Text: Philippians 1:3-11 (NLT)
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
When I read this letter, I think of you and our church.
Paul writes this letter to the church at Philippi from prison. It is his letter of joy. This church in Macedonia has captured Paul’s heart and he writes to tell them. He writes of his thankfulness for their commitment to the mission of Christ.
- “You have been my partners in spreading the Gospel” (vs 5).
- He speaks of their love for others in verse 9.
Loving others and sharing the Good News of the Gospel is the heart and soul of the church. It is what the church is about. It is our DNA. If loving others and sharing the good news of Christ isn’t the core of our church, then we’ve missed it and we are sadly mistaken.
Paul says to them in verse 10:
For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.
The Easy Reading Version says it this way: “…that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ…”
What a pertinent message to the church today.
A. Understand what really matters.
· Know the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important. What is important – really important to us - we give ourselves to.
B. Obviously, church and church life is important to most of us. We are here and we are vested here.
C. It is one of the reasons I feel about you as Paul did Philippi Church of God.
· We understand what matters for us. And that is what we give ourselves to.
· To us, to this church, the mission Jesus has given to us is at the heart and soul of what we do.
Training our children.
Restoring our families.
Impacting our community and world.
When you look at our changing culture, there is a need – a desperate need for a church that gives itself to preparing children to know Jesus and live for Jesus, and be committed followers of Jesus.There is a desperate need to focus on our families. To recommit to our Biblical and traditional values. To salvage our marriages and re-establish our values as a family. And there is an urgent need to love our communities and love the world enough to go and share the Gospel.
Church trends today are moving away from the traditional norms we’ve been accustomed to. Every generation experiences change. But sometimes you sense you are in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that only happens every few centuries. I think we are there now. Those of us who are over 30 were born into a culture that could conceivably still be called Christian. But Barna Research has shown that even here in America, people who are churchless will soon outnumber those having a church affiliation. And so I echo again the words of Paul, we must give ourselves to those things that really matter.
We cannot love our model more than our mission.
· We can’t give ourselves to holding on to the old at the expense of losing sight of our mission and reaching our potential.
It doesn’t matter if we sing out of a hymnal or off the screen. If we have one instrument or an orchestra. If the Pastor wears a tailored suit or preaches in blue jeans. What difference does any of that make?
I tell you what matters. It matters that we give ourselves to what really matters. It matters that you and I see the difference between what is important and what is not and that we choose what is.
It matters that if we are going to talk about how important marriage is and families are, then we must reflect it in what we do.
We must give ourselves to investing in marriages and rescuing families and building healthy homes. And we pour into our community. We give ourselves to changing our world because it’s not enough to complain about the world and its sinfulness. We’ve got to do our part. Because what matters most to us is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to us.
What matters most? What matters most to you?
My goal is to move us from feeling that being served is what matters most. My goal is to move us from thinking it’s all about us and let’s have more and better. We have outgrown our classrooms. We have outgrown our Youth Sanctuary and Children’s area. We have outgrown our offices and room to grow. What a great problem to have! And we will address it. And we will expand. And we will provide what is needed.
And you know why? Because we are passionate about doing what matters most.
Our kids have started back to school or will in the next few days. They are going to school because we want them to be educated and excel in our culture that is more and more competitive for good paying careers and jobs. So we trust them to the system by and large for 7 hours a day, 180 days out of the year. We are hoping they are learning to read, write, and do math. Hopefully, they are growing relationally and learning life skills along the way and acquiring critical thinking skills.
But how intentional are we in growing them spiritually? How committed are we to their spiritual growth and development? Should we not be more involved and more engaged and more interested in their spiritual development? If we do not commit to giving our kids roots in Biblical training and wings to soar in God’s plan for their lives, we will lose our children, a generation, and our mission.
Our kids need roots! Our kids need wings!
Posted on Sat, August 22, 2015
by Erika Catlett