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Summary: The Apostle Paul cried! It’s important that we understand the emotional and spiritual stresses that brought him tears. In doing so we can understand what should cause our own concern, and tears!

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Southern Hills Baptist Church

January 19th 2003

“The Tears of an Apostle”

Philippians 3: 18-21

By Pastor Mark Hensley

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control; will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 18-21

Introduction: University of Iowa professor Tom Lutz in his book Crying: the Natural & Cultural History of Tears wrote that “Crying is a form of catharsis, of “letting it all out.” Although people will tell you that they feel better after they’ve had a good cry, tests in the psychology lab show something a little different. Studies of weepers have found that the tears start flowing after people have already experienced an emotional release, Lutz says.

That means that tears don’t release our emotions, but rather redirect them. Tears give us a physical outlet for what we’re feeling, shifting attention from our thoughts to our bodies. Lutz compares it to Alice in Wonderland, floating away in a deluge of her own tears.

Randolph Cornelius, a social psychologist at Vassar College, agrees that tears aren’t the cathartic force most people assume they are. His research has shown that whether we feel better after crying depends in large part on how others around us reacted to our tears. If tears of anger escalated an argument, we feel worse. If tears of sadness brought consolation, we feel better.

We have all heard that Men don’t cry. Worldwide, women do cry more than men. But the difference isn’t as huge as you might think. Citing figures from an international study, Cornelius says that men in the United States said they cried 1.88 times a month, while U.S. women cried 3.55 times. Bulgarian men are the least weepy, crying only .43 times a month. By Claudine Chamberlain

Why do we cry? Because we’re sad, or because we’re happy? When we’re calm, or when we’re stressed? Because we want to,

or because we can’t help it? Why do we cry, when we fall and when our feelings are hurt?

Why do we cry, when someone dies, and when someone lives?

Why do we cry, when someone else is happy, and when someone else is sad? Why do we cry, when we don’t know the reason why?

We cry because we have to... its part of who we are.

Transitional thought: The Apostle Paul cried! It’s important that we understand the emotional and spiritual stresses that brought him tears. In doing so we can understand what should cause our own concern, and tears!

“The Tears of an Apostle” Philippians 3: 18-21 “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control; will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Believers cry when:

When people refuse the love of Christ

When the pursuit of material things becomes one’s primary objective.

We cry, because we are homesick!

I. When people refuse the love of Christ “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”

We can’t be sure whether the people Paul has in mind are pagans, or liberal Christians who use the grace and forgiveness of God as an excuse to sin. But from the description that follows, they may have been people at Philippi who had left the way of the cross for other attractions and enticements. "Their mind is on earthly things" – the enemies of the cross of Christ are those who have abandoned the heavenly race and despised the heavenly prize in favor of pursuits and prizes that are exclusively worldly.

We face the continued pressure of conforming to this world. We must understand that “Enemies of the Cross” will always pressure us to not be so serious about our faith, to loosen up to not be so assertive or dogmatic about our commitment to the Lord!

Rather than choosing an easy smooth path of least resistance, our hearts should break and tears fill our eyes when people would rather choose anything and anyone but the Lord!

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