Summary: There have been many times throughout Christian history when the church was up against societies that like ours grew indifferent and even indignant and insolent toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
we are living at a time when being a Christian is becoming more and more of a challenge. It is more and more obvious that our values are in direct conflict with the values of our world.
Christians are beginning to be more and more marginalized by the mainstream of our North American society.
We feel as if we are now in unfamiliar territory. We are less and less a part of the daily conversation of our communities and our community leaders. Our message is one that our society no longer cares for or wants to hear.
It is as if our society is saying to us; “we have heard enough from you and we have come to know that all you do is repeat the same old message over and over again. Repent and confess your sins to God and be baptised in the name of Jesus as the one who died for your sins and rose from the grave to conquer death, give yourself over to God and be set apart for His work and purpose. Well we have our own plans and our own purposes to pursue thank you very much so be quiet and leave us alone”
I believe that would be a fair summary of how our society is responding to the Christian Church today.
We are left wondering if we have somehow failed in our mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ since the majority of people have turned a deaf ear to the message we proclaim.
No, the church of today is not a failed church, it is rather a church which is continuing its mission and is maintaining its testimony.
We stand in the gap. Exactly where these dear Saints in Philippi stood in their day. Their culture was pagan and rebellious toward God just as ours has become.
That gap is the small space between eternal life with God and eternal separation from God. We stand in the gap between Heaven and Hell and the world resents us for it.
It is the world that has changed my friends not the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us that this would be the case; Jesus said…
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Notice that Jesus uses some strong language here and is telling us what is coming. A world that will hate followers of Jesus Christ just as much as it hated Jesus.
Hate is a very strong word – are we prepared to be hated by those we seek to reach with the love of God?
So what then are we to do as the world becomes a place that grows angrier and angrier with the persistent message of Jesus Christ coming from His church and our unyielding testimony?
We dear Saints are to follow the example of those who have come before us.
There have been many times throughout Christian history when the church was up against societies that like ours grew indifferent and even indignant and insolent toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
These changes in the demeanor of our society toward Christians means we have to stay faithful to the example of so many millions who have come before us.
St. Paul offers us a church that we can emulate as we look at the church in Philippi.
We are to be: Philippians 2:2
Like-minded, (which includes) having the same love,
The love of Christ – selfless – sacrificial – long suffering - forgiving
Being one in spirit
The Spirit of the Living God – the Holy Spirit – the counselor of truth – a meek and humble spirit that submits to God’s will before our own and is an obedient spirit even obedient to death
And of one mind
The mind of Christ – seeking to obey the Father, honor the Father – serve the Father – becoming that which the Father would have us to be in order to do the work the Father has set before us
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Saints it is not enough for us to be imitators of Christ we must have Christ living in us.
We must seek to have the mind of Christ, the love of Christ, the Spirit of Christ and then the world will see Christ alive in us for we will be emptied of self. We will be born again as Jesus put it.