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The Same, But Different

Joyful Gospel Partnership - Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction
So if you were not with us last week you are probably wondering what is going on up here on the stage. It kinda looks like someone got started on a project and then just forgot to clean up after themselves, but there is method in this madness.
Last week I showed you my brand new grill and talked about all the wonderful things that it promised to do, but as all of the parts remained seperated even as they were together in the box they were powerless to accomplish any of those things. So the title of that message was “Assembly Required” and we talked about how that also describes a healthy Church.
We have to be assembled. We have to come together in the way that our designer planned before this thing called Church will have the impact that is was designed to have. We also said that this “assembly” was not just to be here inside of this box, but we also had to think “outside the box”. We found this fleshed out in where Paul speaks of how he longs to hear that the Church there in Philippi is both “standing firm” in the faith of the Gospel and “striving side by side” for the faith of the Gospel.
If we are to be accomplish what we were designed for then we must assemble together in both Gospel Faith and in Gospel Ministry.
Tension
So to further illustrate what this looks like in the world of grills my son Eli and I set out to put this grill together. (New Slide) Anyone who knows Eli knows that he loves to build with legos and I figured this would be kind of like a life sized logo project, complete with instructions.
When we opened the box, we found that the many parts were separated from each other in several different ways.
In some cases is was just distance. They was nothing really blocking these pieces from each other, it just that they found themselves tucked in different sides of the box where there was this big space between them and there was nothing to draw them close together.
In other cases there were these walls that were places between the pieces. These seemed to be there to protect the pieces from coming together in a way that would scratch, scar or damage the pieces if the box was being moved or jostled around.
Presumably put there so that these pieces wouldn’t be too so close to one another that they might scar or damage each other in the midst of times when things got rocky for the box. They were protected from that kind of thing by these little walls that were built up between them.
We found other pieces packed together in tight little clusters. Sometimes they were strapped together or they were inside smaller boxes that separated from the rest of the parts in the bigger box. Some of those little groups were so tightly bound together that I had to use a knife to get them apart in order to connect them together with the rest of the grill.
you know something, those boxes were fastened so tightly that they probably didn’t even know that there even was a bigger box that they were a part of.
Finally we found that when we took out the many pieces to look at them, it was much easier to see where some of them belonged than others. We just weren’t sure where some of the pieces fit in. We recognized things like the wheels, the hood, grill grates and knobs but then there were these little screws and springs that we had to look up in the directions to make sure that we put them in the right place.
base, the cover, the grill plates and the knobs that everyone knows where they go. Those are what we see when we look at a grill. But there were other things that make up the working parts of the inside of the grill that most people might not even notices as belonging to the grill. But without these working parts, the grill will never function as it was designed.
Tension
l the other pieces were outside b the other pieces when thingthe individual pieces would not were just on the opposite ends of the box and physical between these pieces, just space
In some cases, they were small groups of parts that were assembled in smaller boxes inside the big box. They were connected together with each other, but they were still separated from the rest of the grill. If they could talk, then they might tell us that they were already assembled
By now I hope that you have gotten the sense that I am not just talking about a grill anymore, because my guess is that most of us have seen similar disconnections in the assembly of a Church.
. Looking back on our experience of assembling this grill, I can see similar things in the assemthe same kinds of things that creep up in Churches in such a way that they become useless versions of what they were designed to be.
Things like just allowing there to be distance between you and someone else because you never took the time to just walk across the room and get to know someone new.
someone else at Church instead of intentionally reaching out to them.
Or after experiencing a rough season in Church life, where things really got moving and jostled about, you have built up some protective walls so that you won’t get hurt or damaged like you once did.
Or looking around and feeling like you are on the outside of a group of insiders who claim to be your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Finding yourself on the outside of the group of insiders or
Or believing that the only roles that really matter are the up front roles in the Church, those of us who never make it up to the front of the stage really aren’t needed, it doesn’t really even matter if I play my part, I am just here to watch and listen to them.
One of the questions that we are tackling this summer is what makes a Church a healthy Church? and today we will discover that Healthy Churches full of different people after the same thing.
The truth is that Healthy Churches are assembled of all kinds of people playing specific roles to accomplish the same goal.
The truth is that Healthy Churches are assembled of different kinds of people playing specific roles to accomplish the same goal.
who play different roles in line with the same goal. We are not to be as concerned about which role that we play, as we are concenred that we are but more are we playing the role that God designed us for.
There was not a piece in that box that was not needed to make the grill. Some were really big and took up most of the box and some were the smallest little screw, spring or pin but each one is needed to make the grill work as it was designed. The same thing is true of the Church.
So the question that we each have to ask ourselves is: What “different role” has God given me to play in this Church, and how does it work to accomplish our “same goal”.
What role has God called me to play in His Church, and is it working to accomplish the shared goal of His Church.
What is the different role has God given me to play in His Church, and how does it work to accomplish our same goal.
Turn in your Bibles with me to , p 981 in the Bibles in the chairs, I’ll pray and we will look into this question together.
Our concern should not so much be which role is it that we are called to play, but more are we playing the role that God has called us to play in this thing that He designed called His Church.
Let’s look into this
How is that for incorporating Bar B Que Grill language?
1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 1
1 Corinthians 12:21–27 ESV
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:21-
Tension
Tension
Truth
Truth
Philippians 2:1–4 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1–2 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
So as we did last week, I would like to read through out text for today first and then we will break it down into big sized pieces (I could go all day people).
The first thing that we have to handle about these verses is the word “if”. In this instance, there really are better English words that could be used here to get to the meaning that Paul intends but since he uses the word commonly translated as “if” that is what we see most prominently in our translations. The problem with the word “If” is that the connotation with the word bring our mind to the idea of doubt. As if Paul is suggesting that these things might be there, or they might not. That is not the case, however. Paul is certain that these things are a part of the Philippian Churches experience and that is why he leans on them to motivate the Church into his next instructions.
It probably would help us to hear more as if he is saying “since” or “because” you have experienced even a taste of these good things, that should be enough to move forward into the unity you will need to experience them fully.
So what are they experiencing as a Church, what are the things that Paul is so certain is among them that he uses it as leverage for his next instruction? Lets take a look at them more closely.
So lets again at these four things as they are assumed realities in the Joyful Gospel Partnership that is found in any healthy Church.
If there is any Encouragement in Christ
All of that is just to say that Paul knows that these things do describe the experience of the Philippian Church and he is calling on them to remember them and to take their next steps in the affirmation that their presence should give them. We should not move out from these things quickly however, because they could provide us with the same

