Partners In The Gospel
By Bobby Blakey on June 9, 2019
Partners In The Gospel
By Bobby Blakey on June 9, 2019
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:00] I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to the Book of Philippians, and we are going to start here today in Philippians 1:1 and we'll be working through this book. And we'll see how long it's going to take us through the summer into the fall. And many people have told me that this is their favorite book of the Bible. And so what an exciting season for our church to be able to study God's word together. And this is page 980. If you got one of our books, Philippians, Chapter one, we're going to make our way through the first eleven verses together here this morning. And this is a letter we learn that Paul wrote when he was in prison and he wrote it to this church in Phillip High where he came in preaching the gospel and people were getting saved and he got persecuted, beaten up and thrown in prison and he was singing at midnight in prison. And so the theme of this letter is Joy, written by a man who is in a in prison for preaching the gospel. And so we want to dove into the beginning here and out of respect for God's word, I would love for everybody to stand up for our scripture reading together this morning. And please give these versus your full and undivided attention today. And let's see what Paul's right into this church and what God is saying to us through his word this morning.
[00:01:30] Paul and Timothy, Servants of Christ, Jesus to all the saints in Christ Jesus who were at Filipacchi with the overseers and deacons. Grace to you and peace from God, our father in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think by God, in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel for God is my witness. How I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abounds more and more with knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God that ends the reading of God's word.
[00:03:00] Please go ahead and have a seat. And we see here the greeting that Paul and Timothy, as servants of Jesus, are right into the saints of Jesus who are in fill a pie. There's a line here where it acknowledges the leaders in the church there in Philip by the overseers. Usually we call him pastors today, deacons, the official servants there in the church.
[00:03:25] And then he says, hey, I want to give you guys Grace. I want you to have peace straight from God and Jesus. And clearly, this is one of those letters where Paul really feels close to this church and he's writing to tell them how much he cares about them, not because there's an issue that he's trying to address necessarily. So when we've been reading through the letters of the New Testament, those of us who are going through the scripture of the day, we've been working our way now through the letters of the Apostle Paul. And we've seen psalm like the Corinthians Church where there was division in sin or Galatians, where they were being told a different gospel.
[00:04:05] But then we've seen some, like the Thessalonians we just read where it's clear he's so close to them and the Gospels really spreading out from them. That's how Philippians is. These are people that he feels a kinship with, a closeness to and he's writing to express. We could see that as we were reading, he loves these people and he's encouraged by them. And he says, when I when I remember you, I thank God for you. When I pray for you, I have joy. And then he gives us the reason why. And and we saw this a little bit last week. If you were here because we were looking at the theme of joy in the book. But he gives us a because clause here in verse five. Look at verse five with me. He says here's here's why he has this thankfulness to God. Here's why he has this joy when he prays for them. Because of your partnership in the. Gospel from the first day until now. So Paul didn't think that he brought the gospel to these people and then they received it? No, he thought of them differently than when they believed in Jesus Christ.
[00:05:13] They became with him partners in the gospel.
[00:05:17] But he and these people had a had a coin. And Nia is the Greek word here, and it's translated partnership here. But usually some of us who've been around the church for a while when we hear the Greek word coin, Ennio, what's the first word that comes to your mind?
[00:05:32] Fellowship fellowship is often how that word is translated.
[00:05:37] And when I read the Greek word Koinonia, I think of a sharing of life. That's a good definition for Koinonia, a sharing of life. And it can be as simple as maybe some believers coming together and sharing a meal together and being together in that way. Or maybe it's like what we do at a fellowship group when we talk about the the word of God together and we speak the truth and love to one another. Or maybe it's a a one on one conversation you might have with someone where you like confessed sin. You pray for one another. You're trying to encourage each other. And afterwards you might say, wow, that was some good fellowship. Now I learned something new about this word in studying this text that I want to share with you. And I was wondering, why did they translate it? Partnership in the gospel rather than fellowship in the gospel. And I saw there was an aspect to this Greek word, koinonia that I personally wasn't really thinking about before this study and this idea of partnership. He gets back to that at the end of the letter. Go to Chapter four and start with me in verse 14, because it takes the idea of Koinonia. That's the noun, the idea of fellowship, and then it makes it a verb like the the idea of sharing or the idea of partnering. And it says here in Philippians, chapter four, verse 14, it uses the verb here for Koinonia in both verse 14 and verse fifteen. And I think this is what he was referring to when he said Partnership and the gospel in chapter one, verse five. So read this with me. I'll read, though, the whole paragraph here, 14 to 20. And let's get the context. Yet it was kind of you to share. That's the word there for fellowship. But in the verb form to share my trouble. And you, Philippians yourselves, know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me. There it is again in giving and receiving, except you only even in Thessalonica.
