Philippians 1:3-8
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

A. Remembering Others
1. Have you ever thought much about what it means to have Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Church?
a) This fellowship, the sharing that we talked about last week, that we have in the church should truly make us thankful.
b) The fact that we do not stand alone in the world should truly give us a thankful heart.
2. Paul knew that he did not stand alone in the world.
a) He was not the only person living for God and sharing Christ.
b) He belonged to a great family, a family of believers who constituted the family of God.
c) They, too, were living for God and sharing Christ with a lost and needful world.
3. Remember that when Paul wrote this letter he was in a prison in Rome.
a) He was a great distance from the Philippian believers.
b) He did not have their presence right there with him.
c) All he had was the memory of their time together.
d) And sitting there in prison, remembering their love and care and support, his heart swelled up with thanksgiving for them, and he thanked God for them.
4. What a great lesson for us!
a) If Paul thanked God for believers who were so far away from him, how much more should we thank God for each other.
b) We have the love and care and support of each other week by week and day by day, and we can call upon each other for help any hour of any day.
c) Yet how often do we thank God for each other?
5. We should be following Paul’s example and thanking God for all believers every day.
a) We are not alone in the world.
b) God is building a body of people world-wide—a body of people who are just like us.
c) They are committed to live for the Lord Jesus Christ and to carry His gospel of salvation and love and care to a world that reels under the weight of desperate need.

B. Praying for One Another
1. Paul tells the Philippian believers that he always prayed for them.
a) The idea is that he prayed all throughout the day for them.
b) They were constantly on his mind and in his prayers.
c) Matthew Henry says, “Paul prayed by name for all the churches he knew, and he had seasons of prayer for each church”
2. Movie this week – “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” about Fred Rogers.
a) Mr. Rogers prayed by name for the people he knew, just like Paul did!
b) We, too, should pray by name for the believers that we know.
c) Take blocks of time (seasons of prayers) to pray for each person on your prayer list, especially for those in the church
d) Always—all day long—pray for those that our Lord has placed in your life to serve alongside you.
(1) John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,”
(2) Romans 1:9 “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you [the Roman church] always in my prayers”.
(3) Ephesians 1:16 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,”
(4) Ephesians 3:14 “For this cause [the church] I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
(5) Colossians 1:3 “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you [the church]”
(6) Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God”.
(7) 1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We give thanks to God always for you [the church] all, making mention of you in our prayers”.

C. Praying with Joy
1. You will find, just like Paul did, that as you pray with thanksgiving for other believers in your life, that your heart will be filled with joy.
2. Remember that Paul is in prison, yet his heart is filled with joy.
a) This “joy” is chara = an inner gladness; a deep seated pleasure.
b) It is a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful and rejoicing heart.
c) It is the joy of the Lord and it is not the same as the joy of the world!
d) The joy of the world is more of a temporary pleasure than joy.
3. True joy is divine
a) It is possessed and given only by God.
b) Its roots are not in earthly or material things or temporal victories.
c) It is the joy of the Holy Spirit, a joy based in the Lord.
d) It is His very own joy (John 15:11; Acts 13:52; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 1 Thes. 1:6).
4. True joy does not depend on circumstances or happiness.
a) Happiness depends upon happenings, but the joy that God puts in a believer’s heart as they pray for other believers is a joy that overrides everything else that is happening, even life and death.
(1) 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NLT2) “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”
b) Joy comes from God because of our faith (Romans 15:13; Phil. 1:25; 2 Tim. 1:4).
c) This joy from God rewards us and helps keep the believer faithful (Matthew 25:21, 23; Acts 20:24; Hebrews 12:2).

D. What Brings Joy?
1. The fellowship of the Father and His Son brings joy (1 John 1:3-4).
2. Victory over sin, death, and hell brings joy (John 14:28; John 16:20-22).
3. Repentance brings joy (Luke 15:7, 10).
4. The hope of glory brings joy (Romans 14:17; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 4:13).
5. The Lord’s Word—the revelations, commandments, and promises which He made—brings joy (John 15:11).
6. The commandments of Christ and the will of God bring joy. Obeying and doing a good job stirs joy within the believer’s heart (John 15:11; John 17:13; Acts 13:52).
7. Prayer brings joy (John 16:24).
8. The presence and fellowship of believers brings joy (1 John 1:3-4).
9. Winning someone to the Lord brings joy (Luke 15:5; Phil. 4:1; 1 Thes. 2:19-20).
10. Hearing that others are walking in the truth brings joy (3 John 1:4).
11. Giving brings joy (2 Cor. 8:2; Hebrews 10:34).
12. Living in the Kingdom of God brings joy.
a) Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
b) 1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”
c) Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
d) Isaiah 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
e) Isaiah 61:10 (NLT2) “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”

E. Yearning for Others
1. When you pray in thanksgiving for other believers, just like Paul, you begin to yearn for them “with the affection of Christ Jesus”.
2. Paul really loved the Philippians.
a) That’s what happens to you when you start praying for somebody.
b) You are sharing your heart with Jesus and He shares His heart with you.
c) Jesus loves them and soon you find yourself loving them!
3. That’s what happens with pastors when they pray for the people God has given them to shepherd.
a) They yearn for the people they shepherd with all the affection of Christ.
b) They long to see them mature in Christ, just like Jesus does.
c) They pray that they will not fall into sin, just like Jesus does.
d) They long to see God’s people use their gifts to advance the gospel, just like Jesus does.
4. Do you want the heart of Christ? Then spend time praying for others and soon you will begin to love them just like Jesus does.

