Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Exodus 25-27, Psalm 90, Philippians 1
Did you know that the moment you surrendered to Christ, you became a partner in the gospel with every other believer on the planet? God sent the apostle Paul to plant and establish churches all through Asia Minor, into Rome, and likely into Spain. As he won many to Christ who rescued them from their sins both now and eternally, what God used him to do is acquired more partners in the gospel.
So Paul leads off his letter to the Philippian church with this prayer of thanksgiving. “Dear Lord, every time I think of these believers in Philippi, I am grateful and have joy because of having them as partners!” I wonder, would Paul be able to say that of me? Would he be able to say that of our churches here in Denver? Would he be able to say that of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church. As we see from the Ephesian church in Revelation, Christ told them they had lost their first love. The essentials had moved to the peripherals, and the peripherals move to the essentials.
What are the essentials?
First-level theological issues would include those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith. Included among these most crucial doctrines would be doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture.R. Albert Mohler, Jr., A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity
While we could spend weeks on each of these issues, what we do see if a Christian or churches compromise on any of these doctrines, we undermine the gospel. The gospel is not simply believing a set of facts, but it’s a surrender to all that Christ has revealed about His nature, His work in rescuing us, and how He aims to work in us! That’s the good news—God will not hold us according to our sins, but will rescue us according to His grace.
We are partners in this and because of this. And the apostle Paul modeled this partnership. Look at the first three words of this letter: “Paul and Timothy.” Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father. Paul was 12 years older than Timothy (Paul born in AD 5, Timothy born in AD 17), making them 45 and 33, respectively. Regardless of their backgrounds, they were ‘partners in the gospel,’ ‘servants of Christ Jesus,’ and ‘saints.’
So the next time we lash out at a brother or sister in Christ, either in person or on social media, remember they may well be a partner in the gospel of Christ. May that change our attitudes moving forward.