[00:07:56] You sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit. That increases to your credit. I have received full payment and more. I am well supplied. Having received from a PAFA diocese the gifts you sent a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God and my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory, in Christ, Jesus, to our God and Father. Be glory forever and ever a man.
[00:08:37] And so we see now here at the end of the letter, we kind of get the context for the whole Book of Philippians.
[00:08:45] If there is no issue to address, if there is no pressing need of the moment, why did Paul write this letter to this church?
[00:08:54] Well, it seems like when you get here at the end that they sent him a gift and he refers to their gift as sharing in his trouble, verse 14 as this partnership in giving and receiving in verse fifteen. And it's clear that this gift he's talking about in verse 18, when he says for payment, it is a gift of what? What is he talking about?
[00:09:19] Talking about money is what he's talking about.
[00:09:22] So the context of Philippians here, if you want to write this down, if you're taking notes here today, the reason Paul's writing this letter by least part of the occasion of his response is the church sent Paul money.
[00:09:35] That is what has happened.
[00:09:37] And so this is something that I did not plan. This is something I wasn't even aware of until I got into studying Koinonia. And I saw other ways it was used in Philippians. And when he's talking about sharing here or he's talking about partnering here, he's not just saying, hey, let's go preach the gospel together, or he's not just saying, hey, we've all believed the gospel together or let's grow up in the gospel together. He is literally referring to you gave money that supported me in spreading the gospel.
[00:10:12] And then flipping in church, we saw that in Act 16, that's the that's the story behind the letter. That's how the church got started in Philip Pie. And Paul came in like he always does, believing that if he preaches the gospel, people will get saved. And a church will be built up. And so he went in there to Filipacchi and he preaching the gospel out by the river there. There were some people worshiping God, but they didn't know about the good news of Jesus. And he preaches. And this lady, Lydia God, opens her heart and she believes in Jesus and she's saved. And what is her response? Right after she saved her and her householder's saved. And she looks at Paul and his missionary traveling companions, his crew, and she says, hey, you guys should come and stay at my house. Or as soon as she believes in the gospel, she starts supporting Paul and his friends. We saw the same thing with the jailer.
[00:11:06] Paul got persecuted. He got beaten up. He got thrown in a deep, dark dungeon. There's an earthquake. The doors open. The bonds are freed. And the jailers, they're ready to kill himself. Thinking that the prisoners have escaped. And Paul says, hey, we're all here.
[00:11:22] And the jailer says, what must I do to be saved?
[00:11:26] And Paul says, well, you got to believe in Jesus, you and your household. Well, they do believe. And the jailer brings Paul over to his house. He feeds him. He tends to his wounds. So from the beginning there, we see that the Philippians, when they met Paul and he preached the gospel. They didn't just believe the gospel. They partnered in the gospel.
[00:11:46] Liquidy saying here in verse fifteen. He's saying, when I left Macedonia, that's where Filipacchi is in the northern part of Greece. No church in entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving.
[00:12:00] Except you only. You are the first church that really supported me even when I was in Thessalonica. And that's where he goes after at 16. He goes to Thessalonika. Thessalonica in 17. And he says, even then, you gave me hope for my needs once and again. So when Paul thought of the Philippians and he thought of their fellowship, their sharing of life, their partnership, he thought of even how they had given him money to support him in his gospel ministry. So that's an aspect of Koinonia that I wasn't really fully understanding until I studied it here for us in the Book of Philippians.
[00:12:45] And once you start seeing it, you start looking up Koinonia either in the noun or in the verb, and you start finding versus like this if you want to write them down, Romans 12, 13 or Romans 15, 26. And it doesn't even translate coin any of fellowship or it doesn't even translate Koinonia Partnership. It translates Koinonia contributes in those verses. OK, so this is something that God's saying to us through his word. This is not something that I, I didn't know when we would sign a lease and make a big announcement.
