In Philippians 1, Paul begins as he typically does, by stating how much he thanks God for the recipients of His letter. He bases his thankfulness on one main thing- their participation in the Gospel. This is the word Koinonia which is used throughout scripture and has become popular in the church world. While I was growing up we had Koinonia small groups in my home church. Though many times the English word does not do the Greek word justice, this is one of the exceptions. Participation is exactly what Paul is referring to. In fact, it is used in the sense of an offering- where multiple people give something to a common goal. (Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor. 9:13; Heb. 13:16). But, specifically in Philippians, Paul is referring to their participation in the GOSPEL. There are many things in life that we can participate in - sports, potlucks, jobs, discussions etc. Usually it is easy to tell who is participating and who is not. While growing up in from 6th grade until high school graduation, I really didn’t participate. Parents would have multiple meetings with teachers, all of them were looking for ways to motivate me. It didn’t do much good because I was the kid that really didn’t care if I finished my assignments or not. Regardless of the punishment (except for grounding me from my guitar- that one was a surprise and really hit home), lecture, motivational technique, lessons on goal setting, stories of how my life wouldn’t go anywhere really didn’t make a difference. I would sit in class day after day and every teacher knew I had no desire of participating. (Kudos to the teachers who really tried though....)
Have you noticed that this is the way some view participation in the Gospel? You know, the ones who testify to Salvation. but show no desire to participate? I’m not on the typical Pastors rant of church attendance, Bible reading and witnessing, though that is part of it. In a deeper sense, when one becomes a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t there be a desire to go as deep in there walk as they possibly can? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard- “Well, I’m already saved, so what’s the point?”, “You Still Have to Live”, “But, He was the Son of God Though” (excuse as to why they shouldn’t even attempt to be Christlike), “I’m Only Human” and the ever popular “God Understands!” Ironically the person writing to the church at Philippi is the Apostle Paul. If there was ever someone who had a desire to go deeper with Christ beyond a “ticket to Heaven”, it was him. Through all the struggles he faced- shipwrecked, imprisoned, tortured, flogged, stoned etc.- He had only one desire and that was to walk close with Christ, he exemplified what participating in the Gospel looks like. This passage also includes the popular verse of “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.”- (Philippians 1:6). This verse, though quoted and sung often, must be kept in context and understood that God being faithful is not an excuse to sit on the sidelines, we need to be in the game. Is this true in your life?
- Wild Man
I am The Wild Man...
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Husband, Father, Christian, Pastor, Pastor Coach, Leader, Preacher, Guitarist, Political Junkie, 80's Christian Rock/Metal Fan
I blog about all the above....simply put what interests me...