Summary: The real war is not about music but with society, Satan and self.
The Real Worship Wars
Rev. Brian Bill
Drama: “Dueling iPods”
What were your thoughts during this drama? How did it make you feel? Did it make you uncomfortable? Where are you sitting? Which character are you? Did it make you sad as they moved farther and farther apart? [Write thoughts down on white board]
The words of Jesus from John 17:20-23: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Ephesians 4:2-6: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” and verse 13: “Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Philippians 2:1-5: “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 compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Paul gives us four essentials in this passage to help us become more oriented toward others. Please turn to Philippians 2.
1. Fathom the excellence of what we have (2:1). Many of us forget what we’ve been given. Look at verse 1: “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 compassion.” Normally the word “if” conveys doubt. But here Paul is using a Greek grammatical form that actually expresses certainty. He’s really saying, “If such-and-such is true – and I know that it is.” A better translation would be “since.”
Every Christian, regardless of their praise preferences, has received these blessings. Paul’s point is this: Since you’ve been given all this, shouldn’t you grant grace to others and do whatever it takes to promote peace and embrace unity?
2. Fulfill the expectations of what we must do (2:2-4). We must do something with what we have. Notice the word “then” in the first part of verse 2. If (since) you have all these blessings, then do the following. And when believers fulfill these expectations, Paul says that this will “make my joy complete.” The tense of this means we are to do so immediately and without delay.
* Resolve to pull together (2). This is a very strong appeal to unity. Look with me at verse 2: “…by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” To be like-minded literally means, “To think the same thing.” To have the “same love” gets to our feelings and our unconditional commitment to every Christian, whether we like them or not – and whether we like their music or not. To be “one in spirit and purpose” touches on how we relate to one another. The Greek is helpful here because this phrase literally means, “same-souled.”
* Resist selfishness (3a). “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…” The phrase “selfish ambition” means strife that comes from ugly self-promotion and a competitive spirit that destroys unity by dividing the church into groups and cliques. Selfishness and pride are at the root of every sin.
* Regard others as more important (3b). “…but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” This is a tough one because most of us secretly believe that we’re better than those around us and that our music preference should be prescribed for everyone. But humility is a prerequisite for unity. “To consider others better” is a mathematical term which means, “Think about it and come to a conclusion.” We are to count what is really there, add it up, and find out what is true. A wonderful biblical example is found in Genesis 13 where we read that Abraham allowed Lot to choose whatever land he wanted. He thought more highly of his nephew than he thought of himself and verse 8 says Abraham did it for the sake of unity: “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.” When’s the last time you specifically did something to avoid an argument?