Let’s try for sermon notes now, since we’re hoping for visitors tomorrow, if Pappy doesn’t feel too bad with his cold… and if Sweet Girl makes it on Tuesday, it’ll be Chicken Soup for both of them!
John began a series on Philippians today. He started by talking about how there are a lot of people who think of God as their Divine Butler, or some kind of cosmic therapist, or a Divine Lifeguard who is at the ready when things go wrong, to make you happy again. If you know anything about Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, you know that it deals a LOT with joy. BUT John reminded us where that was coming from:
- Paul wrote while he was in prison, chained to a guard;
- Timothy was the pastor, who (as John pointed out through various references) was timid, fearful, ashamed of Paul’s situation, suffered stomach ailments (this is where we elbowed Sam!), and also needed to be warned about fleeing lust;
- Philippi was a “little Rome” (need we say more?), and the church there was originally so small that it had to meet outside the town;
- there were divisions in this church;
- and on it goes!
Yet Paul called them saints, and said he was convinced that “he who began a good work in you, is able to complete it…”! Paul saw not what they were by nature, but what they could be, in Christ. John said that if we try anything without Christ, we’re doomed to fail. But “when I am weak, then I am strong” as it says in Philippians. When we are awakened to how weak we really are, we are more able to be strong in Christ.
Again, this speaks so well to our church, these days. It would be easy to lose any kind of faith you might have had in human nature… but we are to forget that, and see each other in a different light–“in Christ”. There are many tasks to be done, after such a shakeup as we’ve had–but we know we have strength “in Christ”. One of those Philippians verses (so many of them are so well-known) says “I can do all things, through Christ, who strengthens me”.
We sure see that in the two ladies who will be co-chairs of our Board of Elders. Unassuming, serving people, neither of whom like to get up in front of the congregation. They are extremely busy in their own lives and careers, yet they’ve taken on this difficult job… obviously they are trusting Christ. In fact, we love how one of them (maybe both) signs her emails: “With God being my helper”.
As John kept telling us: “I’m convinced that he who began a good work in you, will continue it…”