Paul expresses his attitude – first, thankfulness! We live in a world where our tendency is to be critical and suspicious of others. But Paul’s way was THANKFUL. We think – we would be thankful for some… (but not all!)
They gave him JOY!
You know those people who give you joy? Some who are just funny – and that is one thing – a personality deal – but joy gives a sense of lasting encouragement. We know people like that – and we need to ask – why do they do that? What is it that they do that when I leave, I have this lasting sense of joy and encouragement? And when we answer that question – ask, How can I become that way with others?!
It is not a personality thing. It is not about being charming.
Here are some things –
It is important to understand that each person has different needs and will receive joy in unique ways. It is not a one-size fits all thing –
The receiving and giving of joy is similar to the Five Love Languages. Our tendency is to think – what is my love language, and then to impose it on everyone else.
We all have a need for affirmation, right? Some have a DEEP need for affirmation – others do not. That is not everyone’s love or joy language – but if it is yours, you think that is what everyone needs.
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1Th 5:14 TNIV)
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15 NET)
Respond differently with different people. Meet them where they are!
Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound. (Pro 25:20 NLT)
We pour vinegar in wounds, thinking we are helping.
One of the guys in Men’s groups said – sometimes you step on my toes – I NEED someone to step on my toes.
The right way at the right time – like apples of gold in settings of silver.
5 because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
Participation – Koinonia – the religious way of saying it is ‘fellowship’ – but today – fellowship just means a pot-luck dinner. But maybe a better word would be partnership.
Used in marriage, business, and in political/patriotic relationships.
Do you remember when President Bush stood there with that rescue worker and grabbed the bullhorn after 9/11? That feeling of partnership.
If you are old enough, you remember – that man stepping on the moon – (if you believe in that!) – and remember that feeling? Partnering together for a greater purpose.
In Christian koinonia we share benefits – for us, it is our new identity as God’s beloved children – with whom He is well pleased. That is the benefit of being in koinonia – the transformation of new life in Christ and this community called the church -we have shared responsibility to love, care for and serve one another. It is our responsibility.
We are partners in the sharing of the gospel – to advance God’s kingdom. Here is the big question – do you view yourself as a gospel partner with others in our church? Think about that! There are different levels of koinonia – and each is important.
The first would be – this is the church I attend.
Another would be – this is where I learn about God.
This is a place where my friends are where I get support and encouragement.
This is where I serve with others.
This is where I have partnership in the advancement of the gospel – I think that is the hardest one to get to – to do that – as Chris just shared – better than me – it starts with a mindset and an attitude
It starts with individuals – like Pastor John grabbing Chris and partnering in sharing with Tommy.
During 40 days of Purpose – we had 200 people in small groups – when we only had 110 in the church! We were partnering with others in our communities. We need to have a high focus on Cuyahoga Falls and our neighborhoods. We’ve done it with the garage sale – and with COOL – but we need to learn to partner – I partner with other pastors – but we need to take initiative and ask – how can this church partner in the community for the gospel? The results will be significant/
The last thing – we need to find places where people would be receptive. Where are the people who would be receptive? It takes being IN a community – TALKING to people – engaging in it. It is hard and it takes time – but that is what it means to partner in koinonia in the gospel –
6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace together with me. 8 For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
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