Posts tagged ‘Affection’

May 17, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 17th): Christian Fellowship

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

One of the themes that run through the book of Philippians is fellowship. This theme is identified in part very clearly by the repetition of the Greek preposition sun, which means “with.” Notice the many different ways Paul shows what Christian fellowship looks like in the book of Philippians: “partakers” (1:7); “striving together” (1:27); “one accord” (2:2); “rejoice with” (2:17-18); “fellow labourer” and “fellow soldier”  (2:25); “followers together” (3:17); “yoke fellow” (4:3); “communicate with me” (4:14). How much more attractive and enjoyable would the church of Christ be and how much more effective in this world if we could display this calibreof Christian fellowship. We should look for ways to implement this type of fellowship in our respective congregations.

Reading: “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.”—Philippians 1:7

May 14, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 14th): Praying with Joy

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

Philippians is the epistle of joy (1:4 & 25; 2:2, 17–18, 4:1 & 4). This is an epistle of thanksgiving and encouragement, of optimism and joy in the midst of “conflict” (1:30), “bonds” (1:13–14), “affliction” (4:14), and sufferings (3:10). Paul was in prison in Rome, the Philippians were discouraged for his circumstances, and Epaphroditus was seriously ill. It soon becomes clear that Paul’s joyful optimism was not in his circumstances but in faith. He prayed with joy because he was confident that whether circumstances changed (as they did with Epaphroditus 2:25–27) or not (as in the case of his own imprisonment), the Lord was working in the believers through the circumstances in order that they would “shine as lights in the world” (2:15) through the darkness of adversity. It is in persecution, sickness, and disappointment that the Christian can find joy through prayer and shine in the strength of the risen Jesus (4:13).

Reading: “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.”Philippians 1:4 

May 10, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 10th): The Atmosphere of Unity

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

It is well said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In the first verse of his letter to Philippi Paul sets the tone for church unity, a theme that he will develop through the remainder of the letter. There are three characteristics of unity in a local church that Paul displays at the very beginning. The first is humility. Paul, the great apostle, does not pull rank or grab for prominence, but shares the letter with his fellow servant Timothy, his young son in the faith. Second, Paul recognizes the officers of the church, the bishops and deacons. These are the gifts (Ephesians 4:11–12) that the Lord has given to rule the church (Hebrews 13:7). Paul does not usurp this authority. A third characteristic of church unity is impartiality, an non-party spirit. Paul addresses “all the saints” he alienates none and includes all.

Reading: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”—Philippians 1:1 

May 9, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 9th): Christ-like Affection

by Aaron Dunlop

philippiansPaul was not writing to the Philippians to deal with moral problems (as in Corinth) or aberrant theology (as in Galatia). The letter to Philippi is the most personal of all of Paul’s general epistles, likely because he knew the people personally and was used in the founding of the church. His affection for the people in Philippi is seen in the opening words. He does not state his apostleship or his calling, he simply addresses “all the saints … with the bishops and deacons.” Commenting on this Robert Johnston writes (1875):

“The highest form of Christian life is seen when energetic love is fully pervaded by the spirit of gentleness and sympathy, exhibiting itself in true politeness to all of all social positions and in little things as well as great, according to the broad apostolic precept “be pitiful and courteous.” The apostles themselves rose in conduct to this height, enforcing precept by example. Their letters, written in the midst of arduous and harassing work yet show diligent attention to all the kindly courtesies of social life.”

Reading: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”—Philippians 1:1

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