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Partnership in the Gospel
Philippians 1:3-6 ESV

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. 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.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are not merely escaping the punishment of sin, in hell, and securing our home in heaven for when we leave this earth. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. “Lord,” in fact, means “owner-master.” Through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross for our sins he bought us back for God, so we are now his possession, to live for his purposes.

So, as Savior of our lives, he is also our Lord, and as Lord, he is our master, and we are his servants. We are also his followers (his sheep), who listen to him and who follow (obey) him. Thus, as followers of Jesus, we are committed to his will and purposes for our lives, and our desire is for him, to please him. His thoughts become our thoughts, and his desires our desires. What moves him moves us. What concerns him concerns us. Thus, we are also passionate about sharing the gospel with others so they can know him, too. At least, this is what being a follower of Christ should look like.

But, as partners in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will face opposition, persecution, rejection and mistreatment. Many will hate us, in fact. And, it can get discouraging and disheartening, at times. So this serves to encourage us that the work our Lord began in us will be carried to completion when our Lord returns. Our service for the Lord now will serve God’s purposes and will accomplish his will in our lives and in the lives of others. For, he is the one working in and through us for his glory. So, we need to just rest in the Lord, keep obeying him, and trust Him in it all.

Advancement of the Gospel
Philippians 1:12-14 ESV

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

When we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, it serves to advance the gospel. For one, when we are hard pressed by opposing forces, it will move us to call on God, and to draw closer to him. The more we are opposed, and the greater our suffering, the more we call on God in our pain, and we rely on him and not on ourselves. We learn to know him and his will for our lives, and we grow in our faith in Him to maturity. And, the closer our walk with the Lord, the greater will be our commitments to follow him in obedience.

Thus, the closer we are to the Lord and the more that we are in tune with him and with his will, and that we are following him in doing what he has called us to do, the more we will also be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, thus our persecution will serve to advance the gospel.

In addition to that, others will hear of our walks of faith and of our persecution. And, other believers in Jesus will be encouraged in their walks of faith and will find the courage to speak boldly for the Lord, too, when they see how we are continuing to be bold in our testimonies for the Lord despite all opposition and persecution. And, that, too, will advance the gospel.

Faith of the Gospel
Philippians 1:27-30 ESV

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Paul, because of his sufferings, his beatings, persecutions and imprisonment, was ready to go home to be with the Lord. I totally understand that. The older I get, in particular, the more I long for my heavenly home. So, he was torn between wanting to remain on the earth, for the benefit of other Christians, and desiring to be with the Lord and to be no longer on this earth. I definitely empathize with that thinking, too. But, he concluded that it was more necessary that he remain on the earth for the other believers’ progress and joy in the faith, even though going home was far better.

So, he encouraged them that they should let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. And, worthy means to be exemplary, or serving as a pattern of or as a model of something. So, what this means is that the way we live our lives, i.e. our customary or routine way of living, i.e. what we practice as a matter of course, should serve as a model of the gospel. And, the gospel, in essence, is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

So, if our lives are a model of the gospel message, then our manner of living should also reflect daily that we are dead to sin or that by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and that we are taking up our cross daily and following Christ. The way we live our lives day in and day out should also exemplify that we are living to righteousness, i.e. that we are walking according to the Spirit and no longer are we living to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh.

If we, as followers of Christ, live in a manner which models death to sin and living to righteousness, we will be of one mind and one spirit with one another, because we will all have the mind of Christ ruling our lives instead of the mind of the flesh. And, united, in one heart and mind, we will be able to encourage and help strengthen one another in the faith, and in all our persecutions, so that we will have courage to speak out for the Lord despite all opposition.

For, it has been granted unto us that, not only that we should believe in Jesus Christ, but also that we should suffer for the sake of his name and for the sake of his gospel message. We are destined to this. It is unavoidable if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, because the devil is going to do everything he can to stop us, and to stop the spreading of the message of the gospel, too.

So, there are going to be many people in this world, and even within the gatherings of the church, who are going to hate, persecute, use, mistreat, betray, deceive, lie to, and gossip about us, etc. Yet, through it all, the Lord Jesus is calling people to salvation, to repentance, and to obedience to him. And, through it all, he is strengthening, encouraging and maturing us in our walks of faith so that we will share in his holiness, and so that we will bear the fruit of his righteousness. So, we just need to surrender our lives to him.

For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Monday, March 26, 2018, 7:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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