On Sunday, we continued our conversation of Paul's letter to the Church in Philippi (check it out if you weren't able to be with us). The passage centered on unity, with Paul exhorting his audience to "make [his] joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind" (vv.2).
It seems fair to say that unity is prized by social groups. For any family, organization, business or sports team that I can think of, unity is fundamental to fulfilling its purpose. Conversely, disunity becomes a cancer that compromises and, ultimately, destroys a group from the inside-out.
I think that Paul understood how essential unity was to the early Church. Their survival depended on it. He also knew that the most compelling and tangible way for God to reveal his great love and redemptive work to the world was through his people. It had always been that way - from Abraham's family to Moses' nation to David's kingdom. It had always been about a chosen people showing him to the world by living in his love and living out his love. For Paul, living unified in God's love was how the Church would show the world that he was real.
Paul called the Philippian church to unity, but not for unity's sake. Unity was to be the manifestation of their authentic love for one another lived out in response to the love they experienced in Christ Jesus. It was a love that was undeserved yet given freely, a love that meant Jesus becoming nothing so that they could become everything, a love in which he submitted himself to death so that they could come alive.
Their unity in Christ would reveal him to the world - and it would only be possible if they remained focused on him.
"You all are so different. How do you get along?"
"We've never seen people sacrifice for one another like you do."
"You give so much even though you have so little. Why?"
As we move forward together this week, I encourage you to reflect on the questions below and consider how the Lord is leading you to respond.
- Are we who are Sycamore unified in Christ? Would the world see evidence of God's presence in us and among us by observing our relationships with one another?
- Spend time in Philippians 2:5-11 every day this week. What about Jesus stands out to you in these verses? How will you allow his life to inform your life moving forward?