One in Spirit and Purpose

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Do we have any saints here this morning? Actually, according to the new testament, all Christians are saints. The word saint means one set apart, and Christians have been set apart by God’s grace to believe in Jesus Christ. A saint is not some super-Christian, but as believers we are called to live in a certain way.
So, are you a saint? Is following Jesus Christ important to you? Has knowing His love made a difference in your lives? Does being in a community of believers matter? These are some questions that Paul has for the Christians at Philippi.
Philippians 2:1–4 NIV84
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The one danger which threatened the Philippian church was that of disunity. There is a sense in which that is the danger of every healthy church, even today.

The importance of unity

We need each other
Many years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton, and when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had first met one another in school when the armless Kaspryzak had guided the blind Overton down a flight of stairs. This acquaintance ripened into friendship and a beautiful example of interdependence. The blind man carried the books that the armless man read aloud in their common study, and thus the deficiency of each individual was compensated for by the other’s ability.
Our witness to the world

The basis for unity

Christian unity does not mean that everyone believes the same thing about everything, has the same interests, or that we all dress alike or have the same backgrounds. Our unity comes from being part of the body of Christ
Being united with Christ
No one can walk in disunity with others and in unity with Christ.
Experiencing love
God’s love in our hearts and our love for on another produces spiritual unity in our life together.
Sharing in the Holy Spirit
Participation in the Spirit – unites us as the body of Christ
Having compassion
For one another

The dangers to unity

Selfish ambition
This is when we try to put ourselves ahead of others, being the center of attention. This causes quarrels which lead to divisions.
1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
This is when we consider ourselves better than someone else, or that our way is the right or only way. Paul encountered these problems at the church in Corinth, where there were considerable divisions.
2 Corinthians 12:20 NIV84
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

The expression of unity

Being like-minded
Having our minds united in a common goal - seeking God’s glory and knowing His will.
Having the same love
It does not mean loving only those who love us; or those whom we like; or those who are lovable.
1 John 4:10–12 NIV84
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Being one in spirit and purpose
For safety reasons, mountain climbers rope themselves together when climbing a mountain. That way, if one climber should slip and fall, he would not fall to his death. He would be held by the others until he could regain his footing.
The church ought to be like that. When one member slips and falls, the others should hold him up until he regains his footing. We are all roped together by the Holy Spirit.194
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,
In humility looking out for the interests of others
A sacrificial willingness to give up one’s rights and work for the good of others.

The example of humility

Taking the form of a servant
Foot washing
Philippians 1:27 NIV84
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
Paul says that if the church is doing these things it will make his joy complete. Would our life together be pleasing to Paul? Is it pleasing to God?
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