Philippians 1: 3-4

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Pastor Steve continued in Philippians 1 today, first reviewing verses 3-4 and Paul’s remark about how he thanked God for the Philippians and prayed for them. Steve suggested we do the same and pray for another church member if they came to mind. He pointed out the reason Paul prayed for the Philippians was because of their partnership—or koinonia—with him in spreading the gospel.

“The idea of koinonia is a unique fellowship because of faith in Jesus,” Steve said. “It’s used over and over in the New Testament. That Holy Spirit makes a connection with anyone else who is filled with the Holy Spirit. You know they Christ as Lord. You know the fundamental element that connects you is Jesus. You meet someone at work and you know they’re a Christian. It was neat to go to Haiti and feel that connection with them even though we didn’t speak the same language.”

He then had different people read 1 Corinthians 10:16, 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 2 Corinthians 9:13 to bring out two threes:

1) participation (or koinonia) in the blood of Christ.

2) the negative element of how koinonia doesn’t exist with unbelievers. Saying he didn’t know if you could love unbelievers into the kingdom of God, Steve said we should communicate that love by the way we treat each other. If people see us fighting and judging each other, they won’t see koinonia.

3) in the final verse and the phrase “generosity of your contribution,” the Greek word for contribution is koinonia. The whole point is Paul is provoking righteous jealousy among the Philippians by recalling how the Macedonian church gave a lot to the gospel cause even though they didn’t have a lot.

“I’ve been told to move the church out of this area if we want to grow,” Steve said. “That’s not koinonia; that’s marketing. Koinonia works itself out in fellowship with one another. Fellowship and a relationship with the Lord includes giving and sharing of material goods.”

Then he had us turn to Philippians 4:10-15 to connect with 1:5 and the idea of partnership. This church was supporting Paul, not only with its love, concern and prayers, but also financial contributions. The same should be true of us helping others with food, clothing and material goods. When we come to church, our attitude shouldn’t be to just come in and sit in and listen before we run home, but: “What can I do to help those people?” It means an on-purpose mindset. The gospel is not about “superstar” preachers, but a group of people working together to advance God’s kingdom.

Steve then raised the question of what to do with this information and gave two points: 1) to pray for our church family, 2) to recognize koinonia and contribute to each other and stay connected. “Look for opportunities to be a blessing,” he said. “We’re not just inviting people to church. We’re inviting them into Jesus and people knowing Jesus and each other koinonia—partnership, connected and in fellowship. The world could stand to see a lot more of that.”