Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion. Today we’re looking at Chapter 1 and verses 3-5:
Philippians 1:3-5: I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
Are there people in your life that have the ability to turn a good day sour? Perhaps just mention of their name in conversation conjures up feelings of stress, angst or aggravation. We all know people like that. What about people who bring a smile to your face? There are also people who, at just the mention of their name, bring us joy.
What thoughts do we provoke in others? Does the mention of our name in others’ conversations bring stress or joy? I want to be the kind of person – the kind of Christian – that causes others to thank God for me!
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
One of the reasons that the very thought of the Philippians brought Paul joy was because he knew that the Philippians were partners with him. He said he was thankful for them and they brought him joy because of their fellowship from the start. There is joy comes from knowing you’re not alone in your walk with God and work for God. There is joy in knowing that you’re connected to others.
There is joy that comes from the relationships we have with one another – especially relationships where we are serving in the Gospel together. Paul is writing this letter to them about ten years after he first witnessed to them and established the church. The Philippians had stuck with Paul through thick and thin. His relationship with them was a long-term relationship.
Key Concept: Joy comes from our relationships with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ, not from material things. Treasure your relationships with God and His people. Treasure the partnerships you have with people that you serve with side-by-side in the Kingdom of God. Those relationships are a great source of joy.
Knowing a little bit about the background of a book gives you a richer
message and appreciation of the writing. Knowing that Paul and the Philippians had a deep partnership in the Gospel for over ten years sheds some light on this verse that you wouldn’t otherwise glean. Knowing something about how the Philippian church was started gives some great meaning to these verses! Paul speaks of their “fellowship,” or partnership. They were united – not on a social level – but by their mutual commitment to the Gospel. Think of how it began – with a jailor and a prison guard; with a slave girl who was delivered from demon possession; with a businesswoman who traded in purple cloth from Asia (Acts 16)! Apparently there was little to bind them together by worldly standards – but they were PARTNERS together in God’s work in Philippi. That partnership was a great source of joy for Paul.
Their mutual service to God’s Kingdom forged a deep, meaningful relationship between them. What a picture of the Body of Christ and the local church! We are joined together as one body. Though we come from very different backgrounds, we are one body. We have been brought together by a common Lord and a common purpose. If I unite with Christians on the basis of how much money I have – I will exclude the poor. If I unite along social lines – I will exclude those outside my social status. If I unite intellectually – I will exclude either someone more intelligent or more simple-minded than me. If I unite along racial lines – I may exclude someone whose skin is a different color. But true Christian fellowship does not hinge upon these factors! We have been bound together in love. We are united by our common receipt of grace and our mutual purpose in the Kingdom of God! Our relationships with those who are partners with us in grace and in serving are a source of deep joy.
Can you share an example of joy that you’ve experienced through a partnership with another Christian? What about the joy you’ve experienced through partnerships in ministry and serving? I’d love to hear your comments! Until next Friday,
~Pastor Matthew Ball