Psalm 145:1-8 & Philippians 1:21-30
The impetus of the gospel message is to build a community that reflects the nature of the kingdom of Christ. The people of the kingdom are to be like their king. However, in the American context the personal is pitted against the communal. Our culture tells us that the rights of the one are equally important to the rights of the many. We are taught to pursue our own progress and happiness, not in serving the community, but in serving yourself. How is the Christian expected to live in this context?
Paul’s quandary in our Scripture reading is one that calls for fruitful labor on behalf of others that results in their progress of joy in the faith. In this week’s message we want to know what it takes to progress in joy in the faith. Paul shows us that in order to progress in joy in the faith we need a conviction that calls for conduct worthy of the gospel, while contending in unity, as it considers its privilege. This can easily be misunderstood in the Christian life, since some present faith in Christ as a formula for personal success. Paul says not so! “…I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (Phil. 1:25-26) Our joy in Christ Jesus is bound up in a serving community.
Are you feeling alone in your pursuit of joy in the faith? Progress and joy in the faith can’t be made on a purely individual basis. It has to be made in community where gospel value is expressed in the loving labor of people serving the Lord as they serve each other.