Summary: First in a series of messages on Philippians.
EVIDENCE OF TRUE FELLOWSHIP
This morning we begin a new series of messages. The book of Philippians is a great book dealing with the practical issues of life. It is just as relevant today as it was when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to pen these words.
Fellowship is a word that has in a sense, lost it’s Biblical meaning. It is more than having a church social after service. It is more than playing a round of golf together. It is the intimate sharing of hearts in the area of the love of Christ that we share in common.
ILL. Mrs. Jones made frequent trips to the branch post office. One day she confronted a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerks. Mrs. Jones only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked, “Why don’t you use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to stand in line.” Mrs. Jones said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” Source unknown
When we have true fellowship we can say with Paul:
I. I HAVE YOU IN MY MIND. VS 3-6
A) Paul is thinking about others even during this tumultuous time in his life.
He awaiting trial in Rome.
At Philippi he was illegally arrested, beaten, placed in stocks, and humiliated in front of the people.
But what does he remember?
1) The conversion of the Philippian jailer.
3) “Am I the kind of Christian that brings joy to the minds of those who think about me?”
B) It brought joy to Paul and should to us to see and think about believers who are growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
An older couple had trouble remembering common, day-to-day things. They both decided that they would write down requests the other had, and so try to avoid forgetting. One evening the wife asked if the husband would like anything. He replied, “Yes. I’d like a large ice-cream sundae with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top.” The wife started off for the kitchen and the husband shouted after her, “Aren’t you going to write it down?” “Don’t be silly,” she hollered back, “I’m going to fix it right now. I won’t forget.” She was gone for quite some time. When she finally returned, she set down in front of him a large plate of hashbrowns, eggs, bacon, and a glass of orange juice. He took a look and said “I knew you should have written it down! You forgot the toast!” Source unknown
II. I HAVE YOU IN MY HEART. VS. 7-8
A) This goes a little deeper than having someone in our mind. Some might have to admit that instead of this statement they would have to honestly say “I have you on my nerves.” What is the saying? I have one nerve left and you are on it?
B) I have heard people say “I get along better with my unsaved neighbor than I do with some of my fellow believers.
C) Christian love is not something we work up but something we allow to flow through. Jesus has given His love. We have to put away selfishness and pride in order to allow that to flow through.
D) How can we tell when we are practicing this kind of love?
1) We are concerned about them: Paul sent Epaphroditus to go to minister to the Philippians in his absence.
2) We are willing to forgive them: I Peter 4:8
III. I HAVE YOU IN MY PRAYERS. VS. 9-11
A) The old testament High Priest wore a garment called the Ephod over his heart. On this Ephod were 12 stones, one representing each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
B) We should pray for:
1) Love: Love from us to them and from them to us.
2) Discernment: To a child every car is the same but not to a teenager. A teenager begins to pick out models and colors quicker than a parent can say “Goodbye money.”
To a baby Christian, everything that comes in the name of Christ looks the same. But to a maturing believer, wolves in sheep clothing become evident.
3) Character: Without offence.
4) Service: That they may bear fruit.