True Christian Fellowship: Part 2 (Philippians 1:1–11)

Philippians 1.7

Paul describes true Christian fellowship in three ways. In Part 1, we looked at the first way: “I have you in my mind.” Today, we will consider the next two ways.

I have you in my heart (vv. 7–8). We move a bit deeper, for it is possible to have others in our minds without really having them in our hearts (many people today would confess, “I have you on my nerves!”). Paul’s sincere love for his friends was something that could not be disguised or hidden.

Christian love is “the tie that binds.” Love is the evidence of salvation: “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another” (1 Jn. 3:14). It is the “spiritual lubrication” that keeps the machinery of life running smoothly. Have you noticed how often Paul uses the phrase “you all” as he writes? There are at least nine instances in this letter. He does not want to leave anyone out!

How did Paul evidence his love for them? For one thing, he was suffering on their behalf. His bonds were proof of his love. He was “the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles” (Eph. 3:1). Because of Paul’s trial, Christianity was going to get a fair hearing before the officials of Rome. Paul’s love was not something he merely talked about; it was something he practiced. He considered his difficult circumstances an opportunity for defending and confirming the Gospel, and this would help his brethren everywhere.

But how can Christians learn to practice this kind of love? “I get along better with my unsaved neighbors than I do my saved relatives!” a man confided to his pastor. “Maybe it takes a diamond to cut a diamond, but I’ve just about had it!”

Christian love is not something we work up; it is something that God does in us and through us. Paul longed for his friends “with the affection [love] of Jesus Christ” (1:8). It was not Paul’s love channeled through Christ; it was Christ’s love channeled through Paul: “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Rom. 5:5). When we permit God to perform His “good work” in us, then we grow in our love for one another.

How can we tell if we are truly bound in love to other Christians? For one thing, we are concerned about them. The believers at Philippi were concerned about Paul and sent Epaphroditus to minister to him. Paul was also greatly concerned about his friends at Philippi, especially when Epaphroditus became ill and could not return right away (Phil. 2:25–28). “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:18).

Another evidence of Christian love is a willingness to forgive one another: “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

“Tell us some of the blunders your wife has made,” a radio host asked a contestant.

“I can’t remember any,” the man replied.

“Oh, surely you can remember something!” the announcer said.

“No, I really can’t,” said the contestant. “I love my wife very much and I just don’t remember things like that.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Christians who practice love always experience joy; both come as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…” (Gal. 5:22).

I have you in my prayers (vv.9–11). Paul found joy in bringing the friends at Philippi before the throne of grace in prayer. This is a prayer for maturity and Paul begins with love. After all, if our Christian love is what it ought to be everything else should follow. He prays that they might experience abounding love and discerning love.

Christian love is not blind! The heart and mind work together, so that we have discerning love and loving discernment. Paul wants his friends to grow in discernment, in being able to “distinguish the things that differ.” He is praying that they would be able, in the midst of competing issues and concerns, to see what is truly important and deserving of priority, and they would be able to make wise spiritual decisions.

Paul will soon find it necessary to warn them about the ever-present danger of false teachers (Phil 3:2, 18–19). They would make themselves easy prey for such teachers if, in the interest of being loving, they were uncritically to accept everything these teachers were presenting.

We should be keenly aware of this danger. How often the church today has refused to stand against doctrinal error because someone argued that we must be loving! Sadly, in cases like this, love was misunderstood to mean being agreeable and tolerant. No one believed more firmly in love than Paul and yet he did not hesitate to rebuke a fellow apostle for compromising the truth (Gal. 2:11–21). Paul did this because he understood that love and truth are not enemies. The most loving thing we can do is stand for the truth in a loving way.

The ability to distinguish is a mark of maturity. When a baby learns to speak, he or she may call every four-legged animal a “bow-wow.” But then the child discovers that there are cats, dogs, cows, and other four-legged creatures. To a little child, one automobile is just like another, but not to a car-crazy teenager. He can spot the differences between models faster than his parents can even name the cars! One of the sure marks of maturity is discerning love.

Paul also prays that they might have mature Christian service. He wants them filled and fruitful (1:11). He is not interested simply in “church activities,” but in the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced when we are in fellowship with Christ. “Abide [remain] in Me as I also abide in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” (Jn. 15:4). Too many Christians try to “produce results” in their own efforts instead of abiding in Christ and allowing His life to produce the fruit.

