James Merritt - Church Wanted
Philippi is an ancient city in Northern Greece I visited several times, I'm going back there next year. It was in his day, a bustling metropolitan city. It had a strong industrial base, had a great economy. Paul visited that city for the first time around 50 AD had never been there before. There was no church there, it was a pretty highly pagan city. And in 50 AD, he founded the first church, in the area that we would now call Europe. Well 10 years later, Paul is writing a letter to that church. And I'm convinced as I've read this letter many times that if Paul had a favorite church, of all the churches he founded and all the churches he started, I'm pretty sure he would say, if I had to tell you, Philippians would probably be, my all time favorite church.
And if you study this letter, you'll understand why. If you're a guest of ours, you've come into good Sunday because we are beginning a series of messages today through the book of Philippians, that we're calling joy ride. Because I believe this is gonna be a ride that you're going to enjoy. Is gonna put a smile on your face, a bounce to your step, just like it did the Apostle Paul. And one of the reasons why I'm really pumped about us studying the book of Philippians, is because to be very honest with you, we live in a generally joyless world. When you think about it? Lemme, lemme ask you a question. If you live in da, if you work Downtown Atlanta, so you gotta get up in the morning, you gotta fight traffic going down, you gotta fight traffic coming home. Just easy question. How much joy do you find on I-85? Not a lot.
Walk into a grocery store anytime, you don't find a lot of joy. And you know what it really doesn't matter where you live? It's just a joyless world. It doesn't matter whether you live in a relatively prosperous, peaceful country like ours? Or a war torn country across the globe? Globe and extremely poor nation? Everywhere you look, there's despair. There's disappointment, there's dissatisfaction, there's discouragement, there's division. And, and frankly, I don't think anybody would argue that, either inside most churches, or outside all churches, there's not an overabundance of joy. But this church was an exception. I'll tell you how I know that's true. Paul wrote 13 books in the New Testament, out of, out of 27, almost half the New Testament. Every one of them were letters, that he wrote to churches.
Now the interesting thing is, of the 13 letters 11 of them, were written to seven different churches. But when you read Philippians, something stands out. Of all the letters that Paul wrote to all the churches, this is the only letter, in which he never corrects any bad teaching, he never rebukes any bad behavior, he never has to handle a bad situation. It is a totally positive letter. And I've thought to myself as I've studied this book so many times. Why? What was it about this church that Paul just fell so in love with? Well, it was a church that was full of joy. It, it gave joy to the pastor that founded it, it gave joy to the people who attended it. As a matter of fact, 19 times in this book, you find three words. You find the word joy, you find the word rejoice, you find the word gladness.
And as you read this book and study this book, all of a sudden it hits you, this is what a church ought look like on the inside of the people who attend it. This is what a church ought look like from the outside, to people who don't attend it. So as we kind of begin our study, I would like to ask three questions. One of me, one of you, one of us. Here's my question to me. Am I the kind of pastor, who brings joy to God's heart? As he looks at me? Am I the kind of pastor, that brings joy to your heart by being here? Here's the second question. Am I the kind of church member, who brings joy to my pastor's heart when he thinks of me? But here's the bigger question. Are we the kind of church, that brings joy to the people who attend the church on the inside, and the people who look at the church from the outside? I really believe if the first two things are true, the last thing will be true.
So as we begin our study in Philippians today, if you have your little booklet called The Year of the Disciple, we're on page 40. You can look on there and you'll find our scripture for the day there. And I wanna share with you today, three things that were true about that church, that I want us to be true about our church both to insiders and to outsiders. I wanna be a church that's wanted. Now the question is, what does that mean? What, what, what does that look like? How is it that we want everyone whether they're inside the church or outside the church to see us? When you're out on the street, you're in the grocery store, you're talking to a next door neighbor, and Cross Pointe Church, whether it's Mill Creek or Sugarloaf. Cross Pointe Church comes up. What do we want people to see, and to think about us? Well Paul said, three things.
Number one, we want people to be grateful when they think about us. Grateful, when they think about us now, here's how Paul begins his letter. Paul and Timothy servants of Jesus Christ to all God's holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi. He was talking to the church. So if you know the Lord and your follower of Jesus, you may be, you may be kind of down in your life, or up in your life. You may be hitting on all these cylinders or not so much, but you're still part of God's holy people. Together with the overseers that's people like me, and deacons. Grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he says this. I thank my God, every time I remember you. As a pastor, that's mind boggling.
