HOW WILL YOU BE REMEMBERED?
Verse 3-5 says, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”
The Church at Philippi came about as a result of Paul’s response to the Macedonian call recorded in Acts 16:9. Paul and his traveling companions responded to that call and came to Philippi which was the chief city in that part of Macedonia. They attended a prayer meeting held by some women (Acts 16:13). As his ministry continued there, he cast a devil out of girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination. Because of this Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison. God sent an earthquake and set them free and as a result the man in charge of the prison was converted. He and his whole household were converted and followed the Lord in baptism. This is how the church in Philippi was begun. Now Paul is in prison in Rome and writing this letter. The verses we are studying record how Paul remembered some in the church at Philippi. Since God inspired Paul to record his feeling about them, I suggest that it is important to consider how we will be remembered.
PAUL REMEMBERED THEM THANKFULLY
He says, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” The words “I thank” translate “eucharisteo” and means, “to be grateful, feel thankful.” It is a present active indicative verb. It could be translated, “I am continually filled with gratitude and thanksgiving upon every remembrance of you.” Emotions began to swell up in Paul as he thought of these dear people. It might be good for us to ask ourselves, if our service to the Lord and commitment to His appointed leaders, causes them to feel this way? You say, “I don’t care what they think of me.” I have an idea there were those in Philippi who felt exactly like that simply because in every church in any age there are those who work and serve and others who sit and observe.
I believe Paul had Lydia in mind as one for whom he was thankful. I feel justified in saying this because of Acts 16:14-15: “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.” Lydia ministered to and befriended Paul. Godly women have been spiritual giants in the ministry of the church in the support of God’s men through the ages.
I believe the “Jailor” and his family were among those for whom Paul was thankful. He was a man who could face facts as they really are and change sides no matter what the cost. I wonder what happened to this man’s job once he was converted? I doubt seriously if he would want to continue in that capacity at least in that day and under those circumstances. I doubt also if his superiors would allow him to continue to serve on that job as a Christian. I believe this man became a committed Christian and paid whatever price was necessary. When Paul looked back, his heart was filled with gratitude and thanksgiving as he thought of this man and his family.
There were others, no doubt, when he thought of them, he wasn’t as happy. They lacked so much in their walk with the Lord and there was nothing he could do to help them. They just wouldn’t make the kind of commitment necessary to go on to maturity. They wouldn’t let him help them, and he wasn’t there to be their friend, though he certainly was, he was there to be their spiritual leader. A spiritual leader can only help to develop maturity in committed Christians. Next,
PAUL REMEMBERED THEM CONSISTENTLY
He said, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” The word “every” translates “pas” and means “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.” There is a lot of definition in that little word, isn’t there? There were some people in that church that had been so committed to the Lord and His service that Paul couldn’t think of a thing for which he was not thankful. Is that possible? Oh yes. There are those that are so committed to the Lord and His Word that you do not have to poll them to see where they stand on issues. If it is in the Bible, you can count on them being committed.
However, I am also sure that there were those in the church in Philippi, that had there been another church in the town, they would have changed their membership over hurt feelings or something over which they did not agree with the pastor. Let me quickly say I am not criticizing one who changes his membership from one church to another in town. I could not remain under a compromising preacher or where I was not being fed on the word of God. I do not go to church for entertainment. I go to worship God and feed off the Word of God. If I can’t do that in the church where I attend, I would certainly pray about my membership. Some people are like grasshoppers though. They hop from here to there and never settle long enough to grow spiritually.
Let’s go on:
PAUL REMEMBERED THEM PRAYERFULLY
He said, “I thank my God . . . Always in every prayer of mine for you.” The word “always” translates “pantote” and means, “at all times, always, ever.” This means that when Paul prayed for them months ago, he was thankful. He had prayed for them regularly since then, and nothing had come to his memory that changed his mind.
God’s Word is inspired. It was written by “holy men of God” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21). Since this is true, what Paul is saying to these Christians in Philippi, God is saying. God speaks to us through His Word and Paul is writing His verbally inspired Word. God complimented the Christians in Philippi through this man of God. I believe He still does. Make your pastor thankful! Next,
PAUL REMEMBERED THEM JOYFULLY
Our text says, “making request with joy.” The word “making” translates “poieo” and means, “to make, with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.” It is a present middle participle. The present tense means that Paul continually in the present tense makes requests for them with joy. The middle voice means that Paul participates in the result of the action, i.e., when God answers his prayers in their behalf, he is helped by it. This help could be in the form of great encouragement or he could have the benefits at the Judgment Seat of Christ in mind. He knows as he prays for them his efforts on them have not been wasted. Prayer for others benefits the one praying.
The word “request” translates “deesis” and means, “a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God.” Paul seeks God in prayer for specific things. He tells them he does it with “joy.” The word “joy” translates “chara” and means, “joy and gladness.” Paul says, “It is not a burden to pray for you. It is a joy.”
I have an idea Paul prayed for others in Philippi with a burden instead of joy. I am not being critical at this point. But some for whom I pray, I do it with fear from them. I know in spite of my prayers, they are going to suffer for their inconsistent christian life. They will pay for it in their children ( inconsistent and carnal Christians usually teach their children by example to be the same), and pay for it chastening from the Lord (Heb. 12:6). Next,
PAUL REMEMBERS THEM FOR THEIR FELLOWSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
He says, “For your fellowship in the gospel.” The word “fellowship” translates “koinonia” and means, “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, the share which one has in anything, participation.” Is this fellowship around a table? Is this social fellowship? He tells us. It is “fellowship in the gospel.” The word “gospel” translates “euaggelion” and means, “the glad tidings of salvation through Christ.”
This is the gospel by which man is saved. It is good news for bad people. When Paul was with them in Philippi, they worked with him in the preaching of the message. How can one do this? Soul winning is one way. Prayer is another. Financial support is another. Missionary support is obvious in this epistle. Philippians 4:15 says, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” No doubt Paul taught the church to support missions. Later when he wrote to the Church at Corinth, he used the churches of Macedonia as an example of giving “beyond their power” and giving “in a great trial of affliction” and giving “out of deep poverty” (2 Cor. 8:1-4). Where did this kind of a spirit of giving originate? Probably through the example of the first church in Macedonia, the church at Philippi.
I think we need to ask ourselves, how are we remembered by those who won us to Christ and have ministered to us as Christians? May the Lord help us to be steadfastly committed to the Lord and His Church and His leaders in these last days. It is through cooperating in the FELLOWSHIP OF THE GOSPEL that we can be effective.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.