Phi. 1: 3 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”.
The title for this section of scripture is accurate. Out of all of the churches Paul established, this particular body of believers seems to elicit a special place in his heart. As we study the letter, there is no criticism or correction at all. However, what does stand out in this section are words like, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”. To paraphrase, every time he thinks of them thankfulness floods his entire being. If you happen to be a Pastor, Preacher, Prophet, Evangelist, or a Teacher, you may be able to identify with him. I have a small group of people attending my Sunday school class. I may have never expressed to them how thankful I am for their commitment to the truth concerning The Word of God. Many have come and gone over the years, but those who remain faithful to the joy of learning are a constant source of thankfulness. The Apostle Paul once said in reference to his preaching The Kingdom of God:
Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears”.
Our LORD Christ Jesus gave His life for the world, past, present, and future. He died for the ungodly. That would be you and I. We had no redeeming qualities of our own except that which God in His great love has bestowed upon us. Paul, following in the footsteps of Christ did as he saw his LORD doing. In his letter to the Church at Philippi, he saw that same level of endurance in them. Their fellowship in the Gospel gave Paul great joy. John the Beloved gave a clear understanding of what it meant to have fellowship or the Greek word koinōnia comes down to this:
1st John 1 “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship (koinōnia) with us; and indeed our fellowship (koinōnia) is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. To be continued….