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Bound in a Common Purpose

Philippians 1:7-8
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Real love does not stop when difficulties arise. Despite Paul's pain at being separated from the church that had supported Him the most, the first beacon of gospel light in Europe; he did not forget them. They were not just yesterday's convenience, the means of support for the apostle and his missionary team. They were bound to his heart like blood brothers or comrades in arms.

Paul understood Christian love, because he practiced it. It was etched onto his heart, and fuelled his prayer. He knew that they had given sacrificially, not just because they liked Paul, but because the gospel message he brought had transformed their lives. They wanted to be all-out for Jesus. So they expressed their gratitude by supporting the team who brought the gospel to them. That was not charity, nor pity, but a full-hearted expression for their love and thanks for all that the Lord had done for them through the apostolic team.

Such an attitude was part of God's comfort to Paul. But more than that; it was a token that they would continue the gospel work in their area even if Paul was martyred. And that was what mattered to Paul. He knew that the gospel was God's special tool to bring salvation to the world, and he was confident of that value being embedded in the church at Philippi: so that even if he was killed, they would carry on.

Have you ever thought that whatever you have received of God's grace has involved faithful people who told the gospel to you, led you to Christ and discipled you. A good question might be, how have you shown your love to them? Has it been all 'take' and no 'give'? They may have sacrificed much for the Lord's sake and the gospel's. What encouragement will you bring to help them continue in ministry until their work is done?.

Generous God. You have shown your love to me in so many ways, through the words and kindness of Your servants. Help me to be grateful for them and to hold them high in my heart. I am truly grateful for their ministry to me, and their love which was probably far more sacrificial than I will ever know. Lead me to show that gratitude in ways which will demonstrate my solidarity in the cause of the gospel. In Jesus' Name. Amen
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© Dr Paul Adams