Summary: This sermon is an exposition of the acronym F-I-R-S-T Essentials for a balanced church ministry. Forget ourselves and lend a helping hand for the benefit of others.
Jesus was concerned about people. He was drawn to the crowds. But He did not see the crowds as a sea of faces. Rather, He saw each individual. He looked beyond the surface what other saw to see people for what the really were. He was touched by what He saw. He understood the depth of their needs and hurts. He wept for them, reached out to them, and touched them when others would not. He was filled with compassion, which is much more than having pity or sympathy. His compassion moved Him to intervene in their lives, to act on their behalf. And finally, with immeasurable and incomparable love, He went to the cross to die that they might be saved from sin.
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is people. We heard it for years: the church is not a building or an institution. The church is the redeemed of the Lord. And through His church, saved people, the Lord has chosen to do His work. He had all the resources of heaven available, but He called out His people and equipped them with power to declare the good new of Christ to other people.
Yes, it’s all about people. A people who are lost in sin and without hope, and a people who have the good news that has the power to change lives.
The church by its nature exists for those who are not members of it. There is no exclusiveness in God’s kingdom, and therefore, there is to be no exclusiveness in His church. Thus, finding and reaching people are part of the foundation of a truly Christ-centered church.
It is the mission of the church to evangelize and bring people to Christ and to His church. The mission of the church is the same; “Go make disciples of all nations.” However, the methods of keeping those who come in differ. The challenge is with this question; “What do we do with people when they come in?
The Philippian church was a strong church, a very strong church. When a church is strong, it is always full of vision and planning, and it is always working out a strategy to carry forth the gospel. A strong church launches ministry after ministry and program after program. It is never still and complacent neither the minds of the people not the hands of the people. Because of this, there is always the danger of differences of opinion: differences in vision, desires, concern, emphasis, and interest. There are always different ideas as to which ministry or project should be undertaken and supported and a host of other differences.
The point is this: the more strength and activity a church has, the more attention it must give to unity. Why? Because a strong church has more minds and bodies working, and where more people are working more differences are bound to arise. Consequently, the members must give more attention to unity.
Paul is always concerned about the church. He has concentrated on his own situation in chapter 1 because he knows what is uppermost in the minds of his friends at Philippi; he needs to assure them that he is confident in the faith and high in spirit.
He is first and foremost a pastor, so in 1:27 he begins to express his concern for them and the witness they must make. Whether he ever returns to them or not, they are to live as citizens worthy of the kingdom of Christ. They are to stand fast in the gospel and not be intimidated by the adversaries. They are to count it a privilege to suffer because they believe; they have entrusted their lives to Christ.