He knew that those who water the work with their prayers and finances are just as important as those who do the actual work of tilling the soil and planting the seeds.
Philippians ″Thanking God for Gospel Partners” | East Balsam Baptist Church
If the first group tries to do their job without the assistance of the other group, failure will be the inevitable result. He was doing his part and they were doing theirs — and together they made a great team that was having an eternal impact. Everyone was on the same team, moving toward the same goal; they were simply fulfilling different roles to get the job done.
Paul was a planter, and those who gave of their finances were the waterers. Both were essential to the success of the work. Paul was keenly aware of how special it was that the church of Philippi had not only supported him from the very beginning, but were also still standing with him as his partners in the work of the Lord! Philippians ,5 could be interpreted to read:.
In every one of my prayers, I am asking God to meet the tangible and physical needs in your lives. And I want you to know that praying for you is one of the greatest joys of my life. Because of that, praying for you is a very special joy for me. Think of what would happen if everyone simultaneously stopped giving!
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Preachers would be like automobiles with no gas in the tank. One plants, another waters, and God gives the increase. Your partnership in the Gospel is not a light matter. It is one of the most significant things you can do in this life.
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Lord, I thank You for allowing me to be a participant in the Gospel by sowing my finances every month into ministries that are touching the world. Help me to always be aware of the great impact my gifts have and to never let the devil make me think that what I do is unimportant. I want to give faithfully to these works, Lord. Therefore, I ask You to increase me financially so I can give even more! I want to partner with them to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth and to help fill Heaven with the souls of those for whom Jesus died.
I confess that I am a faithful supporter of the work of God. I give regularly, consistently, and passionately to see the Gospel go forward around the world. My gifts are important.
What I sow really does make a difference. What ministries or outreaches do you regularly and faithfully support with your finances? These people are not superficial contacts he made one time. It is not as if he preached at their church one Sunday and was never back again. So, of course I give thanks for them and of course I pray for them.
Northern Seminary has just celebrated its centennial. Among the very many exciting events was the gathering of well over two hundred who travelled from all over the country because they have Northern in their hearts. I can say with complete honesty on behalf of the trustees, faculty, and staff of Northern that we hold these alumni and friends in our hearts too.
We give thanks for each other and we pray for each other. We really are one family. Christians belong together. We have each other in our hearts. Those that God has brought together should give thanks and pray for the Christian family to which we belong. It appears nineteen times in the New Testament for a range of meanings centered around fellowship, joining together, and, of course, partnership. The sense is always of a shared relationship, a two-sided relationship.
Imagine John and Joan meet. Both are giving themselves to the other. And hopefully John and Joan will live happily ever after. The Philippians mean so much to Paul because they have been partners with him in the work of God. Acts 16 tells of how Paul and Silas went to Philippi and evangelized there. Lydia came to faith and also a jailer and his household, and so a fledgling church was born. It is only God who saves, but these Philippians will have also felt a deep bond to Paul and Silas who brought them the gospel, and Paul and Silas would feel an equal bond for their spiritual children.
Many years ago Alison and I led a small youth group and had the deep joy of helping many of these young adults put their trust in Jesus Christ. One was a bright-eyed girl called Susie, and I baptized her. Eventually we moved on to another church many miles away, and it was years before we returned. There was Susie in church, now married and with a young son.
We spoke together of those earlier years and of her faith in Christ.
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It was a lovely, humbling and moving moment for me to hear she had used my name. Sharing the experience of someone coming to faith creates a bond in Christ, a deep and lasting partnership. Paul and Silas went through severe persecution in Philippi. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. This was serious. Paul and Silas could easily have died.
What they went through was appalling hardship with nothing good about it other than the opportunity to evangelize the jailer.
Partners in the Gospel Of Jesus Christ
In that city any convert would share their experience. Those first Christians in Philippi would walk the same road as Paul and Silas, a road of persecution and suffering. It is literally true that they shared in the cost. Paul was the evangelist called to travel the Mediterranean area with the good news; the Philippians made that possible with their finance. At Northern Seminary we have a massively tall step ladder.
But he can do that only if someone is down below holding the ladder steady. Changing the lights in that hall is not done by one person but by two. Likewise, Paul did the travelling and the Philippians made that possible. They shared in the work. Nothing Paul has done would have been possible without them. These last days I have looked out over the faces of partners in the work God is doing through Northern Seminary. And there are many more partners, all over the country and, indeed, all over the world.
One delightful Northern graduate now has a very significant ministry in Malaysia.