Near the beginning of the sermon yesterday, I tried to point out that Paul’s words of encouragement (Philippians 1:21) had some real modern day implications.
Paul wrote specifically to the church at Philippi (Philippians 1:1) but as carried along by the Holy Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:20-21), his audience is much broader.
He wrote to “a” church situated in Greece that had partnered together for the advancement of the gospel. This band of believers who lived in Philippi were committed to God and each other in the task of making disciples of all nations. When Paul wrote to thank them and encourage them in the faith, he spoke to them corporately as “a” church. He wanted to motivate them to partner to an even greater degree for the advancement of the gospel. He wanted that church to live for Christ.
He knew that as believers banded together for a common purpose, this unity becomes a motivating factor for godly living. The Christian life is corporate at its core. Too often when we read scripture we only ask; “what does it mean to me?”. When in fact, another very important question should be; “what does it mean to us?”.
How does this passage of scripture affect the way GRACECHUCH of Lebanon, Indiana partners with each other for the glory of God? We tried to answer that question in our application portion of the sermon.
Every member of “the” church must also be partnering with other believers in “a” local church. We are not allowed in Scripture to go it alone.
But Paul was also writing to individual Christians no matter their location and no matter which century they lived; they all comprise “the” church. This is Christ’s body for all times and in all places. And there is application for each of us individually as we relate to other brothers and sisters in Christ and to a world without Christ.
Near the end of the sermon we also applied the Biblical text in light of that truth.
There is no way around it. The Bible is for us individually, but just as important, it must be applied corporately.
GRACECHURCH of Lebanon, Indiana lives for Jesus by teaching His Word, sharing His life, praying in His name and remembering His death. Let’s not just kill time until he comes back. Let’s live with this purpose.