The quality of our relationships with others demonstrates the quality of our relationship with God. Let us strive to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus when we consider others.
In Isaiah 40, the prophet preaches about the comfort that God will bring to his people when they learn to trust him and depend on him. Many times, we worship our own idols rather than the living God. Nothing can compare to God. Let us wait for renewal from him.
When our lives become too complex, we seek to simplify them. But when our faith becomes too complex, we tend to add more. More Bible studies, more activity, more things to do. We need to resist the urge to focus on our personal accomplishments and instead seek a simple faith that aims to know Jesus (not about him) in both his power and his suffering so that we may become like him and attain the resurrection of the dead.
In Philippians 4:10-20, in a discussion about the financial help Paul received from the Philippians, he explains why we give to missions: not only do we do it as a spiritual discipline that teaches us dependence on God, but our giving is also a sacrifice that is very pleasing to God. When we give to gospel work, we are partners with those who are working to share the gospel message.
Sometimes we are careless in our ongoing transformation. Some reasons for this include a lack of holiness, a lack of seriousness in prayer, and a lack of caring for others. These will result not only in stunted spiritual growth, but also in a moving away from God.
We can give proper attention to our spiritual growth through Bible reading, prayer and worship, having a compassionate stance towards people, and taking care that we do not despise the Son of God.
With US Thanksgiving coming up this week, our thoughts turn to giving thanks, being with family, and enjoying a meal. But what are we thankful for? Often, we think about being thankful based on the physical things we have. Psalm 136, as well as other passages in the Bible, remind us that our real basis for thanksgiving is God's actions on our behalf, as he has saved us and continues to provide for us.
In Philippians 3, Paul encourages maturity and growth by focusing on gaining Christ and becoming like him, even in suffering. To do this, Christians must forget the things that hold them back and keep straining ahead towards life in Christ.
Supplemental scriptures: Matthew 6:25-33 and Philippians 2:1-11
One of the bigger distractions in an election year is politics. Christians, and even churches, who share commonality in Christ, can become divided over politics, candidates, and political parties.
But when we see Jesus confronted with a question in which he would seemingly have to side with one political point of view over the other, he sides with God's kingdom. He refocuses priority on the things of God, and teaches that our faith is to guide us.
When we look further at the example of Jesus, he teaches us not to live fearfully or with anxiety, but to focus our efforts on seeking first the kingdom of God. In his own life, we see him emptying himself and taking on the lowly form of a servant, as he served all to teach us the way of God.
In this sermon, I preached the whole message of Philippians. We are called to be gospel workers, working for the progress of the gospel. We work with humility (ch 2), a single focus (ch 3), and with God at the center (ch 4), even when it results in persecution (ch 1).
God's peace does not exist where this is conflict. Instead, we pursue his peace through proper prayer--casting our anxieties on him and living in trust--and by meditating on his character. Then, he--the God of peace himself--is with us.
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