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Greetings and Blessings - 25

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

Greetings and Blessings - 25

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

God's grace and Christian fellowship are indispensable to healthy Christianity. Pastor Greg Barkman concludes his exposition of the book of Philippians.

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Well, in coming to the closing of Paul's epistle to the Philippians, we have come to his greetings and his final benediction.

I've called this Greetings and Blessings. We began our preaching series through the book of Philippians on February 6 of this year, and we come now to our 25th sermon on these four chapters from this epistle. You remember that Paul was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote this church, this epistle, rather, to the church at Philippi, which was the first church established in Europe on Paul's second missionary journey, having been beckoned by the vision, which he saw in the night, to come over into Macedonia and help us. And the first city where Paul and his missionary team preached the gospel was the city of Philippi. We're all familiar with the story of the Philippian jailer who was saved in the middle of the night when that earthquake struck, and already a work had begun in the hearts of the ladies who gathered by the river, Lydia and others who were worshiping God prior to Paul's arrival.

And so it wasn't long until a number of people had embraced Christ as Savior and a church was established in Philippi, and it became one of the strongest churches of that first century world. But why is Paul writing to them at this particular time? The answer is because he has just received a generous gift from them, and it's appropriate, therefore, that he write and thank them for it, and that's what he does. Saving, however, that extended treatment of thanks to the last chapter, but nevertheless that appears to be his primary reason for writing to this particular church at this particular time. And this gift which they had sent to him was only the last in a long string of gifts which they had regularly sent to Paul and his work as a missionary and as an apostle, starting while he was still in Macedonia when he was ministering in Thessalonica about a hundred miles from Philippi, continuing as he moved down to southern Greece to Corinth down in Achaea, and they continued supporting him and his labors when they could, when they could find him, when they knew where he was as he was moving around from place to place. But before Paul thanks them for their generous gift, he encourages them to persevere in the face of trials and persecutions and offers himself and his persevering faith as an example to them in this regard. Paul reminds them of the importance of unity in the church among the people of God, first talking about that in general terms, and then when he gets to chapter four, even being very specific as he singles out two ladies who were not getting along in the church, and he said, help these two ladies, Euodia and Syntyche, to come together in unity and to be of one mind in the Lord. And in that teaching on the importance of unity, Paul almost incidentally brings to us probably the greatest chapter on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the greatest section on the incarnation of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere in scripture, Philippians 2, five through 11. What he's telling them is to have a mind of humility, a mind of unity, a mind of love, a mind of self-sacrifice, and that will bring the unity that is needed to the church. And so he says, let this mind be in you, the one which we see in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, and on it goes. Also in the course of this epistle, Paul warns them about false teachers. That seems to be a theme in nearly every epistle that Paul writes. I'm still amazed at that. It seems like false teachers showed up within months of every location where Paul established churches.

It's just incredible, but that's the truth. And if it happened so quickly in that day, just think how many false teachers there are in our day, watch out, be on guard, be discerning what you listen to on the radio, television, yes, and even in your church, be on guard because false teachers are subtle and they abound. But then after the extended note of thanks in the last part of chapter four, Paul comes to the closing of his epistle where he says, greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Amen. Greetings, verses 21 and 22. Blessings, verse 23. Now these closing greetings that we find in Philippians are found in many of Paul's epistles, but not all of them. It's interesting sometimes to do that, to go through his 13 epistles and note which epistles contain closing greetings and which do not.

I did that this week in preparation for this message today. But these greetings are found in many of Paul's epistles and there's also this distinction. In some where greetings are found, there are specific names mentioned sometimes rather numerously as in, for example, the 16th chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans.

It's almost entirely a list of people. This person, that person, greet this one, greet that one. And then this person by name greets you and this person by name greets you throughout that chapter. And you'll find that in some of his epistles. And then in others, like this one, you will find greetings but no specific names mentioned. Now it's not because Paul doesn't mention names because he does in other epistles in this very section of greetings. It's not because Paul doesn't mention names. He's already singled out Syntyche and Euodius and told them to become unified in the Lord Jesus Christ and he's mentioned other names in this epistle.

But when he comes to the greetings, it's just general. There are no specific names mentioned and you say, well, what makes the difference? Why one in one epistle and the other in another? And the answer is nobody but God knows. Maybe Paul, of course, who's in heaven. And maybe the saints that are in heaven, if God has disclosed that to them, but nobody knows.

Any answer you give to that question is speculation, but it's interesting to notice that distinction. In this case, general greetings, but from four different sources and let's look at them one by one. Greetings, first of all, from Paul himself.