1. Encouragement in Christ

Remember “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name but his title. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Messiah” so the very first thing that Paul points to is the fulfillment of the Messianic promise in the Gospel.
The reality that we were so lost in our sins that we no hope of ever being right with God and so God promised to send the Messiah through the line of Abraham into the world to save His people. That Messiah came, and his name is Jesus THE Christ. He died and rose again so that we too can rise again into new life with God as He intended when He created us. That is why each week I bring us back to the Gospel message. It is not just something for the unbelievers need to become believers, it is also something that believers must remind each other of on a regular basis. The remembrance of the magnitude of what God has given us in Christ should be the greatest source of encouragement that we have ever experienced.
Which begs the question, When was the last time you thanked Jesus for the gift of your salvation? There is power in remembering that gift and giving thanks for it.
fuel our faithfulness and obedience to him. it is something that we each need to be reminded of regularly because our faithfulness in obedience to Christ is fueled by our rememberance of how much we have been given in his sacrificial act on the Cross.
??Martin Luther and preaching the “Gospel”

2. Comfort from God’s Love

The Greek word for “love” here is the word “agape” which we have head many times is the special word that the New Testament writers designated to indicate the love of God that works in and through his people. We can see this love reign in the three stories that we know of the Church of Philippi from .
For Lydia, the “agape” love of the Lord opened her heart to the Gospel that Paul preached and then she in turn opened her home in “agape” love to Paul, his missionary team and later the Christian Church of Philippi.
For the little girl whose spirit was being abused by a demon and whose mind and body was being abused by her slave masters, the “agape” love of God came in to release her from that bondage and set her free to tell her story and live a life of true “agape” love.
For the jailer who was about to take his life because he was certain that the men that he was ordered to “keep them safely” has escaped. But the “agape” love of Paul and Silas called out from the Prison to offer this man both a present and eternal salvation. In response this jailer brought Paul and Silas into his own home and showed them “agape” love by caring for them and tending to their wounds.
Certainly their were other experiences among the members of the Philippian Church of the “agape” love of God working in and through them to bring comfort.

