Well, good morning and welcome welcome all of you on this beautiful day and welcome those of you who are online. My name is Ben and we’re going through Philippians. The Book of Philippians were in Philippians chapter two verses one through 11 this morning. So turn to that passage with me polarization and division. That is something that we all are experiencing a lot right now. The last year has been very difficult and the pandemic has enhanced some of the division that was already there. It was kind of undercurrent and has made it bubbled to the surface and we are in a divided country. Uh, there’s division with politics. There’s divisions with racism. There’s divisions with the pandemic and approaches. There’s divisions within the church. There’s divisions between freedom and the greater good and people fight and argue over anything and everything it seems, including things that were just like, are you serious? I mean, come on, it’s almost comical. It’s sad, but it’s almost comical. One example that is a little bit more humorous about a month ago. The there was a fight that broke out between two friends about the quarterback named tom brady from the Tampa Bay buccaneers. And I have no idea what it involved, I have no idea why. But um, these guys developed and embroiled in a heated argument over the future Hall of Fame quarterback and it ends up that they exchanged punches in this one guy punched his friend in the face multiple times. It’s like, come on tom brady! Really? I know that tom brady, you can stir up some emotions, you know, especially if he’s playing against your team, but to punch friend face, that’s crazy. Social media doesn’t help right? And uh, it can inflame things even worse. I have a friend who is no longer talking with their relatives because of the political things that were said on, on social media back and forth. And they got into this, this this fight. And we have all kinds of divisions over all kinds of things. And it spills into the church. And it spilled into our church this past year has been difficult. And there are people in this church, in community groups who have hurt one another, who have gotten into arguments who um have said insensitive things when a person of color, I was sitting right in their groups, in sense of things about race. There have been passionate discussions in our church about all kinds of things about masks, about vaccines, about race, about politics. And there’s been intense discussions and some have left and our passage today, Philippians Chapter two versus one through 11. It’s very important because it speaks to us right here in our church. It gives us instructions and commands on unity in the church and how we should act towards one another in our community groups. And I want to focus on that. What we’re not going to try to change the culture out there. What we need to do is address the culture right here in our church. We need to address the unity in our church and to apply these principles and commands in our relationships right here, in our community groups, in our friendships right here. And so this is a serious thing. This is a big deal. And this is an important passage that speaks to us in our church at this time. And so let’s pray and ask God to speak because this is a really big deal. Well, we do pray, we yield ourselves to you Lord. We just surrender ourselves and ask you God to speak to us in whatever way that you desire, We want to make ourselves available to you and to be sensitive to your spirit, to whatever you want to share with us. Make your word alive and living in active in us this morning. Speak to us as a church about being united and help us to apply these things in jesus name. Amen. Okay, so Philippians chapter two vs one and 2 will start their read with me if then there is any encouragement in christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection in mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way having the same love united in spirit and intent on one purpose. Now this passage here goes through kind of a pattern. There is the pattern of if then how? Okay. And so it starts out here, the very first word in this Philippians 2 1 is the word if if and kind of a summary statements about the things that he’s talking about verse one is essentially if you’ve experienced any good thing in christ. Okay, now he lists a few specific examples. If you’ve experienced any encouragement in christ is how he starts this. Anne any encouragement in christ. So put yourself in this, you know, this questions to you. Have you experienced any courage from christ? Have you received any stability in christ? Any blessing? Any help from other believers? Any encouragement from the word about as you read this book right here, if this book has in any way encouraged you as a believer in christ has encouraged you somehow. Some way, some shape, some form. That’s an encouragement in christ. If you’ve experienced any comforts in his love, life is hard, right? Like there’s all kinds of things that we go through and there’s loss that we experience. A loss of friendships, loss of dreams, times of loss, loss of friends and family through death. Christ is the great comfort and I know about you, but I’ve experienced comfort from christ in a variety of things, in a variety of ways. He says Next. If any fellowship of the Spirits, have you had any aspect of enjoyment from a relationship with God when you pray and you