Philippians 1:1-8
Real Interest

Philippians 1 1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

How is it that two people sitting in the same place, hearing the same words, from the same person, respond differently? Joy is increased in one person, and bitterness in another. The difference is that some people live by feelings and the effects circumstances have on them, and the other lives by faith in Christ. They can find joy even in hardships because their strength comes from “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Paul writes this letter from prison, not making the point that he is an apostle but that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. His joy was in the One he served. He also found joy in the one he was serving with – Timothy. It is cause for great joy to a servant of the Lord to see and share in the labors of others, especially one God saved through our ministry. To see that person going on faithfully in service for Christ is very gratifying. One of the themes in the book of Philippians is unity, and that is illustrated in the first words – “servants of Jesus Christ.”

In Matthew 16:19 and 18:18, “Binding” is mentioned in both the universal and local aspects of the Church. Authority in both cases is based on one simple condition; agreement. Consensus grants to the Church incredible authority in heaven. When the Church seeks the mind of Christ and when it speaks the mind of Christ (1Cor.2:1-5) then it has power and authority. That “binding” is prefaced by one condition; reconciliation (Mat.18:15-17). Whether one is offended (Mat.18:15) or the offender (Mat.5:23-24), a Christian is to take the initiative in being reconciled. We should never underestimate the value of the local church in enabling this to be accomplished.

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