How a Minister and Congregation Should Get Along (Sermon Recap)
HOW A MINISTER AND CONGREGATION SHOULD GET ALONG (SERMON RECAP)
In our most recent sermon, we unpacked Philippians 2:14-18 with particular emphasis on verses 17-18. Paul wrote, "Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me." (Philippians 2:17-18 ESV)
This brief passage gives us a window into the mutuality of a deep, loving relationship between the apostle Paul and the Philippian congregation. Paul thanked God for them (Philippians 1:3), prayed for them (Philippians 1:4, 9-11), rejoiced with them (Philippians 1:4, 2:17), set an example for them (Philippians 3:17), taught them (the whole letter!, but see especially Philippians 3:1-16), and ministered to them "for [their] progress and joy in the faith" (Philippians 1:25 ESV). The whole point of Paul's ministry to the Philippians – and to every congregation – was to establish them in a firm and persevering faith that bore fruit in obedience, love, service, and mission.
But it was not only that Paul loved and served the Philippians, but also that the Philippians loved and served Paul. They stood with Paul in his missionary labors and in his sufferings (Philippians 1:5, 7). They prayed for him (Philippians 1:19) and supported him with financial gifts (Philippians 4:14-18). As Paul beheld God's work in and through the Philippians, he knew that the Philippians were the real deal, that they had a true faith in Jesus and that their faith was expressing itself in the spiritual sacrifices of true worship ("sacrificial offering of your faith").
Paul, of course, had the same heart for the worship. His great ambition was "that... Christ [will] always be honored in my body, whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20 ESV). In Philippians 2:17 Paul sees the Philippians as fellow worshipers who are living faith-filled lives that honor the Lord.
In such a context where minister and congregation are alike worshiping the Lord, where the minister's life and labor is poured out for the spiritual and everlasting joy of the congregation (Philippians 1:25, 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Timothy 2:10), where the congregation returns love to its minister for the sake of his spiritual and everlasting joy (Philippians 2:2, 2:14-16), and where they have the confident expectation of being joyously together in the Lord's blessed presence forever (Philippians 1:6-11, Philippians 2:16, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Thessalonians 2:19), the only sensible attitude is mutual rejoicing: "I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me."