Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Church
Philippians 1: 3-11
Someone has said that everything Paul touches, he turns it into the gospel. That’s the one I would like to present to you as we continue to study this short letter. Let’s go on and see what the Holy Spirit would like us to know and learn.
I. Thanksgiving. Phil. 1:3
A. Every time Paul prays for the Philippian Christians, he does so with thanksgiving and joy. This is due to their reception of the gospel, their faithfulness and their testimony which probably impressed Paul. It would be a good thing to hear other people say “I thank God that I came to know this church, or I thank God I been blessed knowing you people”. Every Christian is either a blessing or not, an asset or a liability in the church. You choose which one you belong an asset or a liability.
Illustration: Thankfulness—A Lost Art Today
Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him. What a tragedy!
II. Always in every prayer. Phil. 1:4
A. Always means “at all time”. Paul was praying regularly for the Philippians. He was interceding for them. James is a man of prayer and so does Paul. His life of prayer is shown in his character. His prayers are always recorded and mentioned in his letters (Rom. 1:9, Eph. 1:16, Col. 1:3, 9, I Thess. 1:9,).
B. For Paul praying for the Philippians was a joy. It was a form of gladness or delight for him. Do you have joy in praying or you just pray routinely and mechanically just to do the task? When we pray we should have an attitude of expectation of God’s granting our requests with accompanying joy.
C. Do you pray for your pastor and to your fellow church member? Your pastor is praying for you and for all the members, visitors, saved and the unsaved. If there is someone who needs your prayers, it is your pastor. How is your attitude about it? Is it a burden, an obligation to you or a privilege and joy? We are commanded to pray for one another. (James 5:16)
III. For your fellowship in the gospel. Phil. 1:5
A. Church fellowship nowadays consist of coffee and tea, church socialization or sports activities. Scripturally speaking, the word “fellowship” in Greek is not “fun times” no matter how enjoyable it is.
B. Fellowship here is participation or partnership. These believers readily assisted Paul in evangelizing Philippi from the beginning of the church there until the moment he was writing to them in jail. They never forgot him, and they continued to support him. It’s more than ten years now and they are still faithful to their commitment to
him. No wonder he thank God for them.
Illustration: Missionary Support
Proclaiming the gospel out requires joint partnership or participation. Those who support messengers of the gospel are participating in evangelism. Support your local missionaries not only
through prayers but also in providing their physical needs. Monetary support is very essential to full time missionaries. When you support a missionary, it’s just like you who are preaching and doing
soul winning. Supporting a missionary is eternal investment which earns dividends in glory, and eternal return is much better than anything else in this world.
IV. A good work in you. Phil. 1:6
A. Paul is convinced or persuaded that what God had begun, God will finish it. I do believe that this “good thing” is salvation itself. When God begins a work of salvation in a person, He finishes it. The word “perform” means to complete or make perfect which points to the eternal security of the believer (Jn. 6:39, 40, Heb. 7:25).
Once you are saved, you are saved forever. You can never lose your salvation.
B. Aside from salvation, God prunes us like a vinedresser prunes grape vines that we may bear more fruits (Jn. 15:2). We are transformed to become like Christ. (2 Cor. 3:18).
C. The “day of Jesus Christ” is for me His second coming, when we meet Him in the air and then we receive our rewards at the judgment seat.
V. This I pray that your love may abound more and more Phil. 1:9
A. To abound means to overflow, something in excess or abundance. Love that is only in the heart, and expressed by mouth is not enough. It must be put into action. The more we grow in grace, the greater is our capacity to love specially in loving the unlovely. We do this for Jesus’ for he commanded us to love one another. (Jn.13:34)
B. To abound in knowledge and in judgement here is to know more about Christ (Eph. 4:13, Col. 1:9). The knowledge according to the truth that leads to Godliness. (1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Tim. 2:25, 3:7, Titus 1:1). Judgment is also discernment, moral perception, and corrects use of the facts. Real love requires both. Can you dislike someone and still
VI. That ye may approve things that are excellent Phil. 1:10
A. To approve is to test for approval. Spiritual discernment is to be able to distinguish between the real and the imitation, the true from the false, the good and the bad. Most of the products (electronics, cars, foods, etc.) are quality tested and the goal is to see “excellence”.
B. Sincere means pure or no mixture, to be genuine, in Greek, judgment by sunlight. Examining things in the light of the sun. The light reveals hidden things, and believers should be transparent, nothing to hide, no contamination of hypocrisy.
Jesus expects us to be real. Without “offence” or blameless, without offence, until the day of Christ’s coming.
VII. Being filled with fruits of righteousness Phil. 1:11
A. Our righteousness is imputed or given only by God. We did not earn it or work for it. We stand righteous before God because Jesus Christ covered us with His righteousness. We ought to produce fruit for God, for what He has done for us. God gets the glory for everything.
B. Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God
when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9). Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ’s is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of damnation,
we are made righteous (Is. 61:10) by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As a result, will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God. Our righteousness
C. Among the Greeks, righteousness was an ethical virtue. Among the Hebrews it was a legal concept; the righteous man was the one who got the verdict of acceptability when tried at the bar of God’s justice. Christ’s death took away our sins and made it possible for sinners to have “the righteousness of God,” i.e., right standing before
God (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22; 5:17). That gift of righteousness is to be followed by upright living (Rom. 6:13-14).
We all must pray with thanksgiving and joy for the church where we are members. We must pray for other churches too with the same faith like us for the believers to abound in love, knowledge, and judgment. Not so easy to do this but the Lord Jesus Christ gave us an example to even pray for our enemies. Once more, we are exhorted by the Word of God to pray. Spend your time with God, it’s very rewarding.