Eshetu Abate: Bears Fruit and Produces Action

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I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5

“Paul had been affected by the attitude of the Christians in Philippi. Their hearts were receptive and they were eager to become partners with him in the cause of the gospel. They stood united with him in mind and purpose. Their active and living testimony filled Paul’s heart with joy and moved him to thank God for them.

The memory of a loving and active Christian community will always remain with those who have spent some time with them. Paul’s thankfulness was expressed in all my prayers for all of you. Paul was a man of prayer. Like Paul, a good minister should be in constant contact with the Lord in prayer, praying not only for himself but also for those whom God has put in his care.

When Paul speaks of their partnership in the gospel from the first day, he is probably thinking of the day he first arrived in Philippi, the most important city in the Macedonia, after crossing the Aegean Sea on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-12).

There he had met Lydia, ‘a dealer in purple cloth; who had received the gospel of Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. Not only did she believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but she made her house available for meetings and worship (Acts 16:15, 40).

A Philippian jailer and his household had also become Christians (Acts 16:34). In view of the hospitality which Paul and Silas had received, it was appropriate to call the Philippian Christians partners in the gospel. Their partnership continued until late in Paul’s life.

At the time this letter was written, they were supporting him materially by sending gifts (4:18). When the message of the gospel reaches a receptive heart, it bears fruit and produces action. Similar fruit and actions should be found in our African churches if we have really accepted the gospel.”

Eshetu Abate in “Philippians” in Africa Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) 1466.

Seven years ago this month I spoke in Des Moines, Iowa. With the zeal of Lydia in the biblical narrative, Julie Wiemann had invited me. It impacted many people, including Travis Shelton, who has become like a Timothy to me.

Travis would go on to volunteer on the Iowa Christian Generosity Council. Last night I spoke at their “Ignite Your Legacy” event. While the recording is not available yet, enjoy COMMUNITY, the devotional written by Travis and me.

It’s available to you through GTP. Download it here. Don’t just read it. Share the link with others from Iowa to Africa and everywhere in between. We pray it bears fruit in the lives of all who read it and produces action.