3. Participation in the Holy Spirit

We have referenced this verse before as the word here translated “Participation” is one of our key words for this series. It is the Greek Word “koinonia” and it is commonly understood to be “Partnership”.
The people of the Church of Philippi had experienced together the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. If the three stories I just referenced were any indication, then this Church had experienced some pretty powerful things when it came to the Holy Spirit working the “Agape” love of God in and through them. Paul knows that this will be a word of affirmation for the Church of Philippi, for there is nothing as powerful as the fellowship found in work of the Holy Spirit in your life. It is a supernatural experience that I have so comforting in times of doubt.

4. Support among the Brethren

Remember that New Testament Christianity is a new development in the world at this time. There were relatively few Christians in Philippi and the message of the Gospel was just as offensive to their culture as it is to ours. This message that says that their is only one God and that their is only way to be right with Him was not only unique, it was outright offensive. Even today, in our pluralistic society it is amazing how much impact there is by just swapping out two of the smallest and most common words in the English Language.
If we would just say that Jesus is “a” way to eternal life then no one would be offended, but that is not the message of the Gospel. The message of the Gospel is that Jesus is “the” way to eternal life. There is no other way. Jesus himself said this:
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The exclusivity of that message was just as offensive to the Philippians as it is to our culture today, but when someone is truly captured by the Good News of what Jesus did for us, the good news of the Gospel, then they are willing to follow him no matter what the cost.
Thankfully, Jesus did not leave us alone to bear this weight. He designed the Church, this Joyful Gospel Partnership to help us each carry the burden. This partnership, this fellowship, this koinonia, this agape love working in and through us develops among us an Affection and Sympathy for each other that you will not find from any other relationship.
In a different letter to the Church in Colossae, Paul is correcting them because he is not seeing these things that should be a part of their Church. He says
Colossians 3:12–13 ESV
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:12 ESV
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
But for the Church in Philippi, Paul has seen evidence of these things among them. He has been rejoicing over them already and he leans on them as leverage to keep them going in this right direction. He knows that since they have experienced some of this, they will want more. And so he gives them the next step to that end.
Colossians 3:12 ESV
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Philippians 2:1–2 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Col
Paul is saying that because I know that these thing are evident among you, I have been rejoicing over you. I rejoice over the evidence that I have already seen of these things in your life, but don’t stop there. Make my joy complete. I do have joy over you but make my joy “perfect” in this one way:
Philippians 2:2 ESV
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Being of the
Paul brings us through all the things that we share “In Common” in order to focus back on the “Main Thing”. That the Main Thing is to keep the Gospel the Main Thing. So everything that the Philippian Church does together should be aimed in this direction. They are to have the same mind, the same love, the same purpose and the same thinking …but they are not to be the same.
They assemble together for the same goal, but they each play a different role.
It is really the difference between “unity” and “uniformity”. Have you ever heard this distinction before? Paul is instructing the Church to be unified, but not uniformed. The kind of unity that Paul is talking about is spiritual unity that works from the inside out, not a uniformity that is the result of pressures from the outside in.
Just like the many different pieces and parts of my grill, we need to play different roles that God designed us to play in order for this Church thing to work. It won’t work if we all look the same, talk the same, smile the same, laugh the same, serve the same or give the same. We are not to have the same role, but we are to have the same goal.
Much better than my grill illustration is the illustration that Paul uses in his letter to the Church in Corinth when he compares the Assembly of the Church to that of a human body. I don’t have time to go into all of it this morning but just to give you an overview he says in
1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:21–27 ESV
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Cor 12:21-27
It is such a beautiful picture of how a Joyful Gospel Partnership should work. But we all know that just as human bodies break down, our relationships at Church can break down too can’t they.
It is such a beautiful picture of how a Joyful Gospel Partnership should work. But we all know that just as human bodies break down, our relationships at Church can break down too can’t they.
1 Corinthians 12:12
don’t they. They have hurts, pains, and aches. They fight against virus’, bacterias and all kinds of diseases and that is too is a pretty accurate picture of the Church.
