The Holy Spirit prompts believers to appreciate others love, generosity, andcompassion and to forget the rest.On the other hand, a person who constantly focuses on the negatives, shortcomings,faults, and slights of others is a person not controlled by the Holy Spirit, and is perhapsan unbeliever.Bitterness, resentment, a critical spirit, holding grudges, and the like are works of theflesh, not of the Spirit.There are only two sides in spiritual warfare:1) God’s side and2) God’s enemy’s side.A critical spirit does not come from God.God’s enemy wants us to major on the weaknesses of others while God wants us tomajor on the strengths of others.“The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them beforeour God day and night.” Rev 12:10Philippians 1:4“always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all”Another indispensable element of joy for believers is interceding before God onbehalf of others. Those who are obedient to the Holy Spirit will delight in the privilegeof intercessory prayer.Faithful and sincere intercession is much more than an obligation; it is a joy. Faithfulintercessors are more preoccupied with the needs and welfare of others than theirown and ask God to pour out His divine blessing on them.An infallible test of godly joy is the degree to which a believer prays more earnestlyfor the benefit and blessing of others than for his own.Pauls prayers for the Philippians were offered with great appreciation, thankfulness,and joy.Neither the unbelieving false teachers nor squabbling believers, such as Euodia andSyntyche (4:2), could rob Paul of his joyful remembrance of this cherishedcongregation.Like Paul, believers who possess God-given joy do not focus on themselves, even inthe midst of pain or difficult circumstances.
They are rather concerned about their fellow believers pain, difficult circumstances,hardships, failures, and sorrows, and they earnestly intercede for them.Later in this letter Paul expresses this personal trait in an admonition: "Do not merelylook out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (2:4).Lack of joy reveals itself in three ways:1)in negative thoughts and talk about others,2)in a lack of concern for their welfare, and3)in the failure to intercede on their behalf.Joyless believers are self-centered, selfish, proud, often vengeful, and their self-centeredness inevitably manifests itself in prayerlessness.Philippians 1:5“in view of your participation in the Gospel from the first day until now.” (1:5)A third element of God-given joy is participation.Koinonia (participation) is commonly rendered "fellowship," or "communion," and hasthe root meaning of sharing something in common.In the broadest sense, Paul rejoiced that the Philippians were saved and thus partnerswith him in the spread of the Gospel. That participation included their generousfinancial support of him.14 How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? How will theybelieve in Him Whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without apreacher?15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOWBEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”Romans 10:14-15By far the most important thing all believers share is their spiritual oneness, theirparticipation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.In this context the phrase in the Gospel refers to the whole enterprise of Gospelministry, especially that of evangelism.So Paul here commends the Philippians for their faithful and enduring partnership withhim in this supreme endeavor.The justifying grace of the Son, the electing love of the Father, and the sanctifyingfellowship of the Holy Spirit are inextricably coalesced in the partnership of the saints.
The partnership of the saints is a vast spiritual brotherhood that includes every personwho has saving faith in Jesus Christ.Such fellowship was a great source of joy for Paul, as it is for all Christians who findstrength, encouragement, support, comfort, and help through their fellowship withother believers..There are eight aspects, or types, of Christian koinonia: grace, faith, prayer andthanksgiving, love, service, contributing to the needs of others, separation from theworld, and spiritual warfare.1 The fellowship of grace. This is not a natural, man-made fellowship but onesovereignly designed and effected by God through His Holy Spirit."For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is thegift of God" (Eph 2:8).All believers have been graciously saved by God and we get to enjoy that fellowshipof grace.2 The fellowship of faith. It is faith alone that brings sinners to salvation. Faith has adivine origin: ”For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not tothink more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have soundjudgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:33 The fellowship of prayer and thanksgiving. Nothing binds believers more closelytogether than worshiping God in corporate praise and thanksgiving.We are "always [to be] giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christto God, even the Father" (Eph 5:20); and "whatever we do in word or deed, we do allin the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father"(Col 3:17).We are to "rejoice always; pray without ceasing; and in everything give thanks; for thisis Gods will for us in Christ Jesus.“ 1 Thess 5:16-184 The fellowship of love. The supreme virtue that encompasses all other virtues.It is more important than speaking in tongues, prophecy, theological knowledge,faith, sacrificial generosity, and even martyrdom.The apostle John taught that love is the definitive mark of Christian fellowship:"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves isborn of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, forGod is love" (1 John 4:7-8).
5 The fellowship of contributing to the needs of others. "While we have opportunity,"Paul admonished, "let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are ofthe household of the faith" (Gal 6:10). Even under the old covenant, believers werecommanded: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in yourpower to do it" (Prov 3:27).6 The fellowship of promoting the Gospel. That is done through preaching, teaching,witnessing, and supporting those whom the Lord has specially called to thoseministries. This fellowship is clearly a fulfillment of Jesus Great Commission: "Makedisciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son andthe Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matt 28:19-20).7 The fellowship of separation from the world. In His discourse in the Upper Roomshortly before His arrest, Jesus told the remaining eleven disciples, "You are not of theworld, but I chose you out of the world” (John 15:19).A negative but extremely important part of fellowship is keeping "oneself unstainedby the world" (James 1:27), which has never been more difficult than in our own age.John exhorts believers, "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyoneloves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lustof the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from theFather, but is of the world" (1 John 2:15-16).We are to be in the world but not of the world.We are in the world but the world should not be in us.It is OK for the boat to be in the water but woe be it if the water is in the boat.8 The fellowship of spiritual warfare. In many ways this is an extension of the previousaspect. When a believer is truly separated from the world, he will come under attackfrom the world."If you were of the world, the world would love its own," Jesus explained; "but becauseyou are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the worldhates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A slave is not greater than hismaster. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:19-20).In this great spiritual struggle "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,"because the conflict is not of the flesh, "but they are divinely powerful for thedestruction of fortresses" 2 Cor 10:4 In that warfare, believers are fellow soldiers(2 Tim 2:3).II Timothy 2:3-43 “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in activeservice entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please theOne who enlisted him as a soldier.”
A Christian who willingly forsakes fellowship with other believers will inevitably bewithout genuine, Spirit-given joy. Don’t attempt to live faithfully or joyously apart fromfellow believers in Christ.The believer who regularly is in the company of fellow saints, fulfilling theresponsibilities that such fellowship requires and provides, will just as inevitably be filledwith divine joy.To be in the company of those who are joint heirs with Christ, people who love, carefor, understand, pray for and with each other, who minister and fight the good fighttogether, is to be assured of abundant and abiding joy.