What is the “fruit” God wants to see from our lives? Certainly He wants the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22–23), Christian character that glorifies God. Paul compares winning lost souls to Christ to bearing fruit (Rom. 1:13) and he also names “holiness” as a spiritual fruit (Rom. 6:22). He exhorts us to be “fruitful in every good work” (Col. 1:10) and the writer of Hebrews says our praise is the “fruit of the lips” (Heb. 13:15).

The fruit tree does not make a great deal of noise when it produces its crop; it merely allows the life within to work in a natural way and fruit is the result. As Paul reflected on the fruits of righteousness, he undoubtedly called to mind the words Jesus spoke to His disciples on the night before his crucifixion: “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).

The difference between spiritual fruit and human “religious activity” is this: fruit brings glory to Jesus, not man. Whenever we do anything in our own strength, we have a tendency to boast about it. True spiritual fruit is so beautiful and wonderful that no man can claim credit for it; the glory must go to God alone.

This, then, is true Christian fellowship—a having-in-common that is much deeper than mere friendship. “I have you in my mind … I have you in my heart … I have you in my prayers.” This is the kind of fellowship that produces joy and it is the single mind that produces this kind of fellowship! When we have the single mind, we will not complain about circumstances because we know that difficult circumstances will result in the strengthening of the fellowship of the Gospel.


  1. This is excellent! This statement especially : “He is not interested simply in “church activities,” but in the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced when we are in fellowship with Christ.” We just finished a study on Philippians last night at church – but we can’t ever get too much of God’s Word – thanks

  2. There were approximately 1.21 million abortions in America in 2013.
    Think long and hard about that statistic before pondering the ways in which God Loves us.
    And if His Righteous anger were justly kindled at once against us as a nation…would this not also be Love?
    Of course it would…it is…He can as He Wills.
    And yet by Mercy and Grace He relents…extends time…that none may perish.
    How much time is left?
    No one knows the hour…are we prepared?
    Is it any surprise to any of us with eyes and ears to know what is impending in these times?
    Beheadings…outrage us, while at the same time…abortions and hypocrisy.
    We can’t govern our own affairs and yet we as a nation interfere with the affairs of sovereign nations to the extent of overthrows of governments and assassinations to accomplish these goals.
    Again…there were approximately 1.21 million abortions in America last year.
    We have been thumbing our noses at God as if He did not exist!
    How many barren/infertile couples are there in the United States that travel to foreign countries at great peril and expense to adopt a child?
    While we stand by and allow 1.21 million to die each year here?
    Are we so foolish that we believe God does not see…he does not hear the soul cries from the womb?
    Just fruit for thought…
    The very next terrible, terrifying, unthinkable act upon us…might just be an expression of Love and compassion and teaching/correction beyond the comprehension of our own mortal understanding.
    But the none the less…God’s Love.

  3. When Friends are in Christ Jesus they are faithful to each other, they do not let each other down and they seek to put the other person first, their desire is not to hurt but to uplift. Their actions show Love not hate or disinterest. They don’t walk away, they remain close.

    1 John 4:11-13 Beloved, if God so Loved us we ought also to Love one another. No man hath seen God at any time if we Love one another God dwelleth in us and His Love is Perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him and He in us because He hath given us of His Spirit.(KJV)

    1 John 4:6-8 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us Love one another for Love is of God and every one that Loveth is Born of God, and knoweth God. He that Loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love.(KJV)

    1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not Love in word, neither in tongue; but in Deed and in Truth.

    Did you receive my e-mail Pastor Joe in answer to yours? I’m never sure because some have told me they don’t when they are connected to WordPress instead of a private email address. I’m hoping to finalize what concerns both of us, I have thought of another way but not sure if it’s OK with you.

    Christian Love Always – Anne

      1. Hi Pastor Joe, I have sent you other e-mails that you have not answered, this is the same with some others I Blog with, this does worry me especially since this time it may involve fraud. Do you know what I’m referring to when I said: I’m hoping to finalize what concerns both of us?

        Below is more heart touching Scripture referring to our being one in the Body of Christ, I still need to catch up on your previous message and Audio Pastor Joe, I did read and listen and enjoyed both but have not yet responded, perhaps these Scriptures will do so until I can.

