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Summary: God will give us a sweet, sweet spirit in our church when we let Him get our heart right and we rejoice in His love and mercy as God’s people.

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KEEPING A SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT IN OUR CHURCH--Philippians 2:1-5

Proposition: God will give us a sweet, sweet spirit in our church when we let Him get our heart right and we rejoice in His love and mercy as God’s people.

Objective: My objective is to challenge God’s people to keep a sweet, sweet spirit in our church in the coming year.

INTRODUCTION:

It is interesting to know why a church is named as it is. I heard of these recently: "The Last Generation Baptist Church," Little Hope Baptist Church, Clarksville, TN, Harmony Baptist Church, Freedom Baptist Church, Decoy Baptist Church in Florida, The Church for the Churchless, The Church of Critical Thinking (Critical Speaking), "Knockemstiff Baptist Church." (Knockemstiff is a small community in Ohio). What’s amazing is that many of these arguments that divide the body are not of a doctrinal nature, but about church practice.

Illustration: There is a small town in Tennessee that has a place of worship with a sign in front that reads: "Left Foot Baptist Church." One wondered about the meaning of the name. Eventually he asked somebody in town about its significance. It seems that a number of years ago, there had been a split in the local congregation, which practiced foot-washing. An argument broke out over which foot should be washed first. The group insisting on the left foot taking precedence finally withdrew and started their own church...you guessed it..."The Left Foot Baptist Church."

SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT IN OUR CHURCH--There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place

And I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord There are sweet expressions on each face

And I know that it’s the presence of the Lord Sweet Holy Spirit Sweet heavenly dove

Stay right here with us Filling us with your love And for these blessings

We lift our hearts in praise (hearts in praise) Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived When we shall leave this place.

Circumstances may cause us to lose our joy, but people can also bring trials that rob us of joy. How many times we lose our peace and joy because of what people say and do. Paul’s triumphant spirit rang out in the first chapter as he pealed the bells of our joy in Christ. In this chapter he introduces other triumphant figures into his letter. He tries to persuade them to put away the partisan spirit like at Rome by sharing of the kind of spirit every Christian should display--the spirit displayed by Christ and others. In this section, he re-emphasizes the necessity of oneness among the brothers and sisters, a quality that is possible only then when there is true lowliness of mind and helpfulness of disposition. People can rob us of our joy. Paul was facing his problems with people at Rome (Phil. 1:15-18) as well as with people in Philippi, and it was the latter who concerned him the most. When Epaphroditus brought a generous gift from the church in Philippi, and good news of the church’s concern for Paul, he also brought the bad news of a possible division in the church family. Apparently there was a double threat to the unity of the church; false teachers coming in from without (Phil. 3:1-3) and disagreeing members within (Phil. 4:1-3). What Euodia (“fragrance”) and Syntyche (“fortunate”) were debating about, Paul does not state.

I. HARMONY: BE LIKE-MINDED (vvs. 1-2) “By being like-minded” “on the same wave length”-- “Thinking the one thing.” Like clocks that strike at the same moment. Paul is saying: "Your disagreements reveal that there is a spiritual problem in your fellowship. It isn’t going to be solved by rules or threats; it’s going to be solved when your hearts are right with Christ and with each other." Paul wanted them to see that the basic cause was selfishness and the cause of selfishness is pride.

Illus: There are 2 ways of being united -- one is by being frozen together, & the other is by being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, & then they may expect to have power. D.L. Moody

1. Motives of spiritual unity (v. 1) “Therefore if”--The meaning is that what he is about to say is grounded, at least in part, on what he has just said. The point is that, “Because we have the divine injunction to be of one mind and spirit (1:27), we must therefore . . .” “If this condition is true, and it is, then . . .” Consequently, the word may also be rendered “because,” “since,” or “so” in order to give a more complete idea of its meaning. The basis of the appeal is:

1). Encouragement: The strength of Christ "If any consolation in Christ"-- Yes, they had been encouraged by their union with Christ. This strength is a practical manifestation of the life that flows from Christ.

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