[00:13:18] I didn't know when we would get to this tax. This isn't my idea. Everybody all right? OK. And I know. I understand. Look, if you are concerned about people talking about money at church, I am right there with you because so many false teachers have crept in and they have taken advantage of people in church and they have been in it for money. I hear you. I agree with you. And there is no preacher in the world that should be flying around in a private jet. Can I get a man from everybody in the congregation? All right. I agree with you. Also, I know I hear what you're saying or I even hear you're thinking maybe a little bit. I was at a church one time and they started a building project, and that's when the whole thing went sideways. I hear you. All right. Preach. All right. I'm with you. OK, let me just tell you, you're not going to come in next week and see some kind of thermometer somewhere. All right. I'm we're not going to be sending everybody a link this week where you can watch how much we need and how much we're given. We've committed already. We're not going to be doing that here at this church. Here's what we're saying to you as the leaders of the church. We're not going to spend more money than we have. How about that for a good principle? All right. OK.
[00:14:33] You hear it's completely up to us as God's people. It's up to us in our partnership, in our fellowship, and are sharing of the life of Jesus Christ. How much do we want to give? That's that's what it's going to come down to, how much we have to spend in these buildings to build up a long term campus. OK. So you know how construction is in California. You know how things can be expensive. Well, it comes down to me and you. Hey, do we have a partnership in the gospel? And does that include finances, as we're clearly seeing it did between the Philippians and Paul? In fact, we're seeing wow, there's a context. The occasion that he is writing in response is he has received a gift from them and he wants to make it so clear that he is not in it for the money. He's talking about being content in any circumstance. He's talking about how they're going to be blessed by God for what they gave. But clearly, you can see in verse 18, he says, I've received full payment and more. I'm well supplied. Having received from a Pafford itis the gifts you sent a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God in all the things that have been done wrong with money in the church. Let's not miss that. God loves a cheerful giver. Can I get any men from anybody on that? He's saying, hey, you guys gave me of your resources to help me here, over here or far away from you in prison? And I want you to know that God is pleased with what you gave and that your gift has really helped me out. That's what he's saying to them. He's saying this was a good thing, that you did this and then he wants to encourage them. And this is the biblical principle. Look here in verse 19, my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. The reason that God's people give is because they believe they can't out give the giver. Can I get any men from anybody on this? Has God provided for you in your life? Has God been good to you and your family? Has God given you more than what you need?
[00:16:54] So we live with this confidence that he wants them to have, that God supplies, that God provides every need. Because God is the one who is rich in glory.
[00:17:06] Joining me in a Second Corinthians, Chapter nine. Let's go back to Second Corinthians, Chapter nine. And this is perhaps the passage that speaks very clearly about giving in the new. Testament.
[00:17:21] And the reason that God's people have given is out of gratitude for what God has provided for them. And out of confidence that God will continue to provide for them. That is how it has been traditionally understood by the Church of Jesus Christ. For the last two thousand years is it's an element of faith when God gives to me. I trust God as my provider. And that's why I can be generous with the things that God has given me. Because I believe I have a generous heavenly father. Look at how he says it here. And Second Corinthians, chapter nine, verse six.
[00:18:03] The point is this. Whoever so sparingly will also reap sparingly. And whoever shows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give, as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
[00:18:25] Why would anybody give cheerfully verse eight. Here's what we believe. Here's the promise God is able to make all grace abound to you. So that having all sufficiency and all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. The reason that God's people have loved to give is because they believe that God is able to give more than they could ever need more for every good work so they could abound in it.
[00:19:00] And that's what the Philippians have done. The Philippians have given to Paul in that kind of a way.
[00:19:06] And that is part of the reason he knows that they share life, that they have partnership. And this is going to happen in any group of Christians that gathered together for the purpose of the gospel of Jesus, of making disciples.
[00:19:19] Churches, other Christian groups that gathered together. On some level, they're going to have to figure out how are we going to work the money out among us. And that's a part of the sharing of life. That's a part of the coin in Nia and Paul. He's responding to the Philippines and he's saying God is going to provide for you and he's thankful for their gift, their partnership in the gospel, as we've all maybe heard before, those of us who've been going to church for a while. Right. Show me your calendar and how you spend your time. Show me your bank account or your checkbook and how you spend your money, and we'll find out what's really going on in your heart. And he can tell that what's in their heart is the gospel ring in out. That's why they're giving to him. And so Paul is responding to these people because of the connection, the partnership that they have in the gospel, not go back to Philippians because he says this phrase partnership and the gospel from the first day until now.
[00:20:22] And I think he's talking about when he left Phillip High and he went to the festival in IKAR and he started the Thessalonians Church, the Philippians were sending to him for once and again at least twice. They sent him financial gifts to support him in Thessalonica. So he's saying from the beginning, you guys have been with me in the gospel. And then he says this in verse six, have a super encouraging verse.
