A Gospel Worthy Of Your Life
Fellowship in the Gospel – Philippians 1:1-11
(1) Birth of the Philippian Church
Paul received the Macedonian call in a vision while at Troas (Acts16:8) to preach the gospel in Marcedonia. Two major incidents occurred as the result of Paul’s sharing of the gospel at Philippi -the conversion of Lydia and the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his household. The preciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ was seen in those people who came to salvation and in the birth of the Philippian church through the power of the gospel.
(2) Purpose of the Epistle
This letter was written as a thank you note to the Philippians. Paul’s thanksgiving is oriented around the gospel. We see the deep love and warm affection of Paul for the Philippians in this letter.
(3) Definition of the Gospel
What is the gospel? He defined it for us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (v3-4)
Elsewhere in Acts 20:21, he mentioned that salvation involved “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(4) Philippian Church Supported Paul
At this point of time, the Philippians were the only church helping Paul financially. They also identified with him in his pain and chains. They agonized in prayers for him, sharing with Paul the confidence that his being in jail is not a setback but that it served to advance the gospel. Both in imprisonment and in defence and confirmation of the gospel, the Philippians were partakers of God’s grace with Paul.
(5) Advancement of the Gospel
Acts 1:4-8 also touched on the fellowship in the gospel. This may involve fellow like-minded believers, missionaries, local churches in the proclamation of the gospel. The disciples were mistaken in their interpretation of God’s purpose for them, thinking along the line of political restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Jesus, however, revealed that God is not interested in our missions, our goals or our plans. God’s plan is about the gospel filling the whole earth and He is inviting all believers into the fellowship of the gospel. You, referring to his disciples, shall be my witnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit. “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem….Judea….Samaria …the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8b). Jesus modelled a walk with God for which we are to follow as his disciples.
(6) Priority of the Gospel
The fellowship in the gospel is God’s big picture for the church. All fellow workers are not to take His grace in vain. God is working in us to orient our lives around the fellowship in the gospel. The “good work” (Philippians 1:6) refers to this orientation around the gospel which Paul affirmed God had already started in our lives.He was confident God will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(7) Defence of the Gospel
In the defence of the gospel, we are called to be faithful and to “stay on the line” of truth. Not like the legalists who “stay above the line” of truth by adding to the gospel their traditions and human speculations. Not like the liberals who “stay below the line” of truthwith their prosperity and social gospels. Like Paul, we are to teach God’s Word with God’s heart.
(8) The Heart of God
Indeed, verses 8-11, provided some theological insights such as the bowels of Jesus Christ, love abounding, things excellent, fruits of righteousness.
8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
These verses also bring us to see the heart of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Summary of Rev. Bill Mill’s first thematic message by Elder Sim Chee Seng.
New Life BP Church Camp
12-15 June 2013
Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Melaka, Malaysia.