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Philippians 1:1-11


Intro: Paul wrote many letter to churches in the first century church. Many of his letter, like the ones to the church in Corinth and in Galatia, were written to combat sins within the church. While they all contain blessings ans help for the church, they are, in fact, letters of rebuke and correction. The letter to the church in Philippi was different.

In its pages, we find no words of rebuke and no words of correction. All that we find here are words of praise and affection. This church, it would seem, stood with Paul in prayer, fellowship and in financial support when other churches failed to come to his aid. Paul never forgot their ministry of love.

As Paul begins this letter, he uses a word in verse 5 that I would like to call to your attention. It is the word "fellowship". This is a word and a concept that is much misunderstood by the modern church. We will have a dinner and call it a "fellowship." Or, we will meet at Shoney's for coffee and dessert and refer to that as a time of "fellowship." Some of you enjoy the good fellowship of a golf game, or whatever event might bring several believers together. Yet, what we often refer to as "fellowship" is really "acquaintanceship" or "friendship."

Genuine fellowship runs far deeper than meal or a good time together. The English word "fellowship" is the translation of the Greek word "koinwnia". This word refers to "things held in common, or things shared." It means to be so closely bound together that there is open and mutual sharing. The opposite of that is seen in Paul's usage of this word in 2 Cor. 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" The whole idea in this verse is that light and darkness are so mutually exclusive that they cannot dwell together. They are so different that they share nothing in common. Paul takes that picture and projects it into the life of the believer. Believers and non-believers are so different that they are never to yoke up.

Now, if we can bring this into the Christian realm, we can see that true, biblical fellowship refers to those things that we are all involved in and share in together. It is those things that we hold in common as believers that I would like to focus in on for a while.

It seems that the church in Philippa was a great church. The reason they were a great church is that they enjoyed and promoted genuine fellowship. It was their realization of what they held in common that made them great.

Now, I think we have a great church! Is there room for improvement? Yes! But, while that may be true, this church possesses certain elements that make us great. This morning, I would like to take a few minutes and look into these verses. I want to show you that even though we come from different backgrounds, we still have a lot in common this morning. There are some basic truths that all the redeemed in this building hold in common. These truths form the basis of our fellowship together. These truths are what make us stand out as a great church. Let me share them with you this morning as we look together at Our Shared Experience.


(Ill. Let me clear this up right now. When I speak of a "common birth" I am not referring to a second-rate birth! There is nothing ordinary about what Jesus did for and in us when He saved us by His grace! What I am referring to is the fact that all believers share the same kind of birth experience. If you are really saved this morning, you all got in the same way!)

A. Notice how Paul addresses his letter to the Philippians. He was writing to "all the saints in Christ Jesus." That designation set these people apart! You see, not everyone in Philippi was in Christ Jesus! Just like not everyone at Gilead Baptist or not everyone who lives in this community is in Christ Jesus. It is this state of being in Christ Jesus that makes one a Christian, 1 John 5:12.

B. Now, that begs the question: "How does a person get 'in' Christ Jesus?" Depending upon who you asked, the answer to that question might range from being baptized to living a good life. However, if we really want to know the truth about how to get in Christ Jesus, I think we need to seek our answers from the Bible itself.

C. What does the Word of God say about this matter?

1. First, the Bible makes it clear that you cannot be saved by your own strength, or by anything that you can do, like works, or good deeds, etc. (Eph. 2:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 8:8).

2. Second, the Bible is also clear when it states the true path to salvation. (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; John 3:16)

3. Third, the Bible is again clear when it tells us that this salvation is available to all men, (Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17; Isa. 55:1).

4. Fourth, the Bible is clear when it teaches us that anyone who does not come to Jesus the Bible way will not be saved and will not go to Heaven, (John 3:3, 7; Luke 13:3; Heb. 2:3; Heb. 9:22).

5. The answer to our question is simple. Respond to the call of God, repent of your sins and receive Jesus into your life. Then you will be in Him and He will be in you and you will be saved! That is how it works!

D. Now, having said all that, let me say that when a person trusts Jesus as Savior, that person becomes part of the family of God. Regardless of his or her background they become one with all other believers. We all share a common birth that places us in the same family.

E. The question that remains to be answered today is: "Have you experienced that new birth? Are you genuinely saved this morning?" If you are, praise God! If not, you can be by trusting Jesus and His shed blood.