[00:20:49] He says, and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. So you guys have been in the gospel with me from the beginning. And you. I'm persuaded. I'm convinced. I'm sure that I've seen God start a work in you. And whatever God starts, he finishes.
[00:21:14] That's something he wants them to know about God. We praise the Lord that God does not do things in a half a job, Bob, kind of a way we rejoice in that. And that's something we should all know, right?
[00:21:28] When God save somebody's salvation is not just something that took place in the past. If you're saved here this morning, salvation has an ongoing effect in the present. That's your sanctification. That's your growth. And salvation has a purpose of glorification. When you will be with Jesus and be made like Jesus for all of eternity, what God has begun. He will be faithful to complete.
[00:21:56] And he finds great joy in that.
[00:21:59] You guys. Hey, when you sent me that gift, it reminded me that you guys have been with me from the beginning of the gospel ring an hour and you're going to be with me all the way to the end when we're out there at the day of Jesus Christ.
[00:22:13] And he finds great joy in the fact that Jesus is not just the beginner of our faith, but the finisher of our faith. Go to Hebrews Chapter 12 with me. And it's over here to the right in the New Testament. Hebrews Chapter twelve is on page 1008. If you got one of our books.
[00:22:33] And one of the ways that we often talk, we talk about salvation, those of us who are believers, as something that happened in the past. But in the scripture, it often refers to a fullness of salvation that is yet to be experienced. So we're live in hearing space and time, but salvation is for all of eternity. And we haven't fully experienced yet the glory of salvation in the spiritual age, in the eternal realm. And here in Hebrews Chapter 12, it talks about. Yes. Yes. Look at the past. Look what's happened. But also look at how Jesus did it here. Hebrews 12, verse one. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, all of those before us who have had faith in the Lord. Let us also lay aside every way and the soon which clings so closely and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us looking to Jesus. And here's where you want to see the founder and per factor of our faith.
[00:23:41] Who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
[00:23:52] The founder and perfecta of your faith, when you praise Jesus for being your savior, that you're saved in Christ alone. I love that the way that song goes, because it makes it clear by the end, hey, there's nothing that can take me out of his hand, no power of hell, no scheme of man. He's going to hold me to his hand until he returns or calls me home. That's where I'm going. It sure it's done.
[00:24:20] Jesus tinctures give you faith to save you. He will purrfect your faith and glorify you. That's what the scripture says. He's the founder and perfecta. And so there's this this thing. Hey, can you see all the faith in the past? Are you running for Jesus in the present? Well, you know what's going to motivate you and keep you running long term, enduring in the marathon of life, running hard for Jesus Christ. You got to do what Jesus did. And look at the joy that is set before you. Why did Jesus stay up there on that cross when he's in so much physical pain, bleeding now held up there by those nails, trying to just keep breathing? He's got all these people mocking him, shaming him. You saved others. You can't save your self. He's experiencing the wrath of God. The righteous judgment of God for all of our sins is being poured out on Jesus. Why does he endure all of that? Because he knows the joy of being at the right hand of God where he's going to return.
[00:25:26] He does it for the eternal joy that is set before him. Rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say rejoice. Right. That's the idea. I'm saved in Jesus. My eternity is set. I have joy.
[00:25:44] And here's Paul saying I'm persuaded that you guys are with me in this and I'm persuaded from the way you guys have been with me from the beginning. I am persuaded that you will be with me to the very end. I have seen Jesus begun something in you and I am confident that Jesus will always finish what he starts.
[00:26:06] This is good news here, everybody. This is good news.
[00:26:11] That the gospel work, the work of salvation that God does, always is made complete and made perfect. In Jesus Christ, he is the founder and perfecta of our faith, and that is the joy that we have as believers. That is the joy that Paul shared with the Philippians. Now go back to Philippians one Keiko's. Our sermon is called Partners in the Gospel, but he uses another phrase here that we want to pay attention and they're easy to remember. They sound very similar. He thinks of these people in their partnership in the Gospel. But then Liquidy says here in verse seven, Philippians one, verse seven. He says, It is right for me to feel this way about you all because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace. And he's talking about now in his imprisonment, but also in his defense and confirmation of the gospel, not just in this present situation that he's in being in prison, but really in the whole thing he's trying to do with his life, which is to defend and confirm the gospel message of Jesus Christ, especially to the Gentiles. That was the mission that Paul had that graced that ministry that was given to him to spread the gospel to the gentiles. And he says, hey, you and me, Philippians, I know we're partners in the gospel. We share the life of Jesus. We've done it from the beginning of our relationship. And we'll be doing that all the way to the end. But we also have a mutual friend. We also have a companion that we're all traveling through life with. We are all partakers of grace. That's a phrase you want to write down along with partners in the gospel. Here's another way to think about it. Partakers of grace. We all have the companion of Grace, and that's something we all have in common. That's something that should unite us, is we're all getting better than we deserve from God.
