Together in the Gospel
“…your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Philippians 1:5 (ESVUK)
When he wrote to the Philippians Paul stressed the believer’s involvement in the gospel. One could say that his focus was on how all of us participate in gospel growth, the idea that the good news of Jesus Christ would be heard by more and more people.
Paul did not see himself as being alone in this gospel work. It was and is still a work of togetherness. His view is that we all join with Christ in doing Christ’s work, and therefore we are partners in the gospel. This partnership began from the time we accepted Christ and continues until now.
How is this partnership expressed? Paul goes on to list a number of ways. For example, he highlights that together we defend and confirm the gospel (verse 7), we advance the gospel (verse 12), we live a life worthy of the gospel (verse 27), and we strive for the faith of the gospel (verse 27 again). He also explains that the Philippians shared in Paul’s troubles (4:14), and that also they were involved financially in that they entered into partnership with him “in giving and receiving” (4:15). Also, it was “through your prayers and the help of the Spirit” (1:19).
Paul’s desire was clearly that the Philippians grasped the concept of partnership in the gospel. From his writings it appears that they not only understood togetherness in the gospel but they also practiced it in how they lived.
What about us? Sometimes we can sit back and let others get on with the gospel. The work of Jesus, however, is not about passive involvement, as if we were in some spiritual armchair watching others get on with it. The gospel is about active togetherness in Christ.
How do you express your partnership in the gospel?
Father, please, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, help me to express my partnership and participation in the gospel. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.