It seems every person that I talk to about Church has a “Church hurt” story. A time in their past when some aspect of the Church was not operating as it should and it caused them pain. In some cases, as I talk with people in the community, they just gave up and stopped going to Church. They lost hope that this Church thing could ever operate in the way that Paul describes. So they distance themselves from it.
It seems every person that I talk to about Church has a “Church hurt” story. A time in their past when some aspect of the Church was not operating as it should and it caused them pain. In some cases, as I talk with people in the community, they just gave up and stopped going to Church. They lost hope that this Church thing could ever operate in the way that Paul describes. So they distance themselves from it.
Then there are other people who have been hurt by a Church at some point, yet they keep showing up each Sunday. Only now they have built up walls between themselves and the Church. They used to be involved in some things, but now it seems safer to just keep those walls up so if things get rocky again they won’t get hurt like they did last time.
Other people cluster up in smaller groups, really only connecting deeply with a few people that they trust, with not intention of ever giving themselves to the Church as a whole.
And it’s easy to see the appeal of these responses. The do seem safer. The do seem like they will keep you from getting burned again, but they might be keeping you from much more than that. You see we cannot be the Church that God intends if the people that he brought together to assemble into this expression of His local Church remain disconnected.
But how can we do this? How can we possibly come together like this? How can we set aside the many things that seem to constantly come between us in order to become a healthy Church?
It is a very natural response to being hurt. The problem is, we cannot be the Church that God intends if our many different parts are not connected.
How can we do this? How can we possibly set aside the many things that seem to constantly come between us in order to become a healthy Church? The key is found in the very next verse:
The walls that set up to protect us from getting hurt.
The spaces that we allow because we are uncertain about what a stronger connection with each other would require.
The groups that we just gravitate towards because there is familiarity and commonality there and we know we will be recieved.
Paul gives us the first step, but let me warn you in advance…it is a doozie
Philippians 2:3 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3
Thankfully, Humility is something easy for me to talk about, because it is something that I am really good at. I look around and I just seem to excel at it…I mean I pride myself in my ability to be humble… (sarcasm)
That is the thing about humility, it is said that the very moment you are sure that you have it, you’ve just lost it. This slippery fish called humility is something that we know to be a major tenant of the Christian faith, we know it to be a virtue that we should strive for but this was not the case for the Church in Philippi.
In Paul’s day the word “humility” was not something that was considered very virtuous, in fact the word had a very negative connotation. The adjective form of the word was used to describe the mentality of a slave and the slang of the term developed into something that basically meant shabby, unfit, mean, ignorant and of little value. It was not a virtue that was sought after, but a standing that was fought against.
And Paul is saying that if they would hope to see Joyful Gospel Partnership happen in their gatherings then this humility needs to be the default response of each one of them. Considering what that term meant in his day, you could see what this would be a hard sell. So Paul backs up his position with literally the perfect example of humility.
Philippians 2:5-
The walls that set up to protect us from getting hurt.
The spaces that we allow because we are uncertain about what a stronger connection with each other would require.
The groups that we just gravitate towards because there is familiarity and commonality there and we know we will be recieved.
How do we break through to having this “single mind” this one love this most important thing in common?
Paul spends the rest of the chapter telling us, or at least giving us the first step and then giving us four people as examples of how this has worked out in their lives.
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:5–8 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
When it comes to being significant, you just can’t get better than being GOD! And that is what Jesus layed aside in order to humble himself to become like you and me. That exchange is mind blowing in and of itself, but Jesus went further than that.
While he was in the form of a human be became the least of all humans, a servant of all. The Greek word there is doulos which is commonly translated slave or bondservant. So he was “humbled” to the point of the slang understanding of the word, but he went even further than that.
Because unlike every other human being who has ever lived, he did not deserve to die. He was sinless and as such he could have went right from his transfiguration to be seated back at the right hand of God the Father. Instead, he obeyed the Father and went ahead with the plan for him to die…but he went even further than that.
If anyone deserved to die peacefully in his sleep while his family and friends respectfully looked on it was Jesus. But instead he humbled himself to die the most humiliating, shame filled and excruciating painful death known to man. He was beaten and bruised and then hung naked on the cross surrounded by people who were mocking him, spitting on him and cursing him.
