Saturday, November 10, 2012

“All In” for Each Other

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:16-18)
Paul concludes the appeal he began at the beginning of Philippians 2, to the Jesus believers at Philippi, that if they bore him any affection, “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind”(Philippians 2:2). He wants to see them shining as lights in the midst of a twisted and self-absorbed generation, holding forth the good news about King Jesus as a beacon in the darkness. He wants to see that he has not “run the race” and come up a loser, that all his labors among them have not been a loss. He would much prefer to see them come to maturity in their faith, following the example of the Lord Jesus, both in His humility and in His being exalted. Then he will be able to “rejoice,” to take pride in the ministry he has been given and not be ashamed on the day He stands before King Jesus. He does not want to come up short in it (nor does he expect to), rather he desires to rejoice with them, both now and when He gives account before the Lord. It was important to him that he give good and faithful to the Lord Jesus and to His body, the church.
  • “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
  • “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).
  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul is quite happy, then, to give everything that is in him, to be “poured out as a drink offering” for them. The image here is one of sacrifices offered to the Lord. A libation, or “drink offering” (which was usually wine), was poured out over the sacrifice, drenching it as an act of thanksgiving and consecrating it to God. To use a poker term, Paul was “all in” for their sake. Their service was their faithfulness to the Lord, their ministry to each other and bringing the message of the gospel to the world. Their sacrifice was what they endured, and would be enduring, for the sake of King Jesus and His gospel — and each other. And Paul was ready to give his life for their sake.

Paul rejoices about all of this and he wants to rejoice together with them. But he wants it to be mutual. That is, that they also see the value in it and be glad, but also that they share together with him in their rejoicing. He is “all in” for them and what he really wants is for them to be “all in” for each other. Then there will be rejoicing enough to go all around, sharing in the divine humility that leads to divine joy.

Focus Questions
  1. Can you think of a time in your life when you felt like you had run your race and labored hard to help someone else and it turned about to be all in vain? Or quite successful?
  2. Does someone have to be “all in” for you before you are willing to be “all in” for them?
  3. Who are you willing to be “all in” for?

There is Always Joy!
There is Always Joy!
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Philippi
Bite-Sized Studies Through the Book of Philippians
by Jeff Doles

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