[00:28:12] We're all getting of the goodness of God, the favor of God poured out upon us together.
[00:28:21] That's the idea. We are all partakers of grace and grace is something that we celebrate as Christians.
[00:28:29] Grace is something that we sing about. We know it's Grace that saves us. But we hear some things good about Grace in the church today. But you got to make sure that the grace that you think from the scripture is this robust and strong grace that is so good it gives you everything you need. Some people talk about grace, like to forgive their sinner. Some people talk about grace that they've experienced in the past to save them.
[00:28:58] But Grace is something that's a companion with you throughout your entire life. You will never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is always more grace in store.
[00:29:12] It never runs out.
[00:29:14] You never you never get to the end of it. You're never gonna go and try to swipe your card or insert the chip. And it's going to tell you, hey, you've used up all your allotment of grace UEA.
[00:29:25] God's been too good to you. Now you should expect sudden destruction and agony. Ever you ever feel like that yourself, man?
[00:29:34] I remember that one time we were hurting financially and God provided for us. Praise the Lord I was. Remember that one time so-and-so was really sick and we prayed for them and God brought him around. Praise the Lord. I remember that one time that relationship problem we were having was so difficult and God resolved there. Praise the Lord. But now I'm going through this and I feel like God's going to abandon me. Ever felt like that before? You ever heard a brother or sister say that before? I know that's a way we can commonly feel like God's been so good to me. But I'm not sure he's going to get me through this one. No, we should know what Grace is that Grace is with us all the way. The grace of God will take us home. The fullness of grace is gonna be experienced at the revelation of Jesus Christ. There is more grace. The best grace is yet to come. And that's that's our common story. That's our mutual friend that all of us should know is the goodness of God. Go to first, Peter, Chapter five. Look at how he ends his letter there over to the right here a little bit in your New Testament. First, Peter, five, ten, his page 1017. If you got one of our books, Peter, he's right. And the Christians who've been scattered, they've been dispersed all over because of the persecution. They've been spread out all over. A lot of them had to leave Jerusalem and go all over the place because of the persecution, because of the opposition. And so he's trying to encourage them as they've been spread out all over the place. And he says this in First Peter five verse ten. Look what this says about the grace of our God. It says, after you have suffered a little while, the God. Of all Grace, how much grace does it say God has right there?
[00:31:24] He's got all of it. And here's what he's called you do. He didn't just call you to a new life and Jesus or he didn't just call you to salvation in the past. He has called you to his eternal glory in Christ. And this God of all grace will himself personally restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you to him be the dominion forever and ever a man.
[00:31:53] Can we say a man here this morning?
[00:31:55] I mean, for things that it says you can see the grace of God do in your life that you should expect it's going to restore you and you fall into sin, the grace of God. It'll restore you. It'll get you back up. It'll get you turning from that sin, get you restored with the Lord. It'll confirm your you haven't doubts, you haven't weak faith. It will assure, you know, strengthen you. You have an aha. Time feeling weak, feeling powerless. Well there's grace to make you strong in the Lord Jesus and it will establish you not sure where God's leading, where you should go. He will you will establish you, he will set you on a path. That's what the grace of God does.
[00:32:36] And you might be suffering, but you can know there is more grace in store. God's got all grace. He's not running out of it. He's not giving away too much. He's he's able to make grace abound for everything we're ever going to need and what he's called us to.
[00:32:53] It's not just living for him in this life, not just being saved out of our sins. He's called us to the eternal glory of Jesus Christ, and he's going to bring us all the way there to experience that. Let's get this down for point number one. Grace is your friend to the end. That's something you should know. Grace is your friend to the end.
[00:33:15] You may have friends who who leave you in this life. You may have family members where you have a great falling out. You may have people that you love dearly that stab you in the back. Let me tell you, one friend that you've got who will never let you down. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.
[00:33:35] And if you go with Jesus, you never go alone.