talk to God, have you been blessed by the Lord in any way and the spirits? If you’ve experienced that relationship with God, a friendship with him, any good thing, any good aspect of that? And there’s tons and tons of good things that we experience right in our fellowship with the spirit. And then lastly, any affection and mercy, have you experienced the Grace of God either, you know, uh, for the forgiveness of your sins, The help that you need during a time of need. Grace from friends and family members in christ grace from someone else in this church. Have you experienced any affection? Any mercy? Any grace whatsoever? In other words, this applies to all of us because we’ve experienced all these things. If you’ve experienced any good thing in christ paul is basically telling us here in Philippians Chapter two, he’s laying out this if then and how statement and what he does here with this first passage with the if is he basically includes us all, yep, that’s me. I’ve experienced all those things. So then when he moves to the then and the command portion of this passage, you know, you can have confidence. This command applies to me. So he kind of deals with any kind of questions, removes any kind of doubt about who you are. Okay, yep. This applies to me. There’s no getting around his next statement, there’s no getting around the commands that he gives us. It does apply to us. If you’re a believer in christ, this command applies to you. He moves to the then verse two, then make my joy complete by thinking the same way by having the same love by being united in spirit and intent on one purpose. The summary phrase for this is then be united. So if you’ve experienced any type of blessing in christ which we all have, then we must be united. Mhm Paul gives us four different phrases to describe being United and the first one he says here is make my joy complete by thinking the same way. Now that’s an interesting phrase in an interesting way of saying things and when you look at the greek this is a very difficult concept to translate into the word, into the, into english. And so we see things like be like minded when you look at different translations of the bible in english, be like minded having the same kind of thinking um thinking the same way as the translation we’re looking at this morning. But the concept here and the description that paul is using, he’s talking about having an inner perspective which influences outward actions. That’s the greek word, which is hard to translate, a hard concept to translate. And it’s talking about a mindset, a way of thinking, a way of approaching the way that you think that influences your outward actions, that influences how you act towards each other. Okay, in the concept of being united, right? And it’s it’s talking about having a similar approach to thinking and so it’s more about a mindset than it is about the specific beliefs. And it’s very important to make this distinction when you see this phrase, you know, uh, thinking the same way, what that does not mean is uniformity of thought. It does not mean that we share all the same opinions. It does not mean that we have to believe the exact same things. No, he’s talking about the way that we approach thinking, the way that we approach wrestling through topics. Unity does not mean uniformity. That’s very important. We’re not trying to become a church that has all the same opinions about all the subjects, because if that were the case, uh, it would be a church of one by the name of Ben banana, Right? I mean, I’d be left all alone, Everybody. Nobody could, we could not agree on all the same things all at the same time, Right? It’s impossible. Yeah. Unity does not mean uniformity, but this being like minded this having the same kind of thinking. It’s the approach and the way the perspective, the perspective that influences our actions. It talks about how we’re committed to developing and working through and thinking through things together and so on. A practical level as you are out there, living life, and you hear things that your friends say about topics and they expose their opinion as you read things on social media, as you listen to the talking heads on tv as you whatever. Maybe whenever there’s some sort of thought or opinion or whatever expressed, what this talking, this is talking about is developing your convictions and your beliefs and your thoughts in the context of community, that we as a church would be thinking the same way that we as a church would be approaching those kinds of things together. And I like to kind of call this a developing theology in the context of community, developing opinions in the context of community. Hey, what do you think about this? What the scriptures say about this? How should we think about this? From the perspective of the bible and you’re working through a hashing through it together and there may be disagreement, but you’re thinking through it the same kind of way. It’s totally okay to have a different opinion and to wrestle through things and then in the scripture and to come to a different conclusion. You don’t have to be uniform in that, but the way that we approach it, we need to be united. The way that we kind of describe this and mike is in the other room right now, going through a next steps class, it’s a membership class and one of the things that we include in that is a group of different tiers of convictions and beliefs. Okay, there’s