One of the attributes of that Bible that make it so
great is its great depth. Never can a man so study the Bible that it ceases to
inspire and elevate his life to a higher plane by its great truths. When
studied and considered with an honest heart, even the small, seemingly
insignificant passages of Scripture can display wonderful lessons by which to live.
Take, for example, the apostle Paul’s simple statements of gratitude found in
each of his letters to the churches. Though they are easily overlooked, they
declare attributes of these churches that meant much to Paul, and for us, are
worthy of imitating. One worthy of note and consideration is found in Philippians 1:3-5: “I thank my God upon every remembrance
of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for
your fellowship in the Gospel from
the first day until now” (emp. added).
What does it mean to have fellowship in the Gospel?
Paul expresses here one of the greatest blessings of living a life for the
Lord: the tender, loving companionship of brethren found only in Christ Jesus. As
he waited in imprisonment, how precious must have been the memories of such
dear friends during such a time of difficulty. What great support they must
have given him; what love they must have showered upon him, for he thanked God
every time he thought of them (vs. 3), kept them in his heart (vs. 7) and
longed for them deeply (vs. 8). How his brethren meant much to him!
It is significant to note that this fellowship to which
Paul clung was no ordinary relationship. Rather, it was a special relationship
bound by one important commonality: Jesus Christ. His fellowship with them was in the Gospel. How great a blessing it
is to have those brethren around us who can comfort and console in deepest
temptation and sin, encourage and uplift in trial and difficulty, and smile and
rejoice in love and happiness. Possibly, however, Paul’s consolation resided in
the fact that these people were fighting for the same cause for which he was
striving: the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has always been an
encouragement to worship with a local congregation of the Lord’s people when traveling.
No matter how far from home, one can nearly always find brethren with whom to
associate, as we, though sometimes thousands of miles apart, fight for the same
goal together: a righteous life to the glory and honor of God Almighty.
Is our fellowship with our brethren able, as it was for
Paul, to raise our spirits and encourage our continued devotion to God? How dear do we hold such relationships? It
would be well for us to consider such matters. If there are deficiencies, there
is work to be done. That fellowship and love between him and his brethren
helped even the apostle Paul during his toughest times. In our own moments of
need, should we not also reap the benefits of such fellowship in the Gospel?
Accordingly, should we not work to provide the same such comfort and peace to