Summary: What does a real church look like on the inside
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible says this, “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 never complacent—neither the minds of the people nor 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.
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.”
The Apostle Paul knew what made this church and every church Real and relevant to the world around them. Unity in a family and in a church family is essential for their vitality and focus. Without Unity the church is phony.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus’ last prayer before His betrayal and death prayed this for His church in John 17:21-22, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:” (NIV)
If the church that claims to know one God, and have one faith and proclaim one way through Christ can’t be one then that church is saying something they don’t live.
When we look across just our SBC we see churches that have forgotten what Real church is. Over 70% of our SB churches have either plateaued or in decline. A new statistic out has suggested that only 11% of SB churches are healthy and growing.
I’m excited about that for one reason. According to their data of new members and Baptisms we are part of the healthy and growing 11%. So in preaching this today let me say that people want a Real church. They want a church that isn’t phony. They want a church that really lives out what they say they believe on Sunday.
So if Unity is what makes a church real how is they measured? How can we know the evidence of Unity in the church? 3 Ways..let’s look at them together.
I. They Love Christ (v.1)
The Apostle John wrote in I John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (KJV)
I read of a house fire in the Middle East where a man ran back into his burning house to get his valuables, but he didn’t make it out. He was found in the ashes clutching an ivory idol. The headlines read, "Man dies trying to save his god." Two thousand years ago on a hill called Calvary, the Son of God hung bleeding and dying for a lost world. If there had been a Jerusalem Post back then, the headlines might have read, "God dies trying to save his man." How can we fail to live for such a God who gave his everything for us that we might have everything in him?
Paul writes that this love for Christ is revealed in two traits:
A. The Trait of Consolation (v.1a)
If you and I are really enjoying and sensing the love of Christ in our lives then we will show consolation. 3 phases of consolation: That word means
"Encouragement is food for the heart, and every heart is a hungry heart." Pat Morley
This word means an agreeable spirit a Christian who seeks to be pleasant and offers up words that refresh a thirsty soul. But notice the phrase:
2. Comfort of love—It means anything that would separate themselves from each other that would harm the body, i.e. Pride.
Someone said, “Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it”
“I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.” D.L. Moody
3. Fellowship—joint participation This is the word where we get extending the right hand of fellowship. It means welcoming one into the body of Christ. and working together for the good of the body.