Philippians 4:14-23: Partnership in the Gospel
June 25, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Paul concludes this letter as he has begun with an emphasis on “partnership in the gospel” (compare Philippians 1:5 with 4:15). What is partnership in the gospel and why is he so joyful?
Partnership in the gospel begins with a real spiritual encounter with Christ. Do you know Christ? Do you have a story to tell of how Christ has met you, saved you and included you in his kingdom? The partnership in the gospel that we are talking about is primarily a spiritual matter that is connected to one another through a connection to Christ. Do you have that connection to Christ? Do you know him?
Partnership in the gospel continues with real practical involvement in each other’s lives. In the Philippian case they were practically helping Paul with the sustenance and provision that he needed as he was in jail. Our partnership begins with a real spiritual encounter with Christ, but if that spiritual encounter with Christ is real and excellent, then that spiritual encounter will overflow into practical involvement in each others’ lives. What can you do help the cause of the gospel move forward in your church? What area of service can you commit to? What can you do financially to support your church?
Partnership in the gospel is an act of worship that pleases God himself. It is, says Paul, a “fragrant offering” and a “sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” What a motivation for the Christian to continue to express their relationship with Christ with practical involvement in partnership in the gospel being furthered. This kind of real practical involvement in the progress of the gospel is not only a sign that you are a real Christian and that your Christianity is growing in excellence, it is also something that pleases God!
Partnership in the gospel is not an act of robbery but an expression of confidence in God’s provision for us. Paul is sure that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Our involvement in practical support of and service with the progress of the gospel will be in direct relationship to our confidence that God will supply what we need. Do we need energy to continue to serve with energy? God will provide. Do we need continued resources to continue to be able to give with generosity? God will provide. Do we need ongoing patience to persevere in a calling that God has for us? God will provide.
Finally, partnership in the gospel glorifies God. Paul says, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” On which note, after a brief greeting expressing the relational care and fruit of the partnership in the gospel, and a benediction, Paul moves to bring the letter to a close. That is why we partner in the gospel! It glorifies God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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