The first part of verse 21. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. This is Paul's greetings to the church at Philippi. He wants them to be greeted.

He wants them to hear his greeting. He wants them to know that he is greeting them warmly and lovingly and doing so as he tells us here in Christ Jesus. And so by doing this in this way, what Paul is recognizing is the importance of the ties of Christian fellowship among God's people, not only in the local church.

Paul is at this time involved in the local church at Rome, but now right into the church of Philippi, but he wants them to recognize ties of fellowship across the miles from this church to that church, from these Christians to those Christians, from Christians who don't personally know most of, if any, of the Christians in Philippi, though Paul knows many of them having established that church, but he wants every one of them to be greeted by the apostle Paul. He wants there to be recognized the special bond that exists between all true believers. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. A reminder that true saints only exist in Christ Jesus. And this greeting applies to those who are truly born again, but there is a special bond of fellowship, ties of fellowship that need to be recognized.

And Paul is doing that here. And so that's the significance of Paul's greeting, but notice please the inclusivity of Paul's greeting. Greet every saint, every believer, all shades of diversity. Now, who were these saints? These members of the Philippian church? Well, some of them were wealthy business people like Lydia, the seller of purple, whose heart God opened that she attended to the things that were spoken of by Paul.

Some of them were rough and tumble Roman soldiers like the Philippian jailer who almost took his own life in the middle of the night and was spared by Paul. And he and most of his household, all of his household who were old enough to hear the gospel and believe received Christ and were baptized and became part of that church. Some of them were slaves like that demon possessed slave girl that Paul finally cast the demon out and so enraged the people of Philippi.

That's what landed him in jail. The owners of this slave girl lost the source of their income when she could no longer tell fortunes, but undoubtedly she became a Christian and became part of the church. So what I want you to recognize is the great diversity economically, the great diversity and the different classes in the church, all the way from wealthy business owners and probably in all likelihood slave owners, all the way down to slaves like this slave girl and everything in between. But they're all equal members in Christ. Paul doesn't give deference to those of high estate and Passover without much recognition, those of low position.

But Paul treats them all equally. Greet every saint regardless of their race, regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of their bank account, regardless of their position in society. If they're in Christ Jesus, greet every saint, everyone who has been included in the body of Christ by the work of God's grace. The inclusivity of Paul's greeting, but we also note the individuality of Paul's greeting, and this is very, very unusual. Greet every saint, singular. Now I should have checked this out to be sure. This is certainly a rare instance of the word saint in the Bible and the singular. It may be the only one.

That's what I should have checked out and didn't. Because I have said in the past that every time the word saint is found in the Bible, it's always in the plural, not the singular. But this case is a very notable exception. Now some would say, well, it's all the same difference. Every means plural. It means a lot of them.

But there is a distinction here. Paul didn't say greet all the saints, plural. He said greet every individual particular saint, singular. And thus Paul points out that every Christian is a valuable member of Christ's body. These are the greetings from Paul. But secondly, we see greetings from Paul's coworkers also in verse 21 when he says, the brethren who are with me greet you. The brethren who are with me, who are they? Well, there's only one that we actually know for sure, and that's because he's named in the opening of this epistle where Paul says in the very first verse, Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi. So when he says the brethren who are with me, we know who one of them is. It's Timothy. So he's certainly involved.

But clearly he's not the only one. There are others. The brethren, not the brother who is with me, but the brethren who are with me. And they are other ministry partners, whoever they may be.

We don't really know. We know that Paul had a number of ministry partners. We know that Paul's ministry partners were commonly coming and going, coming and going.

They were assigned to go somewhere and do something in particular, and then to come back and report. And Paul would dispatch others. And so we don't even know who all was with him at this particular time. It could have been Luke.

It could have been Titus. It likely were others whose names we do not know. But they're all part of the ministry team that had surrounded Paul in Rome and was helping Paul in Rome so that even though he was under house arrest and himself could not travel beyond that house, he had willing and capable helpers who were carrying out the work of the Lord at his direction. And he said, all of these brethren are greeting you as well. They're included in Paul's greetings.

And why are they included? Well, it may have been that some of them asked to be included. Again, that's only speculation. But if they were surrounding Paul and they were in the house, in and out of the house where Paul was chained to a soldier, when Paul was writing this epistle, they very well have been aware. Paul said, I'm writing to the church at Philippi. And so Timothy said, well, please give them my greetings. We do that sort of thing, don't we? I'm going someplace to visit so and so. Well, please tell them hello for me.

