Philippians 1:3 “ I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Thank is from eu charis teo, from which the English word "Eucharist," a name often used of the Lord's Supper, derives. In that ordinance we give thanks to God in remembrance of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.
Remembrance of you – Paul’s first remembrance of the believers at Philippi would have been during his second missionary journey when: 1 ) Lydia , the seller of purple, and her household became the first converts on the continent of Europe;
2)the slave girl from whom he cast the demon out; 3) the jailer who was saved after the earthquake;
4)he would also remember that the believers at Philippi were the only ones supporting his ministry at one time; 5)And how they had given sacrificially to the offering that he collected for the saints in Jerusalem during the famine.
Having a genuine desire to remember and focus on the goodness, kindness, and successes of others does not involve denying their weaknesses and shortcomings but rather looking past them .
The Holy Spirit prompts believers to appreciate others' love, generosity, and compassion 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 perhaps an unbeliever.
Bitterness, resentment, a critical spirit , holding grudges, and the like are works of the flesh , not of the Spirit.
There are only two sides in spiritual warfare: 1) God’s side and 2) 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 to major on the strengths of others. “ The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” Rev 12:10
Philippians 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 on behalf of others. Those who are obedient to the Holy Spirit will delight in the privilege of intercessory prayer .
Faithful and sincere intercession is much more than an obligation; it is a joy . Faithful intercessors are more preoccupied with the needs and welfare of others than their own 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 earnestly for the benefit and blessing of others than for his own.
Paul's prayers for the Philippians were offered with great appreciation, thankfulness, and joy .
Neither the unbelieving false teachers nor squabbling believers, such as Euodia and Syntyche (4:2), could rob Paul of his joyful remembrance of this cherished congregation.
Like Paul, believers who possess God-given joy do not focus on themselves, even in the 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 merely look 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, and 3)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 has the root meaning of sharing something in common .
In the broadest sense, Paul rejoiced that the Philippians were saved and thus partners with him in the spread of the Gospel. That participation included their generous financial support of him.
14 How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him Whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:14-15
By far the most important thing all believers share is their spiritual oneness, their participation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this context the phrase in the Gospel refers to the whole enterprise of Gospel ministry, especially that of evangelism.
So Paul here commends the Philippians for their faithful and enduring partnership with him in this supreme endeavor.
The justifying grace of the Son, the electing love of the Father, and the sanctifying fellowship 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 person who has saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Such fellowship was a great source of joy for Paul, as it is for all Christians who find strength, encouragement, support, comfort, and help through their fellowship with other believers..
There are eight aspects , or types, of Christian koinonia : grace, faith, prayer and thanksgiving, love, service, contributing to the needs of others, separation from the world, and spiritual warfare.
1 The fellowship of grace . This is not a natural, man-made fellowship but one sovereignly 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 the gift of God" (Eph 2:8).
All believers have been graciously saved by God and we get to enjoy that fellowship of grace .
2 The fellowship of faith . It is faith alone that brings sinners to salvation. Faith has a divine origin: ”For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith .” Romans 12:3
3 The fellowship of prayer and thanksgiving . Nothing binds believers more closely together 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 Christ to God, even the Father" (Eph 5:20); and "whatever we do in word or deed, we do all in 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 this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus.“ 1 Thess 5:16-18
4 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 is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God 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 of the household of the faith" (Gal 6:10). Even under the old covenant, believers were commanded: " Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power 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 those ministries. This fellowship is clearly a fulfillment of Jesus' Great Commission: " Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the 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 Room shortly before His arrest, Jesus told the remaining eleven disciples, "You are not of the world , but I chose you out of the world “ (John 15:19).
A negative but extremely important part of fellowship is keeping "oneself unstained by 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 anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world , the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, 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 previous aspect. When a believer is truly separated from the world, he will come under attack from the world.
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own," Jesus explained; "but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you . Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' 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 the destruction of fortresses"2 Cor 10:4 In that warfare , believers are fellow soldiers (2 Tim 2:3).
II Timothy 2:3-4 3 “ Suffer hardship with me , as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One who enlisted him as a soldier.”
A Christian who willingly forsakes fellowship with other believers will inevitably be without genuine, Spirit-given joy . Don’t attempt to live faithfully or joyously apart from fellow believers in Christ .
The believer who regularly is in the company of fellow saints, fulfilling the responsibilities that such fellowship requires and provides, will just as inevitably be filled with divine joy .
To be in the company of those who are joint heirs with Christ, people who love, care for, understand, pray for and with each other, who minister and fight the good fight together , is to be assured of abundant and abiding joy .