The True Love, The True Gospel
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
Paul was infatuated with the people of the Philippian church. He loved them with passion and pride. These people were not just tools or objects for Paul’s success; they were a part of his very soul. Years before Paul wrote this letter he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed His life and the life of the people in Philippi. In the Book of Acts, chapter 16 gives the account of Paul’s pursuit to share the gospel with the gentiles. During this time in Paul’s life the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from ministering to certain groups, until one night he had a vision of a man on a distant shore saying to him in this vision “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul’s first stop was in the town of Philippi. Now while there he found a few women praying near the river, and Paul and these women stared a small church.
Paul fell in Love with the people of Philippi. They were going through much suffering and hardship and needed the encouragement Paul shared. Paul brought a Gospel of hope and truth, and the Philippian church grew. By the time Paul was writing this letter he was in a Roman prison, suffering for the cause of Christ. Many times when reading these words of Paul speaking about Joy it is hard to get my mind around the fact that he was in chains and can still talk about rejoicing.
For Paul two things fueled the Joy in his heart; things that compelled him to drive on sharing the gospel amid the most horrible situations - His service for Jesus and the People he loved. To Paul people were everything - they were truly the driving force behind the gospel. Paul knew he couldn’t take people out of the equation. People to Him were special, treasured by God, and needed to be protected. They were not steeping stones, they were a gift from God Almighty.
Paul, in this section of scripture, makes his affection to the people in Philippi clear. Paul spent time with his people and shed blood, sweat, and tears with them. They knew without a doubt that the words Paul had written were sincere and genuine, not merely lip service. Paul proved his love to them through his actions when he was with them, he did life with them and they knew it. These words were meant to encourage and strengthen the people of Philippi.
Paul gives us a few examples how we can show a genuine Love and Affection for people:
1. Pray for others –“ always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy” verse 4. Spend time in prayer for others.
2. Do life with others – “for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” Verse 5. spend time with others - invest your life in theirs.
3. Use your words to encourage and uplift others – “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Verse 6. Your words have power to bring life or to destroy…use them wisely and freely.
4. Learn to crave others companionship – “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” Verse 8. Paul uses a word that brings about a thought of intense craving, he was craving fellowship. Learn to crave the fellowship of other believers! Intensely crave and desire it! Jesus surrounded himself with 12 men who fed into Him as He fed into them.
Take and implement these principles this week and see if you don’t draw closer to the People God wants in your life.
This is the first installment of our week 1 study in Philippians…Connection Group - please remember your homework (read and meditate on Philippians 1.)
I love and cherish you each, deeply!
Love in Christ,