Don't we all do that? That would be very likely that some of these brethren had done that. Maybe all of them had. It's also undoubtable that some of them were personally known to the church at Philippi. Timothy certainly was.

We know he had been there. He'd ministered there with the apostle Paul. And so Timothy knew the saints in Philippi.

The saints in Philippi knew Timothy. So it would be only logical that he would be included in this greeting. But others were included as well. We don't know who they were.

We don't know what their relationship was. But they are included again because it's important to strengthen these ties of fellowship between believers. Who else? Well, Paul thirdly greets them from all the remaining Christians in Rome, besides his ministry partners. Verse 22, all the saints greet you. There's that other language, which again makes the distinction between the way Paul put it in verse 21 and the way he put it in verse 22 very notable. Where he said every saint in verse 21, he says all the saints in verse 22.

Paul is very precise in what he says and why he says it. All the saints greet you. Who are they? Well, they're all the members of the church at Rome. Why are they included? Well, it should be obvious that not all of them asked to be included. I'm sure Paul didn't have that kind of personal conversation with every member of the church at Rome, particularly since he couldn't get out of the house and attend their meetings. So we cannot assume that any of them, let alone most of them or all of them requested to be included, like we can assume that with the ministry partners.

In fact, it's more likely than not that most, if not all of them didn't even know that they had been included. Paul writes it, he extends greetings from them, and they probably had no idea what Paul had done. But Paul knew, and he must have known them well enough to know this, Paul knew that they would want to be included if they were given the opportunity, and so he takes the liberty to do it. He's not doing something that he knows they wouldn't be happy about. He just does something that he doesn't have any mechanism to bring about in a personal way, but he includes them. Again, because Paul is interested in cultivating wide fellowship within the body of Christ.

All the members of the church at Rome, most of whom you do not know, all the members of the church at Rome, greet those in Philippi, most of whom they do not know. But this is an important relationship. It is an important tie. It must not be overlooked. It must not be neglected.

It must be cultivated. It's important in the body of Christ. And finally, and this is quite unusual, it's unique really, Paul extends greetings from the Christians in Caesar's household. Verse 22 again, all the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.

Who are they? Well, they are those who are in the service of the emperor who happened to be Nero at this time. Now, some of them may have been members of Caesar's family.

Maybe. Whether there were or not, we do not know. But it's clear that these are domestic servants, many of whom would have been slaves, and others who served in the palace, who's many of whom probably would have been civil servants carrying out the work of government. And they were all considered to be part of Caesar's household, Caesar's operation, those who were involved in that location, that relationship, in serving Caesar in one way or another. And Paul is telling us that there were apparently numerous Christians in this company. Numerous of Caesar's domestic servants have become Christians. Numerous of Caesar's governmental civil servants have become Christians. And Paul says, all the saints of Rome greet you, but I especially want you to be greeted from the members of Caesar's household. Why are they singled out?

Why are they included? Well, it's not totally unlikely that a few of them may have been known to members of the church in Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony, and undoubtedly some of the members of the Philippian church were civil servants of Rome. And it's very possible that they had business relationships with some of the civil servants that were in Caesar's household. So they may have known them.

Again, speculation, but a pretty decent probability. But beyond that possibility, why did Paul include those who were members of Caesar's household, or undoubtedly to encourage the saints at Philippi, and beyond that to encourage all of God's people, to be reminded that though Caesar is hostile to Christ, look at the way he treated Christians, though Caesar is an enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ, though Caesar is no friend of grace to help us unto God, just the opposite. He is an obstacle and an opponent to the people of God. Though that may be true, Caesar, maybe even unbeknown to him, is surrounded by Christians. Caesar's earthly kingdom may be hostile to the interests of the Lord Jesus Christ, but another kingdom is arising in his palace, in his very palace, not only in his imperial city of Rome, but in his very palace. The kingdom of Christ is existing. It's thriving.

It's growing. It is obtaining influence, unknown to Caesar, probably, unseen. It's the silent work of the Holy Spirit of God who is calling sinners of all kinds and classes unto himself and is building the kingdom of Christ, a different kingdom, a kingdom that is not of this world, and yet here it is. It has begun in this world.

It is made up of people who are citizens of this world and who are influencing this world in this unusual way. And please don't lose sight of the fact that the same thing can happen today, the same thing is happening today. We see the growing hostility of many of the mechanisms of this world becoming ever increasingly hostile to Jesus Christ, but that is very obvious and clearly seen, and sometimes that's all we see. And we need to, by the eye of faith, see what else is going on. God is saving his people, some in the halls of government, some in the White House, some in the House of Representatives in the Senate, some in the judiciary, some throughout the civil apparatus which is ever growing and expanding and growing and expanding. And well, that's bad maybe, but that's good because more and more of God's people are participating in this. Don't forget that.

