Fellowship unto the Furtherance of the Gospel
Phil. 1:3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, (5) For your fellowship unto the furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now, (7) …since both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel you are all fellow partakers with me of grace.
The church in Philippi also had fellowship with Paul in the furtherance of the gospel. Fellowship here means participation, communication. The same Greek word is translated contribution in Romans 15:26 and sharing in Hebrews 13:16. The saints in Philippi had fellowship unto the gospel, participating in the furtherance of the gospel through the Apostle Paul’s ministry. This participation included their financial contributions to the apostle (4:10, 15-16), which issued in the furtherance of the gospel. This kind of fellowship, which kept them from being individualistic and diversely minded, implies their oneness with the Apostle Paul and with one another. This gave them the ground for their experience and enjoyment of Christ, which is the main point of this book. The Christ- experiencing-and-enjoying life is a life in the furtherance of the gospel, a gospel-preaching life, not individualistic but corporate. Hence, there is “the fellowship unto the gospel.” The more fellowship we have in the furtherance of the gospel, the more Christ we experience and enjoy. This kills our self, ambition, preference, and choice.
As the Philippian believers were sharing in the furtherance of the gospel, in the furtherance of God’s move on earth according to His economy, they were partakers with Paul of grace. Those who partake of grace are those who share and enjoy the processed Triune God as grace. The apostle was such a one in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, and the saints at Philippi were joint-partakers with him in this grace. Grace is the Triune God processed to be our enjoyment. By having fellowship unto the gospel with Paul, the Philippians enjoyed this grace. According to the expression in Greek, they became partakers of Paul’s grace, of the very grace he enjoyed.