A sermon series from Philippians
What job should I take? When should my kids start dating, if ever? Is prom OK for my daughter to attend? How much house can I afford? Let's be honest, living the Christian life is hard. We are constantly faced with decisions that have huge consequences while we desperately seek guidance. Worse, the Bible doesn't make those decisions for us ... or does it?
Such was the case in Christianity in Philippi. They were at the crossroads of life. Geographically they were the crossroads of Europe and Asia along the Via Egnatia traveling from Rome to to the deep East. Economically they were the crossroads of trade, their greatest financial boom after Phillip II of Macedon exploited the nearby gold mines and robbed the region of its natural resources. Socially they were the crossroads of cultures after Mark Antony defeated both Brutus and Cassius and settled many of his veterans in the region. Religiously, they were the crossroads where Christianity was a threat to Roman gods like Jupiter and Mars, the Thracian goddess Bendis, and a host of Egyptian deities like Cybele. Such was the melting pot of Philippi in which this little church began to flourish.
Yet, while the early church could be praised for much, it was this last concern that weighed heavily on the Apostle Paul. The religious crossroads left the Philippian believers attempting to make practical decisions of faith in daily life that could help or hinder them. It wasn't the big decisions that caught the attention for Paul. The church was in fellowship with the gospel (1:5), loving one another (1:9), and helping the global work of ministry (4:10). The albatross of the church would have been the navigation of these daily routines.
Can't you feel the disconnect in your own life between the theology of Sunday and the practicality of Monday? Are you like so many Christians whose pendulum swings from liberalism in the freedom Christ offers to legalism in your zeal to obey Him? We're not struggling over eternity, whether to go to church, or if we should have a devotional life. It's the daily routines that trip us, giving us grief that we disobeyed Christ or false assumption that He doesn't care what decisions we make in life or lifestyle.
So Paul expresses his prayerful desire for these believers as they navigate the crossroads of life. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (1:9-11).
- Love in truth and discernment
- Decipher the best among the good
- Remain pure until they see Jesus
- Demonstrate Christian character reflecting Jesus
- Glorify and worship God
This is a life of truth, discernment, purity, character, and worship. Isn't that the kind of life we want to demonstrate as we live out the journey of Christian faith? Such a life is impossible if we settle the big things and leave the daily things to our own whims. This life demands that Christ reigns supreme in every choice, in every attitude, and in every crossroad.
These are Christian crossroads. This is Philippi. This is us.
Join us Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. to navigate Christian crossroads.