“Approaching Christian Friendship” 

Philippians 1:3-8 

June 25, 2023 

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service 

Pastor Nicoletti 

The Reading of the Word 

This morning we return to Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. 

Two weeks ago we noted that for this letter, Paul uses the form of a letter of friendship. Paul approaches the Christians in Philippi primarily as their friend. Yes, he is an apostle, a minister, a missionary, an evangelist, and a church planter – all those aspects of their relationship play into this letter as well. But at the forefront, Paul places their friendship: he highlights their relationship as Christian friends. 

And that theme of Christian friendship is central in the words we come to this morning. 

With that in mind, we turn now to Philippians 1:3-8. 

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.  

Paul writes: 

1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 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. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 

This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.) 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25] 

Let’s pray … 

Prayer of Illumination 

Lord, as we come to your Word,  

along with the psalmist we ask you to teach us the way of your statutes, 

that we might keep it to the end. 

Give us understanding, that we may follow your word 

and observe it with our whole hearts. 

Incline our hearts to your testimonies, 

and not to our own selfish ends. 

Turn our eyes and attention now from frivolous things, 

and give us life through your word. 

Grant this for Jesus’ sake. Amen. 

[Based on Psalm 119:33-34, 36-37] 


So, as I mentioned last week, as we read Paul’s letters it’s helpful to notice both which letter-writing conventions of the ancient world he adopts, and which he breaks. 

So first, as I’ve said, Paul here adopts the conventions of a letter of friendship. But then, even as he does that, in our text this morning Paul also breaks with expected letter-writing conventions – which would have gotten the attention of his original readers. 

In verses three through eight, immediately after the greeting, Paul gives us what, in Greek, is one very long sentence [Fee, 75] in which he gives thanks for the Philippians themselves. And this would have been unexpected. Typically, at this point in the letter, a simple wish for the good health of the recipients was stated. Instead, in its place, Paul includes here a thanksgiving – and not a brief thanksgiving for the health or wellbeing of the Philippians, but a long, extended note of thanksgiving, in which thanks to God is expressed for the recipients themselves – something which, as one commentator notes, in normal ancient letters simply does not occur. [Fee, 72-73] That would have gotten the Philippians’ attention. And it should get our attention too. 

As we said last week, we can fall into the habit of reading passages like this as boilerplate formalities, expressing vague spiritual sentiments. But that’s not what Paul was doing here – and no one in the ancient world would have read this passage that way. This would have gotten their attention, and they would have focused on the precise content of what Paul has to say here. And so we should do that as well. 

The theme of this passage is Christian friendship, as Paul is writing of his relationship to his Christian friends in Philippi. And so, to draw out its implications for us, we’ll ask our text three questions about Christian friends.  

We’ll ask: 

  • How should we think about them? 
  • How should we think about the relationship? 
  • How should we think about our hope within those friendships? 

So when it comes to our Christian friends: How should we think about them, about the relationship, and about our hope for them and the relationship. 

This is one of those sermons, where often the claims seem obvious. We find it easy to agree with them. But we struggle much more with doing them. And so I want to urge you to consider this morning not just the content of the sermon but the patterns of your life. 

How Should We Think About Them?  

So first, when it comes to our Christian friends, how should we think about them? 

And to get the most out of this morning, you really need to think about these questions in concrete terms – not in the abstract. So take a moment now, and think of some specific people. Pick a few (maybe 3 or 4) Christian friends to reflect on this morning. 

And maybe pick people whom you have different kinds of friendships with. 

Because both in our text and in this sermon, we are considering the concept of friendship pretty broadly.  

Christian friendships take a range of forms. Some of them are friendships among peers – two Christians of similar spiritual maturity, standing side-by-side in their faith. But other Christian friendships in our life should be with Christians who are more spiritually mature than we are – where we look up to them, and often receive more from them than they do from us. Those too are important Christian friendships. Still other Christian friendships include us relating to those who are less spiritually mature than we are. And in many ways, we minister to them more than they minister to us. 

