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August 30, 2010

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy (Joy in Service)

We have continued to preach verse by verse through the book of Philippians. This week’s sermon: “Joy in Service.”

This sermon was a continuation from the message entitled “Joy in Humility,” from a couple of weeks ago.

In this portion of the text, Paul brings out two living examples of what humility looks like when it is lived out. Paul was not shy about holding up Christians as examples when they modeled Godly behavior.

During the sermon, I challenged our church to ask themselves, “Who, in our homes and lives, are we holding up as examples for our kids?”

Harbor no doubt: “We will become what we celebrate.” Our culture bestows an inordinate amount of our attention on the most undeserving people, celebrities who model horribly inappropriate behaviors. What message does that send our children?

Who excites us more?

A pro athlete who exhibits a continuous string of bad behaviors, or a person in our community who gives themselves selflessly to serve others?
A popular actor who supports an anti-biblical agenda, or a godly mother who selflessly serves her husband and children for God’s kingdom.
A man who has made a fortune exploiting people’s weaknesses, or a person who chooses to invest in an eternal reward?

What excites us more?

Our kid scoring a goal and helping their team win a game, or our kids volunteering at a local homeless shelter?
Our kids making every team practice, or our kids attending every church service over a year’s time?

The Apostle Paul chose to highlight two people:

Timothy – Because Timothy was more concerned about the welfare of the church than his own personal comfort. Timothy was a third-generation believer who proved himself to be a valuable help in Paul’s ministry.
Epaphroditus – Because Epaphroditus willingly risked his life for Paul and almost died in the process. Epaphroditus was willing to take righteous risks for God’s Kingdom.

In Philippians 2:29, Paul clearly says:

29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

“Put guys like this on a pedestal,” Paul says. “Hold up people like this as examples.”

When we make choices to live like these guys lived, we are living out the Gospel.

In my sermon I said:

When this kind of service takes place, the message of the Gospel is proclaimed in a visible, tangible way.

Instead of being an intellectual idea people are asked to believe, it becomes a present reality people are forced to explain.

Willingly serving others is not the norm in our culture – especially amongst the affluent who want to be served but not do any serving themselves. Thus, when service does take place, it confronts others with the truth of the Gospel message and life transformation it promises.

Be sure and read Philippians 3:1-11 as we prepare for the sermon next weekend!

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