Summary: The first step to unity is Christ--allowing His life to be lived out in us.
“The Attitude Of Christ”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
When Jeanne and I found out that I had been appointed to serve here at Parkview United Methodist Church
we were so excited that we would be serving a church that had an excellent view of a park.
Because we really love parks.
We’ve got a cute little dog that would just love to take walks in that park and a young boy who would
have a nice place to play.
We are still very excited to be serving at Parkview United Methodist Church....
But where in the world is the park?
That aside, churches....from the very beginning have been named after the places where they are located.
For example, as a young boy...and then as an older boy I was a member of The United Methodist Church of
Fayetteville in Fayetteville, New York.
Just a few miles away in the town next door is another United Methodist Church.
This Church is located in Manlius, New York and is named The Manlius United Methodist Church.
In the same way, the church that Paul was writing to in our Scripture lesson for this morning was referred to
as the Church at Philippi, because Philippi was the place where this particular church of Jesus Christ was
And the Philippian church was a strong church--a very strong church.
And when a church is strong it is always full of vision and planning.
It is always working out a strategy to proclaim the gospel in the most effective way.
A strong church is never complacent, and because of this, there is always the danger of differences of
differences in vision, desires, concern, emphasis, and interest.
And in many ways, Parkview United Methodist Church falls under this dangerous category because we are
a strong church!
When, unfortunately, the majority of churches are losing members and becoming smaller...
We are actually gaining members and becoming more powerful!
And this is a good thing....praise the Lord..all glory and honor to Him...this is a very good thing....
Last week, my family and I went to see the new Spider-man movie, and it was actually pretty good.
In it, the young man who becomes Spider-man is given a very good piece of advice from a loving relative.....
And I must give credit where credit is due....
I could not recall the exact words that this person used in giving advice to Spider-man, so I called up
Jon-Michael Akers--who I had known had seen the movie--and Jon Michael came through with the exact quote.
The qoute is: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
And Spider-man took this to heart.
And so should we...
Because when a church is strong and growing there are always different ideas as to which ministry or
project should be supported and undertaken.
And this is a great responsibility!!!
The point I’m trying to make is this: the more strength and activity a church has, the more attention it
must give to unity.
And why is this?
Because a strong church has more minds and bodies working, and where more people are working more
differences are bound to arise.
This was the case at the church in Philippi, and Paul knew this.
Paul knew that he had to put the Philippian church on guard.
This church had to protect itself from disunity and division...
And so do we.
And the first and only step toward unity is Christ--having the same attitude of Christ by allowing His life
to be lived out in us.
When we look at Christ we see the attitude of encouragement.
This word means many things thoughout Scripture, but in this context it means comfort, solace, and
And this trait is a characteristic of Christ Himself!
Christ wants no murmering, no grumbling, disturbance, or weakening of the unity of His church.
So in order to live with the attitude of Christ all of us are charged to take the disturbed or upset person
and console them, comfort them, encourage them, and strengthen them.
“Comfort, comfort my people says your God,” in Isaiah chapter 40.
Everybody gets disturbed at some point or another.
Therefore, we are called to not only help our brothers and sisters who are upset--
We are called to let the comfort and encouragement of Christ flow in us when we too are disturbed.
Just imagine the spirit of unity that would flow through God’s church if all of us would just let the
encouragement of Christ flow through us!
There would be no murmuring, grumbling, or disturbance--no disunity what-so-ever!
In verse one and two of our Scripture lesson for this morning Paul writes: “If you have any encouragement
from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and