Summary: What should the local church look like?
The Way Church ought to be
Win Arn, a leading church consultant conducted a survey: He surveyed members of nearly a thousand churches asking the question, “Why does the church exist? The results: Of the church members surveyed, 89 percent said, “The church’s purpose is to take care of my family and my needs. For many, the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep who are already in the “pen happy and not lose too many of them. Only 11 percent said, “The purpose of the church is to win the world for Jesus Christ.
Too many times churches have confused what the church is really about. We have gotten away from what the Bible says church should be. In our FL. Baptist Convention 84% of our churches have less than 200 in worship.
It is clear that if the church in America is going to grow and thrive then the church can’t be unclear of its mission. Well what’s our mission? The mission of the church is to win the lost and disciple the saved.
I’ve been in many different types of churches. I’ve been in some that were governed by their by-laws rather than the Bible. I’ve been in some that rituals mattered more than worship and that a few people ran the church.
The Apostle Paul here in our text defines the Way church ought to be. He uses one word the word fellowship it simply means “to have in common.” We have confused this word in church today true Christian fellowship is really much deeper than sharing coffee and pie, or even enjoying a golf game together. You cannot have fellowship with someone unless you have something in common; unless a person has trusted Christ as his Savior, he knows nothing of “the fellowship of the Gospel.” Paul uses fellowship in every chapter of this book. In Philippians 2:1, Paul writes about “the fellowship of the Spirit,” There is also “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10).
When we share what we have with others, this is also fellowship (Phil. 4:15, translated “communicate” in kjv or shared in the NKJV).
So, true Christian fellowship is much more than having a name on a church roll or being present at a meeting. It is possible to be close to people physically and miles away from them spiritually. Let me just ask you. Are you one of those people the church counts on to share in the bad times as well as the good? Anyone can be a good
Christian in the good times. Let some adversity come our way and I can tell you I’ve sure learned who I can count on in the down days.
Paul uses three thoughts in Philippians 1:1–11 that describe true Christian fellowship and the way church should be let’s look at them today:
I. I Have You in My Mind (Phil. 1:3–6)
If we really care about something or someone we think about them often. Isn’t it remarkable that Paul is thinking of others and not of himself? That is real church when the believers come together and think about the needs and well being of others. Two wonderful things happen when this mindset is in the church:
A. The church is joy filled (v.3-5)
As he awaits his trial in Rome, Paul’s mind goes back to the believers in Philippi, and every recollection he has brings him joy. Read Acts 16; you may discover that some things happened to Paul at Philippi, the memory of which could produce sorrow. He was illegally arrested and beaten, was placed in the stocks, and was humiliated before the people. But even those memories brought joy to Paul, because it was through this suffering that the jailer found Christ! Paul recalled Lydia and her household, the poor slave girl who had been demon-possessed, and the other dear Christians at Philippi; and each recollection was a source of joy. Warren Weirsbe said it like this: (It is worth asking, “Am I the kind of Christian who brings joy to my pastor’s mind when he thinks of me?”)
That’s a tough question to ask ourselves. Am I the type of person that brings others joy? If a church will do anything for God then joy will be prevalent. I mean why would anyone want what we have if we’re not happy about who we know? Are you a joy spreader or joy sucker? Walmart/Coffee filters/basketball
B. The church is full of growing Christians (v.6) Verse 6 is one of the most important verses in all the Bible for a believer. This verse is speaking to the believer and Paul ties it together in Philippians 2:12–13 we are told to work out our salvation and that God continues to work in us through His Spirit. In other words, salvation includes a threefold work: