The Gospel Creates A Covenant People
The story of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, known as Easy Company, is one of unity, bravery, and commitment. These young men made a promise to each other that they would stick together no matter what. Bullets would fly. Blood would be shed. The burdens would be heavy and many. They would face disagreements and uncomfortable times. Yet, through all of this, Easy Company is known for their commitment to each other during WWII. They are an example of what it means to be a covenant people.
Today, this is becoming a foreign way of life as fun, enjoyment, and convenience prevail. Threats to our personal wants and desires can easily distract us from our commitment to each other. This was not the case for the apostle Paul and the church at Philippi. They were in it together, no matter what.
Philippians 1:3-11 paints a picture of how the Gospel Creates A Covenant People. Scripture teaches that the local church is a covenant people who share a common interest, experience the divine virtue, and behold the supreme value. What does it looks like to covenant together as a local church?
A Common Interest in the Gospel
One embodiment of living as a covenant people is sharing a common interest in the Gospel. The Philippians were involved and invested in the advancement of the Gospel in addition to being personally concerned about Paul. As we plant Doxa Church, our common interest is for everyone to have the opportunity to behold, obey, and be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. We should circle again and again to the Gospel of Jesus. We believe what Paul told the church at Rome:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” - Romans 1:16
The Evidence of a Gospel Partnership
What is the evidence of sharing a common interest in the Gospel? In verses 3-4, Paul responds to the Philippians’ partnership with prayers of gratitude and joy. The Philippians were financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically invested in seeing the Gospel advance. Are you so devoted to seeing the Gospel advance that it causes others to thank God and be filled with joy?
The Divine Virtue of Love
“It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 1:7-8
The divine virtue of love and capacity to love comes from God. Expressing the divine virtue of love means speaking truth to one another in times of distress and adversity. Paul lived by the divine virtue of love and behaved according to the love of God. There were tensions within the congregation and an onslaught of attacks. Paul points to God’s character to comfort them in their anxiety and worry.
The Supreme Value
As disciples of Jesus and part of the local church, the value of friendship is not measured by what is asked of you, but what is asked for you. Paul prayed for the church at Philippi…“that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (verse 9). We can easily miss what Paul truly is asking.
Abounding Love: Abound refers to the idea of flourishing. Imagine the process of a flower growing from seed to blooming flower. Paul asks the Lord to help their love grow exactly like that.
Knowledgable Love: When Scripture speaks about knowing a person, especially knowing God, it is much more than having head knowledge and facts. Paul wants them to know God personally.
Discernible Love: Paul doesn’t just want their knowledge about the Lord to grow but for their love to grow deep and penetrate all of their relationships. As you grow in your love of God, your love of others obediently flows.
As we seek to establish ourselves as a local church, our hope and prayer is we would, as a covenant people, be in this together no matter what.