        Philippians 2:1-6 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of Love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same Love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

        1 Corinthians 1: 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

        1John 4 :20 -21 If a man say, I Love God, and hateth his brother/sister, he is a liar: for he that Loveth not his brother/sister whom he hath seen, how can he Love God whom he/she hath not seen? And this Commandment have we from Him, That he who Loveth God Love his brother/sister also.

        2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

        Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one anther’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

        Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

        Hebrews 10 24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up Love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

        Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

        Philippians 3:14-16 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

        Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

        1 John 3:16-18 By this we know Love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the Love of God abide in Him? My little children, let us not Love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in Truth. ( N.K.J.V)

        1 John 4:11-13 Beloved, if God so Loved us we ought also to Love one another. No man hath seen God at any time if we Love one another God dwelleth in us and His Love is Perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him and He in us because He hath given us of His Spirit.(KJV)

        1 John 4:6-8 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us Love one another for Love is of God and every one that Loveth is Born of God, and knoweth God. He that Loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love.(KJV)

        Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance: against such there is no law.

        1 Corinthians 13:4- 8 Love suffers long and is Kind; Love does not envy; Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

        John 13:34-35, A new Commandment I give unto you, That ye Love one another; as I have Loved you, that ye also Love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye have Love one to another.

        1 Peter 3:7-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

        2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in Peace; and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.

        Christian Love in our Unity in Christ Jesus – Anne.

          1. As for our focus right now in the e-mails, Pastor Joe, please contact me again if still wanting to seek resolution, I have thought of a way that may work for both of us and Ron has agreed.

            Something that God has shown us very clearly in Scripture is He does not afflict us willingly as you can see below.

            Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

            Psalm 94:23 And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.

            James 117 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

            His discipline is like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, our sin causes separation, we have time out and we reap what we sow, He does not answer our prayers because our sin blocks them and when we sin, He Chastises us through the Body of Christ.

            He asks us all to keep the Church pure starting with ourselves. When we rebuke someone for their sin we do so in Love for Love , we do not condemn them or judge their Salvation or Eternal destiny but we also don’t water down the wrong they do, ignore it, excuse it or minimize it, when we do Satan can get a foothold in their lives and unless they repent they will be cut off, Psalm 94:23 which is their choice not God’s, it’s not His will that anyone perishes.

            When I was addicted to gambling after falling into sin but not away by rejecting Jesus, two of my Christian friends rebuked me, I did not appreciate it at the time but it made me seek help later when I was thinking about suicide, I remembered there was another and better way. I thank them now and God for His Chastisement through them and also for His Mercy and Grace, yes He allowed me to reap what I sowed and it hurt greatly and He did not intervene, it just got worse but when I came to my senses and had heart repentance, Wow what a welcome home, for the full Story see link below.

            Rescued –

            I respond to you on your Blog Pastor Joe because I know you will not attack me, I am the weaker sex, God asks us to resolve our differences in Love not ignore them or attack others seeking to put them down aggressively or to be condescending to them as though Superior.

            As I have shared with you before Pastor Joe, I do not agree with Woman being Ordained as Ministers because they are than in Authority over Men in the Church and this is not their God given role, we are your Helpmates and this does not mean just with having babies and washing up but emotionally, mentally , physically and spiritually, we are to give encouragement and support, we are also one in Christ Jesus and all called to share His Truth under His Authority, which I do as an Anointed Evangelist and others do in their gifting. Deborah the Judge also chastised she know her role was not one of Leadership but she spoke God’s Truth and so did other woman in the early Church, they also did not seek Leadership and nor do I but they corrected error and so do I.

