What do Ben and Jerry, Lucy and Ethel, and Montana and Rice have in common? They are legendary partners in great ice cream, slapstick comedy, and football touchdowns. Although our past pairings may not have been worthy of fame, we all have had to partner with others at some point in life—on a project at work, as members of a sports team, or with a service endeavor. Our satisfaction is greatly dependent upon with whom we work and the purpose of the association. In our passage today, we read of a partnership that conveys deep satisfaction, thankfulness, and joy.
- In what ways, if any, do you participate or partner with others in the service of the gospel today?
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 1:1-11 (ESV)
1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 1-8. Verses 9-11 will be covered tomorrow.)
- What was Paul’s attitude toward the Philippians, and why did he thank God for them (vss. 4, 5, 7, 8)?
- How did the Philippians partner in the gospel with Paul (vs. 7)?
- How does participating in the gospel together foster joyful fellowship?
- What does it look like for you to intentionally partner in the gospel with those in your church?
RESPOND TO GOD
True fellowship is always Scripture and gospel centered. Not only does the gospel unite us with Christ, but it unites us to other believers as well. Partnering in the gospel is a great remedy to our desire for meaningful and significant connection. The grace of God motivated the Philippians to stand alongside Paul as he defended the gospel and in his imprisonment. They prayed for him, loved him, and gave financially. Paul longed for the Philippians with the affection and tender love of Christ—as Christ had loved him, so he loved the Philippians. If you struggle to feel like you are connected to others or that your life matters, remember: purposeful participation in the gospel brings about joyful fellowship with Christ and others.
- Thank God that, in Christ, true and significant relationships are made possible.
- Ask God where you can be intentional in partnering in the gospel in your community.