Summary: Encourage and empower the beleivers to enjoy their partnership in the gospel until the Lord’s return.
NIV Philippians 1:3 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; for 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 until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God.
Live for the Day of Christ Jesus!
I. as Partners in the Gospel.
II. as Students of Christ’s Love.
Introduction: Do you know what you want for Christmas? Do you know what I want for Christmas? Many of you over the past week have asked me, ‘What does Pastor Schneider and his family want? I know what Pastor Schneider wants for Christmas. It’s not a palm pilot. It’s not a secretary. It’s not a change in ministry. He wants a congregation that Lives for the Day of Christ Jesus, Living as partners in the gospel and students of Christ’s love with him and his family.
The apostle Paul enjoyed an excellent relationship with all the congregations he served with the gospel. In just about every letter he follows his greetings with thanksgiving for what the gospel accomplished among the believers. But there was something extra special between Paul and the Philippians believers. Paul called them my joy and my crown. Whenever he thought about them, you can imagine a smile growing on his face from ear to ear. And each memory filled him with joy. So much joy that he could even smile and laugh as he wrote from prison awaiting trial before Caesar himself in Rome.
Whenever Paul thought about Philippi, he must have remembered his first day of preaching along a river, when he met Lydia, who believed and then opened her house up to the missionaries in order to start mission work headquarters. How could he ever forget the jailer of Philippi who heard the imprisoned missionaries singing in their cells after they nearly were whipped to death. Then miraculously all the prison doors swung open, and yet Paul and the Silas didn’t run away. The jailer was ready to end his life and enter hell, when Paul stopped him reminded him of the gospel truth of Jesus Christ and he was saved. But not only the jailer but he too opened his home for Paul to preach to his entire household; slaves and all. Paul must have also remembered how the Philippians’ had generously sent him gifts to support his gospel work, soon after he had left their city. And the reports of the Philippians faith love and loyalty to the Gospel continually flowed in wherever Paul was working. All of these memories, Paul wraps up into one phrase. One phrase that brought Paul great joy –Your partnership in the gospel.
The Holy Spirit’s work in the Philippians heart through the gospel had brought them into a wonderful partnership with Paul and with all believers. The essence of that partnership – we sometimes also call fellowship – is a mutual sharing in the blessings of forgiveness and salvation won by Christ and in the new spiritual life the Holy Spirit creates in a sinner’s heart through faith in Christ.
We aren’t joined together because you liked the way I look or the way I speak. I didn’t team up with you because of the great pay or the great benefits. When I accepted the call to be your servant that was a call from God to serve my partners in the gospel. We are united in our faith. The partnership that we have we sometimes call fellowship is one of common priorities. We all together are All for one. You and I know and believe that by ourselves we are like rotten garbage in God’s nose. All our righteous acts are like filthy rags, that need to be thrown out into the garbage. We have a common faith in God’s Mercy, so that we repent of our sins and humbly come into his presence with confidence because of his son’s life and death on the cross for us. We are joined together by the Holy Spirit. All of us have been changed by God’s Love into His family members. You are my brothers and sisters.