For Paul, to bring back memories of the people he knew at the church in Philippi brought gratitude and joy: no regrets, only happiness. What a goal for us! I know that it takes two to make or break a relationship, but I think we should all feel challenged to aim for the good. In our relationships within the church we should always have in the back of our minds, that these will continue for eternity and that how we behave with one another both demonstrates the truth of Christ's assertion that ''They will know that you are Christians by your love for one another'', or challenge its veracity; or, if we cannot get on with each other as believers with the assumption that everyone in a church at least seeks the good in the other, then how are we to actively love those who start to attend our church who don't see that as a necessity or do not have the personal ability to actively seek to love others? One of the big themes in this letter is JOY and this letter has been called the Epistle of Joy. Looking in this passage and forward to the rest of the letter we can observe: 1. The joy of Christian prayer. Isn't there a great joy and sense of privilege when we can bring those we love to God in prayer! 2. The joy of Jesus Christ being preached. Just stop and think for a moment and in those seconds there may well have been someone entering God's Kingdom from somewhere in the world, believing in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. 3. The joy of faith. If being a Christian does not make us happy overall, then we must talk to someone about it. Is it true that turning your eyes upon Jesus fill you with joy? 4. The joy of seeing Christians in fellowship together. I love it when I can't start a service, because everyone is chatting to each other! I look forward with joyful anticipation to when we can freely meet as a full church again. 5. The joy of suffering for Christ. I knew a very godly, elderly man, who used to fret that he had not been considered worthy of suffering. When you knew the details of his life, he had suffered, just that he hadn't recognised it! 6. The joy of news of the Loved Ones. Keep in touch with fellow Christians, what joy a posted letter brings! 7. The joy of Christian hospitality. I know that some here in Bearfield have this gift in abundance and use it to bless others. 8. The joy of those who are in Christ. As a child of God, adopted into His family, we are assured that we will NEVER be separated from Jesus and His love! 9. The joy of bringing others to Jesus. These are Paul's spiritual children to whom he writes with joy. 10. Something which comes as a reminder at Christmas is that there is joy in the gift and the giving! It is truly better to give than receive, unless you are eight years old!
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