Summary: A 5 week series on the book of Philippians that parallels a renovation project in the church. This message deals with the end result of renovation.
Renovations: Making it New Again
Pt 5 – The Pudding Principle
We started some time ago talking about renovations. The definition of the word is simple:
1. To restore to an earlier condition, as by repairing or remodeling.
2. To impart new vigor; to revive.
In Chapter 1 we looked at the demolition process – realizing that to renovate a life or a marriage or a relationship means to tear out the old worn out, tattered pieces of life so that we can begin the installation process.
Chapter 2 begins the installation process by reminding us that renovation is more than skin deep. It requires a fundamental and foundational shift in the way we think about ourselves, other people, God, and about life.
Chapter 3 deals with the most difficult, the most unsettling, in fact the most terrifying part of the renovation process CHANGE. Priorities, faith, expectation.
As we conclude this series with Chapter 4 of Paul’s letter I want you to look at the Pudding Principle. From the 14th century the old idiom “the proof of the pudding” has graced our language. It’s actually a shortened version of the full phrase “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” What it means is that the test of the pudding you prepare is in the people eating it. You know the proof of the renovation is not the process or the desire or even the good intentions of the workers it’s in the product. What I’m saying is that we can talk about renovated marriages, renovated lives, renovated relationships, and renovated spirits until we are blue in the face but if our lives aren’t improved we’ve just been wasting our time. Paul makes this pretty clear in chapter 4 – look at it with me.
Paul says that the proof of our renovation lies in 4 tests of our corporate character.
Renewed Relationships - v2. – Paul begins chapter 2 talking about the fundamental shift in the way we think about ourselves, each other, God and life. Well the proof of how well we have been renovated lies not in words or want to’s it’s in our relationships. Paul calls on these two women who have been at odds with each other to get it right – not because they like each other or because it’s easy – but because it’s what Jesus wants. As human beings relationships are the hardest thing we do in life. Personalities, emotions, directions, cultures, upbringing all make conflict an inevitability in our relationships but that does not mean that they are impossible. Have you ever considered why this passage is included in the letter – remember this is no accident – God is writing through the pen of Paul. Why is the relationship between two women in Philippi important enough to be talked about all the way till today? I think it’s because our relationships with each other reflect on Christ. When we can’t get along He gets a bad name. Folks if anyone should be able to do marriage right, relationships right, love right it’s us – we are walking with the King of kings. I said last week no one here is perfect nor will we ever be but that’s no excuse not to try. Paul says in Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Real Peace v.6-7 – Paul says that the proof of our renovation is the peace that dwells in us. The word peace here is the Greek word and it means more than the absence of hostility though that is part of it. It means security, safety, harmony, and wholeness. When Jesus said He came to give us life and that life abundantly He wasn’t joking. In Christ we begin to find the wholeness the harmony with life that our hearts long for. Peace, wholeness, completeness is the core of the scriptural message of Messiah. It’s sad how seldom these words are used in today’s church. Peace, wholeness, completeness is the core of the scriptural message of Messiah. It’s sad how seldom these words are used in today’s church. It’s sad how seldom these words are used about us today. Renovated hearts find the peace harmony and wholeness of Christ lived out in us. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Real Attitude Change – v.8 – When God renovates our hearts He renovates our attitudes as well. If anyone in the world should be positive, hopeful, encouraging, helpful, and kind it’s us. So why do so many Christians run around all day looking like they’ve been sucking on lemons? Why is Sunday after church the worst day to waitress in a restaurant? Why is leadership in the Church often seen as wearing a target on your back? James says this 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. The truth is that if the love of God resides in us it will shape the kind of people we become. It will shape the kind of words we use. It will shape from the heart the way we behave – because the proof of the pudding is in the eating.