Sermon for November 21, 2021

For the sake of the Kingdom, be united and thankful

Philippians 4:2-9

Philippians 4:2–9 (NRSV): 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Boldface mine, PC)

  • Peace of God is beyond what you can understand (vs 7)
  • Focusing on the wrong things will make you anxious (v 6)
    • Being anxious leads to human reasoning (vs 5)
    • Human reasoning leads to arguments (vs 2)
    • Arguments lead differences of opinion (vs 2)
    • Focus is altered and the Gospel is lost (vs 3)
    • The Spirit is lacking and therefore their actions lack gentleness (vs 5)
  • This is the Gospel practice lived out in the church (vs 8-9)

These verses of Scripture should be called “Paul Orders the church to shut up and get along!”

We have a FOCS (pronounced FOX) Ministry here that stands for Faith, Outreach, Charity, and Service.  I have debated in my heart all along that another letter needed added but then it would sound like FOX anymore and that letter would be “U”.

That “U” would stand for UNITY and if added to FOCS it would be then “FOCUS” and Philippians 4 would define a church that is PEACE FULL (separated with intentionality), GENTLENESS FULL, and THANK FULL.  One of the issues that inhibits the Faith, Outreach, Charity, and Service is if the UNITY of the Spirit of God is not present and that means that there is a lack of PEACE.  We are instead at WAR practicing our human understandings instead.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT): 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

We cannot FOCUS without GOD.  When we do, we are blind.

Here is what Jesus had to say about this very issue:

Matthew 15:10–20 (NRSV): 10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

AND……

Luke 6:37–42 (NLT): 37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Therefore, a Christian will practice what they cannot understand because it goes against human reason.  FOCUS-ing on the good will bring PEACE. Being at peace means we become gentler with your words and your actions, they become less divisive.  This leads to being Thankful towards GOD as only He is completely right and fair, or can change things or heal, for He brought peace to this earth 2000 years ago so people could find it.  Those religious blind guides did not see it, but the people they deemed unworthy or unclean did see it.  A group of filthy shepherds who didn’t go to Temple because they were always watching sheep for their masters, they saw a great light.  They saw the MESSIAH who brought good tidings of great joy, peace on earth, and goodwill towards all mankind.  That my friends is the FOCUS!  Jesus is the Subject!  Human understanding and opinions vary so stop arguing over semantics, stop fearing and using human understanding to invoke change.  Instead, let’s FOCUS only on Jesus, for he is the ONLY SAVIOR of all mankind.  We are not anyone’s savior so let’s stop playing God. 

Isaiah 55:8–9 (NKJV): 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Once we understand this (or at least superficially) we will then understand peace, we will have unity, and we will totally be THANK FULL!  Paul reminded the church of the center of their FOCUS and anyone or any opinion that got in the way of that was unnecessary.

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