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December 2018 Newsletter article
Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV) If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Preachers are often told “you cannot have friends in the church.” Unfortunately, that is too often true. And in spite of dear friends in the church I would say that every pastor needs a friend outside of the church. Even so, the church is a place of friendship. I am including a lengthy quote today because I didn’t think rewording it would be helpful to you.
Paul designed the entire letter to build a stronger, deeper friendship with the Philippian believers. Paul begins this letter by thanking God with joy for his partnership—koinōnia—with the Philippians (1:5); he ends the letter by telling them how he rejoiced greatly because of the way the church continued their partnership with him throughout his ministry even when he was in prison (4:10-18). The joy that comes from his relationship with his friends (2:17, 18) makes them his joy and crown (4:1). But because friendships are fragile and even close friends are all too easily divided by pride, selfishness, and preoccupation with personal interests, Paul appeals to the Philippians to make his joy complete by being like-minded. In this appeal he is voicing the heartfelt desire of a true, committed friend. He is not an aloof apostle, untouched by the painful divisions in the church. Disunity among his friends diminishes his joy. The unity of his friends with each other will complete his joy. Pillar New Testament Commentary – The Letter to the Philippians.
As we look to next year… remember we are friends and our unity brings joy to every member of the body. Nothing brings me more joy in ministry than our churches united in God’s purposes.