Now Paul is talking to two groups of people, that actually make up every church that's ever been or ever will be. Our church is made up, of two kinds of people, Jews and Gentiles. By the fact let me clue you on something. The whole world is basically could be boiled down, ethnically speaking to two kinds of people. You're either a Jew or a Gentile. Everybody's one or the other? If you're Jewish, you're not a Gentile. If you're Gentile, you're not Jewish. And so here was a church that, that, was full of Jews and full of Gentiles.
You say how do you know they were full of both? Well because of the greeting that Paul gave them. He says, grace and peace to you. Grace is the way you would greet a Gentile. If you were walking down the street, and it was obvious that someone was not Jewish, your greeting was grace. If you were walking down the street, and you walked into a Jew, it was shalom which means peace. Peace to you. So I know right off the bat, this was a very diverse church. You had Gentiles, you had Jews. And yet, it was full of joy. Evidently had any few real difficult problems, which really kind of is amazing. But the more amazing statement to me, is the one that blows my mind. And it speaks volumes about how much Paul loved this church and the kind of people that were in it. He said, every time I remember you every time, I thank God for you.
Now I wanna be transparent as a pastor, I want to go, come on. Really? I, I pastored five churches, on the one hand, for the most part, my memories of those churches are good memories. And, and, and I can honestly say, I'm thankful for most of the people I pastored, not all the people I pastored. I'm thankful for all the churches that would admit as their pastor, but I'd be lying if I said, every memory is a good memory. I'd be lying if I said man, I'm thankful for every person I have ever pastored. Now to be fair, I probably could fill this church up with people that are not too thrilled I was ever their pastor. So I get it y'all it kind of works both ways I understand. And I, and frankly, I'm sure that the way that I remember some people, would not be the way they would remember me. And the way that I, that they remember me, is not the way I would remember them. You can have the same experience and yet have two different memories.
I'll give you an illustration. There were two women who worked in the same office, downtown in a building, and they were chatting and having a talk. And they were both married to two men who also worked in the same office in another building. Well they were kind of having a talk one morning and wife number one was talking to wife number two. She said you know why I had a beautiful evening last night? It was fantastic. She said, how was yours? The second wife said it was a disaster. My husband came home, ate his dinner in about three minutes and fell asleep. Tell me about your evening? She said oh my evening was amazing. She said my husband came home, took me out for romantic dinner. After dinner we walked for an hour. When we came home, he lit candles around the house it was a fairytale.
Well it just so happened, the same two husbands, ran the same conversation in another building in another office. And they're having the same conversation. Husband number one said, hey, how was your evening last night? Husband number two said it was great. I came home, my wife had dinner on the plate, I ate, I fell right asleep, woke up great, it was wonderful. He said, how about you? Oh he said man it was a disaster. He said what happened? Well I came home, there was no dinner on the table, they had cut the electricity because I forgot to pay the bill, had to take my wife out for dinner, which was so expensive. I didn't have enough money left for the cab. We had to walk home which took an hour. When we got home, I remember there was no electricity, had to light candles all over the house.
So you see you can have the same experience, but you can remember it two different ways. And, and it's the it, it's very rare that anybody has great memories about everybody all the time. And yet Paul makes this incredible statement. He said every single time, I remember every single one of you in that church. Man I just thank God for you. You, you just put a smile on my face you put joy in my heart, you put a bounce to myself. And I just wanna say, that's what I want people to say about our church. Those who attend our church and those who don't, those who know about our church and those who just hear about our church.
I want people to be grateful about for us. I wanna be the kind of church that if we decided today you know what? We're just gonna shut everything down, we're gonna sell this property, we're just gonna go our separate ways, that the whole community would go into mourning. I want people to say, you can't do that, you can't leave. We need you, we love you, you're giving too much. We're thankful for your ministry to the needy, your ministry to the hungry, your ministry to the community, your ministry to the schools, your ministry to the city. That's what I want people to think about, is be grateful. When they think, when they just hear the name Cross, oh, I've heard about your church. So thankful for all that you do. But then Paul says something else. He said we not only want people to be grateful when they think about us, we want people to be joyful when they talk about us. Joyful when they talk about us.
