We continue with the second sermon of our Unravelled Series and this week we are Unravelling our Faith. Of course, this “Faith” is the Christian Faith - our beliefs, our convictions and our values. It’s who we are and what we represent as Believers in Christ. This faith is all powerful, all joyful and wherever we go, we should be joyfully infectious to the people around us! But more often than not, as Christians, we do not embrace the full potential of our Faith!
In this week’s passage (Philippians 2:12-15), the Apostle Paul stresses three main things along the central idea of obedience to our Faith!
1. SAME-SAME, No Difference
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
As Christians, we are to be Same-Same, No Difference when we’re in church or outside of church. Paul called for the Philippians to be obedient to their Faith, regardless of whether he was there with them or not. Essentially the whole verse paraphrased from the original language meant that the Philippian church should be obedient Christians all the time. Be the same – no difference - whether Paul was with them or not and they need to continue to work hard to show that they are Christians and be serious about it because you were bought with the blood of Christ!
People can improve their behaviour or behave properly when they are among church people or when the Pastor is present, but this verse tells us that as believers we are to behave the same regardless of the place or the people around them.
2. SAME-SAME, but Different
This second point gives us instructions to be Same-Same but now Different. As Christians, when we have the same values inside of the church and outside of the church, we will become different from the world whether we like it or not.
Jesus Himself, when praying for us before going to the cross said that the world will hate us because we do not belong to the world, just as He doesn’t belong to the world (John 17:14). Hence this next portion of this passage is vital for us.
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
So, this is like a partnership with God. Our role is to be the same inside the church and outside the church and God will work in us to fulfil his purpose!
3. SAME-SAME, Make a Difference
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
Lastly Paul told the church to be Same-Same, and to Make a Difference. After quoting Deut. 32:5 he asked the Philippians to be pure and blameless and not be like the Israelites of the Old Testament – warped and crooked. Instead he called upon them to shine like stars, like a navigational beacon that would shine in the dark to lead the ships to safety.
To see how this is done, we look to how Jesus made a difference. He did it with 3 alphabets – T.L.C.! In John 4: The Samaritan woman at the Well, he
T: Went out of his way to seek this woman (verses 4-6) – He took TIME for her.
L: Put aside laws and traditions (verses 9-18) – He let her LEARN about himself and he learnt about her. In fact, he already knew her prophetically.
C: Had a meaningful conversation with her (verses 19-26) – he drew the conversation to be about CHRIST the Messiah. And she finally understood that the Messiah is important to her and Jesus revealed “I am He” (verse 26).
In other words, he evangelised to her in a relationship! And verse 39 records for us that many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.
So, as we venture into the world we live in this week, let’s remember that we are called to carry our values as followers of Jesus and be of no difference; yet as that happens, we inevitably will be different from the world and hence, we need to rely on the Lord who will partner with us to fulfil His purposes. With that, we can make a difference in our schools, communities and our places of work by extending T.L.C., just as Jesus did!
Have a great TLC week!