Summary: There are some precious saints in our local churches that are blessings to both the pastor and the membership of the church. We give God thanks for these precious people who serve God.
Text: Philippians 1: 3-8 " I thank my God upon every rememberance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. For your fellowship in the gospel from this day until now. Being confident of this one thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." KJV
Philippians 4:1 "Therefore my brethern, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." KJV
I really love the words found in these verses as the apostle Paul expresses his genuine feelings for these "PRECIOUS" saints of the Philippian church.
So many local churches are struggling today because of feelings of "bad blood" that exists between the pastor and the congregation. Many churches cannot keep a pastor but a very short time. The "Honeymoon" is short lived. They are constantly "finding faults’ with the pastor and his family. Then, at other times, the pastor behaves as "Lord Over God’s Heriatage" rather than a "Loving Shepherd." Control Freaks! As long as there is internal strife and confusion within the local church, Satan Rejoices! Precious Souls usually become hurt and outsiders are not won to Christ.
Sometimes years pass by --- you can mention the name of a past pastor and some folks within the church are caught up in "bad memories". Their blood pressure rises to almost stroke stage. You can also mention a past congregation where a pastor once served and he breaks out into hives --- thanking God that He has delivered him from that hungry den of lions. It is far from humerous!
But you will notice in our text, how Paul’s heart is filled with love when he thinks of those precious saints at Philippi. "I thank God upon every thought of you." "I have you in my heart" " For God is my record, how I long after you all." ( "you all" -Paul must have been a southern preacher --- "you all" is listed twice in these scriptures.)
This great church planter had orgainzed many local churches but it seems for 4:1 --- that this particular congregation was Paul’s "crowning work." As Paul spent many days confined in prison, and especially toward the end of his life when he knew that death was just ahead .... he did not have a color television to watch .... cards or checkers to play .... But what helped Paul to keep his joy and his peace of mind ... was when he thought of the time he spent with these precious people at Philippi. How that they loved the Lord Jesus with all of their heart, how they lived faithful lives serving Christ, how they loved Paul and worked faithfully under his spiritual leadership. The times of fellowship they had together was still a blessing to Paul as he was confined in a jail cell. " I long after you..."
The world likes to point condemning and criticizing fingers at our churches today, declaring that the church is "full of hypocrites." I will admit that often times there are people in our churches that are real and genuine in their walk with Christ. But in almost every local church you will find some "precious people" that love God, love Christ, and are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They are blessings to so many people, they have a good name in their community, they are a great blessing to the pastor and his family. And the church cannot get along without those precious people.
This morning I would like to mention (3) Three Groups of people that are a blessing to their church. They are a blessing to Christ. They are a blessing to their pastor. Thank God for "Precious People."
#1:) <> "Faithful People"
From Genesis throughout Revealtion, God commends people that are "Faithful" in their service to God. In Matthew 25:21 Jesus declares: "Well done, thou good and FAITHFUL servant, enter thou into the joys of the Lord."
Think about this for a moment: Every person down through the ages of time that has been escorted through the pearly gates of Heaven, have served God "Faithfully"... not up one day and down the next day, not lukewarm and filled with apathy.... not unconcerned and undependable. But Faithful!
I am persuaded that it pays to live a Faithful life! If you are not living that faithful life there will come a day in your future where you will regret it! Some people whine: "You just don’t know the things I’m going through in my life right now. I can’t be faithful until things settle down." I do not know another’s trials and struggles BUT GOD DOES... JESUS DOES... THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES. And there is GRACE that is sufficient to enable each of us to rise above our circumstances and predicaments and live a faithful life for Jesus! I have found in my own life, that whether I am faithful or not, does not depend upon the things taking place right now, but upon "My Desire To Live Faithful." (Revelation 2:10)