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Summary: The apostle Paul instructs the Philippian church about the reason they have unity, what their response to that unity should be, and his recommendations for keeping that unity.

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A PLEA FOR UNITY

Text: Philippians 2:1 – 4

Introduction:

• There are some churches with a problem

o Arguing over which Bible, what kind of music, what to wear

o Feelings hurt, people leaving, bad witness

• Christians are supposed to exemplify unity

• Unity doesn’t mean being together

• Tie two cat’s tails; together, but not united

• World Book Dictionary – “the fact, quality, or condition of being one; oneness; singleness; concord between two or more persons; harmony"

• Divisions had started to cripple some of the churches in the first century (Corinthians)

• Church at Philippi had unity; Paul was concerned that they maintain it

A. The Reasons for Their Unity (v. 1)

• They all had encouragement from being united with Christ

o Every believer is given the promise of forgiveness and the hope of salvation

• They all had comfort from Christ’s love

o No matter what they went through (Romans 8:35 – 39)

• They all had fellowship because of the Spirit

o Fellowship with God and with other Christians

o Means more than just getting together; investing in each other’s lives

• They all had the tenderness and compassion of Christ

o They understood that since they had been forgiven and loved, they should forgive and love others

• We have the same reasons today

B. The Responses to Their Unity (v. 2)

• They should have the same mind

o Doesn’t mean to agree on everything

o Opinions are just like noses

o Means we should have the same priorities as Christ and look at things like He would

o What is more important; what kind of music or if the Gospel is preached to the lost?

• They should have the same love

o Show the same Christian love and service to everyone, no matter who they are

o One church tells people don’t come back with NIV, tattoos, pants

o Casting Crowns song "If We are the Body" – Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and chose who can come

• They should have the same spirit

o Greek = “one-souled”; having same desires and passions

o We should all want to serve the Lord

o We should all want to help others

• They should have the same purpose

o Three goals of the church: Glorify God, Edify believers, Testify to the lost

• We should have the same responses today

C. The Recommendations to Keep Their Unity (vv. 3, 4)

• Put away selfish ambition

o It’s not about getting your way; it’s about letting Him have His way

o So what if you want to be the teacher of that class; is it what God wants?

• Put off attention-seeking behavior

o Glorify Him, not yourself, not the church, not the pastor

• Put on an attitude of Christlike humility

o Doesn’t mean to put yourself down; humility is a healthy respect for who God is and a healthy respect of ourselves because of what God has done on our behalf

o Next time you start to judge someone else, ask yourself, “Of what sin am I guilty of?” “Where have I fallen short?”

• Put the interests of others on equal footing with your own

o Part of fellowship is taking time during the week to pray for others in the church; calling them and encouraging them during time of trouble; crying with them when they hurt, and laughing with them when they are happy


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