141019 Philippians 2:1-4

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Philippians 2:1 – 4
Theme: Serve the Savior with a Smile!
1. Rejoicing in His Love
2. Gladly Serving Others

"Service with a smile!" This is a phrase you hear quite often from those who work in service related jobs. Those who work in places such as restaurants or department stores are encouraged by their employers to smile as they serve the customers. Why? Smiling to the customer tells the customer that you are happy they have chosen your place of business. Smiling says to the customer, "I happy to have the opportunity to serve you in some way today." As members of Christ's Church, all of us have an opportunity to serve; to serve our Lord and those around us. This section of God's Word before us from Philippians chapter 2 encourages you and me today: "Serve the Savior with a Smile!" Serve the Savior with a smile as you rejoice in His love; Serve the Savior with a smile as you gladly serve others.

Did you catch the reference to the loving Triune God in the opening verse of chapter 2? God the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write, "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his [that is, God the Father's] love, if any fellowship with the Spirit . . ." The comfort sinful mankind has is that God the Father showed his love for sinners by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for sin. In his first letter, John writes, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him." The Savior, Jesus Christ has united all believers into a close relationship with himself. Ephesians chapter 5 tells us that "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." All those who are led by the Holy Spirit to believe in Jesus as their only Savior from sin, enjoy fellowship with him as he makes their hearts his temple. As we read in the first letter to the Corinthians, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your won; you were bought at a price."

Justification and Sanctification. These are two major teachings found in the Word of our God. What is the relationship between what Jesus has done for you and me (Justification) and our service to our Lord (Sanctification)? What is the relationship between our being declared not guilty of our many sins through the blood of our Savior, and our service to the only true God? Before we are able to talk about what you and I may do for our Savior-God, we first need to hear what he has done for us. Only after you and I have heard the Good News of the Gospel will we be filled with the proper desire and motivation to serve our Savior.

What is it that Jesus Christ has done for you and me? The holy and just God demands that you and I live perfect lives. Only those who are able to stand before him with no sin are able to enter into his kingdom of heaven. But, you and I need to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror of God's Law. As we do, it becomes very clear that there is no way you and I are able to claim to live a perfect, sinless life. Not one of us can claim to have earned our place at the Father's side in heaven. You and I have inherited our sinful nature from our parents. Sin shows itself as alive and well in your hearts and mine as we sin against our God by what we say, do or even think. As a result of this sin, you and I have earned only one thing: punishment forever in the fire of hell. As we read in the Old Testament Lesson for today from Ezekiel chapter 18, "The soul who sins is the one who will die!"

But our loving Father in heaven has made you and me a promise. That promise is that we will not die, but live. Why? When you and I come before our Lord and confess our sins, we know that we are able to pray with confidence, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." How is this possible? It is only because of Jesus Christ. God the Father's one and only Son willingly left his throne of glory, and humbled himself to live in our place. Jesus Christ lived the perfect life God demands. He died the death you and I deserve. The resurrection of our Savior is the guarantee that the price paid by him is acceptable to the Father. God the Holy Spirit, working through the powerful Word of God, placed faith in your hearts and mine. The forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ won for all people is our personal possession to enjoy. You and I are forgiven of all of our sins only because of our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. So...we smile. Our hearts are filled with joy, as you and I rejoice in the love that our Savior-God has shown to each and every one of us.

My dear friends in Christ, I pray that, rejoicing in his love, you see clearly what the gracious loving Savior-God was willing to do for you and me! The ultimate price was paid on our behalf, so that you and I are able to be confident of our full and free forgiveness through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now we are ready to go on. Now we are ready to talk about service to the Savior with a smile. Rejoicing in the love of Jesus, you and I serve the Savior with a smile, gladly serving others.

If you have ever had the opportunity to watch the San Antonio Spurs play the game of basketball, it quickly becomes apparent why they are successful. They play together as a team. They constantly pass up the ball to a teammate, looking for the best shot. How do you and I work together as a team? How do you and I gladly serve others? God's Word before us tells us that a Christian's life of service is made up of three parts. First we read the encouragement to be "like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." We are to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to have a common goal, and work together toward that goal. Second, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." This advice goes against anything we hear from the sinful, unbelieving world. The sinful world, and our own sinful natures tell us, "Look out for old number one! Do what you want to do, and don't give a thought to anyone else." But, serving the Savior with a smile, means being humble as you and I serve others. It means looking out for what is best for those around me. That's the third and final part of serving the Savior mentioned here, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Rather than simply thinking, "How is this best for me?", you and I are to consider what we say and do and how that benefits our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write these words almost 2,000 years ago. How do they apply to us gathered here today? First, you and I realize to do what we read here in God's Word is difficult for us. Far too easily you and I give into the sin of selfishness. Far too often we only look at what is best for us personally. It is at those times that we do well to remember what our Savior, Jesus Christ, was willing to do for you and me. Looking only to what was best for sinful mankind, looking only to what was best for you and me, Jesus willingly gave up his perfect life to win your forgiveness and mine.

In response to this great love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, you and I are to be "like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." We are to be united in our purpose for existing as a congregation here in Oconomowoc. This means we are to be untied around our congregation's Mission Statement which reads: "Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life." Of course, this does not mean that we will always have 100% agreement on how we are to carry out the mission and ministry of our congregation. "Is now the time for us to build or should we continue to wait?" "Should we build just a new school or an entire new campus on our property out on Highway P?" "What about our staffing needs?" These are questions that we may have disagreements about. What do you and I do then? Again, God's living and powerful Word, written so many years ago, still applies to us today: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." In what I say and what I do, God's Word tells me that I am to consider what is best for my brothers and sisters in Christ here at St. Matthew's. As we as a congregation will need to make some important decisions in the coming months, constantly be asking yourself and wrestling with the question: "Is how I feel about this decision or that decision simply about me or my feelings? Or, is this decision or that decision what I see is best for the entire congregation and our Gospel ministry now and in the future?" Rejoicing in the love of Jesus, you and I serve the Savior with a smile, gladly serving others just as our Savior served us, and continues to serve us day after day.  Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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