Unity

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. Philippians 2.1-4

What do you think Paul’s reaction would be to the religious world today? When writing to the Philippians, he told them to complete his joy by being of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Impossible, you say! However, it is what God expects of his children, of his church.

There is only one way to accomplish this. Only by returning to what God’s word says, will we be able to even come close. As long as each person picks and chooses what they want to include, it will never be done. When people add things not found in God’s word or conveniently forget that something is in God’s word, it will not happen. When you take a verse out of context and twist it to say what you want it to say, unity in spirit and purpose will remain out of reach. When the titles become more important than the service, the motivation is called into question.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 4.3 to make every effort to keep the unity. It can only be done if we faithfully follow what God’s word says. We are called to respect his word and to accept it as it is, neither adding or diminishing it in any way, Deuteronomy 4.2 and Revelation 22.18. Are you reading the Bible? Do you read with an open heart receiving what is contained in it? Do you promote unity based upon his word?

#risingjoy #Philippians #unity

Participation

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1.3-6

My family moved to a different city to work. We left behind many people that had been taught the gospel and that had continued faithful to the Lord. We often wondered how different ones were doing, if they were still faithful. After several years, we returned for a visit. What joy we had to see many of the ones with whom we had studied still faithful to the Lord!

God provides us with encouragement. He takes care of our daily needs. He uses other Christians to make this happen. Never underestimate the good that God can do with what, in your opinion, does not amount to much. He can make the blessings overflow with whatever we are willing to give him.

Participation is key. We must be willing to participate in His mission, to be used for his kingdom, the church. God is able to carry us to perfection, or maturity, if we stay with him.

#risingjoy #Philippians #encouragement

Return with him

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, they exult in their shame, and they think about earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.19-21

Paul, in Philippians 3.17, tells the Philippians to imitate his life just as he once told the Corinthians. Paul was single-minded. His goal was to be found faithful at the second coming of Jesus and to prepare as many as possible to also be ready. He encourages them to watch carefully those who live the Christian life.

Paul followed with the warning that not all who were Christians had the same point of view. There were still some who believed that the old law had to be observed. Paul stated that these people were enemies of the cross of Christ. They were focused on life on this earth and not focused on what was to come.

Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is coming a second time. He is coming to claim his bride, the church! Those, who are faithful in the church, will return with him to heaven. Our citizenship is in heaven, not this earth. Our bodies will be transformed from their humble state. Through his power, he will change our bodies to be similar to his glorious body!

The question to ask is into what group do we fall? Are we trying to imitate Paul? Are we single-minded when it comes to our goal? Do we look forward to entering heaven for eternity? Or are we solely focused on life in the here and now? What are you focused on?

#risingjoy #Philippians #heaven

Single-minded about this goal

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded. Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3.13-14

Paul wrote Philippians from prison. It was a letter of hope and encouragement. Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians to strive for maturity in their faith. In verse 10, he stated his goal was to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his suffering, and to be like him in his death. Paul readily stated that he had not attained this goal of maturity. However, it was worth making the effort. It was something that he wanted so intensely that he was single-minded when it came to this goal. Paul did not dwell in the past. He looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal.

Do you live in the past? Do you let past experiences determine how you live your life today? We need to learn from Paul to let go of the past. What happened cannot be changed. Jesus said in Luke 9.62 that we should not look back. We need to repent of things in the past and then let go of it.

Is your goal to know Jesus? We need to imitate Paul in his single-mindedness. We should have an intense desire to grow in our faith daily. Just as Paul looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal, so should we. We cannot sit still and expect to reach our goal.

#risingjoy #Philippians #past

Joy that renews the spirit

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1.3-6

There are certain people in our lives that are special for one reason or another. We are thankful that these people have crossed paths with us. There are friends that we do not see for years. Yet, when you get a chance to catch up, it is like you were never apart. There are people in our spiritual family that are as dear and as important as any blood kin. Paul must have had a long list of friends. He is writing this letter to the church in Philippi. He is thankful. He is thankful because this church shared in his work by sending him gifts of financial help. When he received word of how they were doing, he was encouraged and felt renewed. They shared the same purpose in life. Their spiritual goals were the same. They worked toward those goals with the same persistence. Paul prayed for these friends with joy giving thanks to God for them. Paul felt sure that the Philippians would stick to the task and not give up because of their attitude towards him. It is such a huge encouragement to hear that someone with whom you have shared the gospel is continuing to serve the Lord Jesus as a faithful child. It brings joy that renews the spirit to continue the work which we have been called to do.

