Do you rejoice over your church? It seems that many people are quick to complain about problems or people in their church but spend less time rejoicing over it. Remember that whatever binds us together as Christians is far more important than anything that could ever tear us apart!
Paul loved the church. Out of every letter Paul wrote to churches, none display his affection for God’s people like that of the Philippian epistle. He wrote, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy…” There were three reasons for Paul’s joy. First, because of their fellowship in the Gospel. There was a strong bond between Paul and these believers because of the Gospel. He was highly interested in their spiritual progress. Paul said, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) Not only did Paul rejoice in the fellowship of the Gospel, but also He rejoiced in “furtherance of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12)
The Philippian church gave sacrificially to assist Paul in preaching the Gospel. They were very generous in their love and support of his ministry. Paul took joy in knowing that they were praying for him. Paul not only rejoiced in the furtherance of the Gospel, but also He rejoiced in the faith of the Gospel. (Philippians 1:27)
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:27)
Paul summed it up in one phrase. He said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) He was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, and even wrote these words from a prison cell. He encouraged the church at Philippi to be courageous for Gospel, and to suffer faithfully for Christ.
A study conducted by the University of Southern California found that the stress hormone cortisol was significantly reduced when people shared their problems with others. Fifty-two college students were asked to make a speech while being taped by researchers. Those students who were allowed to discuss their fear of giving the speech with another student in the study had lower levels of cortisol before, during, and after the speech than students who didn’t share their feelings of fear. The point is we need each other! (source: David Jeremiah)
The Bible teaches us to bear one another’s burdens because we need one another! We are better together, and we can do far more together than we can do apart. Let us be kind and compassionate to one another and so committed to the Gospel that when others think of us they rejoice in Jesus Christ!
Randy J. McPheron