            Hope to hear from you soon Pastor Joe, Christian Love – Anne

  4. Anne, this is my issue with you in a nutshell you state this: “When Friends are in Christ Jesus they are faithful to each other, they do not let each other down and they seek to put the other person first, their desire is not to hurt but to uplift. Their actions show Love not hate or disinterest. They don’t walk away, they remain close.”
    I have to disagree with you whole-heartedly.
    (And this as a lead into a torrent of scripture as if to bolster your opinion)
    Not every situation is the same.
    But this is not scriptural, this is of YOU…and there is nothing wrong with expressing a thought or an opinion until you attempt to marry it or morph it into your own interpretation of the truth.
    The truth is…in friendships there are many situations when a friend must say “no mas’!” and walk away from a negative or harmful situation…we are only human, we have limits…we are not Jesus.
    Could any one of us have stood up to 40 days and nights without water or food withstanding every temptation?
    But we must remember and not ever forget that though we may walk away and sometimes it is for the best. Sometimes we need to get out of God’s way from interfering in His perfect work, bottom line is: even when we walk away…JESUS DOES NOT.
    Our enabling and feeble attempts at care-taking are not always the remedy required, though it may make us feel good about ourselves while doing it…still can be ineffective.
    Your lead-in statements are the most telling and telegraphing thing (like a huge fly) before your very nose that any sighted person sees but you, you seem to have grown accustomed to seeing around it.


      1. I’m actually somewhere right in the middle. There are times, in the scriptures, where a believer is supposed to reject someone that may very well likewise be a believer (Matthew 18:15-20; I Corinthians 5). Other situations involve a more patient and not so drastic measure (II Thessalonians 3:10-15).

        From what I gather according to the scriptures, the idea lends towards a ‘conditional’ communion with a believer. Love, in this respect, seems to be a moot point. Whether you disassociate yourself with someone or become closer with someone is not really a question concerning love because the idea is that you are disciplining them in accordance with love. When you disassociate yourself with another professing believer, the judgment call should deal mostly with how and what that person says or acts relative to their profession. It is not generally a proclamation that states that the person IS an unbeliever (unless the doctrine they proclaim leaves no room for doubt). but a proclamation that, unless the person changes, the actions and words that person speaks and does is not in conformity to the word of God and God’s will.

        Especially when it comes down to Church discipline, the idea is that the person that is being disciplined ‘looses’ something when they are disassociated. It is a ‘sad’ thing where both parties ‘love each other’ but, because of the actions of one of the parties, a separation and disassociation must occur so that God’s character is not maligned by the words or actions of the guilty party. In other words, the idea is to get the guilty party to ‘hurt’ in some way whereby the disassociation lends towards the guilty party’s repentance. They have to ‘love’ someone or something for them to want to get back to that someone or something. The idea is the same as when you have a child and take away his toy until he/she repents. The disassociation should or is for the purpose of gaining the guilty party’s repentance. This kind of tells me that the guilty party is actually a believer and not someone that is a false brethren or an unbeliever. They are supposed to miss the association for church discipline to work.

        There is a disassociation also where proclaiming believers are disassociated because they are false brethren. These are treated in a different way and for a different reason. You are to stay away from them completely and speaking out against them. These are people that are dangerous to any assembly of believers. Paul talked about this to the Ephesian leaders in Acts 20.

        Church discipline is not only used when relative to the salvation message either. Paul spoke about such peoples concerning this and the salvation message (fundamental truths/foundational truths) were not in question. The subjects ranged and are inclusive of, as examples:
        1. The role of women in church – I Corinthians 14:33-38
        2. Refusal to work – II Thessalonians 3:6-15
        3. Sexual promiscuity – I Corinthians 5:1-13
        4. Potential heresy – Titus 3:10-11
        5. Brother to brother conflicts – I Corinthians 6:1-8; Matthew 18:15-20

        I don’t think that the enactment of such disciplinary measures is a refusal to love but a proclamation of where the greatest loyalty lies (Luke 14:26) as well. “I love you but I love God and my association with you depends on your speech and actions as it concerns Him”; is about the closest I can say of what the idea is behind this.

        1. That was excellent Raul Lopez and clearly understandable…now we are getting somewhere, Glory be to God!
          Consider this quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas “love must precede hatred, and nothing is hated save through being contrary to a suitable thing which is loved. And hence it is that every hatred is caused by love.”
          There is such a rich depth to this quote and a irrefutable Truth/Great pearl herein.
          Vaya’ Bayamon’!

        2. Absolutely Raul. On the one hand, we should “try” to work through our differences, provided we do not compromise Scripture. On the other hand, there are situations when separating and distancing ourselves from others is best.

