2 weeks ago Bill shared on John 3:16-18. He talked about how God loved us and gave his son for us. We didn’t deserve it. We didn’t earn it. God loved us, even though we were rebels, sinners, disobedient. He sent Jesus to pay our sin debt and forgive our sins!
Then, last week Bill shared out of Matthew 18:21-35 about forgiveness. In His love, God forgave us a debt that we could never repay. Like the ungrateful servant. He owed a debt that he could never repay. But, the king forgave the debt. We too owe a debt we can never pay. But, God paid a debt that he did not owe! Our debt! He forgave our sins! Because of his great love, and what we have been forgiven, God calls us to forgive as He forgave us!
Last week, Bill ended with giving us the question to ask ourself: Am I a person who forgives? Why or why not?
Today, I want to continue those thoughts. Because of God’s love for us and his forgiveness, His grace should bring us together in unity!
Do you enjoy doing things that make people happy? What will make your spouse happy? Something I learned this week (or was reminded of), it makes Robin happy when I clean my feet off before enteringthe house so I don’t track dirt and grass through the house, especially just after the grass has been mown. I don’t always remember that… and Robin sometimes gets cross when I track grass into the house. But I know that will make her happy. So, now that I know that, I want to do that!
We enjoy doing things that we know will make people happy. So, what is going to make God happy?
(How to make God truly happy and become attractive)
(Key Verses Phil 2:1-2)
Last term we studied Philippians. We looked at how Citizens of Heaven should live, and what their lives should look like. I would like to go back to chapter 2 verse 1-2.
Phil 2:1-2a Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy…
In this verse God tells us how we can make him truly happy. I’ll just say right now, it’s not religion, or doing good things, like we are so often taught. If you just do these things then God will be smiling at you! There’s so much more to it.
But before we talk about that, Paul reminds us of a few things.
(Our resources: Encouragement, Comfort and Fellowship)
Phil 2:1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?
As citizens of heaven what encouragement have you had from belonging to Christ? What has Christ done for you? I love that song that we sing, “I belong to God.”
Song Lyrics “I Belong to God” No longer bound by fear No longer found in shame Here we are now children of a mighty God We have been marked, marked by grace We have been called by name Here we are now children of a mighty God A mighty God I belong to God, I belong to Jesus Saved by Your power and bought with Your blood I'll say to the darkness You do not own me anymore Oh-oh, I belong to God Oh-oh, I belong to God
- No longer bound by sin..
- no longer bound by fear
- no longer found in shame
- No longer bound by legalism
- The darkness does not own you anymore!
Phil 2:1 What comfort have you found from his love?
Romans 5:8 while we were still sinners Jesus died.
There’s a verse in Psalm 103 that you have probably heard someone quote before. Psalm 103:12 says this, “He put your sins away from you, as far as east is from the west.”
* East will never meet the west… God is saying, he put it so far away you will never see it again!
* But, there’s a lot more that David said in this Psalm that describes comfort that he found from God’s love. Let’s take a look at it.
Ps 103:1-2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me
David found such comfort in God’s love for him and what he had experienced that he never wanted to forget. So, what were those good things God had done that made David overflow with such worship?
- Ps 103:3 He forgives my sins
- he heals all my diseases
- Ps 103:4 He redeems me from death
- he crowns me with love and tender mercies
- Ps 103:5 He fills my life with good things.
- Ps 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love
- Ps 103:10 He does not punish us for all our sins. He does not deal harshly with us as we deserve
- Ps 103:12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west
David ends this Psalm with overwhelming worship.
Ps 103:20-22 Praise the Lord, you angels… you armies of angels who serve him… everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord.
When we really reflect on what God, in love, has done for us, we should be overwhelmed with gratitude and worship
- Phil 2:1 What fellowship have you experienced because we have the same spirit?
- Ramu Valley Academy… Christian education in PNG. Amazing to have fellowship in the Spirit.
- Our meeting here.. people from PNG, USA, Canada, Germany… all together in one place worshipping the same God. That’s the fellowship we enjoy.
- Ramu Valley Bible Conference… all the churches from around the Ramu Valley all meeting together this weekend because of the fellowship we enjoy in the Spirit.
