Church United

Sermon: Pastor Bryan


Introduction

Church divisions, and church splits are ugly marks on the body of Christ. Unity within a church is an essential element. Churches lacking this element spend their time bickering amongst themselves, gossiping and failing at their mission and purpose. They most often find themselves either stagnant as a church or dying.

Get Your Heads Together There is an old legend about a herd of mules that was attacked nightly by a pack of wolves from a nearby forest. When the wolves came, the mules began kicking viciously in all directions. Consequently the mules maimed and injured each other while the agile wolves escaped unharmed. Finally, a wise old mule called the rest together for a conference and made known his plans. That night the wolves came yelping from the forest as usual, but instead of the mules kicking, they all ran and put their heads together in a circle and began kicking outward. The wolves were put to flight, and the mules did no harm to each other. Christians need to get their heads together and kick outward against the forces of iniquity. The world must sometimes wonder whether we who call ourselves Christ’s fishermen have any heads to put together.

Current Mission Statement:
To help people know Jesus, grow in their faith and reach others for Christ.

New Mission Statement: 
To grow a strong, united church family, to help the hurting and hopeless, to teach people about Jesus and help them grow in their faith and to impact our community for Christ by reaching out in love.

Our Plan
To welcome our community with love and kindness. To teach people how to live out God’s purpose for their life and to provide an outlet for them to share the love of Christ through outreach and missions.

Today’s sermon will focus on unity within the body of Christ, what prevents it and how to maintain it.

Scripture: Philippians 2: 1-11

 

Unity Through Humility

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 The Humbled and Exalted Christ

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Background

 Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church at Philippi. Paul planted this church during his 2nd missionary journey (A.D 51). He wrote this letter while he was in prison around A.D 62. Paul had several reasons for writing the letter. One was that he wanted to explain his current situation but also he was concerned about some division in the church. Some of the topics he covered included, unity, freedom from legalism, salvation and stewardship. Finally, it’s important to understand Paul had a close relationship with the people of this church. His speech is that of one who knows the people love and trust him.

Verse By Verse Explanation

 Verses 1

Paul begins this passage with four “if” statements

  1. If there be any consolation in Christ
  2. If any comfort of love
  3. If any fellowship of the spirit
  4. If any affection and mercy

Paul obviously knew they had experienced all four. He is using this as a means to get them to remember they are to give as they have received. He could have just as easily said, there is consolation in Christ, there is comfort is love, there is fellowship of the spirit and there is affection and mercy.

Verse 2

  1. Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, beingof one accord, of one mind.

This is an example of Paul’s close relationship with the people. He is basically saying, do me a favor. Or doing so will make me happy, or doing so will complete my ministry. He is talking to friends and knows his feelings matter to them. Paul knows they love him just as he loves them. So he reminded them what benefits Christ brings and then he makes this appeal for them to be united, of one accord.

Verse 3-4

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Paul is just reminding them what they already know. (Matthew 23:12) Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Verse 5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Verses 5-11 explains how even Jesus humbled himself and how God exhausted him above everyone else. The point here is to be like Jesus and if he was able to be humble certainly we should follow in his step and immolate his behavior.

3 Expressions of Unity

  1. Being like-minded
  2. Having the same love
  3. Being of one accord

This doesn’t mean we won’t have different opinions. It does mean however that we will respect each other’s opinion and truly humble ourselves putting others feelings before our own.

Here are 4 things that prevent unity in a church?

  1. Not knowing our purpose
  2. Miscommunication
  3. Lack of humility

 Paul points out four issues that prevent us from being humble

SELFISH AMBITION: Paul said is verse 3, “Don’t be selfish.” This is the basic cause of disunity. Individual members insisting on having their way.

PERSONAL PRESTIGE also in verse 3, “Don’t try to impress others.”
A Relationship with C
PRIDE…also verse 3 where Paul says, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

SELF-INTEREST:  Verse 4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

“It is in many ways true to say that prestige is for many people an even greater temptation than wealth.”

~William Barclay

 

  1. Losing focus on Christ

When we have an issue with another person the very first thing we need to do is take a look at our relationship with Christ.

How do we stay united?
  1. A Relationship with Christ
  2. Agree with one another

Most of the time our issues rise out of misunderstandings. The longer a misunderstanding or disagreement lingers the worse it is for the church and everyone involved. Once bitterness sets in it will usually take a third party to help resolve the issue.

  1. Love One Another
  2. Work together – One Accord

-Amen

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