Summary: Others, Unity, Relationships
AN “I” EXAM: Restoring Our Vision for Christ’s Mission – Loving for the Future
Philippians 2:1-5 (p. 819) May 1, 2016
At one of our recent leadership meetings, one of our servant hearted elders, Brad Kidd, shared this poem called “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Droomgoole:
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
Christianity is built on the principle of bridge building...it’s a future focused belief system, that affects how we live in the here and now.
“Our faith is the assurance of things hoped (for, and a conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
In fact we are told by the writer to the Hebrews...“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
We believe in an invisible God who called us from our sin. We believe in His son’s sacrifice and resurrection...someone we’ve never seen, but we’ve read about...we believe in a Holy Spirit that convicts human hearts and leads us to repentance...And when we respond to this invisible spirit’s internal promptings we surrender in faith...we’re baptized in water to visibly connect with his death, burial and resurrection...we then believe God gives us the gift of His Spirit to live inside these earthly bodies...we believe we become His temple as we are born again to live forever...to await His promised return of our death...either way to “live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
But what does faith mean for me and you right now? It means we understand our mission...“To go into the world and make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe everything Jesus has commanded us.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
Every person mentioned in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter that pleased God...trusted God’s promise for the future...by what they did in the here and now.
I believe that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul was telling the Philippians and us in Philippians 2:1-5
I. BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS
I used to sing this little song in youth group...it went something like this.
“You can build a bride or you can build a wall
It all depends upon the love you give.
If you build a wall your world is small
But a bridge of love can conquer all.”
Paul uses the word “IF” 4 times in Phil. 2:1. “If” you have any encouragement from being united with Christ...“If” any comfort from His love...“If” any common sharing in the Spirit, “If” any tenderness and compassion.
I know how I’d feel if Kari looked at me and said, “If” you love me take care of the family...“If” you love us put us first...“If” you love us be “kinder”...“be gentler”...“If” we’re in this together let’s be on the same page.
I’d get mad…I’d get defensive…want to mention and list all the stuff I do…but if she really questioned whether I loved her…and my family, above myself it would break my heart…and get my attention pretty quick.
Paul is in jail when he writes this letter…He’s in chains for the cause of Christ…He’s not questioning the Philippians allegiance to Christ…but he is thinking of the future of the Church…and He’s challenging them to never stop loving for the future…Listen to how much he loved these folks:
PHILIPPIANS 1:3-11 (p. 818)
I love you! I’m thankful for you…when I think about you I feel joy…God’s got a plan…He’s working through you…even while I’m here in prison I want you to grow…to love people even more…to understand His will even clearer…I want you to have nothing to regret when our Lord returns.
Real faith builds bridges for the future…not walls that divide the house…Real faith builds up other believers and sacrifices for a future generation…It’s what being united with Christ does to our self centered hearts…