Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 24, 2014

"Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel thus 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. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 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 may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:1-11

Have you ever watched a rowing crew?

If not, click on the link below:

That is a beautiful picture of unity isn't it? Eight men with eight oars moving smoothly and rapidly in perfect precision under the command of their coxswain. The scull moved swiftly and smoothly in a perfectly straight line toward the finish line in a championship effort!

Oh, that a local church could run so smoothly!

These opening verses of Philippians 1 give valuable insights into how to develop unity within a local fellowship, especially in his greeting to the believers in the Church at Philippi. In these eleven verses Paul expresses his love for the church by telling them he has them in his thoughts, he holds them in his heart and he has them in his prayers.

Imagine what could happen in a local church if the members of that church would commit to unite around the same sort of caring demonstrated by the Apostle.

Paul had a vision of a church united around members being intentionally thoughtful of each other and expressing thanks, appreciation and encouragement to others. 

He further envisioned a fellowship united around a shared love of the grace of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In verse seven he declares "I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace".

Once you have been touched and changed by the grace of God your heart is bound to the hearts of others who have also been touched by His grace! A local church should be a place where people graced by God gather to celebrate His grace and then scatter into their city to share His grace with others.

At FredWes we should be united around His grace! We are united as partakers of His grace and united as partners in His grace and united in proclaiming His gospel of grace!

How can we not love each other when we are so graced?

How can we not be united when we are so graced?

How can we allow insignificant things divide us when we are so graced?