I. Be Thankful for Your Partnership in the Gospel – v. 5
A. Partners
1. The word “partnership” = koinonia = “fellowship” in the New Testament.
a) But what exactly does the word mean?
b) Today people like to use the word “community.”
c) Community implies relationships and connections.
d) But, the word “community” falls far short of the biblical word “fellowship.”
e) In the first century, the word “fellowship” meant a shared commitment.
f) Koinonia is a shared commitment to each other and to your shared purpose.

B. Other Believers
1. Give thanks to God because other believers are partners in the gospel.
a) The Philippians had not given up the gospel.
b) They had not become silent or complacent in sharing the gospel.
c) They were actively defending and proclaiming the truth of the gospel.
d) They were taking the great commission of our Lord seriously.
e) And Paul was thankful to God for that.
2. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring illustrates this partnership in purpose.
a) The fellowship of the Ring is like the church in that it is made up of individuals of ridiculous diversity:
(1) Four hobbits, tiny beings with large, hairy, shoeless feet—Frodo Baggins and his friends Merry, Sam, and Pippin;
(2) Two men – warriors of the first rank always dressed for battle—Boromir of Gondor and Aragorn, son of Arathorn II, King of Gondor
(3) One wizard – Gandalf – the ancient nemesis of evil and a repository of wisdom and supernatural power
(4) One elf – Legolas, from a fair race of archers of the forest with pointed ears
(5) One dwarf – Gimli, a stout, hairy, axe-wielding creature from the dark chambers under the mountains
b) These nine members of the fellowship had very few things in common except for their commitment to the purpose of overcoming evil.
c) The nine very different individuals were partners in their mission – they were a fellowship and they became inseparable and their covenant indissoluble.
3. Paul is saying that we should thank God for our “partnership in the gospel”, our fellowship in the gospel, our koinonia in the gospel.
a) It is far superior to any other earthly fellowship or community.
b) You see, we are joined together by the blood of Christ and we are joining God by participating in the greatest fellowship ever undertaken.
4. Biblical “fellowship” is “partnership in the gospel.”
a) It is joining with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to pray, serve, and give the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
b) And when they do become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, biblical “fellowship” is helping brothers and sisters “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
c) Thank God for that!

II. Be Thankful for Seeing God at Work – v. 6
A. God Completes the Work that He Begins
1. “I thank my God,” Paul writes in verse 3, and continuing in verse 6, he writes, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
2. The Bible has many examples of people who profess faith in God but then fall away.
a) But not the Philippians.
b) Why will they not fall away? Because God is preserving them.
c) Therefore, Paul is convinced that they will persevere.
d) Paul was thankful to God for his work of grace in their lives that he will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
3. When you see God begin a work in the life of another believer you can thank God for it because you know that He is going to complete it.

III. Be Thankful for Being Partakers of God’s Grace – v. 7
A. The Grace of God
1. Other believers are also partnering in the grace of God.
2. Paul is talking about the wonderful grace of God — the blessings of God’s gift of the desire and ability to do His will.
3. God gives all believers the same grace and we should be thankful for that.
a) God pours out the richest blessings on His people in the church. Why?
b) What is it that causes God to so richly bless us?
c) It is our faithfulness and obedience to His purpose in our lives.
d) When you see that you want to thank God for what He is doing.

IV. Be Thankful for Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel – v. 7
A. A Defense and a Confirmation
1. Being thankful is a defense of the gospel because others see that you are thankful to God and know that God is at work in your life.
a) When you see God using other believers in partnership with you, working in their lives, pouring out His grace in their lives it encourages you and confirms the gospel in your life.
b) That is truly something for which we can thank God.
2. What binds us together as brothers and sisters in Christ is our fellowship/partnership with one another in the gospel.
a) This means that we need to be faithful in our conversations regularly to be sharing in the gospel and when we are it delights God.
b) Sharing with one another what we have been learning from His Word delights God.
c) Joining in prayer for the advance of the gospel delights God.
d) Encouraging one another in obedience and bearing one another’s burdens delights God.
e) Growing in our love for one another for Christ’s sake delights God.
3. So today I can say to you, just as Paul said,
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.