I. We Share A Common Birth


(Ill. This section of the passage is summed up well by Paul's statement in verse 7. He says, "I have you in my heart." Paul is reminding these believers that they hold a special place in his life. They are in his heart! Think about what this statement says. Paul is in a Roman prison awaiting trial before Caesar. Yet, his thoughts are filled with praise for these special brothers and sisters in Christ. Even as he can see his own impending death, he still expresses his love for the brethren.

My friends, this is a challenge to every child of God this morning! You see, the place our fellow believers hold in our own hearts reveals a great deal about where we stand with the Lord! Because, just as surely as we all share a common birth experience, we should also all share a common burden experience. Paul shares the four-fold burden of his heart for the Philippian church and in doing so teaches us how we should feel about our brothers and sisters in Christ. By the way, a burden is not always a negative experience!)

A. V. 3 There Is The Burden Of Praise - Paul tells us that his heart is filled with joy every time he remembers his fellow believers there in Philippi. He praises the Lord that they are in the family together. This was his attitude toward all believers, Rom. 1:8-9; Rom. 6:17; 1 Cor. 1:4.

(Ill. Such should be the attitude of our hearts this morning. When we think of our fellow church members here at Gilead, how do we remember them? Do we think of the times they did something we didn't like? Do we remember the time when they said something hurtful? Or, do we rejoice that we are saved and they are saved and that we have the privilege of serving God together? Certainly, one of the great marks of a healthy church is a deeply felt joy among the members of that church.)

B. V. 4 There Is The Burden Of Prayer - Not only does Paul praise God for them, he also prays for them. He carries their name to the throne of grace and makes intercession for their needs and burdens. He cares enough to pray!

(Ill. Again, this ought to be the attitude of our hearts today. Do we love one another enough to pray for each other? Do we run to the Father when those in our fellowship are hurting? Oh, our hearts should be filled with love for those in our Father's family and that love should motivate us to pray for them in a consistent manner as we go through life together, 1 Tim. 2:1.)

C. V. 5 There Is The Burden Of Partnership - Paul is thankful that these people have joined with him in carrying out the Gospel ministry the Lord called him to. This church was faithful to stand with Paul in the times of his need, Phil. 4:15-19. He partnered with them in carrying out the ministry of the Lord.

(Ill. Folks, we are in this thing together! Think of it, the Lord founded this church to reach people for Jesus. And, each of us is essential to getting that job done. For instance, I cannot devote myself to prayer and study of the Word of God unless you partner with me to meet the needs of my family, which you do, and abundantly so! By the same token, I am able to bring the fruits of my study to this place and share them with you, thus, I hope, meeting the spiritual needs you have. Friends, we need one another more than we will ever know! May we learn to appreciate the fact that we are partners in the work of God! As I heard a wise man say yesterday, "There is no I in team." We are partners in the ministry. That realization makes a great church!)

D. V. 8 There Is The Burden Of A Pull - Paul now tells them that he has an overwhelming desire to be with them. He wants to be in their presence when they go to worship. He longs to be near them as they serve the Lord together.

(Ill. I just want to say this morning that there is something wrong with someone who claims to be saved, but who never wants to go to church. There is something missing in their experience in the Lord. After all, the Bible commands believers to assemble themselves together, Heb. 10:25. Beyond that, I get help from the church! I am blessed by near those who are like-minded. I receive strength from your faith and your worship.

Of course, there are those who say, "Well, I just don't get anything out of it." Others says, "I just don't feel like I fit in up there." My advice to you is first, search your heart and see if you are really right with the Lord. Then, if your spiritual condition checks out, find you a church where you do get something. Find you a church where you do fit in. Honey, this ain't the only boat afloat! If you want to serve the Lord in His church there is a place for you to worship!

By the same token, when you won't go to church and serve the Lord in humble obedience, there is something wrong in your heart and you just need to get that thing settled. By the way, I thank the lord for the desire He placed in my heart to be in His house, every time the doors swing open!)

I. We Share a Common Birth

II. We Share A Common Burden


A. In this verse, Paul takes a moment to reassure these believers concerning their future with the Lord. He reminds them that the God Who saved them from their sins and Who has worked in them up to that day, would continue His ministry in their lives until they arrived home in Heaven.

In other words, God wasn't going to leave them behind. He wasn't going to take His hand off their lives. He was going to work in them and ultimately take them home to be with Him.

B. Friends, we still share that common hope this morning! Just as surely as we were saved by the save blood, we are kept saved by the same God, 1 Pet. 1:5. Just as surely as we can fellowship here on this earth. We will spend all eternity together in the presence of the Heavenly Father!

