Monday, March 05, 2007

How to Have Joyful Relationships...

Philippians 1:1-9

Our churches should be filled with SLAVES, SAINTS, and SERVANTS (v1)
Paul and Timothy are bond-servants (slaves) who do not have any rights except those that are given to them by their master (Jesus). The letter is written to the saints (holy ones) at Philippi. Note that their "saintliness" is because of Christ and not because of their own self-righteousness. Included in their number are some overseers (bishops/pastors) and some deacons (servants). These officers are listed
after the saints because they are the servants of the saints. There is no room here for prestige or position--just humble service!

Our churches should be marked by GRACE and PEACE (v2).
Grace is simply "unmerited favor"--getting more than we deserve. Peace is "the absence of conflict". Those that God would bring into the church should be treated to grace and peace--not legalistic rules and conflict! The world will flock to our churches for grace and peace! They don't seem to be too interested in our fights!

Our relationships in the church should be marked by . . .
  • Pleasure with God (v3). Can you thank God for everyone in your church?
  • Prayer (v4). Do you pray joyfully for all of the members of your church?
  • Participation (koinonia) in the Gospel (v5). Are you "sharing in" the gospel as well as "sharing" the gospel?
  • Positive Affirmation (v6). Are you reminding the members of your church that God is still perfecting them?--He hasn't given up!
  • Partaking of Grace (v7). Are you filling your plate and the plates of others at God's buffet of grace?
  • Passion (v8). Are you passionate for the members of your church? The word for "affection" in verse 8 is the strongest possible Greek word to convey compassion!

Our relationships in the church should be abounding in LOVE! (v9).
Paul uses the word "agape" here and indicates that the seed of healthy, nurturing relationships in the church is agape (sacrificial God-like) love. One can only distribute agape love by receiving regular doses of the same from the giver of love--God Himself! We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:7-8). Are you spending intimate time with God each day?

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