[00:33:40] Turn with me to Psalm twenty three. Let's go all the way back to the Psalms and look at the poetic way that that David referred to it here at the very end of Psalm 23. I know this is a famous passage and maybe you've heard it before. I know the women really did a great study of this passage together at the women's retreat. But look at what it says here at the end of Psalm 23. The whole analogy of the Lord is our shepherd. He's taken us into green pastures and still waters even through the valley of the shadow of death. We don't need to fear because the Lord is with us. There's no reason to be afraid. And then it says, this is Psalm 23, verse six. It says surely, just like just like Paul says in our passage, I am sure of this. I've been persuaded. I've been convinced that what God has started. God is going to finish because we're all partakers of grace. Well, here's how David put it. A thousand years before that, he said, surely here's something David knows about.
[00:34:41] He says, only this goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
[00:34:54] I had this friend, this. This guy that really partnered with me in the gospel at Compass Alley, so when it when I started a servant at that church and doing the high school ministry down there back in 2006, I worked very closely with this guy, Pastor Pete Mazouz Shin Coff. Right. And there's a last name for you right there. Right. And this guy, he is a he is a character. If you ever get to meet him. He is a great friend of mine. He is a man of the Lord. And he always used to use this analogy. He would say that when we're going for the gospel together in a world that it hates us, where there's going to be persecution in opposition, it's like we're walking through an alley.
[00:35:35] It's like we're we're in one of those back alleys and it's getting dark. And you're here in like a like a cat. All of a sudden. Right. You know you know the scene I'm talking about. Right. And all of a sudden you hear footsteps following you and you can't quite see who's there. And all of a sudden there's like people gathering around and it could be a street fight in a dark alley. And when the street fight comes, are we going to stay together and are we going to fight together or are we going to all run for our lives? That's what he always used to say. And I was like, Lord, who is this intense person you got me working with here? Right. Because he said, are we. Are we standing? Are we standing side by side? Are we ready to fight together when the going gets tough? When the darkness closes in, when the world comes around us. When Satan wants to divide us, are we gonna be together? And every time he he would say that, I would think of this verse and I would know that when we're in the dark alleys of life and the enemies around us are closing in. You can look over your shoulder and goodness and mercy are chasing after you. They have your back. There is nowhere you can go that the goodness and mercy of God are not following you. And if you know the Hebrew there, it's like they're running after you. They're chasing you. The grace of God, we are all partakers. We are all companions of grace. It is our friend of ours. It is always there. We might forget that it's there, but we can look over our shoulder at any moment and we can know that God is giving us more than we deserve in his mercy and his goodness.
[00:37:12] His undeserved favor is always being poured out in our lives because God is a good and loving heavenly father.
[00:37:22] That's that's who he is.
[00:37:25] So this is this is the confidence that Paul's got. This is why this guy has joy in prison. This is why the guy can write things like rejoice always because we have the goodness of God and it's with us now. It will be with us tomorrow and it will take us all the way to the end in anywhere that God sends you, anywhere that you go. Even moving away from God, his goodness and mercy are coming after you.
[00:37:52] And you will be with the Lord, you will dwell in his house forever, he's called you to the eternal glory of Jesus Christ. Grace will be your friend to the end. So you can see he's starting this letter out and he's saying, hey, you guys have been with me from the beginning. And specifically he's referring to how they supported him financially and and he find so much joy, not just for what they've done for him in the past or present, but the confidence he has that he will be with them to the very end. And so then he starts to get into his prayer for them. If you go back to Proverbs, chapter one and let's pick it up right where we've left off so far in verse eight.
[00:38:38] And he says this and he wants them to know this is not just words that he's throwing out here. This is not just sentiment. He's not just saying something nice because they sent him some money. That's not what is happening here. He says, God is my witness. This is Philippians chapter one verse say. And he wants him to know that what he's saying right now because he can't come and say it to their face, he can't communicate it to them with his nonverbal communication. He can't even go and do an action that would display it or show it. So all he's got right now is this letter and his words. But he says God is my witness because he wants them to know that what he's about to say is the truth. And he says, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ. Jesus. I mean, he just said in the verse, before I hold you in my heart. And now he's saying, I yearn for you in the affection of Jesus Christ.
[00:39:41] Yearn. Is not really in Orange County vocabulary word.
[00:39:47] Somebody came up to you after the service and they're like a brother or a sister. I yearn for you. You would probably feel incredibly awkward about that.
[00:39:56] You'd probably be like, great to see you, brother, as you took steps backwards. I mean, what he's saying is that if you get down to the bottom of who I am, you are there. I long for you, I wish I could be with you right now. That's what he's saying.
[00:40:15] He's expressing a real passion than he has for these people, and it's clear at least we we don't hear what they say, but by their actions in Act 16, by their actions here in Philippians of supporting him financially, it's clear that these people really care about Paul, too.
