Summary: Our need for one another in the church is mutual.

November 28, 2010

Morning Worship

Text: Philippians 1:3-11

Subject: Mentoring

Title: We All Need Somebody to Lean On

In keeping with the celebration of Thanksgiving, and in conjunction with the message from last Sunday morning about mentoring new believers and developing spiritual relationships, I want to share with you the lyrics of a 1970’s song. Does it seem like I do that a lot? It’s because that is where I came from and I draw on my BC (before Christ) life to help me relate to what God wants to do in my life now.

Lean on Me…

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain

We all have sorrow

But if we are wise

We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong

And I'll be your friend

I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long

'Til I'm gonna need

Somebody to lean on

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you'd understand

We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong

And I'll be your friend

I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long

Till I'm gonna need

Somebody to lean on

Today we are going to look at Philippians 1:3-11 and as we do I want you to notice how Paul gives a great example with his words of what a spiritual relationship looks like. Let’s look at three principles that will help us develop those spiritual relationships.

Read Philippians 1:3-11.

Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

I. SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS INVOLVE PRAYING FOR ONE ANOTHER. Look at how Paul begins. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you… Your relationship with other Christians should invoke remembrance. When you pray how do you go about it? Do you take your “set” list into your prayer room and then go down it checking off the names as you go? Not that it’s the wrong thing to do – the main thing is that we pray… but are you limited to that kind of prayer? Paul says that the first thing he does is to thank God for his Christian relationships. Especially those from the church in Philippi. It was that church body that supported Paul financially for much of his ministry. Even though we learn in 2 Corinthians 8 that in spite of a terrible economic downturn (2 Out of the most severe trial … and their extreme poverty) that they gave and gave. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. Yes, Paul was thankful for their giving, but it was the relationships that he built that really caused him to be thankful. 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… There is a significant word in verse 5that I want to look at – the word “partnership”. It is the Greek word koinonia and it is often translated (as in the KJV) as fellowship. As a matter of fact when we see that word the idea of fellowship immediately comes to mind. It conjures up thoughts of a unified church that is bound together by the blood of Christ. J. I. Packer says this about fellowship, The Greek word for fellowship comes from a root meaning common or shared. So fellowship means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has. Give and take is the essence of fellowship, and give and take must be the way of fellowship in the common life of the body of Christ. Christian fellowship is two-dimensional, and it has to be vertical before it can be horizontal. We must know the reality of fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ before we can know the reality of fellowship with each other in our common relationship to God (1 John 1:3). The person who is not in fellowship with the Father and the Son is no Christian at all, and so cannot share with Christians the realities of their fellowship. Paul lifts these believers up in prayer because he is thankful that he doesn’t have to engage in ministry alone. He is in a partnership that demands active participation. Later on in Philippians in 4:19, Paul writes, 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Can you see how the promise for needs being met is directly connected to their giving? Listen how the Amplified Bible reads for verse 5, [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now. Now, Paul not only says that he prays for them, but that he prays with joy. 1) joyful that they are saved… 2) joyful that they partner with him… 3) joyful that God is faithful… 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. Do you see the partnership at work? God working through the Philippians in their giving. Paul working in the power of God as he is enabled by the Holy Spirit and the financial support of the church. God working in the church as we will later see in verse 19, …for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance… a three way partnership at work. But there is a wonderful spiritual connection between Paul and the church. He realizes that he needs someone to lean on.

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