I’m very fortunate in that Grace Church Stockholm is not isolated or solitary. We’ve made many connections with churches around the world, but each time a new opportunity arises, what I’m looking for is partnership. In Philippians 1:5 Paul talks about ‘the partnership in the gospel’ that he shares with the church in Philippi. A few years ago I listened to PJ Smyth dig into Philippians 1:1-30 to show what this means and these are my notes.
How partnership feels
- It feels like we are in Christ (v.1-2)
- It feels prayerful (v.4) – for Paul there was a blurred line between the prayers of the saints and the power of God. Our hearts get bigger when we pray.
- It feels relational (v.5) ‘from the first day until now’ – a day when relationships began
- It feels affirming (v.6-7) people affirming each other, ‘because we are partakers of grace’ – celebrating each other. Prominence doesn’t always equate to significance. Fruitfulness doesn’t always equate to faithfulness. We don’t mind other people outshining us. In Christ we are in ‘the shiniest one in the universe’.
- It feels strong. We defend and confirm the gospel together.
- It feels affectionate (v.8)
- It feels loving (v.9-10)
- It feels purposeful (v.10) – the day of Christ is coming
How does the Gospel advance through partnership
- Through people personally telling others about Jesus (v.13)
- Individuals can catalyse the whole (v.14)
- Front-footed generosity of heart (v.18) – we believe in the body of Christ, support each other
- Priority of prayer in the Spirit (v.19)
- A robust view of life and death (v.21)
What could the next 30 years look like?
- Every generation is born needing to put their faith in Jesus. In every generation there needs to be a sweeping move of the Gospel. We need to work hard to set up the next generation for success.
- The book of Acts 1-28 took 30 years. What could happen?
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir man’s blood. Make big plans.” Daniel Burnham – architect of Union stationhttps://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Daniel_Burnham
Why you need partnership
- For mission – the job is too big
- For quality – there is too much I don’t know
- For protection – I am too vulnerable alone
- For joy – it is more fun together