All of these relationships – with peers, with those more mature than us, with those less mature than us – all of them are important forms of Christian friendship. And our text alludes to all of them. Paul is writing to a range of people here – a congregation. And their spiritual maturity varied. But Paul related to all of them as Christian friends, writing to them a letter of friendship. 

And as we think of that category of variety, we should also acknowledge that where Christian friendships take place can vary as well. 

We tend to put friends and family into different mental categories, but of course our desire should be for biblical the patterns of friendship to show up in our families as well: between spouses, between siblings, between cousins, even across generations with our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. 

But such friendships certainly shouldn’t be limited to family – because the gospel makes a new family: the family of God. And so these friendships should also develop with Christians outside of our families: in our congregation, in our community, at work, across great distances, in many different places. 

Finally, Christian friendships can also vary in depth. In this life at least, we can’t have the deepest possible friendships with everyone. We should have those deeper friendships. But we will also have Christian friendships of ordinary depth. And then Christian friendships that are more like acquaintances. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but often just a fact of life, and so we should expect a range of depth in our Christian friendships. 

So Christian friendships can vary in depth, they can vary in setting, they can vary in how similar each person is in spiritual maturity. But in each of those cases they are friendships between Christians, and our text has something to say about them. 

Taking all that into account, I encourage you to bring to mind three or so Christian friends in your life. If you’re married to a Christian, maybe make them one of the concrete examples you reflect on this morning. And then choose a few other examples that are different. And keep those specific relationships in mind throughout the sermon as we consider the nature of Christian friendship. 

With that in mind, let’s come back to our first question about Christian friends, which is how we think about them.  

What are your patterns of thought, in your day-to-day life, when it comes to those specific Christian friends? 

I imagine that in most cases there are a variety of ways we think about our Christian friends, and that it varies from day to day and situation to situation. But I would also suggest that if we think about it for long, we can see at least three problematic patterns emerge, which our text this morning addresses. I would suggest that often, the way we think about our friends can be forgetful, presumptuous, and discontented.  

I’m going to explain what I mean by that … but as I do, I want to urge you to be thinking not about how you think your friends have acted this way towards you … but about how you have acted this way towards your friends. 

So first, the way we think of our friends can often be forgetful. And what I mean is that we tend to think about them at our convenience: we think of them when it’s to our benefit: if we happen to have time in our schedule, if we happen to want or need something from them … if they happen to be in front of us, then we think of them. But then, in other settings, we tend to be more forgetful of them. And so, often, they don’t hear from us unless it’s needful or convenient for us. Do you see that pattern from you, in some of your Christian friendships? 

In contrast, Paul remembers his Christian friends in Philippi regularly. He says so in verse three, where he speaks about “all” his “remembrances” of them “always.” The language there doesn’t mean it’s constant – but it does mean it’s regular and repeated. [Fee, 80] The implication is that Paul actively and frequently remembers his Christian friends in Philippi. 

And Paul was a busy guy. I know we are busy too. But Paul was really busy. And he still found time to remember his Christian friends. He was an Apostle. He was often bi-vocational, working two jobs. When he wrote this he was also imprisoned. He had a lot of distractions, and he had none of the modern tools for staying connected like text messages, emails, phone calls, video chats, or quick car trips. And yet, Paul still remembered his Christian friends regularly. And with that, he models for us what we are called to do as well. 

Of course, even though we have fewer challenges than Paul, remembering and reaching out to friends can be difficult and challenging. But Paul’s example calls us to do it anyway. It reminds us that though we can often be forgetful of our Christian friends until their role in our life is convenient for us, we are called instead to remember them often. 

A second struggle we often have in our friendships is that we can be presumptuous. And what I mean by that is that we can tend to take our Christian friends and family for granted. We take them as a given in our lives. Of course they would be a part of our lives, we think. 

A result of such thinking is that we don’t often give thanks for them. 

But Paul here gives thanks. That’s what we see in verse three: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all.” Paul regularly gives thanks for his Christian friends in Philippi. Because Paul recognizes that those Christian friends are a gift that God wasn’t obligated to give him. 