Now this is what Paul says. He says in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. I can't say that. I'm just being honest. There have been times in my ministry I've prayed Lord, it's okay if that family leaves and goes somewhere else. No, no hard feelings. I, every time Paul prayed for this church, and every time time Paul talked out about this church, he radiated. He was so happy, he was so full of joy. And by the way keep in mind, when Paul wrote this letter, he's writing from a prison. And so Paul, Paul for Paul, there were not a lot of beautiful days. But every time Paul thought about this church, and every time Paul thought about this people, his day was filled with beautiful joy.
Well that raises a question? So hey, hey doc, what, what was it about this church? That brought such joy to Paul's heart? What, what was it about this church that put a bounce in his step? Well, it's not hard to find. This church did one thing. Now listen carefully one thing. One thing this church did. And it would make anyone who knew anything about this church to be joyful when they talked about this church. You know what this church did that brought such joy to Paul's heart? What's this he said, every time I prayed for you, I prayed with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day, until now. Now hang with me. That word partnership, you wouldn't recognize it probably because in the Greek language in the New Testament, most often that word's translated fellowship. But that word fellowship, is one of the most misunderstood words in the New Testament. 'Cause we, when we think about fellowship, well so man, I had some good fellowship today.
Here's what we think. We think fellowship is just, meeting up with somebody to have a cup of coffee or, or go hunt or go fish or go play golf or take a spa day or something like that. Well in the first century, the word fellowship actually was a financial term. And it was ready to commerce and business I'll give you an illustration. If two people decide they're gonna go into business together. And let's say they're gonna be, equal partners. So this guy's gonna put in 50%, this guy's gonna put in 50%. Now we're talking business. Once they decide they're gonna go into business together we don't call it a fellowship we call it a what? Y'all partnership. It is a partnership that's the word that was used.
See here's the difference? This church understood I don't know how they did it. But they understood from the time they had their first service. You know what? We've just entered into a partnership. Paul we've entered into a partnership with you. We've into a partnership with each other. Lord we've entered into a partnership with you. Now we've gotta do two things as partners. If we're gonna be partners, we've gotta give to the work of the gospel. And we also have to work to spread the gospel. And we've got to do it together. And I'm gonna make this statement. I believe that so much would radically change in our church. I'm not talking about any other church.
I believe so much would change in our church if every one of you listening to me right now, even one of our campuses would understand, you should never just walk in here as an attender, you should ever walk in here as just a member. You wanna walk in here and understand, you're a partner. And partners are fully invested in the ministry. Partners buy into the ministry partners put their money where their mouth in and their time where their mouth is. You roll up your sleeves you go to work in this ministry. You, you, you buy into the ministry. By the way that's what we mean by worship and disciple and send and serve. For example, we just got through having wonderful worship. What were we doing? We were celebrating the gospel together.
Well what do you do when you, when you disciple someone, you're teaching them to be a partner in the gospel. When you serve, why do you serve? It's a means of spreading the gospel. When you're sent, when you leave the church listen, let me, let me tell you something. It is gonna scare you for a minute. You're not gonna leave our church today. So what do you mean you're gonna lock the doors and pull out the guns? No I'm not gonna do that. Here's what I mean. If you are a part of this church, you can't leave this church. When you walk out that door, you take the church with you. Can I get amen to that? You, you are the church. Church doesn't stay here the building stays here, the church doesn't stay here.
So you know what your role is, when you walk out that door? To your neighborhood? To the people you work with? The people you do business with? You're a partner in this church. You're to be a marketing agent for this church. And by the way we're not just partners on Sunday we're partners on every day that ends in why? So lemme give you a pop quiz. I want you to answer out loud when I'm finished. Who is supposed to preach the gospel? Teach the gospel? Witness to the gospel? Support the gospel? And spread the gospel? Who's supposed to do that? Now we are. See I grew up in a day and I did. I grew up my, my thinking was when I was growing up in church? That's what we pay the pastor to do. That, that's your job. No, no, it's our job. Has to do with me being a pastor, has to do with being a follower Jesus and someone saved by the gospel. We're all to be gospel partners.
