FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL: PHILIPPIANS 1:3-8 (Philippians 1:3-8)Andrew de Kanter, September 3, 2017
Part of the PHILIPPIANS series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you...because of your partnership in the gospel... - Philippians 1:3, 5
The city I grew up in, Houston, TX, has been experiencing unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Even the neighborhood in which my parents still live is full of water, and water has invaded many of these homes (I am not sure about my parents' home because they evacuated late on Tuesday). The destruction of this massive storm is hard to see, but if there is any silver-lining to this tragic event, it is seeing people helping others in this time.
A common goal can be an amazing unifying force, even if the goal is partnering together to help others whose homes are flooding. I have been so thankful to God to see that happening in Houston, and my prayer is that it will continue to happen as the city faces much repair. The apostle Paul was aware of the power of partnership, too. It was his partnership in the gospel with the church in Philippi that made him joyfully thankful to God (Phil 1:3-11). This partnership was an evidence of the good work that God had begun in the hearts of these Christians (1:6). It was this unity around the gospel and love that Paul prayed for more of in the church of Philippi (1:9).
My prayer for the citizens of Houston, and for us, is that we would grow in unity, but not just a unity that will dissipate with the drainage of flood water, but one grounded in the grace of God found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God use this tragedy to draw many people to himself.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 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. 7 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. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (ESV)