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A Church without Doors and Windows

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Philippians

The OT book of Ezra tells of the Israelites who returned from the exile in Babylon. is the decree of King Cyrus sending them back to their homeland. gives us the names of the returning men and the number of their descendants with them. - tells how the people were in their respective communities, then it says, “the people gathered as one in Jerusalem.” We are talking about people who had been held against their will for 70 years. Elderly adults not having seen Jerusalem and the glory days of the temple since they were young kids and young adults, and others, having been born in exile, never saw the glory days of God’s house at all. - tells us the purpose of their gathering in Jerusalem, “all who returned to Jerusalem from the captivity, began to rebuild,” the Temple.
“Gathered as One” - A phrase describing the spiritual aspect and mental picture of Together.

TOGETHER

The People of God Accomplishing the Purpose of God TOGETHER. We have gathered together with one another in the service. Are we gathered as One? We just sang songs about God together. Did we sing them as One? Prayers have been prayed already by several. Were they prayed as One? Tithes and offerings were given just now. Did we give as One?
Let’s stand together as One in honor of the One who gave His Holy Word. As we read it look for the words and allusions of TOGETHER. As you listen to me read it, imagine sitting in Lydia’s living room hearing it for the first time.
Imagine yourself as the young slave girl now living as a free young adult how would it sound? Or the Philippian jailer living for God instead of his job and his possessions, how would it sound? Or Lydia’s the successful business owner with a high society family, how would it sound to them?
Philippians 1:1–11 CSB
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians

“Gathered As One”

“Partnership in the Gospel”

What you find in Ezra is the OT equivalent of revitalization of a NT 21st Century church.
“Gathered as One” - A phrase describing the spiritual aspect and mental picture of Together.
What you find in Ezra is the OT equivalent of revitalization of a NT 21st Century church.
What you find in Ezra is the OT equivalent of revitalization of a NT 21st Century church.
The People of God Accomplishing the Purpose of God TOGETHER.
Come on get engaged in the sermon with me this morning. Turn your worship guide (bulletin) over or just grab a sheet of paper if you can.
Now I want you to draw 2 objects. First, Draw a house. (Pause) Second, Draw a church.
The church looked almost identical in shape, size and drawing as the house. The only difference being the steeple on top and a cross visible in each window.
What that revealed to me is that person wanted the home and the church to be no different from each other, not architecturally speaking. This person wanted both to be the same emotionally, relationally and spiritually. But what does it say when the drawing contains no door or windows?

A Church without Doors and Windows

I borrowed this introspective activity in psychology from Joanna who had me and the kids do it after she had learned it that day during their teacher in-service.
After hearing Joanna’s explanation of how a person draws their house, I did some soul searching. See I drew my house with a nice pitched roof, possibly with a chimney, I believe even 3 dimensional, but I drew no doors and windows.
Here’s the connection to Philippians. The apostle Paul is someone of whom I am highly envious, and here’s why.
Windows, doors, and sidewalks are all ways that others enter or see into the house, so they relate to openness, willingness to interact with others, and ideas about the environment.
One commentary’s introduction to Philippians says that preaching through the book ought to allow the preacher to share with his people how it is with him in the Christian journey.
One commentary’s introduction to Philippians says that preaching through the book ought to allow the preacher to share with his people how it is with him in the Christian journey because that is what we find Paul doing as we read through it.
It’s hard for me as a pastor/preacher to relate to Paul because he is so honest, exposed and vulnerable with the Philippian church. I am an extremely loyal person, but I guess it takes a lot for me to let you in the house so to speak.
If Paul were to draw a house while sitting in prison, I imagine it would have been filled with many windows and doors. Paul reveals so much about himself through this letter: his struggles and sufferings, his need to strive hard to practice the biblical truths he preaches, but most importantly his great joy that came from his purpose, through his partners and we hear in his prayers.