[00:40:31] We're talking about a real connection of love.
[00:40:36] And then he praised this for them in verse nine, he says, and it is my prayer that your love may abound.
[00:40:42] More and more with knowledge in all discernment.
[00:40:47] So you may approve. What is excellent? So be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus to the glory and praise of Gardner. Now, this is really interesting and I think this is something we really need to process. This has been something I that's really helped me thinking about this as we talk about it here this morning, I. This is a great example of love, the way that Paul describes these people and the way that these people have treated Paul. This is an example, one of those precious examples these days of Christians who really love one another. And as soon as he acknowledges that, as soon as he says, I yearn for you with the sincere affection that comes from Jesus Jesus. He loved me when he died for me when I was a sinner. He loved me when his shed his blood to make me righteous. He loved me when he gave his last breath so I could live. And with that affection that Jesus had for me, I now yearn or long for you.
[00:41:52] I mean, that's as intimate as a thing you can say to somebody right there. And then he immediately rolls into and I pray that your love is more and more. Now, let's think about that.
[00:42:04] He has real love with these people. He's acknowledging it. He's saying that that they have it for him, that he has it for them.
[00:42:12] And then he's immediately praying that there would be more and more of that love. Mm hmm.
[00:42:20] That's so different than how I naturally think. And maybe you're like me. Maybe I'm just a super selfish person. I don't know. But when somebody questions my love, somebody in my family, my extended family, one of my friends, this is something I've seen in my own heart over the course of my life. Somebody questions whether I love them or not. I immediately assume, of course, I love you and I want to get defensive.
[00:42:47] And I want to say, well, of course I love you. How could that even be a question? And and I want to say I well, the reason I know I love you is I have some kind of feeling in my heart for you are a way of thinking about you. So I must love you. Of course I love you. And then contrast that with this, where here's people who really love each other. And what is he praying for them?
[00:43:10] More love. Well, that's really interesting.
[00:43:14] Are we defending our love? Are we assuming that we already have love or are we praying for more love? This is a way that Paul thought Mitt and I think this way was the way he wanted the Philippians to think that I can't love enough. I need to love more. Point number two, get it down like this. Pray for more love. That's clearly his prayer from them.
[00:43:43] And we're not just talking the love here is in context, we're not just talking about a sentimental feeling, we're not just kind of talking about an everything goes kind of way of living. No, he clearly he wants them to grow in love, in real knowledge. And it's unclear what kind of love he's talking about. It could be their love for God, their relationship with God, that they would know God more, could be their love for one another. I think that's got to be a part of it, their love for each other, the love that they share as Christian believers, the love that they have received from Jesus that they would pass on to one another, that they would really know the right way to love people and the wrong way to love people, that they would have discernment about how to go about really loving other people.
[00:44:29] And clearly, the point of this love as the point of all love that comes from God is to take people away from sin and to set them apart for the purpose of righteousness. That's what it says here. Love that leads towards excellence, towards purity and being blameless, ready for the day of Jesus love that's filled with the fruit of righteousness. So it's more than just an emotion or a feeling kind of a love. It's a love that leads you to know what to do, a love that leads to righteousness and purity.
[00:44:59] But he wants them to have more love with people he already has love with.
[00:45:08] Now, love is is a major problem in the American church. And so when we get to study Philippians, where people love each other, we should really pay attention to this. And a similar church is First Thessalonians turnover there just a few pages over to the right. We just been reading through first and second Thessalonians. And this is another church that Paul clearly has this intimate relationship with. Go to First Thessalonians three, verse eleven and look at what he prays for. This church very similar to what he prays for the Philippines. I mean, in First Thessalonians, he says that he's like a mother to that church. He's like a father to that church. And he says that when he got torn apart from them, when the persecution came and he couldn't be with them anymore, he felt like an orphan. He felt like he had been deprived of the relationship with them. He felt orphaned apart from them. I mean, he's using the closest family terms that we have to describe how he cares for these people. And he says that he yearns for them in verse six. This is first says lenience three six, he says. But now that Timothy has come to us from you and has brought the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and you long to see us as we long to see you, you can also translate that you guys are yearning for me, like I'm yearning for you guys, right?
[00:46:35] I mean, that's as that's as loving as it gets.
[00:46:38] But then he goes right to this in verse eleven.
[00:46:41] Now, may our God and father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all as we do for you, so that he may establish your heart's blameless in holiness before our God and father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
[00:47:10] OK, so maybe this is the secret to the connection that Paul has with the Thessalonians and Paul has with the Philippians, people that he can say he yearns for here. It's very clear he's saying that the report has come. And I know you're yearning for me like I'm yearning for you. And what does he immediately go to? I'm praying that will abound and love even more.
