Five Ways To Love The Church from Philippians 1:3-11
3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (HCSB)
If we used this text to ask Paul to show us how to express our love for the church, what would it teach us?
1. Thank God For The Church
(3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you)
How often are we thankful for this church in our prayers?
Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
2. Pray Often For the Church
(3-5 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.)
Pray often – ‘every remembrance … always praying for you… every prayer’
Pray with Joy – ‘always praying with joy for all of you’
Philippians 4:1 So then, my brothers, you are dearly loved and longed for—my joy and crown. In this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Pray about our Partnership – ‘your partnership in the gospel’
Philippians 1:27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel…
Is our work for the gospel of Christ a part of your prayers for the church?
3. Trust God to Work in the Church
(6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.)
God Started a work in each of you. How did He do this? What is your salvation story? His grace and love, . The sacrifice of Jesus, The message and power of the Gospel.
God is continuing a work. What is God creating in you? What are you doing for God and how is He using your efforts to serve and bless others?
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.
Philippians 2:29-30 Therefore, welcome [Epaphroditus] in the Lord with all joy and hold men like him in honor, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up what was lacking in your ministry to me.
God started a work, is continuing a work and… God will complete a work – saving and perfecting us.
4. Put Your Heart into the Church
(7-8 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.)
Have the church in your heart:The right way to think about the church.
Partners in Grace. God has treated us with grace. We should treat one another with grace.
Love with affection
Philippians 2:1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy…
Romans 12:10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Have you put your heart into the church? Really giving it the significance that God asks?
5. Love Should Grow
(9-11 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.)
Love should keep growing. This is an ongoing effort, not something we just have naturally.
Philippians 2:2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.
Jesus calls us toward love … and we will continue growing to be like him in loving each other and the church as He does.
Some areas that Paul mentions in which we should continually grow:
Grow in Knowledge
Grow in Discernment
Grow in Holiness – pure and blameless (10)
Grow in Righteousness (11a)
Grow in Praise (11b)
Paul’s expressions of love for the Philippian church teach us how to love our Forsythe Church!
Thank God For the Church, Pray Often for the Church, Trust God to Work in the Church, Put your Heart into the Church, Increase in your Love.
The first step toward being a church like this is for each individual to adopt these ways!
I asked my Facebook community, “Aside from attendance and giving, what are some practical ways you can demonstrate your love for the church?” I got these amazing answers…
Nick G: We love the church by loving one another, telling the truth to one another, speaking the best about one another, and telling the stories of how we’ve been loved by the church.
Lance H: By obeying the Great Commission and inviting visitors to church.
Norman B: In our congregation, we are involved with mission projects in Haiti, Honduras, and Africa. Many of our members have gone to these places to use their skill in helping with the work of the Lord in those places. All of the people who do this come back with a greater love for the church and an enormous measure of zeal for the Lord’s work.
Lacey M: The same ways in which we love one another…serving in ministry, caring for its members, praying for the church…
Betty B: Lift the Pastors hands up when needed, and the need will certainly arise.
Susan R: Volunteering our time in helping with the ministries of the church. i.e. jail ministries, planning outings for members, etc.
Courtney B: Mentoring- older couples with younger, younger couples with teens, teens with kids, etc.
Mike P: Practice raising someone up through your involvement with them on a personal level through discipling them to take your place. In fact good leaders and servants of Christ do this very thing…
Jona W: Speaking positively about the Church and exemplifying Christ in our words and actions.
Josh H: What if everyone checked on on Facebook. How many would hear about your church?
Patti M: Speaking positively about our leaders in the community.
Jim W: The words that we use when speaking to others about our church experience: be positive. Col 4, “…seasoned with salt…”
Tim A: I count on family to not criticize me publicly nor intentionally make me look bad. I think love for the church leads us to do the same.
Angela P: By living the Golden Rule
Jeremy H: Reconciling within the body.
Jay H: allow others the freedom to differ in opinion & interpretation without judging, dividing & ending fellowship
Daniel K: Sacrifice and forgive
Chris S: Working at unity, not creating division.
Mike R: Putting a smile on our face, even when we don’t feel like it, and demonstrating the love of Christ to those we meet.
Sarah H: By being involved! Working! Sunday School, Youth ministry, VBS, Womens/Mens leader for bible studies
Ray H: Quit saying “they” and start including ourselves.
Missy G: Helping out all those in need. Taking food, mowing someone’s yard or even giving someone who doesn’t drive a ride to the doctor.
Ellen F: By comforting and visiting the sick and bereaved. Demonstrating and living with a positive attitude.
Bob B: It’s our willingness to get into the broken, hurt, sick and lonely and point to our SAVIOR that reflects who we are and where we live (worship).
Warren B: Taking the time to visit members in their homes, sit down with them for a lengthy visit (when they are ready), turning the cell phone off, and listening, listening, listening. This as much as anything helps people feel valued by, and connected to, their fellow members and leaders.
Rex B: Practice hospitality with each other… having dinner together, visiting with each other in our homes, grabbing some coffee or tea together, praying with and for each other…
Robert L: Invite other church people over to your house. Don’t worry if it is clean. Don’t worry if the menu is impressive. Just open your home. … Pray daily for various people in the church — really — not just tell them you will then forget.
L.C. E: The life we live.
Greg M: By our actions outside of church.
Jeremy L: By exemplifying what and who God is outside the doors. Living God and Jesus daily and treating the church like our recharging station. Come to worship and bring reality with you.
Stephen W: We could love the church by letting it be more then a four wall particular service church. Let the church be the church throughout the week in attitudes and words. When we say invite, we simply mean to journey with.