Paul’s Purpose

C. S. Lewis said it this way, "It is a Christian duty for everyone to be as joyful as they can be!"
It is not hard to see Paul understands this Christian duty as he expresses joy 14+ times throughout the letter.
Paul teaches that a joyous attitude during stress-inducing ordeals is the result of maintaining focus on purpose. It is evidence of spiritual maturity because happiness is easy during happy times, but joy in suffering, joy in difficulties is the mature fruit produced by the Holy Spirit working during years of Christian growth
Paul teaches that a joyous attitude during stress-inducing ordeals is the evidence of spiritual maturity because happiness is easy during happy times, but joy in suffering, joy in difficulties is the mature fruit produced by the Holy Spirit working during years of Christian growth
Satan kept trying to work through the people criticizing Paul, through the people he later says were working so hard to bring down his ministry. Satan kept trying to work through the people keeping him in prison, but Paul took a different approach. He was optimistic about his opportunities.

The Marine officer, when he saw that he and his men were surrounded by the enemy, said, “Men, we are surrounded by the enemy; don’t let a one of them get away.”931

v.7 - Paul was not going to let a one of the jailers chained to him, nor those in Caesar’s house get away without hearing the gospel

During the Battle of Britain, someone said to a man on the street in London, “Things look pretty dark, don’t they?” The man replied, “But the King says there’s ‘ope, Sir!”934

v.1-2 - Paul’s joy came from his King. “Of Jesus Christ” and “In Christ” - It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.
Paul knew he deserved the judgment satan wanted to keep placing upon him, but Jesus had taken it. What about you?
Paul knew that
Paul knew he deserved every bit of wrath God places upon sinners, but Jesus had taken it. What about you?
Paul knew that he did not deserve any of the grace God had already given to him, but Jesus secured it with His death on the cross. What about you?
Paul knew that his past was horrendous as the persecutor of the church and not worthy of forgiveness, but in Christ he was forgiven. What about you?
Satan kept trying to work through the people criticizing Paul, through the people he later says were working so hard to bring down his ministry. Satan kept trying to work through the people keeping him in prison, but Paul took a different approach. He was optimistic about his opportunities. How about you?

The Marine officer, when he saw that he and his men were surrounded by the enemy, said, “Men, we are surrounded by the enemy; don’t let a one of them get away.”931

v.7 - Paul was not going to let a one of the jailers chained to him, nor those in Caesar’s house get away without hearing the gospel. He had a captive audience with his enemies and he was going to share the gospel and let God worry about turning them into friends.
Paul knew that God had him right where he wanted him. What about you?
Paul knew that his only purpose in life was to be filled with Joy and from that joy he was to tell everyone he possibly could about Jesus. How about you?
I want you to take courage in what it did, that those people satan tries to work through in your job or your church will never have power over you when you stay focused on your purpose. The gossip, the complaining, the negativity, the depressing atmosphere can be overcome through your joy in Christ. Don’t give satan the power over you through them.
Your past does not have to define you!! Your purpose can if you are in Christ!! When Jesus saves you, you have peace together with God.
Your present does not have to define you!! Your purpose can if you are in Christ!! What do you think it will take for you to experience real joy?
better job
better kids
better economy
better church
better country
better house
better spouse
bigger salary
bigger/better possessions
You do not need a one of these. What you may need is a bigger and better vision of Jesus!! Are you in Christ? Is his mission your mission?
Corrie Tenn Boom spent years in a German concentration camp for hiding Jews. She says after that time, you will not realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you got.
Your performance does not have to define you. Your purpose can if you are in Christ.
v.6 - Paul gives them great assurance of salvation. God works by way of the Holy Spirit to finish what he started at salvation. It’s called sanctification. Think of sanctification as preparation for fulfilling your purpose and preparation for heaven.
An ant by itself is pretty insignificant. When a bunch of them get together, watch out.
Have you ever stepped on a fire-ant hill? Now I bet there partnership made an extreme impact on you didn’t it. If a person messes with the whole family in an ant hill, those ants gather as one to let you know, “hey don’t mess with us.”
“Gathered as One” - A phrase describing the spiritual aspect and mental picture of Together.

