Summary: AS WE LABOR TOGETHER UNTIL CHRIST RETURNS, FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL SPARKS THREE RESPONSES: JOYFUL THANKSGIVING INTIMATE BONDS PURPOSEFUL PRAYER (FOR SPIRITUAL MATURITY)
AS WE LABOR TOGETHER UNTIL CHRIST RETURNS,
FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL SPARKS THREE RESPONSES:
- JOYFUL THANKSGIVING
- INTIMATE BONDS
- PURPOSEFUL PRAYER (FOR SPIRITUAL MATURITY)
(:1-2) INTRODUCTION -- THE SUBJECTS OF FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
A. "Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus"
dedicated to the will of another; frees one up for fellowship;
based on true unity (both seeking the same goal) rather than conflict over selfish desires and ambitions
Despite Paul’s prominence as the apostle to the Gentiles, he always maintained the spirit of teamwork (rather than dominating in some type of hierarchical fashion)
Bruce: "Paul is the sole author of the letter, even if Timothy’s name is conjoined with his in the prescript."
B. "to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi"
not just some elite group of believers;
fellowship in the gospel is the calling for all of us;
we have been separated from fellowship with the world and with sin so that we can fellowship with one another and with God (1 John 1);
the issue is not one of attained holiness, but of consecration accomplished by God
leaders ("overseers and deacons") are addressed as a subset of this community of believers -- not set apart on some pedestal
even within this subset, the emphasis is on teamwork and plurality of godly leadership -- not dominance by one superstar
(Note: no differentiation between one pastor-teacher who is in a special category from all the other ruling elders)
maybe parts of this epistle will have special application to the leaders?
Gromacki: "Although the three terms (bishop, elder, pastor) describe the same person, it is possible to isolate their distinctive emphases. First, the concept behind ’pastor’ is to.shepherd and to feed. The main responsibility here is the supply of spiritual
nourishment through biblical teaching. A pastor must be a teacher, first and foremost (Eph. 4:11; I Tim. 3:2). Pastoral care has three goals, delineated by Jesus Christ Himself; to teach the immature or new Christians (John 21:15), to teach adult believers
(John 21:17), and to guide all the flock (John 21:16). Second, the essence of the ’bishop’ is to render oversight, to see that the work of the local church is done correctly by the members who have been trained by him. Third, the term ’elder’ refers to the
individual’s position and to his respect by others."
"in Christ Jesus" -- vital relationship by life-sharing union
I. (:3-6) FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL SPARKS JOYFUL
A. The Recipient of Our Thanksgiving is the God who Cares for us so Personally
God was not just an abstraction or theological proposition
B. The Occasion for Thanksgiving Should be Our Memories of fellowship with the saints "my whole remembrance of you"
the total picture; no sour notes
(rather than being an occasion for bitterness or hard feelings)
Boice: "For both the root meaning of the words (used for prayer) and the example of Paul teach us that our prayers should be filled with thanksgiving. And more than this, they should be filled with thanksgiving for spiritual things."
C. The Natural Twin of Thanksgiving is Consistent Petition
root word = "I need"
Characterized by a Joyful Spirit -- "with joy" - emphatic by position
D. The Reason for Our Thanksgiving and Petition is Fellowship in the Gospel
includes sharing in the spiritual blessings of eternal life and union with Christ;
as well as sharing in the work of the ministry -- both through their own active proclamation and through supporting missionaries
Carson: "The heart of true fellowship is self-sacrificing conformity to a shared vision."
E. The Confidence for Our Thanksgiving and Petition is the Perseverance of God
He is the one who enables us to labor together until Christ returns
Gal. 3:3 uses same two words talking about sanctification (not the continuance of their monetary gifts)
II. (:7-8) JOYFUL THANKSGIVING IS APPROPRIATE BECAUSE
FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL SPARKS INTIMATE BONDS
(:7) CLOSE UNITY
(:8) DEEP AFFECTION
A. Such Joyful Thanksgiving is Appropriate
B. Close Unity is Rooted in Partnership in the Grace of
of God that extends to both imprisonment and the defense and confirmation of the gospel
both can be technical legal terms for the courtroom; probably thinking of the recent aspects of his trial
C. The Depth of Affection Can Be Attested by God
III. (:9-11) FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL SPARKS PURPOSEFUL
PRAYER FOR ABUNDANT LOVE EXERCISED IN WISDOM
A. Request -- abundant love exercised in wisdom
They already were evidencing much love;
Love needs knowledge or it will be misdirected; knowledge alone puffs up and is worthless without love
B. Reason -- make wise choices; don’t let the good be the enemy of the best
C. Result -- be sincere and blameless, manifesting the fruit of righteousness;
this achieves the ultimate result of bringing God glory and praise