6/21 Message “A Christian Mindset”

The church will be open as usual for a service at 11 am Sunday 6/21. Food pantry is also open this week 5:30 -7 pm Tuesday, and there will be a Board Meeting on Wednesday. For those joining from home, here is text and recording of Pastor’s message this week from Philippians.

21 June 2020 Sunday Message

Call to Worship: Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in 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 of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Tithe, Offering, and Prayer Concerns: Good morning Father, Creator of all that is good and wholesome; Thank you! Thank you for the morning each day you grant us the opportunity to breath in the hope of a new day. Please bless our gifts and offering, and sanction our very being into service in you and for your kingdom. Amen!

Philippians 2:5-11 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Message: “A Christian Mindset”

There was this guy, who prided himself as a God-fearing man. He prayed to and followed God’s rules about everything. He gave of his wealth (10% possibly), and went to church on the right days throughout the year. He even found ways to forgive others when they missed the mark. This was what we call a God fearing, righteous kind of guy, from a lightly populated part of the land, not like the big city.

By the way, there was a big city. A huge city, with all of the big city things to distract a person or a people from a relationship with the Lord. Our friend along with his companion followers in the Lord used to pray thanks to God for making them uniquely chosen among the peoples of the Earth, and for making them so holy and loved by the Lord, as opposed to the people that lived in that big sinful city.

What the man didn’t realize is that God also loved those sinners, understanding that many of them (even though they had never heard), were open to the Lord’s promptings in their lives. That God was willing to reach out and meet them where they were and grow them, mature them, as they learned to walk with Him.

Well, God decided to send our friend to the big city to share the good news about the Lord loving these people, but our friend didn’t want anything to do with the plan. These guys are nothing like us God! The man explained to God as he attempted to correct the obvious mistake made on the part of the Deity. The guy even tried running away to the ends of the earth before helping these people of sin city. By the way weren’t Sodom and Gomorrah also cities? Ripe for destruction? Just sayin.

But God remain true to the cause, and after some intense adventure our “hero of virtue” finally came to terms with the Lord on sharing the Good News, even with those savages of filth. When our friend’s message from God took off and the entire city repented of their evil ways (beginning with the leaders), a miracle had truly taken place. God decided to spare the city from its iniquity, its past, and have a relationship with all of the willing.

Our friend was incensed, with how loosely God would accept others, sinners, and the unclean into the fold. God even asked our friend repeatedly, is it right for you to be angry? Sparking self-reflection and deep thought, our friend began to ponder. Things just didn’t make sense.

After all, didn’t his people and God have an understanding? With them being uniquely blessed and the rest of the world could return to dust? As he thought and prayed about it, perhaps he could recall how many times God had told his people that all of the peoples would be blessed through the children of God. That is why they were the children of God to be in fact, be a blessing to the earth.

The children of Nineveh had in fact come to terms with God because Jonah had finally accepted his role in God’s plan and shared the news about redemption or destruction with a people who were at odds with Israel. Possibly for the first time, he began to realize that a person doesn’t get to pick who their neighbors are, or the people that we are called to be in fellowship with or, are to love as ourselves. That God does the picking.

And God’s message is consistent regardless if it is Nineveh three thousand years ago, Seattle, Las Vegas, Chicago, or New York today. His message was available and offered to the totalitarian regimes of the past century and are proffered to the regimes of deceit, decay, and oppression of today, and messaged to change! All that is lacking are the messengers. The modern day Jonah’s. Hopefully with attitudes of service and humility!

And we are called to be children of God, by being a blessing to others.

I am excited to talk with you about today’s message which is a continuation of our study into a closer walk in the Lord. We have been following Jesus’ teachings from the “Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 5-7, and applying the Lord’s teachings into our very own lives of fellowship with each other.

To me what’s so exciting is that scripture is so consistent throughout the Bible. Regardless of the setting, God working with Jonah in His and the city of Nineveh’s spiritual growth, or God through Paul instructing the first century church at Philippi in northern Greece, or our little congregation in downtown Ogden Utah; God has a message of hope and unity for a hurting world.

From today’s “Call to Worship” Paul instructs the church of the Philippians chapter 2:2-4 to be;

  …like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Everything that Jonah seemed to struggle with. Everything we all tend to fall into when on the autopilot that is called the human condition. If we could apply these concepts in our own society, just think of the possibilities; people in one spirit and with one mind about civility, justice, and mercy.

