power. In other words simply, the Christian is always, everywhere and forever conscious of Christ’s presence.
We move towards the close of one year and the start of a new year, during this time we may write or receive a letter, but can I encourage you to read and study the letters that Paul wrote and experience that increased knowledge and insight.
If you want to know more of the Lord Jesus Christ, of His presence, strength and power that the Apostle Paul wrote about why not speak to one of the deacons?