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Ingredients of a Harmonious Church (7 of 19)
INTRODUCTION: When disunity arises within the context of a church there is danger on the horizon, not because of a retreat in the face of the enemy (1:28), but because of some personal advancement sought by one or part of the body. Both are threats to the unity of the whole and likewise stresses that can break Christian fellowship.
There can arise opposition from without, if we are going to retreat, and there can arise corruption from within if we are going to allow the self-life to push itself forward until we are prominent.
Paul concerns himself with the harmony of the Philippian church. Philippi, like most other cities, had to beware of the problems from within and without. With that in mind, Paul had God's prescription for their predicament.
I. RESOURCES FOR A HARMONIOUS CHURCH. 1
v.1 is the grounds of appeal to you in Christ.
ILLUSTRATE: When I graduated from Gardner-Webb College, I was later asked to commend the school on the basis of help I received.
A. UPWARD RESOURCE. 1a POSITIONAL
''consolation in Christ'' - united with Christ; speaks of my personal salvation. I am encouraged by my position in Christ.
EXAMPLE: Philippian Jailer
Acts 16:34, ''Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.'' QUESTION: Is your experience of Him any encouragement to you?
Paul's challenge was to unity not uniformity. True spiritual unity comes from within; it is a matter of the heart. Uniformity is the result of pressure from without. Paul is appealing to the highest possible spiritual motives. Since the believers at Philippi are ''in Christ'', this ought to encourage them to work toward unity and love.
Chapter 1:27-30 exposes potential challenges in the body, while Chapter 2:1-4 exhorts them to manifest spiritual unity.
B. INWARD RESOURCE. 1b PERSONAL
''comfort of love'' - ...
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