"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
The Philippians must have felt pretty good when they read this sentence from Paul. He's saying "I can see that you are the real deal." He saw their partnership in the gospel and it assured him that God was indeed active and working in and among them.
Paul didn't say this to all the churches. He told the Corinthians to test themselves to see if they were in the faith. He worried that the Galatians were being led away from the pure faith in Jesus. Not so the Philippians, they were 100% genuine work of God.
Seeing God at work in the lives of disciples is what cranks the engine of a missionary/apostle. Americans (I'm raising my hand) almost always take this as a personal promise, and maybe that's okay, but I'm pretty sure that Paul meant it as an observation of what he saw God doing in the whole church at Philippi. They together were the real deal. He could see the evidence of the work of God among them. They were the good soil that produces fruit 30, 60, 100 fold. I am not talking numbers, though numbers may be part of it, I'm talkin "life", the life of Jesus being reproduced inside people.
When I look at our church, Jubilee Int'l Filipino Fellowship, I see the "real deal". God has done an amazing work. Like the church at Philippi the preachers may have had mixed motives (Paul says some preach out of envy or just to tweak his nose while he was in jail). My life has been so mixed up at times that only God could possibly sort out my motives to know what really drove me. Others like Pastors Jorge, Bolen and Ruel were much more single minded and God used them to establish a work of God that is growing from faith to faith. It doesn't matter who planted or cultivated - God gave the growth. The life of the church comes from God; it is a work of God. AND he will finish what he started. God had a plan, a purpose for Philippi and the surrounding area and He always finishes what he starts. My desk has piles of 1/2 finished projects. Some of them I will finish and others I will finally put in the dustbin. God only starts projects that He intends to finish. He is almighty, lives outside of time, and is really really stubborn (determined). He does not take "No" for an answer. I'm confidence that God is doing something special in JIFF. I can see the evidence of good soil. I'm not sure what the end game is, but I'm excited to watch his plan unfold.
On the micro, individual level, I see God working in my own life. There were many times when, if I were God, I would have given up and abandoned this project called "Allan". I would have wadded up the paper and thrown it into the bin. Sometimes I feel like God put me together, then said "no, wait a minute" then He completely disassembled me and put me back together again. I'm like a "factory refurbished machine". There were some (huge understatement) defects in my build, so he has dis-assembled me, to deal with the problems and is in the process of putting me back together. That's okay with me. I just want him to keep working and finish what he started. Lord, don't give up on me. Thanks.