God had them covered. There is another similar word used thirty-eight times in the New Testament. It contains the word charis grace. The Greek word for peace is eirene. The Hebrew word shalom may be more familiar. To say peace to someone was to wish for them a foretaste of the Messianic age to come: to be complete and whole, to be healthy, to be safe, to be prosperous, to be tranquil, to be rested, to be happy, to be free from discord or agitation.
When was the last time you prayed for a brother or sister in Christ to have a foretaste of heaven? I know. That is an abundance of Greek and definitions that may still seem like they belong in a seminary and not in your everyday life. However, those words have begun to change the way I approach my day and how I pray for others. Sometimes I am vividly aware of my sinfulness. Other days I miss that log in my eye, and I forget to show any acknowledgment or gratitude. Some days are even great. My sin seems limited to a stray thought.
All my righteousness is as filthy rags, and I am just as desperate for God and His grace in my good moments and as in my bad. The sinner does not need more grace than the saint, nor does the immature and undisciplined believer need more than the godly, zealous missionary. We all need the same amount of grace because the currency of our good works is debased and worthless before God. I struggle with chronic pain and nerve issues, none of which doctors have figured out. I love my family and am close to them.
I enjoy spending time with them. We support each other in the ups and downs. We all have people at church that we love to be around and serve with, and those we wish would find a different church. Times of rejoicing and times of squashing rising frustration or flat out anger. His letter is not divided into sections for Favorites and Tolerated.
It is one letter to the whole church, and he calls them saints. Paul began his letter with thanksgiving. He says he thanks God in all his remembrances of and in every prayer for the Philippians. Paul was faithful not only in praying for the Philippians, but also in being thankful for them in specific ways. He was particularly thankful for their partnership with him in the gospel. The Greek word for partnership is koinonia — joint participation in a common interest or activity.
The Philippians supported Paul spiritually and financially as he worked to make the gospel known.
They were with Paul from the first not hanging on the sidelines waiting to see if he would be a success and persevered with him until the end. Koinonia is also a picture of intimate fellowship. Now was Paul just special that he could have the affections of Jesus in his heart? Can we also have the affections and feelings and compassions of Jesus in our hearts too? Can we have the heartbeat of the Messiah?
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I think we can! Remember Paul commanded us to imitate him, and in 1 Corinthians Paul says we as Christians have the mind of Christ and in Romans he says we have the Spirit of Christ in us. So we can both think how Christ thought and feel how Christ felt because we have the Holy Spirit in us. As we grow as Christians, Jesus shapes us by the Holy Spirit living in us to think like and act like and become more like him.
Message: “Philippians series week #01 – Philippians 1:1-10 ” from MATT BROWN, PASTOR
He changes our hearts to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. Imitate Paul as he imitates Christ, and love your gospel partners with the heart of Christ.
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The third point is that we are to imitate Paul by praying to God for Gospel partners. He does not just ask God to increase their love alone, but also their knowledge and discernment. He is praying for both growth in their heart and their head. Knowledge without love leads to pride, and love without knowledge can be a foolish love that does not know how to love well. We are not to favor head over heart or heart over head. We are to pursue growing in both. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Ask yourself and pray to God, how can I love God more?
How can I grow in praising Him and praying to Him? How can I grow in loving my neighbor? And for our minds, go hard in pursuing the knowledge of God. Give yourselves to reading and memorizing the Bible. Knowledge of God is like kindling, like firewood that we collect, and love for God and others is the fire brought by the Holy Spirit. The more firewood we have, the bigger the bonfire of our love for God and others will be when the Holy Spirit ignites it! The heart and the mind are not enemies, but partners that need each other for living a godly life. Pray that your Gospel partners abound in love with knowledge, pray this for each other in your church.
Pray this for your missionaries and sister churches. Pray this for believers in other denominations. We are not left on our own to try to do these commands by our own strength! When we believe the Gospel, repent of our sins, and give our lives to Christ, Christ gives us His righteousness and then we begin to bear the fruit that comes from righteousness. Now look again at verse His death purchased the Holy Spirit for us, to change our hearts and our minds to love what He loves and hate what he hates, to do what He wants us to do and live how he wants us to live and pray how and when he wants us to pray!
His death purchased for us the ability to imitate Paul rightly!
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The Spirit that was in Paul was given to him because he put his faith in Christ, and it can be given to us too if we put our faith in Christ and trust him to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. He can cleanse us from all unthankfulness, from all bitterness or apathy toward believers, and from all prayerlessness.
Remember, he who does the work gets the credit, and just as Paul gave thanks to God at the beginning of this letter for the Philippians, so also now Paul is giving God all the credit, all the praise, all the glory for doing all the work of saving us and sanctifying us through Jesus Christ.
No glory! We will not be lifted up for our success in heaven. No, all glory will be given to the Trinity: to the Father for His sovereign plan and love, to the Son for His sacrificial death on the cross, and to the Spirit for His work in us to turn us to God. How can we practically apply this profound passage to our lives?
Journey Through Philippians
I have four areas in our lives that we can apply change to: our Spirit, our sight, our service, and our speech. Spirit, sight, service, and speech. First, change your Spirit. This is the most foundational change that needs to be made, because if your spirit is not right, your sight, service, and speech will not be orientated rightly either.
So in what ways can you grow in your affection for fellow believers? Remember, genuine love initiates.
Pray for a genuine love for all the imperfect people in your church, which includes everybody, especially you. Even if you have a hard time wrapping your mind around what it would be like to have the affections of Jesus Christ in you, pray for it!
Northern Seminary | Partners in the Gospel – Philippians
Second, change your sight. See each other not as Christians who just hang out together and sing songs together, but as Gospel partners. Nursery workers are not just babysitters, they are partners in the Gospel. Janitors are not just toilet cleaners and side-walk shovelers, they are partners in the Gospel. Ushers are not just seat finders and offering plate passers, they are partners in the Gospel. Elderly saints who live in nursing homes or those fighting cancer in the hospital are not former Gospel partners, but still current gospel partners as they pray for you and the advancement of the good news and as you go and visit them and learn from them how to suffer well.
Missionaries are not elite Christians, they, like the others in the church, are partners in the gospel. Other gospel-loving churches, even from other denominations, are not competition, they are partners in the gospel. Third, change your service. How are you serving THIS church right now? The Chinese church is asking for an estimated 30 million more Chinese Bibles! Be a part of that. Become a Gospel partner. Also, change your service by serving in persistent prayer.
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