Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early
days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church
shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in
Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts;
what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have
more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts
you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will
meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father
be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Partners in the gospel
Paul wraps up his letter to the Church at Philippi very similar to how he started the letter in
chapter 1. His love for his brothers & sisters is evident by the joy that he expresses. He has a
spirit of affection, appreciation and unity that is an example for us all to follow. I think the best
way to describe it is how Paul stated it in chapter 1, verse 5 “…because of your partnership in
More so than any of his other letters, Paul paints a picture of what it means to be partners in the gospel. He depicts what it looks like to be in community as a body of believers centered on
Jesus and a shared mission of multiplying disciples. This started when the church began in
Philippi, as described in Acts 16, with Lydia, the city jailer, and others. Paul’s partnership with
them continued to the time of writing this letter. Notice, when Paul writes this letter, he’s
speaking to everyone in the body. He’s not just addressing leaders and then having the leaders
relay the message. I find this to be an important aspect of his relationship or “partnership” with
the churches. Though he does spend time discipling individuals and does address specific
individuals and concerns, he approaches his partnership with them as a whole body, made up
of many parts, with Jesus as the head (1 Corinthians 12), with all members of the body being
In verse 14 Paul states “….it was good of you to share in my troubles”. He goes on to thank
them for their financial support. It’s important to note that this wasn’t just a local church that
supported a missionary….a “missionary supporting church”. This was a partnership and was not
merely a one-way street. Both Paul and the Philippians gave and received. Also, notice in
verses 21-22 how Paul says “The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All
God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” Paul includes the new believers in Rome,and in doing so, invites them into this relationship and
connects them with their brothers and sisters in Philippi. This was a partnership with discipleship multiplication as their mission. Just as Paul collected money from the Philippian church, as well as others, to help the Jerusalem church, his intimate relationship with a local body was fused with a global mission with an eternal mindset. This local church was not disjointed from the global church and Paul wasn’t just a bridge between the two. The church functioned like branches on a row of grapevines in a vineyard by supporting each other and thus growing faster, stronger, and healthier. The global church initially grew with intertwined believers, all on the mission of multiplying disciples……praying, encouraging, and supporting each other as they partnered in the gospel. Many today are calling this a Global Collaboration and are encouraging believers to once again look at the great commission from this type of mindset. This is a mindset of urgency to support each other as we reach the lost and multiply disciples. This collaboration is how the church began and one of the reasons it grew as fast as it did.
Do you have a body of believers that you are growing with? We were created to be a
“part/member” of the body of Christ, supporting & functioning together. If you aren’t a part of a
local body, I strongly encourage you to do so. You cannot grow and function as intended if you
are isolated from the body.
Is your local body isolated or collaborating with the global church through discipleship
multiplication? Just as an individual believer isn’t growing or functioning when isolated. The
local church isn’t functioning as intended when disjointed from the global church. In doing so,
we are cutting ourselves off from vital “nutrients” and support needed.
It isn’t easy to feel connected right now while being isolated in quarantine.However, our God is a creative God and if your heart is open to it, led by the Holy Spirit, God will open up a door for you to connect, support, & multiply.