That is the thing about humility, it is said that the very moment you are sure that you have it, you’ve just lost it. This slippery fish called humility is something that we know to be a major tenant of the Christian faith, but this was a mind altering assertion to the people in Paul’s day.
Why? Why would he humble himself from such incredible heights to such horrible depths? So that we would have a perfect example of what the mindset of true humility looks like.
Philippians 2:3 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
In Paul’s day “Humility” was not an honorable thing as it is today. We are much more apt to use the word in a compliment then an insult, but the word in Paul’s day was much more of an insult. It was primarily used to describe slaves in any community that were not thought very highly of. They had no freedoms, no power, no claim on anything in their lives and because of this they were often difficult. Someone else made all their decisions.
humility is a major tenant of the Christian faith
Humility definition: Don’t think less of yourself, but think if yourself less
These four things are the things that come with having the most important thing “In common”, and the people experienced them to different degrees but they could all connect with at least one of these things happening among them.
??? DISTRACTING??? Asceticism - “look not only to your own interests...”
Philippians 2:
The example of Jesus...
Philippians 2:1–11 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5–11 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel Application
2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Romans 12:3 ESV
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
That is the thing about humility, it is said that the very moment you are sure that you have it, you’ve just lost it.
humility is a major tenant of the Christian faith
John 14:16 ESV
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
Landing
Gospel Application
1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:21–27 ESV
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Gospel Application
You know if you are like me then this box of trash sprawled all over the stage up here has been driving you crazy ever since you stepped into this room today. You were probably thinking, why doesn’t someone clean that mess up? In fact I put a sign on my mess up here this week to make sure that the people who came in to clean didn’t think they would help me out by coming up to cleaning up my mess. Because I wanted you to see it.
I mean if you are going to do a project then do it in such a way that it doesn’t make such a mess.
Last week there wasn’t a mess up here. Everything that you see up here was neatly tucked into this one big box and it was all taped up nice and neat and there was order and there was uniformity and not a scrap of styrofoam or plastic strapping or cardboard anywhere. It was all clean and neat...and completely useless.
Eli and I had to tear into that box in order and remove all of the things that were keeping these separate parts from coming together in the way that they needed to come together so that they could go from a useless heavy box to a useful bar b que grill that we can enjoy as it was intended. In the midst of that process, though, things got messy. We had to empty out the little boxes and pull off a lot of plastic wrap and remove many walls and then get rid of all of the things that kept us being able to use our grill in the way that it was intended.
I think that is the same way with the Church. We aren’t going to get to the “Joyful Gospel Partnership” that God intends for us unless we are willing to address things like this. We have to start by reminding each other that we are here for the same goal. To declare and demonstrate the Gospel to each other and the world around us. If we can keep that goal in front of us then we will be able to see clear to start removing things that would block our relationships with each other from becoming what they are meant to be. The best way to do that is to follow Christ example, and be truly humble, able to count others as more significant than ourselves.
Landing
I wonder if God ever looks down at His Church and things that?????
Jesus was the most significant person who ever lived, and he humbled to the greatest depth, but that is not the end of the story.
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus’ death and resurrection served an even greater purpose than showing us what true humility looks like. Because Jesus did not fail in his mission to obey the Father and humble himself to that death on the cross, he was raised to new life and he is able to give that new life to me and to you.
Do you have the new life that Jesus offered? Have you experienced a taste of what Paul saw in the Church at Philippi?
Philippians 2:1–2 ESV
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Philippians 2:1
If you haven’t experienced these things then come talk to me, I would love to tell you more about them.
Romans 6:5 ESV
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
2 Corinthians 4:14 ESV
14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
??? DISTRACTING??? Asceticism - “look not only to your own interests...” Humility definition: Don’t think less of yourself, but think if yourself less
Landing
We have been crucified with Christ so we will be raised with Christ verse.
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