- Our orientation families coming here because the Holy Spirit is leading them!
We have experienced encouragement from belonging to Christ. We have experienced comfort from his love. We have experienced fellowship from having the same spirit.
(The Result: Tender and Compassionate Heart)
Phil 2:1 Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
Last week Bill ended with, “Are you a person who forgives? Why or why not?
Because of God’s forgiveness your heart should be tender. You should have compassion for others. Just like Jesus’ illustrated, God’s forgiveness of us, the compassion he showed to us, should produce compassion for others… it should give us a desire to forgive others!
Now, after building up all those great things, Paul says, “then make me truly happy.” Paul is going to tell us one of God’s greatest joys, something that makes God really happy! Here it is. Listen carefully…
Phil 2:2 “by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish…”
(Our resources: Encouragement, Comfort and Fellowship)
(The Result: Tender and Compassionate Heart)
(Our responses: Agree, Love, Work Together)
Phil 2:2 Agree wholeheartedly with each other
Because we have experienced encouragement from belonging to Christ, comfort from his love, fellowship in the spirit. We should have tender and compassionate hearts that are able to agree with each others.
When Christians argue and fight, it does not give the world any reason to want what we have!
In my Bible reading this week I finished reading the book of Colossians. The last chapter talks about this. Listen to this, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
We should live in such a way that our conversation, what we say, should be gracious and attractive. It should stand out. We should have the right response for everyone. The right response does not include anger and frustration.
In our Sunday evening Bible Study we also saw a example of this in Titus 2. In Titus 2:1-9 Paul instructs Titus regarding older men, then older women, younger women, and young men, and he ends with slaves.
v9-10 Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back, or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our savior attractive in every way
The way we live should be attractive! Our conversation should stand out, especially when there is a disagreement. As believers, as God’s image bearers, we should respond in a godly way! We should want the teaching about God, the message of salvation to be attractive. It’s our lives that will do that.
Paul reminds Titus in Titus 2:11-2 that it’s God’s grace that instructs us and teaches us to live this way. Just like here in Philippians. We have experienced encouragement from belonging to Christ. We have experienced comfort from his love. We have experienced fellowship from having the same spirit. That’s all God’s grace… and God’s grace should produce tender and compassionate hearts that are able to agree with each others.
Why? Titus 2:14 Because he gave his life to free us from every kind of sin.. to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. John 3:16 He loved us so much he gave his son. Matthew 18 He forgave the debt we could never pay… we should be totally committed to Him.
Phil 2:2 What will make God truly happy? Agreeing wholeheartedly, and Loving one another
What does that look like?
v3 not selfish
Matt 18 – forgiving
John 13:35 they will know you are my children by your love for one another
Our love put’s skin on the love of God – God loving through us… in fact, whoever doesn’t love shows they don’t know God, because God is the source of love (1 John 4:7-9) As believers, John also tells us that “If anyone says he loves God, but hates his brother, He is a liar!” Because whoever truly loves God will also love his brother.
Phil 2:2 What else will make God truly happy? Agreeing wholeheartedly, and Loving one another. Working together with one mind and purpose (not selfishly, pursuing my own thing)
Since those things bring such joy to God, then we should want work hard to do them. Just like I want to work hard to do what makes my wife happy, we should want to work at the things that bring joy to God’s heart.
- Agree wholeheartedly with each other
- Forgive, as God forgave you
- love one another as God loved you
- work together with one mind and one purpose. Because we all share the same Spirit, we should be striving to do the things the Spirit wants us to do, not just our own selfish things.
You have experienced these things (encouragement from belonging to God, comfort from his love, fellowship from having the same Spirit). As a result, your hearts should be tender toward God, desiring to do what pleases Him, and compassionate toward others who live with the same troubles and sins you do.
Questions to self:
Is my heart tender toward God?
Do I have compassion toward others?
When your heart is tender toward God and compassionate towards others you will be able to Agree wholeheartedly, Love, as God loved us, and work together unselfishly.
When we live that way, we will be living in unity the way that God designed us to live. This will make our conversations gracious and attractive, and will make God’s message attractive in every way.