Don't lose sight of that. Don't fail to see the hope of God and what God is doing in this unusual way in Caesar's household in Paul's day and in all the halls of government in our day in the United States of America. Well, these are the greetings. What about the blessings? The closing benediction, verse 23, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Amen. Paul followed the customary epistolary format. He wrote his letters in the same standard format that the people of his day used. It was taught, it was anticipated just like we are taught in school, how to write a business letter, what to put where, where does the inside address go, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Well, Paul followed the customs of his day and in many cases followed them exactly, but in other cases he altered them significantly. And this is one of those cases. The customary Greek closing word is be strong. That's the way they generally close their letters. Be strong. Human emphasis. You be strong. You muster up your courage, your strength. You stand against whatever is opposing you.

You be strong. Paul says the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, be with your spirit. Why? Because this is God centered.

Why? Because this emphasizes man's weakness, but his strength because of the grace of God. The Greeks encouraged people to think that they could be strong within themselves. Paul is pointing out even by this closing benediction that we are weak apart from the grace of God, but in the grace of God, we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. And so a closing benediction similar to all of Paul's benedictions, all 13 of his epistles have a similar benediction. And in every one of them, the most prominent word is what?

Grace. Some of the other wording varies. They're not all identical. They're not all alike.

This one's a little bit different. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, but many translations, many texts, many manuscripts read be with your spirit, which is a little bit different. But grace is common to every one of them. In fact, every one of Paul's 13 epistles begins with grace and concludes with grace.

Always in the beginning, always in the conclusion. Philippians 1, 3, grace to you and priests from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Conclusion, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Amen. It is at the beginning of the epistle. It is at the end of the epistle. It is at the beginning of our Christian life and it sustains us all the way through to the end of our Christian life.

It is at the beginning of whatever God is doing in this world and it concludes whatever God is doing in this world. And what is grace? And you all know what it is, but grace is unmerited favor. But of course, the most important grace is not the unmerited favor that comes from some other person, but it is the unmerited favor that comes from God.

The grace of God. That's what makes this grace so significant. It's wonderful to receive some unmerited benefit from another human being. That's kind. That's welcome.

That's thank worthy. We're grateful for that, but that's limited in what it can do. But if the almighty creator of heaven and earth who has all power and who rules this world unerringly by his power chooses to pour out his grace, his unmerited favor upon you, can you put any price tag on that? Can you conceive of anything that would be more valuable, more important than that?

I can't. Grace. But here, it's not the grace of God as it was at the beginning of the epistle, but the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But of course, this is divine grace. And so it's another testimony to who Christ is.

He's God. God bestows grace. Jesus Christ bestows grace because Jesus Christ is God. If God bestows it, Christ bestows it. If Christ bestows it, God bestows it. So Jesus Christ is the fountain from which the grace of God flows, gushes forth in copious supply.

Jesus is the fountain of grace and Jesus is the reason for grace because God honors his son by giving to him a redeemed people. And if you're saved, you are the undeserving object of God's grace because he has chosen in this way to honor his son. That's why you are saved. That's why you received saving grace.

That's why you are a child of God. Salvation is not first and foremost about you. Salvation is first and foremost about Christ and honoring him. And because God has chosen in this way to honor his son, to give him a great host of redeemed people.

And if by the grace of God, you've been included in that number, what benefit, what blessing, what gift beyond all other gifts could possibly be bestowed upon you? The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. The objects of grace are the people of God. As I say in most manuscripts, it is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, the inner man.

Why? Because that's the seed of sin and rebellion, your spirit, your heart. And that therefore is the focus of God's saving grace. And therefore God changes the inner man. God changes hearts. God changes the spiritual part of us and makes us objects of his sustaining grace. But once again, we are reminded of the unity of God's people, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Amen. And now I conclude with several lessons that grew out of this passage. First of all, the importance of Christian fellowship is certainly emphasized here. Christian fellowship locally in the place where we live and the church where we gather to worship.

It is important that we cultivate fellowship there ties relationships with the people of God, but also beyond that, there are many others in this world who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, most of whom will never have the opportunity of getting to know personally like we do those in our own local fellowship. But we acknowledge that this is true. We acknowledge that God has saved them too.

We acknowledge that God has made them part of the body. We acknowledge that they are brothers and sisters in Christ. We do what we can to recognize and to extend ties of fellowship to them and to cultivate those ties. We acknowledge the reality that exists as God creates his people all over the world, and we endeavor to cultivate the bond that God has created among all his children. We are one body.