          1. I’m not so sure I agree completely with how you’re saying that. I don’t believe that we should separate ourselves from each other because of ‘personality conflicts’ or because of ‘our differences’ per se. In those cases where subjectivity and an incomplete decision or questionable doctrinal stands are present, it simply means that further investigation must ensue.

            I believe that the separation we are talking about is when, after further investigation is ensued and an answer is found in God’s word concerning whatever the problem is, the offending party must relent or suffer consequences.

            Questionable things that have not complied with further investigation may need a mediator (elders that may judge between two parties) and a solution arrived at whereby both parties should abide by.

            I think I posted in a comment somewhere that the subject of church discipline, from what I’ve got so far, leaves a lot of room for its’ application.

            In summary, what I’ve found is that a balance between elders ‘lording it over’ the congregation and church discipline must be somehow accomplished. Too much separation and you might be going ‘overboard’ (such as ‘lording over’) and too little separation makes you a Corinthian church copy-cat.

            I’m still struggling on this one myself when and if I need to apply this. It’s one of those things where I need to be sure that the balance tips towards rejection before I reject and sometimes, that balance is not so clearly defined in scripture.

  5. Okay I concede it was a bit much…substitute “wart” for smudge or fly please…and kindly ring the bell for round one:)
    (I got a glass chin anyway:)

    I apologize to Annie and to Pastor Joe, sorry for the inappropriate add-on.
    God Bless
    Believe it or not Annie and Joe, I do love you both in Christ very much so.
    God Bless.

  6. So I have donned my floppy hat to go fishing with you Pastor Joe, we will be take the lure of the Gospel with us. We shall be “fishers” together, now see, if we were fishing for actual “fish” then we would need live bait. We would have to unearth hidden worms to put on our hooks to cast into the waters and catch fish.
    We have in N.T. and O.T. all the many definitions of God’s Love…do we not?
    And I cannot debate scripture with either the likes of you, or an Anne or an Eliza or a Raul Lopez…this I concede.
    But what seems to be missing in these messages of Love is the harsh reality of God’s Love.
    Did God not Love Job?
    Did He not Love Hagar?
    How many examples of God’s “tough love” can we cite?
    These are also examples of Love but not the most popular to discuss are they?
    I would say that not only did God Love Job but he was also highly favored by God.
    Explain this type of God’s Love to the benefit of all believer’s who believe until shaken to the core by trials and tribulations. Explain how faith is not truly faith until it is all you have left to cling to.
    Do it by citing God’s word and quoting scriptures, right now without searching your mental database…from the heart please.
    God Bless,

    1. Yes, you’re right on that.

      Even God’s love towards us is not so sugar and spice either. One should consider I Peter 4:17 and Hebrews 12:5. We’re promised the same thing from Him as well. The benefits of Love and the ‘not so pleasant’ parts of Love are both applicable to God’s love for us and should likewise be applicable between one and another believer.

      1. You know on your last comment Raul, I did not fully agree with all of it…but some of it, actually most, undeniably I must agree. Rather than make a decision on the spot “right or wrong” that is in the hands of the holy spirit and time. Why nit-pik over semantics? Why not take what is “good”, sift out the sand and grit in “Living water within us” to get to the gems…extract what is “useful” what Glorifies God, what is “worthwhile” what is “loving” “informative” “edifying” get to the essence of the fruit and discard/spit out/expel the bitter rind and pit.
        If it is not of sound doctrine…it shall not prosper but in fact return void.
        How many filthy, sooty, lumps of coal are worth handling to yield one exquisite diamond?

        1. Church discipline and fellowship amongst believers has, as its’ basis, sound doctrine. Doctrine is what makes the decision between what is right and what is wrong (or ‘the teachings of God as found in his holy scriptures if you wish to word it that way). I think too many people are afraid of the word doctrine because it is too closely associated with a belief in a ‘salvation by law’ or a rule of law (of which we, as believers, do have) or likewise the word ‘dogma’ kind of thing. Doctrine simply means teachings. The teachings of Christ as recorded by his apostles or immediate students of same (Luke as an example).

          This is the basis for church discipline, fellowship, Christian living, the knowledge of God, church governance, church sociology (how we should relate between each other as brothers and sisters), our hope, our faith, and even our salvation is based on the teachings of Christ (reword: the doctrines of Christ). Without the teachings of Christ as recorded by his apostles, there is no basis for our faith. Sound doctrine simply means that.

