Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Hopefully this is a sermon of empowerment.


I admit to you that I was quite taken up by all the pomp and circumstance leading up to and shortly following Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ. Churches were snapping up and selling tickets hurriedly. Media presses were heavily addressing every fiber of the movie’s existence. Crowds were consistently and feverishly flocking to the theaters to view “The Passion.” I have seen the movie three times. Ironically and suddenly to my eye, just as quick as the church and world flocked to the theaters to see “The Passion”, folks quickly moved away from the Passion to watch other movies or do some other things or go right back to doing and living how they were before the movie. God illustrates to us that Jesus demonstrated his passion for the world. Where in the world is our passion? God asks us today where is our passion. Is the church testifying and bearing witness to the good news that Jesus saves? Is the church being the light of world and the salt of the earth? It seems as if universally the church just comfortable being all-alone by itself. It seems as if the church is falling from everything and not standing for anything. Ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls, I present to you today from this biblical text a question “do you want complacency or Christ?” The title of today’s message is “DO YOU WANT COMPLACENCY OR CHRIST?”

This passage of scripture is a very popular scripture in all Christendom. This scripture has probably been expounded millions of times. This setting is very popular in the Bible. The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle of Jesus that is reported in all four of Gospel writings. If I were just make it simple and plain for you it would go like this:

After the murder of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptizer, Jesus calls his apostles to go to a desert place to rest awhile. A crowd starts following them here, there, and everywhere. Jesus notices that crowd is lost and confused. Jesus has compassion on the crowd. He teaches them. The day passes forward. The disciples come to Jesus and they tell Jesus to send the crowd away into the towns go that the crowd can get something to eat. Jesus tells the disciples to give the crowd something to eat. The disciples say that they do not enough to get food for the crowd. While looking upward to God and praying, Jesus takes two fishes and five barley loaves multiplies the little meal into a grand feast that feeds five thousand persons. That is jest of the story on the surface if we are looking at the text with our physical eyes. Remember that God is speaking to us today so brothers and sisters come with me as dig deeper into the text.

Jesus is calling us to rest. People in today’s world do not get enough rest. People get caught in and accustomed to complacency because they do not get any rest. People are too busy running or rushing everywhere and that all movement causes them not to rest. People run to work. People run away to work. People run to eat a meal. People rush to bed. People rush to get dressed in order to go back to work. Little time is spent on God. Little time is spent devoted to God. Little time is spent for God. Can we hear what God is saying? Do we know that God is speaking to us? If you do not know that God is speaking to you and if you do not know what God is saying to you, I tell you know that it is time for you to rest. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are laden and I will give you rest for my yolk is easy and my burden is light. GOD IS CALLING THE CHURCH TO REST.

Brothers and sisters, now we can look at Jesus and the disciples’ retreat to the desert place. Jesus and the disciples’ trip to the desert place is not a cool, calm, and relaxed trip. This trip is one that is interrupted by the crowd. The crowd, in essence, sees Jesus and the disciples moving in the direction to the desert place and the crowd beats them to that spot. Why in the world is there an old-fashioned camp meeting happening in the desert? Do not they know that there are hanging around in the desert? The desert is an unkept place. The desert is an unmanaged place. The desert is a wild place. The desert is a dry place. The desert is a hot place. The desert is an isolated place. Then the Lord moved on my mind and told me that the desert is not just a geographical location. The desert can be anywhere you are. The desert can be your house. The desert can be your job. The desert can be car. The desert can be your mind. The desert can be a place of separation. God moved on me one more time and spoke to me saying, “Look at the text, William, you are forgetting the main person who is in the desert. Jesus is in the desert place.” My dear friends, there is no need for despair, disappointment, and depression while we go through our desert experiences in life because Jesus is there in the desert with us to embrace and empower us. Do not be foolish or misled. God knows where you are. Jesus promised never to leave you or forsake you if you are faithful to him.

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