Summary: This sermon challenges listener to Christian unity through our absolute example, Jesus Christ.

School starts this week and I’m sure there are a lot of happy parents and grandparents and sad students. When I was in school I only cared about two subjects, sports and Rachel. So it would come as no surprise that I was an average student at best. I start back to school at the end of this week for my second semester of college. It’s amazing how 16 years out in the real world can change your perspective. I actually sit in the front of class and go to the classes. The Lord has truly blessed me with the opportunity for a second chance with my education. I would have a lot of shocked teachers if they knew I turned out to be a preacher. God has a funny sense of humor and great patience. When I was in school I had seven class periods. My favorite class periods were lunch and anything involving sports. Tonight I am going to talk about making straight A’s in seven principles of church unity. In our text tonight we will learn how Christ set an example for us and that is in humility. It is the Japanese who have created the best swords in the world. To create these fine weapons, ancient Japanese sword makers had to create a sword that was hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time soft enough not to be brittle. Sword makers who made swords by making the steel hard found they could preserve a sharp edge. Such swords, however, were often so brittle that they would often break when they clashed in battle. Soft steel, however, was found to be not as brittle, but would easily dull and be unable to slice through armor. Japanese sword makers therefore had to forge a sword with steel hard enough to retain a sharp edge, but at the same time pliable enough not to break in battle. What Japanese sword makers learned to do was to create a sword made of hard and soft steel. Multiple sheets of hard and soft steel are heated, folded and pummeled together over and over again. Japanese swords go through a lengthy forging process until they have up to 33,000 paper-thin laminations of hard and soft metal. Each of these layers is one hundred thousandth of an inch thick. This is all done to a very precise recipe of temperature treatment. The end result is a finely crafted weapon with extreme pliability and a blade that will retain a finely honed edge. Just as Japanese sword makers repeatedly hammer together layers of metal to produce a sword that will be strong enough to withstand breaking, so God allows trials to hammer metal into the lives of His children. Just a sword made of hard metal will easily break in battle, so the believer filled with pride will also break in adversity. It is in the forging hand of God that humility and dependence on Him are developed into our lives to create character that will triumph in adversity. The hard steel in our lives is the word of God. The soft steel in our lives is humility and a dependence on God. These are forged together in our lives through fiery trials and prayer to produce vessels that will give Him glory. We need the hard steel confidence of what we believe together with the soft steel of humility. Turn with me in your Bibles to Philippians 2:1-11, that will be our passage tonight. I will be reading out of the New American Standard (NASB).

Philippians 2

1. Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion.

2. make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

3. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4. do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

5. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6. who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10. so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

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