Summary: Paul held the Philippian church in great esteem and loved them dearly, as their founding pastor he had a very special connection with these believers.
Date Written: July 2011
Date Preached: July 10, 2011
Series Title: A Series in Philippians
Sermon Title: Letter from A Pastor’s Heart
Sermon Text: Philippians 1-4 [ESV] 4:1 listed
1Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
These words were penned by Friar Brennan Manning, a former Marine turned Franciscan priest, from the 1960’s whose radical approach to Christianity challenged the very core of the Catholic Church.
In a world where the ‘institution’ of the church is under attack… in a world where the church has failed the people time and time again… it is time for church leaders to step up and become the leaders they SHOULD be… leaders serving those they lead and not lording over them…
Jesus, Himself is quoted in Mark 10:42-45 [ESV] when He says: “You know that those who are considered rulers [leaders] of the Gentiles LORD it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. BUT is shall NOT be so among you [disciples]. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came NOT to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many…”
Paul understood this leadership principle and in his letter to the Philippian church is an outline on how church leaders should love the church.
In a discussion with a young seminary student about how he had managed to pastor such large churches, Dr W.A. Criswell is quoted as saying to this young minister, ‘son you gotta bloom where you are planted’! In other words, Dr. Criswell was saying that church leaders MUST love those whom God has placed them with, warts and all!
The biblical model for the pastor reveals that he is called to be the guide, mentor and spiritual leader for a gathering of believers! However, this is not only applicable to the position of the pastor, but this principle extends to all who are in Christian leadership… staff, SS teachers, deacons or anyone serving in a leadership role within the body!
Wherever you are serving in the body, you know that God has placed you there in that very special position, so the question to you is, “are you willing to LOVE as Paul is teaching? Are you willing to hear the Word of God and submit to His plan?”
This morning I want to share 4 aspects of love a leader must have for the church… people these are traits your pastor and ALL leaders within your fellowship should have and should be held accountable for…the first aspect is that the Christian leader should…
Love of the People of the Kingdom and Kingdom Work (1:1-30)
As we look at how Paul begins this letter to the Philippian church we can be rather impressed on how close he felt to them. They were considered by Paul as co-workers or co-laborers in Kingdom. In this opening of the letter Paul uses four words to describe these believers. (Phil 1:1-2 -ESV)
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we look over this letter we can see that Paul considers this fellowship to be equals with Him in the ministry as their spiritual maturity is higher than other congregations to whom he has ministered.
He uses the term servants and by the tone of this letter, we can know that he includes these believers as servants, as well. This word ‘servant’ represents the hearts of those serving… hearts in a total submission to serving God. People who completely understand Jesus is charge, Paul knew and understood that Christ was in charge and he thought these believers knew this as well.
Paul also uses the term saints which is the Greek word ‘hagi-oss’ which means to be set aside for a purpose. It is also translated as ‘holy’ in other parts of Scripture.
Paul’s personal experience with Jesus was a definite ‘set-aside’ experience… Jesus set Paul aside for a specific purpose! Do you remember the story when Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus and called by Jesus to serve Him in reaching the Gentiles instead of persecuting the church?
Paul completes his greeting by mentioning two other terms used for those who are dedicated in their service to God, the overseers and the deacons.