And here's the good news. We're all equal partners. There's no junior partners, there are no senior partners, we're all equal partners. And we are to have a partnership in the gospel. You say pastor why do you always hammer that? You seem like you say that almost every week. I'll tell you why. At the end of the day, I've learned this. I pastored five churches. At the end of the day, the only thing that will hold this church together, the only thing that will keep this church together, is the glue of the gospel. 'Cause you think, think about how diverse our church is. We've got men and women, young and old, blue-collar, white-collar, healthy and sick, fit and flabby, different races, different incomes, different levels of education, different personalities, different political parties.
But what is it that holds us together I'll tell you. If we will do one thing as a church, nothing will ever divide this church nothing. We've gotta be 100% all the time, every day sold out to the gospel. When people think about our church, I don't want to think about, was that a Conservative church? Liberal church, is a Republican church, Democrat church I said no. I want them to think, man, that's a church that loves the gospel. That's the church that's all about the gospel. That's the church that has centered on the gospel. Because think about go back to that early church? Do you understand all the barriers there were in that early church to come together and stay together?
There were racial barriers, there were Jews and Gentiles. There were social barriers you had slave and free. There were financial barriers you had rich and poor. There were cultural barriers you had Romans and Greeks. There were educational barriers you had the schooled and the illiterate. But there was one message that brought them together. There was one magnet that drew them together, there was one ministry that kept them together, and that was the gospel. And whenever a church comes together and says, you know what we're gonna do? We're gonna celebrate the gospel in our worship. We're gonna elevate the gospel in our service, we're gonna communicate the gospel in our lives. Here's what will happen. People everywhere will be joyful. When they talk about our church. I pray, you're catching the heart, and the spirit of what Paul said and what's in my heart today.
One day I'm gonna give an account as to how this I pastored this church. I will give an account as to, as to how every dollar that you gave to this church was spent. You don't think that keeps me up at night? Every dollar you want to give an account? You gotta give an account whether you give or not, I've gotta give it account is what we did with it. We get it we understand we take it very seriously. But let me tell you something. All of us as a church is gonna be judged by the Lord. What kind of a church were we? Were we the kind of church where people inside the church and people outside the church, they were grateful when they thought about us, they were joyful when they talked about us. But then there's one last thing. And it's my favorite part of the message. Paul said, you're the kind of church where people are grateful when they think about you? People are joyful when they talk you? But people are boastful in what they trust about you.
Now, now listen to what Paul says. There were a lot of things, that I guarantee you when Paul wrote this letter, he wasn't sure of. He wasn't even sure he'd finish the letter. He wouldn't even sure if this would be the last day he would live. He wasn't sure he'd ever get outta that prison, he wasn't sure he'd ever see these people again, he wasn't sure he'd ever preach in a church ever, ever again. But there was one thing Paul was rock rib absolutely totally sure about. Listen to what he says. Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you, will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Now what was Paul talking about? He was actually talking about two things. He first of all he was talking about their salvation, their relationship to God. He said you know what I'm sure about?
I'm sure that when God began that work in you 10 years ago? When God saved you, and God saved you, and God saved you, and God saved you, and God saved you. I am absolutely totally absolutely convinced you will never lose that salvation. Your relationship will never be broken, not because of your goodness, but because of God's grace. Because let me, let me go back and, and maybe help some of us this morning understand those of us who are following Jesus, how it all got started. I mean, how did these people become believers to begin with? You say well, you just told us, you said Paul went there, and Paul preached the gospel, and they responded, and they got saved. No that's what happened. I'm asking you how did it happen? How, how did that, all that start?
That word began is actually a compound verb that means to begin in. The work that God began in you it's only used two times in the New Testament. Both times referred to our salvation. So what did Paul mean when he said, he began a good work in you? What's interesting. If you go back to the book of Acts, and you read how this church got started, the very first convert in that church was a business woman named Lydia. She was a seller of purple dye she was a very rich woman. And evidently Paul met her, and Paul began to share the gospel with her and she responded to the gospel. But again, how did she respond? How did it all get started? Listen to what we read in the book of Acts. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia. She was a dealer in purple cloth, she was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart, to respond to Paul's message. Paul God began the church in Philippines, by beginning the work of salvation in Lydia.
