19th Sun. after Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
October 6, 1996
(1:3 - "I thank my God every time I remember you..." The Philippian congregation was very special in Paul's heart...BUT... there was
trouble in this city of Asia Minor. It must have come as a surprise to Paul - and a heartache at the same time: I'm hearing about personal interests becoming all-important. I'm hearing about personal pride. I'm hearing about individuals personally promoting themselves and not the Kingdom of God. I'm very concerned! It's going to destroy your relationships and your unity in Christ. Let's redesign this thing! Let's remodel this situation. Humble yourselves, by the grace of God, and lets not destory our unity, our purpose, our witness.
HUMILITY & SERVICE: BECAUSE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.
Paul aims directly at the root cause of either unity or division - Motivation.
How can the body of Christ be at odds with one another?
What and who Christ is ought to be what His people are to Him and to each other.
Remember the summation of the Law? - Love God, love your neighbor.
Whose agenda is being served by your involvement in the congregation?
Is your participation for you?
Is your participation for God?
Is your participation for the benefit of others?
The word for "encouragement" is paraklasis, meaning one who stands along side of you to provide help and comfort....That's Christ.
In our sin Jesus, stands with His holiness next to us in our sinfulness to provide help and comfort.
He brings to our side, forgiveness, grace, compassion and love.
Through that instrumentation, He redesigns us for habitation in His Kingdom here on earth and in heaven.
Likewise, our unity in Christ embraces what He says, as well as who He is:
ILLUS: "Gospel Reductionism" is the great heresy of today.
Denominations are "bad" and we should all put away all the things that separate us and join together with one united voice.
This sounds good, but it isn't.
Which teaching of Christ should we say doesn't matter?
Shall we caste aside God's grace and forgiveness in our baptism?
Shall we deny the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper which brings forgiveness?
Should we water down the Gospel, as, some have to embrace a view of salvation apart from Christ?
Rather, we are called in (v. 2) to be like minded, phonate, meaning to have a single thinking, not only about who Christ is, but also what He taught.
What is your knowledge quotient?
Are you a regular student of the Word?
How can you be united if you don't know what you're united in?
How can the work of Christ in us to redesign us continue if we are unwilling to grow in our faith?
Part of the love of God is that He gave us a full body of doctrine to believe and He exhorts us to stand firm in that faith and to defend it.
Rejoice in the gift that God has given us in His Word.
Grow in the knowledge of what He teaches.
Quit apologizing for God's loving gift of truth!
HUMILITY AND SERVICE: BECAUSE OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SPIRIT.
We spent seven weeks this summer learning what a wonderful blessing the Father gives us in the fellowship of the Church.
What a tragedy that so many in our society fail to recognize that congregational life is a beautiful blessing from God.
They've bought into the lie that one's faith is only between one's self and God.
They've tried to say that we are sinners, and hypocrites unworthy of their association because we are imperfect.
Yes, we are imperfect...Yes, we are sinners...Yes, from time-to-time we can all be hypocritical.
Those who are making the claim are the same as we are.
The point of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ's forgiveness to sinners and to provide a place of spiritual refreshment and renewal for imperfect people.
God redesigns our earthly relationship with fellow Christians as a result of His redesign of our faith relationship with Him.
We now have a spiritual family that will be our family now and beyond the grave.
We have a family that acts as family toward one another with caring, joy sharing and sorrow bearing.
It is a place where we see in reality, the compassionate touch of Christ in the words, and actions of His people.
HUMILITY AND SERVICE: BECAUSE OF CHRIST'S COMPASSION.
The Greek word we translate "Compassion" is splanchnizomai.
The words includes the thoughts of such English words as pity, empathy and carry the notion of one's heart going out on behalf of another's need.
What a great description of what our Lord saw when He viewed humanity in its lost condition.
Embraced in this word is the understanding of personal action toward the need of someone else.
Truely, Christ's compassion is not a distant, spectator sort of empathy, but rather it is a compassion that moves Him to action.
It moved Him to become one of us.
It moved Him to suffer the indignity of insult, false accusation and death on our behalf.
It moved Him to go to any extent necessary to bring us into eternal life.
As the family of God, the compassion of Christ serves as our model for relationships within the family of God.
God wants to redesign our attitude toward one another.
Gone is the world's view of, "Look out for number 1."
Gone is the ungodly attitude of, "What's in it for me?"
Gone is the controling factor of ego.
What Christ brings in an attititude of servanthood.
Serving God is more important than serving self.
Serving the needs of others is more critical than self-interest.
Seeing others with the eyes and heart of Christ is our calling.
Once again, Christ is our model. (vv. 5-7)
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