The Lord is bringing me to a better understanding of Paul’s language in Phil. 1:3-5. I have known these verses for years, studied them and preached them. The opportunity to serve Oklahoma Baptists allows me to experience Gospel partnership in a whole new way.
“I thank God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.”
Paul reflects on the partnership of the Gospel. “Partnership” is the New Testament word for fellowship. We have a deep sharing together in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul says that this sharing moves from the “first day until now.”
We read about that “first day” in Acts 16. Paul shared the Gospel with Lydia, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention. She was baptized, along with her household, and welcomed Paul to use her house as the base of operations for the Gospel advance mission. They were partners in the Gospel, and they not only shared the experience of the Gospel—saved by Jesus—they shared the work of the Gospel. Lydia wanted to help Paul with this work.
This partnership in the Gospel continued “until now.” Paul was in prison because he preached the Gospel. He was not idle in prison but used the opportunity to advance the Gospel among his soldier guards. Guess who shared with him, sending supplies and support? His Gospel partners in Philippi.
“Yet it was kind of you to share (partner) in my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only” (Phil. 4:14-15).
Thus, Gospel partnership involves sharing a common experience of the power of the Gospel of Jesus to change our lives. Partnership also involves sharing resources like time and money to advance the Gospel.
Oklahoma Baptists, we are a partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. We share a common experience of forgiveness, new life and hope in Jesus Christ, and we are sharing together in the work of advancing the Good News to our neighbors and the nations.
We encourage one another to advance the Gospel. At the core, what we do is just that basic. We advance the Gospel together.
Like Paul, I find gratitude and joy when I consider our partnership in the Gospel.