Sunday 7th February

Service Transcript & Video

    Serving one another with JOY!!

We keep saying that Life is stressful these days… because it really is!

If you are living on your own… Life is difficult… Some of you are feeling isolated, lonely… maybe even sad..

 

If you are in a family.. with young children or teenagers… life can be Noisy… Manic.. Mad… especially if you are also trying to work from home…

It’s so easy to get irritated, annoyed… stressed out with each other…

OH for school to reopen and things to get back to some kind of normality…

Family life has many JOYS… BUT Boy… it sure has it’s challenges too..

And So has a Church family like ours in SST..

We saw last week the Apostle Pauls HUGE love… JOY… affection for this little  church in Philippi… 

It just oozes out of  chapter One…

1v3-8  I thank God for You

I pray with JOY over you

I have you in my heart

I long for you with the affection of Jesus.

 

Paul’s heart for the church in Philippi is genuinely MY heart for you here in SST..

I’m Not just your minister…  I’m your spiritual Father… and you are like my little children…   

We are God’s family!!       (2v15)

And… 

Like any family… living together is both a JOY  and….   it’s also hard work at times… 

 

Even when we love each other.. which we do..

we can still irritate and annoy each other at times..

We can bump into  and bruise   each other before we know it.

We can see things differently and go about things differently…

And..

Like any Father… one of my deepest longings for You as God’s family in SST… 

is that you… truly love and deeply care for one another.

That You look out for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ…

That you stick together and work hard to encourage, comfort and treat one another with all tenderness and compassion in Christ..  just as He has treated YOU!! (2v1)

 

I often JOKE that the most painful thing in the whole world is to be a Hedgehog in love…. Think about it.. (powerpoint pic)

The closer you get to each other.. the more those prickles stick into each other.. and you end up hurting one another…

Christians in a church family… working and serving together are often like hedgehogs in love….

Without ever meaning to… they end up hurting each other… the closer they get.

That’s one of the KEY reasons that Paul has written this letter…

Epaphroditus, had been sent to Rome by the Philippians with a gift… to care for Paul and meet his needs in any way that he can. 

He brings news to Paul that some of the Christians in the church are struggling with each other.. complaining about each other…  arguing with one another   (2v14)

And that disunity, disharmony, disagreement and division is distressing Paul’s heart…

So he writes 2v3…

 Make MY JOY complete by being ONE… in mind…   in love…  in spirit… in purpose..

 

As I leave you after 27 yrs…

 My Biggest prayer for YOU is that you will be a united, happy, loving congregation who looks out for each other…

        takes care of each another…. 

and serves one another in God’s love… 

That really would fill My heart full of JOY!!

 

If that’s going to happen then there are some wrong attitudes that Paul’s says we need to get rid of…

So v 3- 4           1st wrong attitude is…. 

V3 Selfish ambition. 

“Do Nothing out of selfish ambition”…. Look at your motives… Why are you doing this/saying this/ behaving this way…??

The Word for selfish ambition can also mean ‘rivalry’  

Little jealousy’s and rivalries can creep into our attitudes… even as we serve alongside each other… and then it affects our relationships with each other..

I remember when I was serving in Cork as part of a team of Christians…. 

My attitude to the others on the team got all wrong… at one point…. And it spoilt things.. Had to sort it out! 

At root it was a bit of jealousy that God seemed to be using the others more than HE was using ME!!  I was feeling sorry for myself!

 

2nd wrong attitude:    self- importance 

v3 “vain conceit” 

At root it’s pride.. that bit inside  ME that likes to get noticed  / asked My opinion… / made a fuss over.

I have  a prayer   that goes…

“LORD I repent of my pride and I want to walk in humility towards others”

 

3rd wrong attitude :    self-centredness 

V4. Self-centredness… “Each of you…look not only to your own interests… others” 

It’s the attitude in me that thinks.. 

What am I getting out of this.. How am I feeling… How am I being treated….

 My prayer goes on.. “LORD I repent of my self-absorption… help Me to live in selfless, sacrificial service of others.”

Those are 3 wrong attitudes in our hearts that will spoil our relationships in the church family… 

Those attitudes creep in so easily and are so hard to detect within us…   but they need rooted out of our hearts or we will hurt one another..

If those are the wrong attitudes..

Q.  what is the right attitude then??

The Apostle Paul spells that out for us in v 5-11 by giving us this wonderful picture example of Christ..

V5… “Your attitude should be…Christ Jesus”

Here’s the way we are to think about ourselves and about each other… 

This is how JESUS lived and How we are to live in HIM ..  with each other…

Jesus said…

“For I came not to be served but to serve, and to give MY life a ransom for many.”  

                                               Mark 10:45

Everything that ever JESUS did… 

He did for us….  to serve us… 

V5-11 are thought to be an ancient Hymn that Paul uses so beautifully to express the selfless.. sacrificial service of JESUS

As he steps down out of Heaven… empties Himself (v7) of His privileges as GOD in 2nd Person.. 

is born in Bethlehem….

lives as man to serve us  … 

humbles Himself in obedience and love to His Father… 

steps down even further into death (v8) even death on the Cross.. 

the MOST humiliating, degrading death possible….

in sacrifice and service….

