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The Joy of Participation



"In view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now" (Phil. 1:5).

You share in a sacred partnership with Christ and your fellow-Christians for the advancement of the gospel.

In recent years the Greek word koinōnia has become familiar to many Christians as the New Testament word for fellowship. However, it is also translated "partnership" and "participation." In Philippians 1:5, Paul uses it to emphasize the participation of the Philippians in common ministry goals.

Romans 12:13 gives one aspect of that partnership and participation: monetary contributions. That's one aspect of fellowship that the Philippian church eagerly shared with Paul. As he says in Philippians 4:15-16, "At the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs." They were partners in his ministry because their financial support made it possible for him to preach the gospel more effectively.

The Philippians knew that Paul carried a tremendous burden in his heart for all the churches. In listing many of the trials he endured as an apostle, then added, "Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches" (2 Cor. 11:28). The Philippian church eased that burden somewhat by being committed to Paul, to his teaching, and to godly living. That brought great joy to him.

How about you? Do your leaders derive encouragement and joy from your participation in the gospel? Remember, you share in a sacred partnership with Christ and your fellow Christians in the advancement of the gospel, just as the Philippians shared a partnership with Paul. Rejoice in that privilege and make the most of it today.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for the Christian fellowship you enjoy.
  • Ask for wisdom on how you might advance the gospel more effectively.
  • Always seek to ease the burden of your spiritual leaders by faithfully participating in the ministry of your church as God has gifted you.

For Further Study

Read Ephesians 4:11-16.

  • What is the goal of Christian ministry?
  • What is the role of a pastor/teacher in achieving that goal?
  • What is your role (see also Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)?



From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.