Rob Wilton / Lead Pastor / Vintage Church
Picture the Apostle Paul sitting in prison because he has been faithfully proclaiming the Gospel as you read Philippians 1:3-11.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The reality of Gospel work is the necessity of Gospel partnership. From the moment Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he devoted his life to the advancement of the Gospel. This demanded everything…his plans, his time, his resources, his popularity, his life! When Paul was in jail stripped of everything, the memory of his church partner in Philippi kept him encouraged and focused on the joy that is found in Christ. When you truly step out for Christ you will meet opposition. I wish I could find examples in Scripture of people living for Christ without it. However, the Word of God is filled with Christians who have lived for Christ being persecuted by Satan. This is when Gospel Partnership not only becomes important, it becomes necessary.
Planting Vintage Church in New Orleans over the last four years has been crazy hard. By no means have I sat in jail for proclaiming the Gospel, but we have certainly faced a lot of opposition from Satan. One of the major things that I have learned on this journey is the importance of Gospel Partnership. A ton of church families have jumped in during some of our darkest moments to bring incredible encouragement and provision. We are so humbled and thankful. Much like Paul, the thought of this partnership has brought the joy of Jesus back into my life at many times.
Gospel partnership is described in three major ways in Philippians 1:3-11. First of all there is “equal sacrifice”. In verse 7, Paul says that the Philippians were all partakers with him in his imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. Secondly, there is “yearning affection.” In verse 8, Paul yearns for the Philippians with the affection of Jesus. Thirdly, there is “prayerful success”. In verses 9-11, Paul prays for the love, knowledge, discernment, excellence, purity, and fruit that can only come from Jesus.
Vintage Church has been blessed with Gospel partners who have displayed “equal sacrifice”, “yearning affection”, and “prayerful success”. Because of this we have been able to persevere in our mission to live the Gospel, love the city, and be the church in New Orleans. Because of this we are also motivated to serve as a partner to other church families with the purpose of advancing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.