On Sunday it was my last official Sunday as Plattsville’s lead pastor. A position I have held for over 4 years, and one I have loved every single minute of it. Plattsville is a really unique and special church. They have something special within them about how they practice grace, how they show love, and how they support.
So on Sunday for my final sermon here, I re-preached the passage I preached for my first sermon here: Philippians 1.
Here in Philippians Paul is writing to a church he deeply deeply loves but has been called away from. And he writes this:
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my request with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”
I unpacked this passage a little bit and why Paul was so thankful to the Philippian church.
Paul was so grateful to the Philippian church because of how they supported him. Paul was in prison and in that day and age meals weren’t covered or provided. You needed to rely on others for your daily sustenance and support. And the Philippian church were part of daily providing for Paul.
Paul was also deeply welcomed into the Philippian church family. All you need to do is to read his letter and how often he mentions them as dearest friends, brother and sisters, or partners in God’s grace to get that these are just people to him – they are his people. They are his family. He loves his church because they welcomed him.
And lastly, Paul loves the Philippian church because they have been his partners in sharing God’s grace. Paul makes that explicit in the first few verses, and keeps on mentioning it throughout his letter. He loves the church because of what they did together.
And on Sunday I shared with you all that I love this church for the same reason. That you supported me, that you welcomed me, and together we partnered with God in the business of God’s grace. I shared story after story after story of how you did that. And that bcause of how you supported, welcomed, and partnered I am eternally grateful.
That was my main point really: that I’m grateful to each and everyone of you, because this is a special church. I challenged each of you to commit to this place, because this is a special place.
And to close I ended the same way I started almost 5 years ago with these words:
Paul writes, ““Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my request with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” I actually believe that this passage is prophetic for us. Meaning that I believe it will be true for us. That, like Paul, in years to come, when we’ve been living out this grace business for a while, I’ll be able to say to you like Paul did to the Philippians. Plattsville church every time I think of you, I’m filled with thanksgiving. With joy, with excitement. It’s never a struggle to pray for you, and my prayers to God are always filled with joy at the amazing privilege and honor it is to be your pastor. This is because you and I have joined in this grace business of God together. We’ve jumped in with two feet, supporting one another, loving one another, and deciding that from day one we would be about spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ
And that’s exactly what happened.
Big Idea: I am so grateful for you.
- I’ll always consider myself part of this place and your pastor.
- Paul loves Phillipi because of how they supported him, welcomed him, and partnered together with God.
- When someone is hurting, you don’t get to take the focus.
- Being changed by Jesus and changing lives with Jesus.
- You have a special place in my heart.
- This is a church that supports one another, journeys together, and is about God’s grace.
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? How have you been welcomed here, supported here, or partnered together in sharing God’s grace? What are you thankful for in this place? Are you willing to commit and see what the future God has for you?
Challenge for the Week: This place rocks, and you should commit to being here.