Passage: Philippians 1:1-11

Speaker: Steve Hands

Series: Partnering Together For The Gospel

Gospel Community

            The church community is something special. It’s fundamentally different from a corporation, a hobby group, or a social club. The tie that binds us is not a common interest, but a common need for God’s grace. Our mission is not to increase profit, but to share the grace we’ve received with as many others as who will receive it. And our goal is not simply harmony, but transformation into the love, knowledge, and righteousness of Jesus. When we’re firing on all cylinders, the church is closer than a family, more driven than Fortune 500 company CEOs, and more honest and gracious than an AA meeting. As we journey through Philippians, we’ll see Paul rejoicing in a church that’s learning to be all of this and more. In his opening, we’ll see that as members of Jesus’s church we turn remembrance into prayer, as we partner in the gospel, to be transformed in love, knowledge, and righteousness.

First, we turn remembrance into prayer(Phil 1:3-4). Paul loves the Philippian church. His opening effuses love as he tells the Philippians he holds them in his heart (1:7), and he yearns for them with affection (1:8). Because he loves them so much, every time he thinks of them, every time he remembers them, he gives thanks to God in prayer, and then prays on their behalf (1:3-4). Prayer has a profound effect on our community, and our sense of community. As we get to know each other, we learn how to pray for each other. As we pray for each other, our hearts grow for each other and we gain “the affection of Christ Jesus” for each other (1:8). And this can be as easy as learning to turn remembrance into prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. May we become a church constantly growing in the love of our community as we live in the cycle of remembrance and prayer.

But we don’t do this just for our own sake, but so that we can partner in the gospel(1:5-8). Paul’s deep affection for the Philippians is not just a result of knowing and caring for them, but arises from their shared deep commitment to defend and confirm the gospel (v7). They’ve been transformed by the grace of Jesus and are mutually committed to sharing that good news with everyone else. Our community will stagnate and our love deflate if we only focus inwardly on ourselves. But as we partner together for the mission of the church to share the love of Jesus with those who haven’t yet received it, we gain a new, deeper way to pray for each other, and our love for the community we now rely on grows.

Finally, our thankful, petitioning prayers invite God to do his work to transform us in love, knowledge, and righteousness(1:9-11). Not only do we partner in the gospel outwardly to show Jesus’s love and rescue to those who don’t know him yet, but we partner together in spurring one another on to love, knowledge of God, and good works. We not only bring our best encouragements and exhortations to one another (as Paul will do in this letter), but we invite God to do this work in each other through prayer (since this is God’s good work that he brings to completion—1:6).

The church is the community that exists for the “glory and praise of God” (1:11). We bring God glory and praise as we turn our remembrance into prayer, partner together in the gospel, and grow more and more in God’s love, knowledge, and righteousness. May we at Wellspring continually grow into this community until God brings all his good work to completion at the day of Jesus Christ!

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