Hmmm…. I dunno… about keeping these sermon notes brief. There’s so much good stuff! Maybe you’ll just have to "endure" a long post today! :P
Just in case you need this to help you make sense of it: we’re doing a series on Philippians these days, this week’s scripture being from chapter 3.
The first point I wrote down, is something I’ve also been thinking about recently: we can only worship, "in spirit and in truth", with the help of the Holy Spirit. Worship is not something we do to achieve, but because something has been achieved FOR us, through Jesus.
Another good point which seems to be "loose" in my notes (it wasn’t "loose" in Craig’s sermon, of course!): The gospel needs to be repeated again and again, and we should never tire of hearing it. (This leads from Paul talking about repeating things, because it’s "good for you".) Take, for example, (my own thoughts) how Easter/Lent comes every year, yet as Christians we are always amazed-again, at what Christ went through for us, and filled with joy on Easter Sunday. Also, I’ve noticed before how Jesus repeated things many times, in his teachings while on earth.
Now on to the title of the sermon: "No Pain, No Gain!" This mantra can be used in a lot of areas of life, and Jesus did say to "embrace suffering"; we know it builds character in us. However, it can be used in the wrong way, as they do in Buddhism and other religions. Humanity CANNOT, by its own efforts, obtain a connection with God.
To safeguard our faith, we should be reading the Bible regularly–it doesn’t have to be difficult, remember that Jesus said we have to become like children in order to get into God’s Kingdom. But, as we apply what we read, it WILL intrude on our lives. We should also reflect on our testimony, our spiritual journey–the good, the bad and the ugly. Note how Paul shares his testimony, saying he had everything going for him, but considered it all "garbage" compared to the gospel. Your testimony is your best argument (vs theological arguments), and no one can take that from you.
Finally, it’s interesting to note that your enemies are often those who are close by. The "Judaisers" that Paul speaks of, were actually so-called Christians, who were trying to get everyone to be circumsized. Some "Christianized" people are "grace-stealers", saying that one has to do this or that or they are not Christians. Or, they might water down the gospel, saying that pain "ought not to be". There can’t be forgiveness without repentance, and true repentance is followed by discipleship.
OK, what say we make Case for Christ a separate post? I promise it will be done! ;)