Now this may surprise some of you 'cause there are a lot of us think, well I know I became a Christian. I did it. I started, I kind of decided I would come to the Lord. Yeah you did, but how did that happen? So listen to this next statement. You never start with God. God starts with you. God always goes first. And you better be glad that he does. You say well why is that? Because number one, you can't finish what God starts. I will preach. Number two thank you. I wish I had a hundred of you. Number two, number two. Not only can you not finish what God starts, gets better. What God starts, he always finishes. Always. That word there for carried onto completion we read a moment ago, it literally means to fully complete.
Now I'm gonna ask you a question let's all be honest. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you, if you don't raise your hand when I ask you this question, you're lying like a dog. No, you're lying like a gator. All right listen. How many of you, have ever started a job? You didn't finish. Okay, yeah. Maybe, maybe it's the puzzle you never put together, it's the room you left unpainted. It's the cake you have baked whatever it is. Yeah, we've all started a job we didn't finish. Listen to me. God never leaves a job half finished. He never leaves at three quarters finished, he never leaves at 99 for finish, finished. What God starts God finishes.
So let me tell you what that means. This will make some of you really get, get really get joyful. When God saves a person, he saves that person completely. I mean completely. Nobody's half saved, nobody's three quarter saved. You're either 100% saved or you're 100% lost. There is no in between. And when God saves us, he saves us body, he saves the soul, he saves us Spirit. He saves us completely. When God saves us, he saves us permanently. In other words, there's nothing temporary about it. You're not put on probation, there's no trial period. God doesn't save you and say, okay James, I'm gonna see if you kind live up to what you, what I want you to do. And I'm gonna see if you kind of make the scale, almost make sure that you do what I want you to do. And then I'll decide if I'm really gonna permanently save you or not it don't work that way.
When God saves you, he saves you permanently. And then when God saves us, he saves us eternally. He says, you will carry it on the completion for how long Paul? Until the day of Christ Jesus. When is the day of Christ Jesus? That's the day when time ends. That's the day when your life and my life ends that's the day when the world ends. And what Paul was saying was, one day time's going to end. one day your life's going to end, one day this world's going to end. But your relationship with God will never end. Because what God started in you, God will finish in you. But there's the second thing he was talking about. He who began a good work in you he said, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Well, so go back to the moment that you gave your life to Christ. Go, go back to the moment when you got saved. The two men were gonna baptize in a moment, one man got saved about six, seven weeks ago, one man got saved three years ago. Go back to that time in your life when you gave your life to Jesus. At that moment, what did God start doing in you? Paul tells us, he started doing a good work. So lemme tell you something that's true about, every one of you that know Christ today. You ready this is so good. This is true about the people you're sitting in front of, behind, next to, true about everybody in this room. True about you listening to me right now. If you're a follower of Jesus, I know exactly what God's doing in your life right now if you let him. A good work. Now you may not look on the outside. You, it may, some people you look at and you go I think, God took a break. I think God went on vacation. No trust me. Right now, God is doing a good work in you.
Do you know what God wants to do in you every day when you get outta bed? A good work. Do you know what God wants to do in you to the day you go to heaven? He wants to do a good work. Do you know what God wants to do very day in our church, through our church, with our church, by our church and for our church? He wants to do a good work. Do you know what I want people on the outside of our church saying? And knowing about those of us who are on the inside of this church? I always want our church to be known for two things. Number one, the good works that God is doing in us. I want people to look at our church and say, you know, when they walk into our church? They see the way that we worship, they see the way that we love each other, they see the way we engage in the message, they see the way we hunger for the study, the word of God. I want people to walk in our church and walk out and say man, I don't know what all God's doing, but boy, he's doing some good things in the people of this church.
And then the second thing I want them to know is, the good works that God's doing through us. I want them to know. Why do we have Care-Point? Why, why do we feed hungry people? Why do we cloth poor people? Why do we have CP Thursday several times a year? We ask hundreds of you to come out. And we just go serve anybody and everybody, we literally go try to find people we can serve just for the sake of serving. Why do we have feet on the street? People that go to Downtown Atlanta. Some of you don't even know this. We've got people that go to Downtown Atlanta, every single Saturday, minister to the homeless, the helpless, the hopeless, share the gospel, give them love, give them things that they need, who will never attend our church, who will never do anything for our church, who will never give anything back in our church. 'Cause we want people everywhere to know, God's doing a good work in this church.
