Summary: Sermon on growth
A couple of years ago my family and I had the opportunity to go to Washington to visit my sister and her husband, and to take in the sights. Some the things that everyone who goes to Washington D.C. are the monuments to the presidents. There is the Washington monument with it’s great height. No matter where you are you can pick it out. It is especially beautiful at night when it is all light up. It is there to reminds us of the man who is known as the father of our country George Washington.
Another monument that no one wants to miss if the Lincoln memorial. It is styled after a Greek temple. It has the states names engraved in it’s granite exterior. Inside is a massive status of Abraham Lincoln. On the walls of the memorial you find the words of Lincoln, including his famous Gettysburg address. And let us not forget the little gift shop in the corner were you can but any thing from a poster of a Lincoln to Lincoln coaster for your coffee table.
People come from across the country to be inspired by these memorials to former presidents. We tell our children that if they study hard like Lincoln that one day too they may be president. We used to say always tell the truth like Washington and you to can live in the White House. But now-a-days that one does not seem to have any correlation to the other.
But there are many examples of greatness that inspire people. We can say that we would like to live like them but for the most part the example ends with a momentary inspiration. Why because we lack the ability to be like that person. Admiration for a person can inspire us, but it cannot enable us. They cannot enter into our lives and work their skills in us. Perhaps this is what let Mark Twain to say, "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."
Example are great but we need the power to follow them. Now when it comes to using Jesus as our example, God promises us that power. He not only shows us how, but gives us the Holy Spirit to accomplish it.
Let us look at our verse for today Philippians Chapter 2 verse 12-13, it reads;
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
What we have seen so far in chapter is first in verse 1-4 Paul commands us to be has Christ. In verse 5-11 he gives us the example of Christ to follow, now in verse 12-13 He give us the how. This is how you are go about with the mind of Christ. This how you are going to follow that example that as been set forth.
Let’s look at these two verses.
Notice what Paul states in the first part of verse 12, "you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence."
What Paul is saying is that their obedience should not depend on whether Paul was with them or not. It should not be Paul who was inspiring them to obey the Lord. Paul was concerned the they were placing to much emphasis on Paul.
What is interesting about this book is it is the only book authored by Paul were Paul does not directly rebuke his readers. These people were living the Christian life, but Paul want them to live like Christians not for his sake, but for their own sake.
I think this portion of this verse can certainly be applied to our own lives. Our behavior should not depend on whether the pastor is there or not. Our obedience should not depend on whether we are around other Christians.
We need to ask ourselves am I just a Christian on Sunday or everyday. I now for a fact that people act different when a pastor or minister is around.
I once played golf with the guy who swearing would put a sailor to shame. Now I had never meant him before, we just happened to get paired up with him. After a few holes the guy I was playing with whisper to him that he I was pastor. What a change! He was very polite, and not once did he utter a foul word in my presence.
Let ask, are you like that? Do act different when the pastor or some other Christian is around. They have a word for they way that man acted, and for the way some Christians act, it called Hypocrisy.