This calls in us a change in attitude, as Paul goes on to instruct in today’s message “A Christian Mindset”, from Philippians 2: 5-8, the Apostle reinforces the following:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!

Just think about what Paul is teaching us; God (Jesus) decided to humble Himself by separating Himself, from Himself (the Godhead / Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), to be a lowly person, a servant in human likeness, to save you and me through death on a cross. If we will only believe in Him, trust in Him, and learn to live in Him.

From the place of God, to a falsely accused and condemned criminal, and sinless. (It feels like blasphemy to even think it.) No one has given up more to redeem humanity, and that is the mindset that Paul is calling for us to take on in our own attitudes replacing our perceived self-importance. Right now. Today.

It’s that important to the Lord that we learn to live in harmony. We do that by little by little by living in the now and not procrastinating the opportunities of today into a never ending stream of tomorrows. Our harmony is so important to God that the Lord says in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount that:

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Even more important than your offering to the Lord, is harmony in God’s family. Understanding that if there are some of us that remain hurting, outcasted, or mistreated, the larger part of us, will never truly know the contentment and peace of real harmony.

Just think what kind of world it could be like if everyone was just as dedicated to righting wrongs of omission and commission of the moment, by asking for forgiveness, and then also in the forgiving of those debts of others, and relegating them appropriately to the past.

Starting in our families, then into our church family, out into our neighborhoods and communities, culminating in our society that is in drastic need of an injection of grace in the worst possible way. And it starts with us.

As we practice what Paul instructs us in living in harmony, I believe we become living examples for the people in our community struggling to make the decision to follow our Lord. Who are those people? Here is a quick list of people who are thinking for real about surrendering and following the Lord:

  1. Children
  2. Visitors
  3. Neighbors around the Church
  4. Members in name only
  5. You and me each day we recommit to our Lord

It seems to me and again (what really is important is what you think by doing the heavy lifting of prayer, study in scripture, alone and with others, and then reflecting for yourself) my thought that each day we are called to make choices in our faith walks.

Many times troubles come by way of our trying to get out of the deep thinking and reflection required by God, and instead organize our thoughts in a one size fits all way. This can lead to stereotyping, racism, and outright skewed church dogma and traditions, and has.

It is the same approach that we must take in helping in our community by getting to know those God has placed in our lives. If we don’t and instead apply a one size fits all, we will most certainly be the cause of more pain for the people who we are trying to help.

When we take on the mindset of the Lord in our hearts, placing others before ourselves, and then taking the time to know the people God has placed in our lives, things change! We trust God’s discernment before ours and that God has a greater purpose in opening up our life experiences in others.

We are now ready for the next step which is to take Paul’s example again from his letter to the Philippians, where when reading it we get a better sense of Paul’s commitment to the first century church that he was instructing in the ways of the Gospel. We read in; Philippians 2: 14-17;

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Perhaps the greatest thing about a serious, deeply committed relationship in the Lord or another human being; is the process of pouring ourselves out into another person. But what dose pouring yourself out into another mean?

  • It’s what a couple does when they commit to marry and spend the rest of their lives together, and learn to know each other.
  • It’s when a person is transformed to the point that they want to be baptized because they have been saved!
  • Its what best friends do over time without realizing it.
  • A family that is close and growing closer all the time.
  • A Church that is experiencing a reformation of energy, direction, and commitment to each other and most importantly and especially: God!

The great concept to remember is that if you allow yourself to be totally enveloped in the Lord, that when you pour yourselves into the Lord, He will replenish you as you pour, faster than you can pour, and your cup will overflow.

As I think of last weeks message where the Lord instructs us not to make a major production of our acts of righteousness, but we still must act. We have Oswald Chambers, a theologian from a hundred years ago who wrote a daily devotional “My Utmost for His Highest” (for February 5th), stating much of the same idea in our daily walk:

Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.’ ”

It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket— to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted— not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.

I would add, that when we begin to understand who God is and what we are not, all thought of things or people being below us, becomes a vague memory of our immature past.

If I were to summarize what I believe the Lord is instructing in today’s message, I would note the following:

  1. Have a mindset like the Lord.
    1. Love all of God’s children
    2. Humble ourselves to others.
    3. Place others before ourselves.
  2. Know the people God has placed in our lives.
  3. Pour yourselves into others in His service.

It is my hope and prayer that this week as you explore your beautiful lives and your walk in the Lord, that you may find someone to pour yourselves into. Who knows, it may even be the Lord that you lose yourself into, only to find your salvation’s host. In His precious name;

Amen!

Benediction; Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus