Friday in the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Philippians 1:7-11

Partakers of Grace

Now Paul becomes very personal, and there is a reason for this.  Paul had so many struggles as an apostle.  He provides a brief list of these in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33: Imprisonment, beatings, stoning, constant dangers and threats from both Jews and Gentiles, and to top it all, brothers in the churches which he founded who later turned on him and questioned his apostleship.  He was, no doubt, often lonely in his ministry.  Surely, had it not been for the Spirit’s presence in his life, he would never have persevered. 

But there was one church out there, one church that encouraged him and supported him.  I have heard (no one knows exactly where these sayings come from) that it takes seven occasions of encouragement to make up for one occasion of destructive criticism.  (I wonder if this says as much about ourselves as people who tend to wallow in self-pity as it does about those who tear us down.)  No wonder Paul valued this church so highly.  In all of his struggles, they were there.  He mentions in 4:15-16 that only the Philippians had “entered into partnership with [him] in giving and receiving,” and that when he was in Thessalonica, they had sent him help for his needs “once and again.”  Using a form of the word, κοινωνια, which we discussed yesterday, the Philippians had become partakers with Paul in God’s grace, “both in [his] imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”  Is it any wonder that Paul yearned for them with the affection of Christ Jesus? 

And so now Paul prays that their “love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that [they] may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”  Here we see that love and knowledge go together in the Christian faith.  Love is the impetus that makes us want to do the good deed; knowledge is the means whereby we discern what the good deed is.  “Love” is a word that is used far too haphazardly today and usually equated in the world with notions of “tolerance” for sinful lifestyles.  Love must be informed with knowledge which makes us to seek moral purity and blamelessness before the day of our Lord’s coming.  Knowledge makes us to know how to rightly apply love, where, and for what needs.  Love is not promiscuous; it is discerning—that is what Paul tells us here.  And these Philippians hit the target in their expression of love for an apostle who greatly needed it.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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