Paul’s Partners

v.5 & 7 - This is how Paul viewed the Philippians, his partners.
“Gathered as One” - A phrase describing the spiritual aspect and mental picture of Together.
v.5 & 7 - This is how Paul viewed the Philippians, his partners.
Even though they were separated by chains and distance they were together as one for the sake of the purpose of advancing the gospel throughout the known world at that time.
v.8 - Paul speaks of this gospel partnership as one of the main reasons for his deep sense of joy.
“have you in my heart” - Paul also describes in several ways how they had shown their love for Paul, all evidence there existed a mutual affection of the deepest and most meaningful kind between them.
The Greek word for partnership is the same word translated elsewhere as fellowship, not about sitting around eating fried chicken Fellowship is about relationship together with a sense of belonging and being together with a purpose.
Paul’s partners shared in the struggle.
Paul’s Partners did not turn their back on him when the situations of the ministry became difficult. They prayed for him and remained loyal in the darkest times.
Christianity is not me+Jesus. Christianity is we+Jesus. We have the same God. Same Gospel. Should have the same goal.
In Philippians, togetherness is gospel centered for the purpose of sharing the gospel.
The church was not perfect yet Paul was still grateful for them, and we see that best through his prayers for them.
When a church becomes an audience of consumers to be satisfied it begins begins to decline. When it spends much time with that attitude it begins to die. The solution is a change of attitude, a change in the mindset. They must begin to be ant like again. They must be like God’s people in Ezra, gathered as one. They must see themselves as family to be loved, as co-workers to be sanctified through working together in spreading the gospel.
Gospel partnerships are enduring because God gives them the means to last, the gospel. The gospel is the means by which we must always address conflict. Issue addressed. Holy Spirit Conviction. Human repentance. Human forgiveness. Peace and reconciliation. Anything less is anti-gospel. Anti-christ. Anti-church.
The church was not perfect yet Paul was still grateful for them, and we see that best through his prayers for them.

