Blessing by Association or Partnership

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Philippians 4:17 (NKJV)

While I was preparing our recent series of sermons on Philippians there was one aspect of the letter that I wanted to talk about, but the sermon did not seem to be the right format for it.

Those of us who have had some exposure to the ‘Word of faith’ movement, (Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, etc.), will recognise Philippians as a classic partner letter. A letter that is sent from a major ministry to both thank and inform their supporters of the various needs and plans for their ministry.

So why is this idea important for us as Baptists in Nambucca Heads? Good question. As a small church, in a small town, in a country that is about as far away from the rest of the world as you can get, we can find ourselves without an appreciation of the bigger picture of what God is doing in other parts of the world. This is important because Jesus wanted us to have a global outlook.

Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Obviously, we cannot physically do this. But there are large and reputable ministries who can, and they do seriously good work in some of the most hostile and dangerous places for Christians on earth. This is why we as leaders are always looking for a means to participate with such organisations as Compassion to partner with them and lift our vision beyond the borders of our valley.

Matthew 10:40–41 (NKJV)

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

Jesus speaks about partnering in ministry with those on the front lines. He says that when we do this we also participate in the blessings that flow from that ministry. When that ministry, for example, establishes hundreds of churches with indigenous leaders or establishes hospitals, schools, and orphanages, in a far-off country, then, if we are partnering with them, part of the heavenly fruit for this flows to their partners or supporters.

17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 

This verse in Philippians is the key to the idea of partnership with a frontline ministry.

J. Vernon McGee writes, “That church in Philippi had been getting dividends on their contribution right down to the present time. Paul wrote them this epistle to thank them. We are studying the epistle today, and we are profiting from this study. This is a part of the dividends of their contribution. They have stock in the apostle Paul if you please. They still have a part in getting out the Word of God!”[1]

There is more than one way to support a ministry. Even if you cannot contribute financially, we have been discovering the power of fervent and united prayer and intercession.

Prolific author and broadcaster Paul Billheimer has written many books on the body of Christ and he wrote this piece. “Many people grieve because they have been denied service on the mission field or in some other chosen endeavor. Through faithful intercession they may accomplish as much and reap as full a reward as though they had been on the field in person. Those who lament that they have been cheated in life because they have no shining gifts or spectacular talents, or those who have been retired by age or illness, may, through faithful intercession, share in the heavenly reward equally with the most highly endowed, all because prayer is where the action is. “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). If simple hospitality brings equal compensation, then a prayer-support ministry will surely not go unrewarded.”[2]

Sharon and I were going through a particularly hard time many years ago now. We had lost our home, our job, and our church. Our faith was shaken to its core. It was at this time that we came to recognise that what had happened to us was not God’s doing, but that He would bring us through it.

What I have just said doesn’t seem to fit with the title of this devotional I know, but it was the way that God brought us back to faith and trust in Him that I want to share with you this week. Our loving Father is so faithful. He quickly provided us with a job that included a residence so our immediate problems were taken care of. We still had no church and we found ourselves drawn to The Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast on TV with Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. Every day we learned from them how, no matter what happens to us, we can trust the Word of God as an unmovable and unshakable foundation for our lives. I realise that there are many people who dislike the Copelands, but I can tell you that those broadcasts brought us back from the brink. The Word of Faith movement, like so many others, has its share of those who misrepresent the scriptures, but God provided this resource for us to rebuild our foundations on the Word of God and we have never looked back from there. It was in our association with the Copeland’s ministry that we first learned the power of partnership with a major ministry.

The Last Word from Bob Gass

Here’s a principle you need to learn if you want God’s best. Blessing comes by association! You have a choice—you can walk with Joshua and Caleb and fulfill your destiny, or you can hang around with the other ten spies who believed “it can’t be done” and die in the wilderness. When Joseph entered Potiphar’s house, he brought the favor of God with him. When he went to Pharaoh’s palace, he preserved and prospered the entire nation. Listen to what Laban said to Jacob: “I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.” Blessing and increase by association!

The Philippians had a thirty-year partnership in the Gospel with Paul. They supported him, and he ministered to them. Listen: “When I pray for you, my heart is full of joy because of all your wonderful help in making known the good news about Christ from the time you first heard it until now” (Philippians 1:7, TLB). And what was their reward? Paul says, “You are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7). Paul got it from Jesus, and the Philippians got it from Paul. Look for those who walk in the blessing of God and get as close to them as you can.

And don’t let it stop with you—become a “carrier!”[3]

[1] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 328.

[2] Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne: How Spiritual Warfare Prepares the Bride of Christ for Her Eternal Destiny (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1996), 92.

[3] Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 313.

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