#risingjoy #Philippians #gratitude

Able to go home

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.20,21

Do you like to travel? Living in a country that is not where you were born and raised can give you a better perspective at times. When we are citizens of one country and travel to another, you do not have the same rights as a native of the country. Of what country are you a citizen? Paul’s says that we are citizens of heaven. We sing “This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.” We also hear people often say that “There is no place like home.” How true that is! The Christian is a citizen of heaven! We await Jesus’ return to be able to go home. There is going to be a huge transformation to take place upon his return. This body of mine that is sick, broken, and imperfect will be changed by his power into a glorious body similar to Jesus. I will travel to the heavenly city of which I am a citizen. I will go home!

#risingjoy #heaven #Philippians

MOST: Helpers sometimes need help as well

Meditate on this verse:

Yes, I say also to you, true companion, help them. They have struggled together in the gospel ministry along with me and Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the book of life, Philippians 4.3.

Offer this prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the mutual help we can offer one another in your family. Your wisdom planned all this. Make me useful to the saints.

Savor this thought:

Helpers sometimes need help as well.

Take this action:

Talk to someone (for example, an elder, evangelist, teacher, giver of hospitality, or deacon) about their spiritual life.

#most #helpers #Philippians

What really matters: Philippians 1.10

“I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ.”

Philippians 1.10 CEB

To decide is to determine, examine, or approve. What really matters comes from a verb meaning to distinguish or separate. It gets down to what is “essential” (Mounce).

Paul mentioned prayer for love and knowledge, v. 9. So both prayer and study are needed, as well as involvement with the church. Does this describe me?

#votd #Philippians #essentials

The far greater value of knowing Christ: Philippians 3.8

“More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ,”

Philippians 3.8

The things we valued before Christ become liabilities, often, impediments to the greater worth of having a relationship with Jesus. Though we may possess still some things, we have lost all for him. He is too precious to lose over things of this world.

What things did I value before Christ? Are there things that still hold an appeal to me? What am I doing now to gain him?

#votd #Philippians #knowing-Christ

Granted to you: Philippians 1.29-30

“For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.”

Philippians 1.29-30

What an apostle is called to, so are all the people of God. The faith is for all, as is suffering for Christ. We find solace in knowing that others face the same spiritual conflict.

We suffer for Christ not only to live for him but to proclaim him. Together, we learn to trust in the Lord. We pray together, for one another, and rejoice in following the Lord’s path.

#votd #Philippians #suffering

What you learned: Philippians 4.9

“And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4.9

Paul preached the true gospel and gave the example. The Philippians needed to hear and observe. Then, they should practice those same things. Only then could they count on God’s presence.

One cannot be taught wrong and practice correctly. One must first learn in order to do the right thing. Having God’s presence depends on this.

#votd #Philippians #knowledge

September 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 4)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Help Those Women (Wade Webster)
  • Towards Spiritual Success (Cody Westbrook)
  • I Can Do All Things (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • The God Who Supplies (John Baker)
  • Farewell (Kevin Rhodes)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-women, #christian-worker, #encouragement, #financial-support, #philippians, #spiritual-strength, #success

June 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 1)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • A Harmonious Congregation (Kevin W. Rhodes)
  • I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance… (Cody Westbrook)
  • Let Love Abound (Mike Vestal)
  • Christ Is Preached, So I Rejoice! (Stephen Wiggins)
  • To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain (Randy Robinson)
  • Paul’s Plea (Dave Rogers)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#apostle-paul, #christian-living, #christian-worker, #fellowship, #love, #philippians, #preaching-christ, #spiritual-examples

May 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Noble Character of Philippians)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Philippians: An Introduction (Bill Burk)
  • The Progress of the Gospel (Cody Westbrook)
  • Joy in Philippians (Bruce Ligon)
  • Unity in Philippians (Todd Clippard)
  • Peace in Philippians (Kevin Cauley)
  • Spiritual Maturity in Philippians (Trent Kennedy)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#character, #christian-peace, #christian-unity, #christian-worker, #joy, #pauls-epistles, #philippians, #spiritual-maturity

What does ‘fellowship’ mean?

By Nelson Smith, commenting on Phil 2.1-2

What do we know of the “communion of the Holy Spirit?” Or the “fellowship of the Spirit?” What meaning does it have for us?

I preached for a church where they had a “fellowship committee.” Its primary work was to organize “fellowships” where the main topic (and activity) was food. Sometimes a little more than that but that does seem to be a common “vice” (?) of many whose taste-buds are out of control.

What does fellowship mean? Continue reading

#fellowship, #holy-spirit, #philippians