We can tend to be presumptuous about our Christian friends. Maybe it’s because we think we’re so awesome that if anything, they should be more thankful for us. Maybe it’s because we just don’t think about it often. But Christian friendship can be challenging. It comes at a cost. Which means our Christian friends are often paying that cost to be friends with us. More than that, Christian friends are a gift: God provides them to us out of his love and grace, and not because we’ve earned them or are entitled to them. And so, we should give thanks for our Christian friends: both speaking words of thanks to them, as Paul does here in this letter, and expressing thanks to God, as Paul says he does in his prayers. 

Paul knew his friends in the Philippian church were far from perfect. But still he was thankful for them. 

When you remember your Christian friends … when you see them … when you interact with them … do you ever stop and just give thanks to God for that friendship that he has blessed you with? That’s a second thing that Paul models for us here: rather than being presumptuous, we should be thankful for the Christian friends the Lord has given us. 

But then a related third pattern of thought towards our Christian friends that our text brings to light is our tendency to be discontented with our Christian friends.  

Think again of that short list of Christian friends I asked you to come up with earlier. When left to yourself … and thinking about them … how often do you fall into focusing on your frustrations with them? How often is your tendency to focus on the ways that your Christian friends disappoint you? 

Now … don’t get me wrong: Your Christian friends are disappointing! We’ll say more about this in a minute, but if the gospel is true – if the Bible is true – then every friend in your life must fall short, because all people fall short. We are all sinful. We are all foolish. We are all selfish. We all need more maturity. If you are a Christian, then you confess this as true! So you shouldn’t be surprised when your Christian friends disappoint you. It may be appropriate to feel that disappointed. But it’s less appropriate to ruminate on those disappointments: to focus on them, and go round and round about them in your minds, grumbling about them in your heart and maybe also with your words. Such actions don’t just grow out of a heart of discontentedness, they cultivate a heart of discontentedness towards our friends. 

But Paul here cultivates something different. He says in verse four that he makes his prayers for the Philippian Christians “with joy.” Paul works to cultivate joy over his Christian friends. 

That might sound naïve to us – but it’s not. Read the letters of Paul and you see that Paul is a realist when it comes to human nature – including human nature within the Church. 

Paul’s joy was not the result of naivety, but of the very actions we’ve already considered this morning: remembering his Christian friends, and giving thanks for them.  

Giving thanks requires first that we identify the traits we are giving thanks for. And that required Paul to intentionally think about the good traits he saw in his Christian friends in Philippi – to think of the ways the Lord had gifted them, the ways the Lord had grown them, the ways the Lord has blessed him through them. Paul’s response of joy rather than discontentedness did not likely spring up out of nowhere. It had to be cultivated. And it was cultivated by remembering, and giving thanks for his friends, in specific ways. 

And, you are called to do the same with the specific Christian friends the Lord has placed in your life. How do you need to be more intentional about that? 

With all this, Paul here models for us a different way to think about and approach the Christian friends the Lord has placed in our lives. He calls us to remember them with regularity. He calls us to give thanks for them and the ways the Lord is working in and through them. He calls us to consider them with joy as we see them as gifts of God. 

That’s the first thing our text calls you to this morning: It calls on you to think differently about your Christian friends themselves. 

How Should We Think About the Relationship?  

Second, our text calls us to examine how we think about the relationship itself between us and our Christian friends.  

And to do that, Paul gives us here three attributes of Christian friendship. He says that Christian friendship is a gospel partnership, between people who care for each other deeply and personally, and who know that they are fellow partakers of grace. 

So first, Christian friendship is a gospel partnership. Paul brings this out in verse five. He highlights that one reason he gives thanks for his Christian friends in Philippi is “because of [their] partnership [with him] in the gospel” over many years. 

What we see there is that Christian friends are united in a common mission: to see the gospel, to believe the gospel, to live according to the gospel, and to spread the good news of the gospel to others. Christian friendship is not without content or without any outside reference point. Among other things, Christian friends are called to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, looking to Christ, and doing what he has called them to do. 

