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Message Monday: Necessary Changes If We Fellowship with Christ

Intro:

  • Today we return to our series through the book of Philippians.
  • In chapter one of Philippians Paul came back again and again to the theme of how Christ makes a difference in the life of the believer. Consider the difference Christ makes in these verses:
    • He is at work when we are at our worst – v6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

  • Christ makes us fruitful when we see little fruit. – 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

 

  • Christ is the goal of life and makes our end a gain – 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22

 

  • With Christ even suffering is a privilege – 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,
  • As Paul opens chapter two he expands on the theme of fellowship in Christ. Think about his words in verse 27- 28.
    • 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
    • Paul’s point in these verses is that because of our connection to Christ the way we fellowship with other believers matters.
    • He even goes so far as to say that this fellowship with other believers is a sign to the world of our salvation.

 

Hook:

  • So why is it that our fellowship with other believers matters so much?
    • Is Paul commending to us a kind of superficial fellowship that calls us to wear our fellowship as nothing more than a “Morningside” name tag we all wear?
    • This kind of superficial fellowship does not require us to have any further connection with the beliefs, lives, or commitments of other believers.
    • On the other hand is Paul commending to us the kind of total fellowship in which we must subsume all of our distinctions in favor of uniformity?
    • This kind of extreme fellowship does not seem to correspond to the fellowship that we know exists among the three persons of the Trinity, so why should we expect it to be the kind of fellowship God wants for His people?
  • With that in mind, perhaps we should consider the fellowship that exists among the Trinity to get to Paul’s point.
  • Wayne Grudem, a theologian helps us to understand relational aspect of the Trinity when he says…
    • … the distinction between the persons is not a difference in “being” but a difference in “relationships.” This is something far removed from our human experience, where every different human “person” is a different being as well. Somehow God’s being is so much greater than ours that within his one undivided being there can be an unfolding into interpersonal relationships, so that there can be three distinct persons. What then are the differences between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? There is no difference in attributes at all. The only difference between them is the way they relate to each other and to the creation. The unique quality of the Father is the way he relates as Father to the Son and Holy Spirit. The unique quality of the Son is the way he relates as Son. And the unique quality of the Holy Spirit is the way he relates as Spirit. (Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 253–254.)
  • Did you notice how Grudem captures our understanding of fellowship that exists in the Trinity when he says “one undivided being” can be “[unfolded] into interpersonal relationship so that there can be three distinct persons.”
    • There is unity and diversity in this Trinitarian type of fellowship.
    • While we as believers cannot imitate this kind of fellowship on our own, we certainly can relate to God as one God and uniquely to each person in the Godhead.
    • Similarly we can strive towards a fellowship in our churches that mirrors God’s internal Trinitarian fellowship.
    • Today as we look at these first two verses of Philippians 2 I intend on exploring two specific impacts this kind of Trinitarian fellowship has upon us.

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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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