(Ill. With that in mind, let me just encourage you to learn to love the brethren and to enjoy being with the redeemed! We are going to be together forever in Heaven! Heaven, the home of the blessed will be a place that we will share together forever! I look forward to that day when we are perfected and we stand together in His image, in His presence, in His home, forever, Rev. 21:4; Rev. 22:3. What a day that will be!)

I. We Share a Common Birth

II. We Share A Common Burden

III. We Share A Common Blessing


(Ill. Paul let's these believers know that along with all the many things they shared in common, they were also involved in a common ministry. They were laborers together for the Gospel of Jesus. To that end, Paul shared with them his prayer for their success. Notice what Paul prayer for concerning them. What he prayed for are traits that we need as a church as well.)

A. V. 9 Their Compassion - Paul's prayer is that their love one for another might continue to grow as the days went by. This was a church marked by love, and as such it is an example to our church this morning! If we are to be characterized as anything, let it be as a loving church. May we ever strive to carry out the command of our Lord, Matt. 22:39. May 1 Cor. 13:4-8 be fulfilled in the life of this local body of believers.

That having been said, let me also say that this love was to be exercised in "knowledge and judgment." That is, they were to love people, but they were to love truth more! There are times when not everyone will feel loved by the church. However, when that happens, the church should consider her actions toward those people. If they have indeed been wronged, let us make it right with them and seek to restore them to fellowship. However, God never called us to hand out sugar tits! He never called us to placate a bunch of babies who wouldn't be happy anywhere at any price. We must learn the valuable lesson that sometimes, love must be tough! If you have to choose between being the people God has called you to be and smoothing over someone's hurt feelings, I will choose following the Lord! That is why we are called to "speak the truth in love." Sometimes, the truth hurts, but truth will stand while the world is on fire! Be that as it may, let us love another. Remember, we are never more like Jesus and God the Father than when we love others, 1 John 4:7-8.

B. V. 10 Their Convictions - Paul also prays that they will "approve", or put things to the test. His desire is that they will determine what is of God and what is of the flesh and that they will go God's way. Friends, not everything that comes down the road wearing the name of Jesus is really of God! We need to check things out by the Word of God and take our stand on the truth! Then, when we have discerned the mind of God for our situation, let us stand on it and not be ashamed that we are the way we are! God's people need some convictions in our day! Far too many are throwing wide the doors and allowing everything under the sun to come into the church. Let us determine that we will stand for the right way, the old-fashioned way. The Bible way until Jesus comes, 1 Cor. 15:58!

C. V. 11 Their Completion - Paul final prayer is that they will be fruitful in their walk with the Lord. He desires that they bring forth fruit that will glorify God through their ministry. Friends, that ought to be the goal of every saved heart this morning! We ought to want to bring forth fruit to the glory of God! If we will do the things we have already mentioned, the Lord will produce His fruit. When He does, He will be glorified and we will have been successful as a congregation.

(Ill. Remember that when it comes to bearing fruit, some things are necessary and other things are true.

1. If we will produce fruit, we must abide in the Vine - John 15:5.

2. If we will abide in the Vine, we will not have to struggle to bring forth our fruit, it will happen naturally - John 15:5.

3. As we abide in Him and bring forth fruit, we will not draw attention to ourselves. After all, whoever heard a branch on an apple tree make a lot of noise about the fruit it was producing? All the glory in the orchard is enjoyed by the tree and the farmer. So it will be for us. When we are bringing forth fruit for Him, He will get all the glory - 1 Cor. 10:31.

Conc: The church in Philippi was a great church. Do you know why? It was because they shared these four things and they made them the basis of their fellowship. As a result, they grew stronger in the Lord and honored Him. They were great because they stuck to the basics and worked hand in hand with Jesus to carry out His will in the world.

This morning, I want to say that Gilead Baptist Church is a great church! If you think otherwise, then why don't you find you one you can consider great. If I didn't, I wouldn't stay here another minute. However, as I look at us today, I see where we can benefit from the lessons demonstrated in these verses. I wonder if you, the church of God at Gilead will join me in the altar as I deal with those areas in my life that aren't exactly where they ought to be. Will you join me as I go back to the Father to confirm my marching orders? Will you join me as I lay this church on the altar before the Lord and thank Him for what He has given us and for what He is about to do with it. Will you come and pray for your church?

Lost friends, this altar is here for you as well. If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, but feel that you need to do that today, you can come right now and call on the Lord Jesus. He will save your soul. Will you come?

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