Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:1-5

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)

As we begin looking at Paul’s letter to the Philippians, it is important to remember where Paul was when he wrote this epistle. Philippians is one of his prison epistles, along with Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians. Paul was in prison because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Yet the overwhelming message of the epistle is one of joy — we can experience joy even when we are facing difficult situations in our lives.

Paul had a special place in his heart for the Philippians. When he thought about the people there, he prayed for them. His heart was filled with joy because of them, for they participated with him in ministry. They were partners with him in the gospel.

As a pastor of many years, I understand what Paul is saying. I have always had faithful brothers and sisters who partnered with me in ministry — those who prayed with and for me, who served faithfully along side of me, and who loved me and encouraged me.

Individual churches, as imperfect as they are, are essential for our growth in grace. We need each other because God established the church to be a community of faith. We were called to be in fellowship with other believers. We are called into partnership with others in the gospel.

I fondly remember many faithful Christian brothers and sisters who partnered with me in ministry. Some of them are in glory now, but I will always remember them and the love and encouragement they gave me. Like Paul my heart is filled with joy when I think about them. Think of those who have come along side you in your Christian growth and give the Lord thanks for them.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your church. Thank You for bringing many people in my life who partnered with me in ministry and who prayed for me, encouraged me and loved me.


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