And God's doing a good work through this church. And knowing that, every single one of us ought to be wanna be involved in that good work. See the people who looked at this church and that little tower called Philippi. They were boasting. They were bragging about what they trusted about them. They knew that church, could be counted on a lot more than Waffle House. To be a place of joy, and ministry, and service, and worship, and discipleship and love. I read something the other day. I read two things that broke my heart. And I think it's true. Somebody said, more and more people, find God believable, but the church unbearable. More and more people, find Jesus appealing, but the church appalling. It doesn't have to be that way. But it will take every one of us in this church at both of our campuses to wake up and finally say, you know what pastor?
I understand now what you said, I understand now the message of this passage. I'm not just to come here and fill a seat, I'm not even come here and drop an offering in a bucket. I'm not even come here to, to pretend to you while I'm listening to you while I'm texting my buddy. Y'all I know that goes on. The reason why God wants me to hear is to be a fully bought in partner of the gospel. And when we finally make up our minds you know what? That's what we need to do? It will radically change our church. By all accounts, the turning point of the revolutionary war, many historians say it's reason why we're Americas today and not British or Germans.
The turning point of the revolutionary war took place on Christmas day in 1776. Is when George Washington crossed the Delaware, totally surprised the British in one of the greatest victors of the war. And it turned the entire title of that conflict. Here's what a lot of people don't know. Washington troops were at the end of their enlistment. The vast majority of his army was discouraged, they had been up their mind we can't win this war. We should never got in to begin with. I don't wanna fight anymore, I just want to go home. And they were just about to put their arms down, and go back to their farms, and give everything up. The vast majority of his army. So Washington was trying to think, how can I make, how, how can I have by the way, they weren't even getting money that they were promised to be paid by the Congress.
So on December the 23rd Washington took a bold move. He had his officers all the way up and down the Delaware read the words of a pamphlet, entitled The Crisis. It was written by a man named Thomas Payne. When he sent orders to all his officers on the 23rd, all of us up down the Delaware, to read this pamphlet. He said I don't care whether you read some of it, part of it or all of it. But he said there is one thing you make sure you read and you make sure every soldier hears. And this is, these are the words that he told them to read. These are the times, that try men's souls. The summer soldier, listen to these words. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot.
What did he mean by summer soldier? That's the guy that will fight when it's hot and the sun shining, there's not a lot of stone in the ground, it's not too uncomfortable. And the sunshine patriot, who's the sunshine patriot? Oh he's all in, if the sun's shining. He's all in as long as it doesn't cost him anything. He's all in as long as he doesn't have to fight anybody. He says the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will end this crisis shrink from the service of their country. But he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. You know what happened? To a man the entire continental army said, we will stay and we will fight, and the rest is history.
So here's my message and we're finished. Not melodramatic, just the fact. Our churches that are crossing in many, many ways, not just our church, the church, but our church. And more and more, here's what we're seeing in the church everywhere. More and more we're seeing, summer soldiers, sunshine patriots. I'll come when I got nothing else to do. Don't ask me to serve. If I do give, I'll give when I wanna give, what I wanna give. And if I don't wanna give, I won't give. No I don't have a one, I'm not interested in having a one, I'm not into this gospel stuff. I just want to come and just kind of hear you encourage me and then just leave me alone.
We're at the crossing. The church is in the crossing. And I'm not ashamed to tell you, We need all of us to go all in. We need all of us to go all in being partners in the gospel. Giving to the work of the gospel, doing the work of the spread of the gospel. And I promise you if we do, we'll be a church wanted. And you know, one last thing. I wish I could tell you that God had a plan B, but there's no plan B. If we're not gonna be gospel partners in this area, who's gonna do it? There's a reason why we're here, there's a reason why we're at Mill Creek. There's a reason. Because God wants us to build something so magnificent, so great. So awesome. That yes he'll get the glory. The people will be grateful when they think about us. They'll be joyful, if they talk about us. And they'll be boastful, in what they trust about us. Because they'll know beyond anything else this God, who began a work in us, will complete it, until the day of Jesus Christ.