And that has been true of Paul and the Philippian Christians. They have labored together in the gospel. They have supported and encouraged one another in the gospel. They have been gospel partners. 

C.S. Lewis described friendship as being rooted in two people who have a mutual interest in something else, standing side-by-side, looking at that outside interest that drew them together. [Lewis, 247-249] 

Christian friends can be united by many common interests, but the foundational common interest that unites them should be the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

And so Christian friendship should be a gospel partnership. 

But partnership doesn’t give us the full picture of Christian friendship we see here. And, in fact, I would suggest that Lewis’s more narrow model of friendship was missing some important components, which may have reflected his personality more than a biblical concept of friendship. 

What Lewis said wasn’t wrong – but I do think it was incomplete. Because Paul shows us here that while Christian friends do stand side-by-side looking at a common task, they also stand before each other, and look to each other. 

And we see that in the second aspect of Christian friendship that Paul describes here: That Christian friendship is between people who care for each other deeply and personally. 

You simply cannot escape the deep and personal affection present in this passage. “I hold you in my heart” Paul writes in verse seven. “I yearn for you all” he writes in verse eight, “with the affection of Christ Jesus.” 

Paul isn’t just standing next to the Philippians, working towards a common goal. Paul is looking at them. He’s remembering them. He’s yearning for them. He holds them in his heart with affection. Christian friendship is supposed to be a relationship in which people care for one another deeply and personally. That means you don’t just seek to work with them, but to know them and to be known by them – to enjoy them, to rejoice with them, to grieve with them, and to miss them when you are apart. 

Christian friendship is supposed to be a relationship in which people care for each other deeply and personally. 

So Christian friendship is a gospel partnership. Christian friendship is a personal relationship of care and affection. But then third, Paul also points out that Christian friendship is rooted in the fact that we are fellow partakers of grace. That is what Paul says in verse seven: “It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace.” 

Knowing that we are fellow partakers of grace is the foundation of building a true Christian friendship. And that’s true for a few reasons. 

For one thing, it means that in a Christian friendship, you acknowledge up front that you are both sinners. And so you shouldn’t try to hide or deny that fact with one another. 

In the secular world, people put a lot of energy into trying to project to others, and convince others, and assure others, that they are not sinners – or at least not sinners when it comes to those sins our culture actually does condemn. A lot of energy goes into trying to project the image that they are the good guys, and so they are worthy of friendship. And a lot of fear is generated by the belief that if anyone knew their sin – the flaws our culture judges and condemns – if anyone knew those things about them – then they would be rejected and friendless. 

Sadly, we Christians often act the same way. Like unbelievers, we too can try to hide our sinfulness and insist on our virtue and worthiness, around others. 

But if in our Christian friendships we truly acknowledge that we are fellow partakers in the grace of the gospel, then there’s no longer any reason to hide. We no longer need to pretend that we are perfect. We can be honest about ourselves. 

We can also accept the honesty of others about themselves. We can handle hearing about our friends’ sins, and we can continue to be in relationship with them without rejecting them, not because we minimize their sin (not at all) – but because we take it as a given that we are fellow partakers of the grace of the gospel, and therefore we both have ugliness in our hearts that is in need of mercy and grace. 

But knowing we are fellow partakers in the grace of the gospel doesn’t just help us be honest about our mutual sinfulness. It should also help us be confident of our mutual worth. 

Because if you both believe the gospel, then you both know that you were each made in the image of God, and that you bear the image of God, and so have dignity. Yes, that image has been twisted and marred by your sin, but it has not been eradicated. And so you must treat one another with dignity. That’s true of any relationship. 

And then, between Chrstians, that dignity and value comes not only from your creation, but also from your redemption. If we both believe the gospel, then we cannot dismiss one another, because we know that Christ loved each of us so much that he died for us. So how can we dismiss our friend’s value – how can we even allow them to dismiss their own value – when we know that Jesus has valued them so dearly? 

As fellow partakers of grace, you know you are both sinners, you know you are both valuable redeemed image-bearers … but also, you know that you are both gifts to each other. You know that the Lord has provided you to each other, to build one another up, and to bear one another’s burdens – both in the good times and the bad times. 

