Your Partnership In The Gospel
This is what we need and why.
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
v This is a part of our foundation for our Church, a partnership in the Gospel!
(Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.)
fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
a) the share which one has in anything, participation
b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship
v At this time receive the offering!
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God.
Problems and difficulties do come.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. (NIV)
v It is amazing how quickly people will abandon you when the problems and accusations come. I wish it were true today that because of the chains the brothers would be encouraged. We in the body of christ because of our high sense of right and wrong, we kill our wounded and quickly remove from our midst anyone that might make us look bad. In verse 14 we see the the opposite is true. They were encouraged to speak the word of God more than ever! WOW! That´s spiritual warfare at it´s best.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me. Philemon 1:23 Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.
1. Brother: What does it cost you to be a brother in Christ? Let me put it this way what did it cost you to have brothers and sisters? It may have cost you your place of being the center if you were the first born, it may have meant you had to learn to share. That is it!
2. Fellow-worker: companion in labour, (fellow-) helper (-labourer, -worker), labourer together with, workfellow.Here we begin to see division in the body of christ. When the work begins. Joke: blisters and christians. There is a practical side of christianity,not just a spiritual one.
3. fellow-soldier: an associate in labors and conflicts for the cause of Christ. We seem to always find enough people that are ready to fight, but they seem to be fighting against you instead of by your side. Conflict is unavoidable, but we have to go through this too.(2Tim 2,1-4)
4. fellow-prisoner: one who is willing to be a prisoner of war with you. When the battlte really gets rough, he will stay with you and serve even in captivity. They are even willing to serve till the death.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,
14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. ( Luke 9:23 ...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.)
19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, (Ro.16:17-18) and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. (1Jn.2:15-16)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (NIV)
1. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Study the word)
2. and fellowship, (build deep relationships and partnerships in the body, not just small talk, build the kingdom when you come together.
3. and in breaking of bread, (eating together is something special, but it´s more. Share what you have with your brothers and sisters)
4. and in prayers. (pray for and with one another at all occasions)