five different tiers and I’ve got them up here on the board And we include this because we want to make the distinction of what is really, really important and what are the things that should not divide us whatsoever. Okay. And there’s different levels and as you move down the levels, they become less and less important for us to have and to hold the same belief. Okay, tier one are the things that we will, those are that’s the hill that we will die upon as a church and as pastors. Those are the things that are cardinal doctrines, the core of our faith, which involves in centers around the gospel and salvation, so man, sin and spiritual depravity, the deity of jesus, christ, jesus atonement on the cross, the physical resurrection of jesus, salvation made possible by God’s grace alone, through faith alone. In christ alone. Those are the things that we will not budge upon and we must be united and share in belief together in order to be in this church together. That’s tear number one. Those are those are some of the very core essentials of faith and what it means to be a christian and be a christ follower. Tier two basic teachings of the christian faith. These are things like heaven and hell, believers, resurrection marriages, one flesh relationship between a man and woman. Those are very, very important things. As we move down this list, you’ll see they become less and less crucial, less less important and more and more ambiguous when it comes to what is talked about in the scriptures and so Tier three is convictions and practices in a church. That’s more things like church governance. Um the role of pastors, eternal security, the role of charismatic and sign gifts in the church. Uh, those kinds of things to hear four personal beliefs or convictions on various doctrines like Calvinism. Armenia is um when jesus is coming back, there’s all kinds of opinions about that kind of stuff, right? Millennial viewpoints, you know? And then the last one. Things that we will not allow us to be divided upon are are things that are not mentioned in the bible and the divisive issues that the bible doesn’t necessarily address. You try to look for principles throughout the scripture and you’re like, okay, how do we apply this? And examples of those things are like political parties, Critical race theory, vaccines, uh moderation, consumption of alcohol. What kind of color a carpet we should have in the church? Right. What kinds of music and music styles we should have as part of those are those are issues that, um, the bible doesn’t address specifically and those are on the lowest level. And we will experience all kinds of opinions in our church and different beliefs on that. And we must not let it divide us. So our approach though should be to work through those things together and to think through those things together and to do that in the context of community and not let those things just divide us. Okay. So he says, if there’s any encouragement in christ, experienced any good thing in christ, then be united, Okay. And the first aspect of that was to be thinking the same way the second one is to love one another. Yeah. To have the same love. Love is a key to being united. Love is so important. Love for one another is the approach that allows us to disagree with one another and yet still remain united. We have to lead with love. Love is a bond which bonds everything together in perfect unity as the scriptures saying Love love love, It must drive our conversations and must drive everything. It must drive how we speak to one another in our community groups. When we’re talking about issues that may be divisive, we have to lead with love. We have to let Love guide our speech. We need to love by listening to one another and trying to understand someone else’s. You point, if someone says something, you bristle, you’re like, I don’t have that same thought. Love is what allows you to stop and to listen and to seek and to understand what that other person is saying. As opposed to just trying to say your piece. Love somebody who disagrees with you. Let Love drive how you act. Let love drive what you say, Love by not gossiping about the other people in your community group are your friendships here in church or the people you know here in church and not slandering others. Love by believing the best about the person that’s sitting across from you and sharing something about their opinions. Believe the best about their intentions and their backgrounds. And love by being willing to persevere through conflict, work through it. Practice forgiveness and listening. You know, my wife and I, we, uh, we get into trouble in our relationship and we have more conflict when we’re just trying to make our points, we’re just trying to get, hey, I want to get my point across right. And uh, and that’s when our, our discussions become heated. That’s when our discussions blow up is when we’re just trying to drive our points across. But when we are leading by love, when we are trying to listen to one another and to understand each other and to work through this this issue, that’s when we thrive. That’s when our relationship can work through that conflict and we seek to understand each other. We seek to listen one other. Okay, I’m getting I think I’m starting understand what you’re saying. Are you saying this? And then she can say yes or no or whatever, and we’re working back and forth, and then we work it out.