In verse seven Paul writes “for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” Paul’s point is that he knows the Philippians are with him in both his trials and his triumphs. Imprisonment would have been a source of shame in the ancient world. [McDonough, 2280] But the Philippians remain faithful to Paul, helping him bear the burden of his imprisonment. They were also there to build him up for success – when his gospel is vindicated before others. In both hardship and success, Paul knows that he can turn to and expect God to work through these Christian friends the Lord has placed in his life. 

And with all that, Paul calls us to see our Christian friendships as a gospel partnership, between people who care for each other deeply and personally, and who know that they are fellow partakers of grace. 

How Should We Think About Our Hope Within Those Friendships? 

So we see how Paul calls us to approach our Christian friends. We see how Paul calls us to approach our Christian friendships. 

Third and finally, how should we approach our hope within these Christian friendships? 

We may not think of it very often … but friendships are often killed by hopelessness. Sometimes it’s hopelessness for the relationship: You go through a difficult patch in your friendship – maybe in the form of conflict, maybe in the form of neglect – and in the midst of that difficulty, at a certain point, you lose hope that it will be healed. And so you pull away. You euthanize the friendship out of hopelessness that it will ever recover. 

Other times hopelessness develops towards the individual friend. You see their flaws, their shortcomings, their besetting sins. And those things continue to be there. Even as they try to fight them, and maybe make some progress, in many ways the same shortcomings and sins remain. And you become hopeless that they will ever change. And then soon … tired of dealing with or hearing about those same shortcomings over and over again … you quietly pull away from them … and the relationship begins to fade. 

Hopelessness has killed many friendships. 

What hope, then, does Paul give us for our Christian friendships? What does he tell us is the basis of our hope? 

The answer comes in verse six. Paul writes: “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.” 

Now … there are a few things going on there. 

For one thing, we see that Paul’s hope for the Philippian Christians and for his relationship to them, does not rest on their worldly attributes or accomplishments. He doesn’t say here that his confidence is in their level of education … or their career success … or their family background … or their socioeconomic status … or their worldly prestige, or their leadership roles in the community, or their race, or their gender, or their age. Those sorts of earthly attributes or earthly accomplishments are not where Paul’s confidence lies. 

We may often place our hope in such things … but Paul does not. 

Earlier this month I attended our denomination’s General Assembly. While catching up with friends there, I heard updates about three different people I had known in other ministry contexts … each of them, when I ministered alongside them, I recognized they were so intelligent and so impressive in their personal abilities … and each of them has since walked away from the Lord. One, I learned, has been excommunicated. Another has denied the faith. A third, has walked away from their marriage and cast aside the Christian ethic. Each of these were people I had looked up to for their intellectual abilities and theological knowledge. And frankly, if I’m honest, I probably placed my confidence and my hope for them in their intellectual abilities and their theological knowledge.  

Of course their stories are not over yet. But where they are right now is a reminder that such earthly attributes and accomplishments are not a solid ground for confidence or hope in our Christian friendships or our Christian friends. 

Maybe for you, it’s not intellect or knowledge … but are there earthly attributes that you tend to put your confidence and hope when it comes to the Christian friends you have and the friendships you cultivate? 

Paul here calls us to put our hope for such friends and such friendships not in earthly attributes, but in two realities of the gospel: What Christ has done in them, and what Christ still will do in them. 

First, Paul calls us to ground our hope in the fact that Christ has already been at work in them. He refers in verse six to the reality that Christ has begun a good work in the Philippian Christians. 

This is what we are to look for as a basis for hope and confidence in our Christian friendships: Not their accomplishments or their credentials, but indications that Christ is at work in their hearts and lives, giving them faith, giving them a relationship with him, helping them (however imperfectly) to follow after him. 

Now … we can’t see people’s hearts and so we can’t perceive such things perfectly. Sometimes we’ll get it wrong: we’ll miss something that’s there … or we’ll think we see something that’s not there. But still, we should look for such things, because the fruit of Christ’s work in people’s hearts and lives is often perceptible. And as we see it, and grow in confidence that Christ is at work in them, we should give thanks and we should have hope. 

