The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

07/07/2008

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Remembering In Expectation


"For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:8).

Paul probably wrote the letter to the Philippians during the last part of his Roman imprisonment. He really loved this church. His joys and sorrows, his satisfactions and frustrations, were bound up with those who shared his faith in Christ. His comment, "I greatly long for you," is not an incidental one.

There are few areas where the differences between the first century and the 21st century life are more apparent than in the diminished community consciousness of modern people. Men and women in the western world tend to go home to a small family, turn on the television and computer screens, take care of themselves, and tune out the world. They have little interest in the communities to which they belong.

When one becomes a Christian, it is more than a matter of individual salvation. It is becoming part of a people. The church is a community built on Jesus Christ. It struggles in a world where individualism reigns. Paul's well-being was wrapped up in one package with the well-being of brothers and sisters. If the church was weak, he languished; if the church was strong, he rejoiced. "I have you in my heart," he said in Phil. 1:7. Within Christ's body, no one can boast, "what I do is my business." When one of our number succumbs to an addiction or some other weakness, that individual should not be on his own, thrown to the wolves. The whole body hurts and will do its best to soothe the hurt.

Likewise, when one in the body is honored, all feel the honor. Honor and shame are community (church) matters. Slap me over the head if I am wrong, but I think it may be better to risk blurring the line between godly concern for one another and intrusive meddling in one another's business than to risk losing the bond of Christian love. There is no community life without common expectations. Among the reasons for the assembly of believers is the sense of togetherness it brings.

Paul had expectations of the Philippian church, and they had expectations of him. Neither his expectations nor theirs had been disappointed. When they were threatened (Phil. 1:28), he stood by them in his prayers. I think we are doing it right, when we can say with all humility and sincerity, "I long for you with all the affection of Jesus Christ."

Have a great week....Make a difference....Love mark Phil. 4:11

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