 All for US… 

for our sakes and for our salvation..

O the beauty and power of Christ’s life and death… His resurrection and exaltation to the throne of Heaven..

Such humility…

Such obedience to the Father…  

Such selfless sacrificial loving service… all for us… 

What an attitude?? What a mind set…??

 

What a way to think about ourselves and about each other in the Church family…

Q. How can I serve YOU??

Q. What can I do to help you??

Q. How can I come alongside you and encourage you with the heart of JESUS??

 

Folks… can I say this genuinely to you…

I see that heart in so many of you.

I see it in a hundred different ways that many of you are serving JESUS and serving one another in and through our Church family…

I see the unselfish ways that you give yourself.. your time.. your energies… 

to serve one another… in and through SST.. 

in ways that Nobody else sees you do it… even in the middle of very busy lives and lifestyles..

And it fills My heart with JOY.(v2) just as it does the Apostle Pauls.

 

Therefore says Paul (v9)..

God has highly exalted JESUS and given Him a Name that is above every Name.. and One day… 

Every knee.. every person… who has ever lived.. and everything else in the whole of creation… will bow before JESUS who is King of Kings and LORD of LORDs…

The world’s only Saviour….

There is NO one else like JESUS…

No other Saviour like JESUS….

No wonder we sing..

What a beautiful Name it is.. the Name of JESUS

What a powerful Name it is.. the Name of JESUS…

No wonder we worship Him with all our hearts and souls..

And the attitude of JESUS is to be the attitude in your heart and in mine.

Q. IS it??

Q.They say in any congregation 20% of the people do 80% of the serving.

Can I ask you in SST.??

Will You be the congregation to stand that figure on it’s head…

Q. What if 80% of the congregation served in SST? … what if you picked up something small and asked… 

Where can I serve YOU??

I always say..

LOTS of people doing a little can make a HUGE difference…

A NEW minister coming in… is such a brilliant opportunity for YOU to say to them…I’d like to find a small place to serve in this church family… because JESUS has done so much for ME.

Finally…

3 examples of Christians who live their lives.. not for themselves and their own interests… but for ways to serve others.

Paul (v12-17)

Timothy (v19-24)

Epaphroditus (v25-30)

 

Role models are so important for children growing up.. but we as adults need them too..

Q. What does it look like to live a selfless sacrificial serving Christian life in Donaghadee to-day??

Q. How do you work that out practically inside  SST and  in our town to-day??

 

The Apostle Paul explains that v 12 

Therefore…  in the light of all that JESUS has done for YOU and modelled for YOU..

Work that out and work that through in your daily lives and relationships in the church family…

Let it make a practical difference to your attitude towards each other and how you treat one another… your behaviour!

Because GOD is at work in YOU… (v13)

He will give you His strength to work this out and work this through as you follow JESUS

So v13  

“Do everything without  complaining or arguing..”

The word complaining means murmuring.

It’s the same word in (Ex 15v 24)..

 People of Israel murmured and criticised and complained about Moses and their leaders in the desert.

Don’t be like them says Paul… but instead live such beautiful, attractive, pure lives that you shine like stars in a dark sky… pointing people to JESUS and the WORD of life which is the GOOD NEWS about Him (v16)

 

Look at the Apostle Paul as a role model..(v17) 

He has literally ‘poured out’ his whole life for the sake of the Gospel and for the sake of these Christians in Philippi and many other churches…

And it has been a JOY to do that…. (v18)

YOU know folks…

I count it the greatest privilege and JOY of my life to have loved and served You here in SST and the people of Donaghadee… 

Just like Timothy  v20-21…

 My heart has been to serve you genuinely and authentically… even though I know I’ve got that wrong many, many times…

 

I love what we used to say before we left the church service every Sunday…

Q. Do you remember it??

Q. Do you remember church services… when you actually came into this building on a Sunday??

Q.Do you remember what we used to say before we left??

“Lord, help me to go out through these doors, and, in the strength of Your Spirit, to live authentically  for You this week.”

Live your life this week… 

looking out for others… 

authentically serving JESUS and serving others… rather than just living to please yourself….. 

That is so radical to-day because people are so selfish to-day!!!!

 

And Epaphroditus… 

This man who has come for Philippi to serve and care and look after Paul in the most unselfish way..

He has risked everything.. even his very life…(v30) to do whatever he could… to serve Paul.. 

NOT thinking of himself…or his own needs.. but only how he could help and care for the Apostle Paul and his needs.

Q. What about YOU??

Q> How are you living?? 

Q>Who are you living for??

 

Following JESUS will make you a less selfish person…. 

And following JESUS will make YOU more willing to put others and their needs before yourself and your own…

That’s is NOT easy for any of us…

That’s costly for every one of us……. 

But that’s the JOY of a Christ like life and living for CHRIST   will bring you JOY!

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