        2. SCRATCH THAT… I reread what you said.

          In answer to that, the ‘investigation’ that I’m talking about is specifically what you are describing. Taking out the bad, keeping the good, and abiding by it is the basis for a proper fellowship amongst believers.

    2. This post is about fellowship in Philippians 1:1-11, not divine discipline or chastisement, but I do agree with you, Anthony. “Do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke because the LORD disciplines those He loves” (Prov. 3:11-12). I know this from experience, as I’m sure you do as well!

      Also, see Hebrews 12:5-8. The Bible teaches divine discipline is an evidence of divine love. Therefore, we should not lose heart, but should “endure hardship as discipline” and regard it as an evidence of sonship. We are being trained for the glory of God. All God’s children are subject to His discipline. Believers who undergo God’s discipline are being prepared by this educational process. On the other hand, those who “are not disciplined are illegitimate children.”

      God bless!

      1. Anthony, after your last comment, which I marked as spam, I have made a decision to disengage from you. Any further comments from you will be left unread and will automatically go to my spam folder. I pray God would overwhelm us both with His grace, and we would grow in Him and bear much fruit.

  7. We go to the doctor when we are ill, we describe the symptoms we are experiencing to the best of our ability. The doctor then examines us in order to make a diagnosis, we do not diagnose ourselves unless it is something easily identifiable or recurrent in our history else why would we be at the doctor’s office?
    The doctor believes he has a diagnosis…he advises us and writes a prescription to take to the pharmacist to fill…we do not alter it on the way to the pharmacist…we entrust it into the pharmacist’s hands do we not?
    We take the medication prescribed and wait to see if it will be effective…maybe even pray in the waiting.
    if you give a drink to an alcoholic, money to a drug addict, how is this Love?
    if you are unwilling to “call a spade, a spade” attempting to “people please”, appease everyone who has made an idol of their (yes it can develop into idolatry) Bibles…in lieu of a relationship with the risen Christ…then all you are doing is enabling another addiction substituted for the old.
    God Bless,

  8. Here is another example to ponder:
    How is a “catalytic converter” in an automotive combustion engine’s exhaust system, similar in any way to removing toxins from a vehicle and The Holy Spirit’s filtering impurities from a spiritual vessel?
    A catalytic converter is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into harmless compounds
    The three harmful compounds are:
    •Hydrocarbons (in the form of unburned gasoline)
    •Carbon monoxide (formed by the combustion of gasoline)
    •Nitrogen oxides (created when the heat in the engine forces nitrogen in the air to combine with oxygen)
    Carbon monoxide is a poison for any air-breathing animal. Nitrogen oxides lead to smog and acid rain, and hydrocarbons produce smog.
    In a catalytic converter, the catalyst (in the form of platinum and palladium) is coated onto a ceramic honeycomb or ceramic beads that are housed in a muffler-like package attached to the exhaust pipe. The catalyst helps to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. It converts the hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. It also converts the nitrogen oxides back into nitrogen and oxygen.
    Platinum heats white hot at low temperatures, thereby burning off any residual harmful emissions passing through the terminal end of the exhaust.
    In order for a change to occur, there must first be a “catalyst”
    Now a vehicle will run just fine without a catalytic converter…but release unseen damaging toxic fumes.
    What does any of this have to do with God’s Love?
    How can this mechanical analogy be related to the spiritual?
    i’ll leave that to the under-shepherds to explain.
    God Bless,

  9. WOW, This was a great 2 part post. I was just working on I Cor. 13 for my Sunday School class and much of what you said here has encouraged me that I was on the right track. Thanks so much. I think when dealing with people whether to fellowship with certain ones or not, when there is a question in your mind about it, the matter should definitely be prayed about and waited on for the answer by God. The old saying “when in doubt, don’t do it” could apply or at least when in doubt, wait on God. He gives discernment when we ask Him for it. We should always treat others God’s way. When Jesus said we are to love our enemies, that is impossible without Him, but it is possible with Him. Hard maybe, but possible, and of course that doesn’t mean agree with every thing as you said above. But I like the way you put it: “Christian love is not something we work up; it is something that God does in us and through us”. With out God it is impossible to please Him, God must be central in our lives for fellowship to be real on our part in the first place.

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