Riverside Community Church

Philippians Part 1 - God Won't Let Go

Philippians 1:6

Today we start an 11-part series of messages from the book of Philippians which is 1 of the 4 ‘prison epistles’ that Paul wrote. Paul was in prison, most likely in Rome, when he wrote Philippians in 61 AD and was awaiting trial and probable execution. He affectionately writes them with deep love and caring tones urging them to have joy, to be steadfast and to trust God to finish the good work God started in them. Paul himself knew his own experience and was passing it on to them despite his jailed existence.

        You may feel imprisoned in your situation, with your health, with your home problem, in your finances, even relationships can feel like prisons at times. Whatever your prison may be, this book of Philippians is for you.

Let me paint the picture of Paul’s prison for you and include other apostles’ experience with prison life.

King Agrippa whose other name was King Herod had built prisons and in Acts 12 we read this:

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each (16 in total -4 at a time for 6 hours each). Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after Passover.

5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

-chained twice to soldiers in the sewage filled hole in the ground, and with 2 other guards watching the gates, an angel comes, the chains drop off, the gates open wide, and Peter is free.

18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.

In Rome’s prisons most criminals were all changed together, males and females, young and old, in a holding room of dirt floors and stone walls. There were no washrooms, terrible things could happen between criminals and no food/water was supplied. Family and friends would have to bring that in. Generally, they would be executed.

This was Paul’s probable situation and in his prison cell he has joy.

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

One of the messages of Paul to you is you can have joy in your prison, in your situation there can be joy. That message of joy is for another Sunday. Today, the message is one of hope in your situation,

Philippians 1:6 NIV

6 being confident of this (Paul writes from his own circumstance), that he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


God ain’t done with you and God won’t let you go.

When you came to Christ in faith, you believed in Christ as your Saviour, God forgave you of all your sins -that’s the beginning, God began a good work in you then. God started to change you on the inside.

And what God starts He finishes. He promised it, Paul knew it was true in his own prison and Paul reminds us compassionately but pointily:

        he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. 



Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, was once travelling through a construction zone where road repair was extensive and she had a thought. This road construction is just like my life, their fixing this road just like God is fixing me. I’m under construction and the construction isn’t done.

        -in all of Ruth’s difficulties, even in some of circumstances that seemed like a prison to her, she could say and believe:

I’m under construction and God isn’t finished yet.


Ruth graham died on June 14, 2007, and in accordance with her instructions they wrote on her tombstone this:

End of construction.

Thank you for your patience.


Do you feel like you’re in a prison sometimes?

Are your life’s circumstances overwhelming?

Is your situation unbearable and painful?

Are your sins imprisoning,

your habits unbreakable,

your failures piling up?


WELL-you are under construction, and God won’t let you go, God will be with you all the way, helping you and making you.


God’s part is construction our part is co-operation.


(Song Steve Green)

He who began a good work in you He who began a good work in you Will be faithful to complete it He'll be faithful to complete it He who started the work Will be faithful to complete it in you.

If the struggle you're facing Is slowly replacing Your hope with despair Or the process is long And you're losing your song In the night

You can be sure That the Lord has His hand on you Safe and secure He will never abandon you You are His treasure And He finds His pleasure in you.

He who began a good work in you Will be faithful to complete it in you.

God wants to Begin a Work in Your Life

“He who has begun”

This is surprising but true,

God wants to work in the lives of sinners.

Here is amazing grace ready to work in us.


This is the opposite of what we naturally want.

We want to reach for the stars,

We want to climb higher.

God wants to reach down,

To meet and change a sinner.


Has God ‘began’ a good work in you? It all starts with you believing in Christ who died for your sin and trusting in Him to forgive you and then the construction begins. The remaking of you to image Christ.

Are you under construction right now? If you are a Christian, à you are ‘under construction’. There is no way to escape the ‘under construction’ sign.

Points to Ponder

  • -know this assuredly as Paul stated with full confidence, God will finish the ‘good work’ in you. God will help you all the way.

  • -Yield to the construction work, knowing God is at work in you.

  • -Believe God is working for your good because that’s true. Despite the circumstance and the prison, it seems to be, God makes everything work together for good for those who love Him.

  • -trust God in your construction zone, don’t murmur, complain, find fault, be bitter or unforgiving -trust God all the time. Because God loves and cares for you.

  • -sidebar -trust God with your children, they may be in ‘the construction zone’ as well. Wandering far from the Lord. If God began a ‘good work’ in them then trust God promise to finish the work He began.

        God is faithful to complete it in them.

  • -try to understand what God is trying to do in your life, God may be trying to take something out of your life or trying to add something into your life. Sometimes I think God tests us to see if we will be faithful.

Our Christian journey is not dependent on us but rather on a God who is faithful, He will complete it. Our part is to co-operate, obey and to follow.

In Psalm 105 God reminded the Israelites that despite their circumstance (enslaved in Egypt and now wandering in the desert) that He is faithful to His promises.

You see God delivered them out of the Egypt and into the desert, from one prison to another prison, from one construction zone to another. But He delivered them even through a wandering experience. Like the Israelites you end up at a place where God shows you that He kept His promise to you. You just didn’t realize it when He first shared with you the promise. Yet, no matter what time you are in, God is ultimately still faithful. You have to trust Him through all of the times, from heart break to wandering, from subtracting construction in your life to addition construction in your life. In the end, God will deliver on His promise.




Sept 3, 2023