[00:47:33] Maybe what Paul is telling all of us is that you can't get to a limit of love and you should always be seeking to love more. And people who are always seeking to love more will be people who are really united in the love of Jesus Christ. Maybe if we're all a bunch of people, assuming we love one another and defending how we love one another, we won't really yearn for one another. But if we want to love each other more and we're praying for more love among us, we'll see a great unity in Jesus Christ.
[00:48:05] I mean, isn't this what Jesus said to his disciples? Isn't this supposed to be our signature? Isn't this supposed to be how the world is going to recognize us? They will know we are Christians by.
[00:48:18] Ah, how are we doing with that these days? Is that what they're thinking when they hear about Jesus Christians? Church?
[00:48:28] Do they know we are Christians by our love? Do they know that, hey, in that group of people, when when people have wronged one another, they will go to each other?
[00:48:39] They will humble themselves. They will confess their sins to one another. They will resolve conflict and make things right. That's what I know about those Christians men when somebody over there has a need. Those people gather around them. They will pray for them. They will be there like is the world.
[00:48:56] The world, which is the darkness, the world which is the opposition all around us. When they close in around us, they see me and you in the street fight back to back like we're ready to go down together. Or do they see us scatter every man for himself?
[00:49:13] What does the world see? When they're looking at the Church of Jesus Christ.
[00:49:19] Even after he praised this for them, even after he tells them they have this in First Thessalonians, chapter four, verse nine, he says this now concerning brotherly love. You have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God.
[00:49:36] If you know God, then you know love and you know how to love one another.
[00:49:42] That is indeed what you are doing. He says you guys are loving people. In fact, you're not just loving one another. Your love and all the brothers throughout Macedonia, that that extends all the way over to fill a pie. That's all over Greece there. But we urge you brothers to do this more and more.
[00:50:02] So this was Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians.
[00:50:06] It was Paul's prayer for the Philippians, people that already loved him and he loved them. He had one thought. We need more love.
[00:50:15] Is anybody ready to say that here in the church in America? Big picture here in our church right here. Compas. Bible Church. Huntington Beach.
[00:50:23] Are we ready to say that we need more love here in the church? Well, let's pray for. Let's pray for. I mean, wouldn't it be great if people knew we are Christians by our love?
[00:50:35] Wouldn't it be great if every one of us was asking not what our church could do for us, but asking what we could do for our church? Would it be great if every one of us was thinking, man, those people that gathered together to worship in the name of Jesus? Those people that Jesus died for? How could I love those people more? That's what I'm praying for myself. I hope your praying for yourself. I hope your praying for our church. This is a chance for us to be partners in the gospel, to be partakers of grace, for us to come together, that the world could see a group of people and they could know who we are, that we are one in this spirit.
[00:51:14] We are one in the Lord. And we pray that our unity will one day be restored. They will know we are Christians. By our love.
[00:51:26] Man, this is just the beginning. This is just the introduction to the letter of Philippians, everybody. This is very exciting. So I hope that you are stirred up in your heart, that you're encouraged by the partnership that we've got and the gospel, that we're all partakers of grace and that you will join me in praying now that God will be faithful to complete what he started in us and that we will grow in our love for one another. Let's pray together. Father in heaven we come to you and God. It just seems like this is a timely message for us on this day and that we would announce this opportunity that you have opened up this amazing deal we've gotten on this space across the street and God that we could really evaluate our commitment to one another, our love for one another. So, Father, I pray for this group of people right here in Huntington Beach. The church here of CompassHB Bible Church.
[00:52:24] I pray that we will abound. More and more in love for one another that we will know.
[00:52:31] That Jesus Christ, he gave his life for us. Jesus Christ sacrificed his body because he loved us. He shed his blood so that we could be righteous. Jesus loved his own who were in the world, and he loved us to the end.
[00:52:46] And in that same way, we are also to love one another.
[00:52:54] And GAO, we have not yet given our whole lives for one another. And I pray that that would be the commitment that you would put in our hearts. What would we be willing to give in the name of Jesus that we would be giving our whole life everything we have, that we would follow the example of our lord who definitely proved his love for us with his blood. God, please put this on our heart. Encourage us, by your grace, encourage us that you are faithful to complete what you have begun and grow us farther in our love for one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. We do ask this in Jesus name, and we thank you for his love. We pray this a man.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.