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Summary: What does the joy of forgiveness and the joy of partnership of God mean to you? Can others tell that you have joy?

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Joy in Partnership

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1: 3-11

A Vision of Joy in Partnership

I love team sports. I love watching them. I used to love playing them. When I did school gymnastics I remember jumping like the child I was when we built pyramids. I felt my spirit soar when I played ball games and team sports. You know what I am talking about. You played well, you worked together well, you earned respect, and most importantly you gained self-respect.

There are few things that give motivation like being around people who get along and do great things together. There is a joy in fellowship, but especially when we get beyond fellowship to partnership. When we enter a partnership we get beyond chit chat to deep and meaningful sharing and work together. St Paul had this partnership with the Philippians. There are few things that comfort like a community that lives and works in peace and harmony.

Following the lead of our text, I wish to encourage each one of you to be the best person you can be through your partnership with God and others in the body of Christ. We will look at what God brings to this partnership, and what we bring to this partnership. Let's also say a 'war cry!' When I say, 'Thank God you are here,' let's have you respond with, 'I don't know what I would do without you.'

Thank God you are here!

Our Share in Joy with God and Others

Let's have a look at our Christ inspired partnership and how God intermingles his part in it with our part in it. Listen to St Paul's words:

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

From these verses the first thing we learn is that St Paul had Joy. You have to know where to get joy and how to hang on to it. St Paul did! Joy is the key word in 'The Letter to the Philippians.' There are things that rob us of joy, but we can take the joy back. St Paul wrote this letter from prison. He did not let prison rob him of joy. He never lost his joy. It came from knowing his sins and having them forgiven. That is the 'gospel.' We cannot skip over our need for forgiveness. That means we have to 'fees' up, confess our sins to God and to each other as is appropriate. If we do not 'fees' up and let him clean us up, then we will mess up more. There is a shortage of joy because there is a shortage of confession and forgiveness. St Paul knew what God forgave him of. This made him joyful.


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