Summary: Part of a lengthy series I am doing in the book of Philippians.

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Sunday March 30, 2008

Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:15-18a


A. [] Show video clip from Apollo 13 movie. “Houston we have a problem.” Those are probably considered by many people to be immortal words. Words that will not long be forgotten, unlike the most popular phase of 2007, any one know what that was? “Don’t taze me bro.”

1. As Neil Armstrong said to the space center in Houston “Houston we have a problem.” I want to say to you here today at Cornerstone and any one else who may listen to this sermon on our sermon player, “Church we have a problem.” Well that is not entirely true; the reality is we have multiple problems! Let me share a few more quotes from a book I mentioned a while back called “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. He quotes a lady named Annie Dillard who said, “What a pity that so hard on the heels of Christ come the Christians.” Yancey said that her comment reminded him a t-shirt he saw at a political rally that read, “Jesus save us…from your followers.” In a movie called “Heavenly Creatures” he quotes two girls who describe an imaginary kingdom like this, “It is like heaven only better-there aren’t any Christians.”

2. I know it may be hard to swallow but it is true, sometimes we have found the enemy and he is US! One of the ways we try to escape the problems facing the church today is by longing for the “Good Old days”. Boy if we could just go back in time to the days of the New Testament church, the days of Peter, Paul, John and the others. You know what I am talking about don’t you? The days when the church had no problems, the days when everyone loved each other and got along like two peas in a pod. You know the problem with the so called “good old days” is that when we remember them we tend to use selective memory. You know the church has and still has problems. I like to quote my former pastor who said, “The church would be perfect if it wasn’t for you and me, but as long as you and I are in it is not a perfect place.”

B. Oh for the days of the New Testament church, well let’s think about those days for a few minute shall we? I will show you in a moment some of the problems that existed in the church Paul was writing to here but let’s think about a few other churches. One was the church in Galatia. Let’s turn to Galatians 1:6-9 (read). Boy I can sure understand Paul’s pain. He just finish preaching a message and they church no sooner got out the door than they forgot what he preached and started doing the very things he warned against. Let’s go back to Philippians 4:2-3 (read). Can you believe it? There were actually two people not getting along in the church at Philippi. Now we won’t turn to the various verses but consider with me the church at Corinth. Paul writes to them in 1 Corinthians and scolds them because they are taking sides as to who was the one to follow. Then there is this guy who I shaving sex with his fathers wife and on top of that they are taking each other to peoples court and airing all their dirty laundry for people to see. Oh for the good old days of the New Testament church. You know those days when all was well and no problems existed.

Trans. Now I would remind you today that Paul is addressing specific problems that are occurring in the Church at Rome but please remember why he is sharing this with the church at Philippi. He knows that what happened at Rome can happen at Philippi and what happened at Rome and can happen at Philippi can also happen at Cornerstone in 2008. What I see in the things Paul is saying in V.15-18a is that the church has an attitude problem.


Paul said to these Christians in 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” We will of course look more closely at that when the time comes but what we see in these verses we are studying today is that this attitude did not seem to exist at least for the church in Rome. In fact I see here that they are displaying four bad attitudes that quite honestly are the same bad attitudes that exist in the church today. Let’s look at them. Now before we look at the specific attitudes I want you to see what I have already been saying in that the trouble that Paul was experiencing during his imprisonment was being caused at least in part by Christians! Now I am equally as certain that others were causing Paul a good deal of trouble but the fact is we would expect trouble from those who do not follow Christ, but we don’t expect it from our own kind.

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