Summary: Paul was confident in the Lord and committed to the church. We need to share his confidence in the Lord and a genuine commitment and devotion to the church.
Partners in the Faith
Philippians 1: 3-8
It is impossible to read the letter to the Philippians and miss Paul’s great love for the church. In fact, as you read his many epistles, the love he had for the church is confirmed again and again. It does appear he had a special bond with those at Philippi and he sought to encourage them in the faith. He was well aware of the impact they had on his life and ministry, and the partnership they shared in the Gospel.
While he was no longer with them, separated physically, I still see a loving pastor speaking to the congregation he longed to serve. The passage we have considered today paints a picture of a healthy, prosperous congregation of believers. We need to develop and maintain the same attitude and affections they possessed toward one another. Our service to the Lord requires individual service, but congregations will never accomplish the task they have received unless they come together in faith, unity, and love.
As we discuss the sentiments Paul shares in the text, I want to consider the thought: Partners in the Faith. First we discover:
I. A Conscious Gratitude (3-5) – Here Paul reveals his overwhelming gratitude for the church at Philippi. We need to possess the same gratitude for Fellowship. Notice:
A. His Remembrance (3) – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. It is evident that the church in Philippi was continually on the mind of Paul. As he thought of the church, he was compelled to thank the Lord for them. His love and devotion prompted him to pray for them.
I understand my role is different than others in the church. I serve the church in a full time role. You are my only responsibility as far as vocational work is concerned, but it is more than a job I am expected to perform. I too am thankful for each of you and the opportunity I have to serve you. I hope each of you are mindful of the church throughout the day and thankful for those who make it up. We are all blessed to be part of such a wonderful group of believers!
B. His Request (4) – Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. Each time Paul prayed, he sought the Lord for the church in Philippi. He was thankful for them and desired the blessings of the Lord upon them. They were continually being lifted up by Paul. I don’t want to overlook an important aspect of Paul’s prayers for them – he did it with joy! It was not a burden to pray for them. He loved them and found great joy in interceding for them.
I honestly try to pray for the church daily, but I know I could do better. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have and often the least used. As members of this local body, we are obligated to continually pray for one another. Each time we pray, we ought to speak to the Lord on behalf of our congregation. That is not being selfish; that is being a good church member, with a genuine concern for the local body of which we are a part. Our prayers should be offered with joy. It should never be a burden to pray for those within the church. We are privileged to have such an opportunity. I hope we will make the most of those opportunities!
C. His Relationship (5) – For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. Paul was also thankful for the fellowship he enjoyed with the church in Philippi. This speaks of them being fellow participants. I have heard it said that fellowship can be described as two fellows in the same ship, working together to move the boat and stay on course. They were fellow laborers in the Gospel of Christ. They shared a common salvation, and a common desire to advance the Gospel. Paul was thankful for those with whom he shared a relationship and a burden for the unsaved.
Healthy churches require healthy relationships. If we are to remain effective, we must all be willing to actively participate in the work of ministry. There is too much to accomplish for only a few being engaged. We need to be mindful of one another and the needs of the unsaved.
II. A Confident Attitude (6) – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Although Paul was unable to be with the church in Philippi, he was confident of their ability and endurance in Christ. Consider:
A. The Confirmation (6) – Being confident of this very thing…Paul was writing to the church from a Roman prison and they continued to face adversity and persecution for their faith, but there was no reason for fear our doubt. Paul was confident of his calling; he was confident of their salvation; he was confident in the Lord. He wanted them to possess such confidence as well.