July 23 – United: Church – Philippians 1

Read Philippians 1:1-11

What is it that unites military personnel serving in the armed forces? They come from all kinds of diverse backgrounds. As early as basic training, the use of “I” is discouraged, it is all about “we, us, our, team,” etc. This makes it easier for them as they eventually join hands for a greater purpose in their common mission.

That common commitment to mission is also one of the most unifying factors in the life of any church. The apostle Paul reminds us of that. He joyfully thanked God for the church’s “partnership in the gospel.” The church had joined hands with him in their shared mission of seeing the gospel spread as disciples were made of the nations.

  • They did this through financial gifts. Repeatedly and sacrificially they united by giving to see people come to faith and grow in Him (Phil. 4:10-20).
  • They did this through personal visits and encouragement. One of their own by the name of Epaphroditus had represented the church and risked his own life in order to bless the apostle in his ministry and personal needs (Phil. 2:25-30).
  • They did this through direct participation. Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement are just a few of the names of those in Philippi who had served alongside of Paul as coworkers (Phil. 4:2, 3).

Without a focus on a uniting mission, any church can experience division. When church members divert their attention from the mission they share, they can easily begin to focus on their differences and their preferences. These differences, then, seem to provide good reason for distancing themselves from each other. And the distancing can ultimately give rise to division. Just ask the Corinthian church of the first century. Rather than uniting around the mission, they had divided over their varied allegiance to different spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 1). As they focused on the different spiritual gifts in their midst, pride and jealousy divided them (1 Cor. 12-14).

Unite around the mission! Give sacrificially so that temporal and eternal needs of people in our community are met. Donate generously so that our ministry efforts around the world can bear fruit.

Come alongside of those serving. Write them a note. Send them a text. Drop them a card.

Join in our effort to be #ForWayneCounty. Seek to share the message of Christ with those in your network of relationships. Invite family, friends, and acquaintances to weekend services. Participate in a short-term mission opportunity (when they are once again possible).

Unite with Grace Church by partnering in our gospel effort!

Steve Kern

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