Paul’s Prayers

Paul prayed for people not stuff. He even prays for the ones who had been difficult and causing division. He dealt with it by pastoral rebuke but he was still grateful and prayed.
v.9-11 - He prays that his partners become mature Christians. Despite his great pleasure with most of his readers, Paul was realist enough to know that every Christian needs to grow in every area of the spiritual realm:
He prays their deep emotions will be grounded with being biblically informed. I know how you feel about an issue, but what does God’s word say? I know what you think and feel about things in the church, but what does the Bible say?
v.9 - Paul prays for the growth of their affection for one another. Paul loved these people deeply. He wanted them to love each other deeply. Heart relationships, affectionate love for one another results in a healthy, growing church, and it is the witness to the world of the gospel.
He prays they grow in the knowledge - “knowing what is right” and balanced with discernment - “knowing what is best.”
The Philippian Christians needed to be reminded of and grasp of the deep love Christ has for His church, and how they needed to unite together. They needed to be reminded that Christ-like love is a love that puts others before self.
v.10 - Paul prays about all the issues he is going to address with them: unity, conflict, gossip, rivalry, selfish ambitions, pride.
“blameless” not perfect. Paul prays that the Christians develop Christlike character by not intentionally causing offense and by not intentionally being unforgiving
v.11 - He prays they exhibit the fruit from the work of the Holy Spirit in them. The proof of Christlike character.
Conclusion: Here is what I want you to take away from this scripture, and follow the Spirit’s lead to produce fruit in your life.
If you are always focused on what’s wrong in our church, you will never be a part of what’s right in our church, nor will you give God thanks for what’s right.
Problems in our church will disappear when you pray for the people in the church. Who are you praying for? Get on your knees and give thanks to God for everyone here.
Let your prayers lead you to hold others accountable. Let your accountability of others be gospel centered and preceded by much prayer.
Put doors and windows in your church: have the same affection and love as Christ, developing relationships or take the ones you have to a deeper level. Open up.
If you are to be like Christ you must have the same affection and love as Christ
Put doors and windows in your church: find you a Timothy. Find someone to partner together with, and pour your knowledge of Christ into. Teach them to teach others.
Remember the ant hill?
Have you ever been bitten by a fire-ant? Stings a bit doesn’t it, but it does not make much of an impact on you does it?
An ant by itself is pretty insignificant. When a bunch of them get together, watch out.
Have you ever stepped on a fire-ant hill? Now I bet there partnership made an extreme impact on you didn’t it. If a person messes with the whole family in an ant hill, those ants gather as one to let you know, “hey don’t mess with us.” Their combined effort is great, not only for defending against an enemy but also they work together to rebuild in a day and a half what the enemy destroys.
Christianity is not me+Jesus. Christianity is we+Jesus. We have the same God. Same Gospel. Should have the same goal/purpose. Rebuilding His church by advancing the gospel together. Attacking the gates of hell.
“Gathered as One” - A phrase describing the spiritual aspect and mental picture of Together.
What you find in Ezra is the OT equivalent of revitalization of a NT 21st Century church.
Christianity is not me+Jesus. Christianity is we+Jesus. We have the same God. Same Gospel. Should have the same goal. Rebuilding His church.
If a choir is singing in perfect harmony are they all singing the same parts? No! Perfect harmony is the result of all members adding their part to the same song to produce the desired result. It is the goal that produces the unity. Unity is not sameness. Unity is having the same purpose.
Christianity is not me+Jesus. Christianity is we+Jesus. We have the same God. Same Gospel. Should have the same goal/purpose. Rebuilding His church by advancing the gospel together.
When a church becomes an audience of consumers to be satisfied it begins begins to decline. When it spends much time with that attitude it begins to die. The solution is a change of attitude, a change in the mindset. They must begin to be ant like again. They must see themselves as family to be loved, as co-workers to be sanctified together. Partners in spreading the gospel.
Who are your partners? True gospel partners stand up when others sit down, speak up when others keep quiet, give you a hand up when others want to knock you down. What kind of partner are you?
Gospel partnerships are enduring because God gives them the means to last, the gospel. The gospel is the means by which we must always address conflict.
Gospel partnerships are enduring because God gives them the means to last, the gospel. The gospel is the means by which we must always address conflict.
Stop thinking about yourself. Start focusing on Jesus. Read all 4 of the Gospels. Dwell in God’s Word to learn all you can about Jesus, how he lived, spoke, taught others, loved others, had compassion on others; how he rejoiced, how he wept and mourned, how he sought the Father’s will above all else and imitate Him.
Here is the hope-filled truth for you today in this scripture. What I want to tell you is what God allowed me to see better in Philippians.
Your past nor your problems have to define you!! Your purpose can if you are in Christ!! When Jesus saves you, you have peace together with God. - no condemnation in Christ. Jesus carries your burdens.
I want you to receive the same encouragement I did, that those people satan tries to work through in your job or your church or in your school will never have power over you when you stay focused on your purpose. The gossip, the complaining, the negativity, the depressing atmosphere can be overcome through your joy in Christ. Don’t give satan the power over you through them.
I want you to receive the same encouragement I did, that those people satan tries to work through in your job or your church or in your school will never have power over you when you stay focused on your purpose. The gossip, the complaining, the negativity, the depressing atmosphere can be overcome through your joy in Christ. Don’t give satan the power over you through them.
Your present does not have to define you!! Your purpose can if you are in Christ!! What do you think it will take for you to experience real joy?
Your present does not have to define you!! Your purpose can if you are in Christ!! What do you think it will take for you to experience real joy?
better job, bigger salary
better kids, better house, better spouse
better economy, better country, better church
bigger salary
You do not need a one of these. What you may need is a bigger and better vision of Jesus!!
bigger/better possessions
You do not need a one of these. What you may need is a bigger and better vision of Jesus!! Are you in Christ? Is his mission your mission?
Stop thinking about yourself. Start focusing on Jesus. Read all 4 of the Gospels. Dwell in God’s Word to learn all you can about Jesus, how he lived, spoke, taught others, loved others, had compassion on others; how he rejoiced, how he wept and mourned, how he sought the Father’s will above all else and imitate Him. Do what he did.
Stop thinking about yourself. Start focusing on Jesus. Read all 4 of the Gospels. Dwell in God’s Word to learn all you can about Jesus, how he lived, spoke, taught others, loved others, had compassion on others; how he rejoiced, how he wept and mourned, how he sought the Father’s will above all else and imitate Him. Do what he did.
Stop thinking about yourself. Start focusing on Jesus. Read all 4 of the Gospels. Dwell in God’s Word to learn all you can about Jesus, how he lived, spoke, taught others, loved others, had compassion on others; how he rejoiced, how he wept and mourned, how he sought the Father’s will above all else and imitate Him. Do what he did.
Our Church is not this building. It never was and never will be. Our church is not the stuff in this building. Our church is you and me adding doors and windows through relationships. Saints in Christ, knit together as One family, together, partners in the gospel.

Invitation to Respond

The question is will we be that church. The questions is will we work together to rebuild this church? How about you? How will you answer?
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