And hope is, ultimately, about the future. In the gospel, hope is grounded in the past, but it extends to what is yet to come. And so Paul writes: “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.” 

Paul knows that God finishes what he starts. And so, those whom he calls and adopts, and justifies, he will also sanctify, and finally glorify. 

And that is the grounding of our hope – our hope for our Christian friends themselves, and also for our Christian friendships. 

Though our Christian friends may struggle and stumble at times – though they may have difficulties or even seasons of spiritual failure – if Christ is at work in them, then we can have confident hope that he who began a good work in them will bring it to completion. 

Though our Christian friendships may go through difficult seasons … though we may have periods of conflict or of neglect … if Christ is at work in both of us, then we can have confident hope for our friendship, because he who began a good work in both of us will bring it to completion. 

That is our hope. 

But we should also be mindful of the timing Paul gives here. 

He says: “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.” 

Paul doesn’t express confidence or certainty that his Christian friends will be made perfect tomorrow … or next week … or even next year. His confidence and certainty are that they will be made perfect and complete “at the day of Jesus Christ” – when Christ returns and raises them from the dead, and makes all things new. The certainty is that at that point, all God’s people will be made perfect and whole, with new hearts and new bodies, and we will dwell together in perfect friendship for all eternity. That is the ultimate hope. 

Now … growth will occur between now and then. Those whom Christ has justified and those whom Christ will glorify, Christ is also at work in now, sanctifying them – making them more and more like himself. But we do not ultimately get to determine the pace of that growth in our friends’ lives. 

Which means that even as we can have confident hope for the final outcome … we also need to have a lot of patience for the here and now. 

And anyone who has had long-term Christian friendships – friendships that are open and honest and close, for ten or fifteen or twenty or more years – anyone who has walked with another believer for that long knows that it takes patience. You see growth. You see God at work. You see progress and success. But you also see them fighting over the same spiritual battlegrounds, back and forth, gaining ground and sometimes losing ground, over and over again … often for decades. 

And we can become impatient. We may want to demand that the battle be completed once and for all, right now. But that’s not ordinarily how spiritual growth works. And if we know ourselves at all, then we should recognize that our long-term Christian friends probably feel the same way about us. For all our growth over the years, walking alongside us has required them to be patient with us as well. 

The knowledge that Christ is at work in us and them – the promise that he who began a good work in us will, in fact, bring it to completion – should bring us great joy and confident hope for the future. But it also calls for patience in the present. Because that full completion will not come in this life, but in the life to come. 

Nonetheless, because Christ keeps all his promises, we can engage with our Christian friends with wonderful hope and encouragement. 


In our text this morning, Paul outlines for us a model of Christian friendship: of how we should approach the Christian friendships we have, and possibly of what kind of new Christian friendships we should seek. 

What are the key take-aways that you should remember this morning? 

Paul here reminds us that we should remember our Christian friends regularly, with thanksgiving and joy.  

He reminds us that our Christian friendships are to be gospel partnerships between people who care for each other deeply and personally, and who know that they are fellow partakers of grace.  

And he reminds us that in such friendships, the grounding for our hope must be the fact that Christ is at work in them and in us, and that Christ will bring his work in each of us to completion. 

Christian friendship is an incredible gift. Let us seek it. Let us nurture it. Let us rejoice in it. 

Because while many things we have in this life will fade away one day, the Bible reminds us that Christian friendship is a gift for eternity. 



This sermon draws on material from: 

Barth, Karl. The Epistle to the Philippians. 40th Anniversary Edition. Translated by James W. Leitch. Introductory Essays by Bruce L. McCormack and Francis B. Watson. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. 

Fee, Gordon D. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995. 

Lewis, C. S. The Four Loves in a collection of four works titled The Inspirational Works of C. S. Lewis (New York, NY: Inspirational Press, copyright 1960, collection printed 1994) 

McDonough, Sean M. Introduction and notes to Philippians in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. 

Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. 

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