Philippians 1:3–5 ‘I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.’ (vv4–5)
The apostle Paul is thrilled that the good news of Jesus is making such an impact across the Roman world. In a new area Paul would typically visit the synagogue, but there were so few Jews in Philippi he knew this was unlikely, so sought a ‘place of prayer’ near the Gangites River.
In verse 5, he doubtless recalls meeting Lydia, who would come to faith along with her household, and how this had connected them. Paul writes this letter around a decade later and so he thanks the Philippians for their partnership in the gospel.
The Greek word for partnership (koinonia) can be translated ‘communion’: they are sharing together in something, and for Paul this was a paramount part of their relationship and this included their prayers and financial support (see 4:15–16).
Too often our relationships in church are characterised by whether we believe people are like us or not, the same age as us, have the same opinions as us, or prefer the same style of worship to us.
But any perceived barriers to closer links with other believers need to fall in the face of our joint task of living out the gospel of Jesus and sharing the good news as opportunity comes. Maybe with more joy and less friction in our fellowships, this too can be our paramount concern?
A Prayer To Make:
‘Thank You, God, for our unity and the good news of Jesus. Help me to allow this unity to overcome my feelings towards other brothers and sisters. Amen.’
An Action To Take:
Why not discover more about the faith story of someone
you don’t know within the church?
Scripture To Consider:
2 Chr. 30:22–27; Ps. 133; John 17:20–23; Phil. 4:14–19