Summary: The unity that produces joy will impact our world when determination is shown resulting in harmony and happiness and point people to Jesus Christ since He is the Head of our church.
THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY
Proposition: The unity that produces joy will impact our world when determination is shown resulting in harmony and happiness and point people to Jesus Christ since He is the Head of our church.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to promote unity which results in harmony and a heartfelt happiness.
Illus: During a business meeting in a small country church, one of the deacons said, "Pastor, I think we need a chandelier for the church." Another deacon stood up and said, "No, I’m against it!" "Why don’t we need a chandelier, brother deacon?" asked the pastor? The deacon answered, "Well first, nobody in the church can spell it. Second, nobody in the church can play it. And third, what this church needs more than anything else is more light!"
Peace and harmony is critical both to church survival and outreach. Unity is essential if the Holy Spirit is to produce joyfulness. Paul reveals his deep affection for the Philippian church. He did not derive his joy from circumstances, but his fellowship with fellow-believers. Paul deals with the disunity that he has been told about the church by challenging God’s people to experience unity with determination, harmony and happiness. This will show the spiritual stability so that the integrity of their testimony is not destroyed.
Illus: There was a church in Louisiana with a roof that’s green on one side and red on the other. This was done because some members of the church adamantly wanted green and other members adamantly wanted red. The disagreement was so intense that the church was going to split because of it. Finally, a compromise was reached. Unfortunately, the red and green roof is a monument to the community of the kind of dysfunction that the church experienced. We need the spirit of the church in Jerusalem when Luke writes, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come they were all with one accord in one place.”
I. DETERMINATION (v. 1) “Stand fast in the Lord”-- The word "stand firm" in the original was used to describe a soldier standing firm in the midst of battle, with the battle surging about him. The believers were in the midst of the "enemies of the cross of Christ" (3:18).
1. Concern “Therefore my beloved and longed-for brethren”-
Notice first of all the care, the affection Paul expresses for the church at Philippi. He calls them beloved twice in this verse. He calls them longed-for brethren. He cared deeply for them. Preaching from unloved lips never does any good. It irritates, or leaves untouched. Affection melts and opens the heart to the entrance of the Word.
2. Crown “My joy and crown”-- The drabness of the prison was
relieved by the joy he felt when his thoughts turned to his friends gathered in the Lord’s name at Philippi. As he thought of them, the prison walls melted away. Picturing himself answering to his name at the roll call of the judgment of Christ, he heard the Lord’s "Well done!" and saw himself receiving a crown. The word "crown" has two backgrounds. It was the crown of the victorious athlete at the Greek games. It was made of wild olive leaves, interwoven with green parsley and bay leaves. To win that crown was the peak of the athlete’s ambition. Also, the crown with which guests were crowned when they sat at a banquet, at some time of great joy. It is as if Paul said that the Philippians were the crown of all his toil.
Illus: When we are in heaven, how many will be able to say, "I am here
because of you?" That will be a real joy.
3. Challenge “So stand fast in the Lord”— One is to stand fast
as a soldier standing fast in the heat of battle with the enemy surging down upon that one. Here Paul unites the appeal for responsible Christian living to a reminder of our dependence on the Lord (cf. 1:27). One can only stand firm because one is "in the Lord."
Illus: John W. Yates shared this letter from a missionary who had gone
into the jungles of New Guinea: “Man,” he said, “it’s great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old Devil’s heaviest guns, to have him come at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease! He doesn’t waste time. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on your mourning suit?