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Sharing in Christ

In the letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul is writing to a church that he had been intimately connected to since the her beginning when Lydia, a fabric seller, heard the gospel proclaimed, opened her heart to the Lord and was baptised, together with her household. Other conversions followed, including that of a town jailer, so over the next 10 years the church grew in number. The close connection between Paul and the saints in Philippi continued as they contributed financially to his gospel ministry. The Philippians partnership in the work of the gospel was a cause of great joy to Paul in his regular prayers for the church. However, the fellowship Paul had with the church was much more than a sharing of purpose, it was a joining of his heart with theirs in a deep affection which mirrored the compassionate affection of the Lord Jesus Christ towards those who are in need. Paul expressed his heartfelt love for the church through his prayer for their continued growth in love, knowledge and insight. The bond of fellowship had been formed through mutual sharing; a willing ‘giving and receiving’. Yet there was a stronger tie still. All of the saints at Philippi, together with Paul had received grace. The great gift of God in Christ Jesus was the rich treasure they all shared. He is the glorious possession which bound them together in a fellowship deeper and stronger than any human friendship or family tie.  We, as the Reformed Church of Hastings, have received the same grace as the saints in Philippi had in Christ. Our fellowship is to be a sharing of gospel purpose, heartfelt love, but most of all a sharing of Christ Himself.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” {Philippians 1:3-8}

Philippians 1.3-8 Sharing in Christ – sermon outline