We. One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Number two, I see some lessons regarding the key to Christian influence in society.

I'm afraid I irritated some of you a few weeks ago when I touched on this subject, so I've got to be really brave to touch on it again, but I'm going to. To say the key to Christian influence in society is not political directly. There will be a political influence if there is a godly spiritual influence, but that's not the key to Christian influence in society. It is not directly through political influence that we change society, though we do not, and I insist upon this, and I've told you this down through the years, we dare not neglect that area of Christian stewardship. If God has given us a society where we can vote, where we can freely speak, where we can exercise freedom of speech to state our opinion and to try to influence others, we not only can, we ought to use that for the glory of God.

We ought to use that to proclaim truth, but let's never think that that's the best way to change our society because it's not. What we need is for the grace of God to change hearts and that will influence politics directly. Now as I say that, I do want to remind you that we've got an important election coming up. Early voting has already started in some places. I will vote. I am collecting information to cast an informed vote.

I have some things I have cut out of newspapers and have them on my desk right now so that I can become better informed when I go to the polls to vote, and I encourage you to do the same. Every Christian ought to vote. Every Christian ought to exercise our American citizenship for truth and for righteousness and for the kingdom of God, but that's not the way we most powerfully influence our society. It's not political, but spiritual, not political change because we've watched it over the years. We get this change and nothing changes, nothing substantial, maybe some minor things, but nothing substantial. So we change again. Really nothing much changes substantially. We may like it better, but it's still not, it's still a downward slide.

We keep maybe not quite as fast, but still downward slide. That's not the way we transform our society. How do we transform our society? By God's grace changing hearts and Christians individually influencing the people around them wherever they are. Greet the saints who are of Caesar's household. When the grace of God saves people in Caesar's household, then some real influence is brought to bear upon the seat of government. In other words, it is gospel power that most powerfully transforms society. It is Christ's invisible kingdom that most powerfully transforms society. What you say, that depends upon God's sovereign work. I can't control that.

Right. And we human beings, even who believe the doctrines of grace, but sometimes become very Arminian when it comes to the political realm. We'd like to think somehow that we have the power to change things and control society. We need to recognize we are in this, like everything else, totally dependent upon the grace of God. We fall upon our faces before God and say, Oh Lord, if you don't do it, it won't be done. Oh Lord, if you don't save souls, then there is no hope. Oh Lord, if you don't change hearts, then all the work that we do is going to accomplish really nothing lasting.

But Oh Lord, if you do, if you do, if you do, we know you can, but if you do, what changes will be wrought? And that's where our greatest endeavors ought to be upon the gospel, upon strengthening gospel believing churches. You say that seems so slow. That seems so small.

That seems so ineffectual. That's because you're looking at it through carnal eyes instead of looking at it through spiritual eyes and believing what the Bible tells you. Don't lose confidence in the gospel.

Then don't act like you have lost confidence in the gospel by putting your greater confidence someplace else. And that brings me to lesson number three, the necessity of God's grace. Surely all of us recognize our need of it. God's grace can meet every human need. What is your need? What's your need today?

Every one of us could say, well, and have different things. My greatest need right now is for one of my children who is in great need in this way or that way. My greatest need right now is for my marriage that is in trouble. My greatest need right now is for a job that will that will support me in my household.

I need that right now. My greatest need right now is for my health. My greatest need on and on and on we go.

It could go on inexhaustibly all the multitudes of needs that we have as human beings. And I'm here to tell you God's grace is able to meet every need. Do you believe that? The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Let me fourthly talk about the reality of Christian diversity, which is suggested in this text.

I've touched on it, but let me nail it down. God chooses the members of Christ's body, right? We believe that, don't we? We believe in sovereign grace. We believe everyone who is a Christian is there by God's choice, right? God chooses the members of Christ's body.

All classes are included. It's a body of great diversity. It is therefore our privilege and responsibility to acknowledge and embrace what God has done. Someone has said, you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your relatives. Well, your relatives in the family of God, you didn't choose them. Some of them are ordinary uncles and obstinate step brothers and sisters, but God chose them and put them in the body and you are related to them. You didn't choose them, but they're your family and you need to relate to them the way God tells you to.

All classes are included. There's tremendous diversity and we must therefore acknowledge and embrace what God has done. Realizing this, that endeavoring to make inclusive diversity without saving grace is a travesty. So we go by a church and it says, all are welcome as it has its gay pride flag waving out front.

What's the problem there? Trying to include everybody of all diversity completely apart from the grace of God. God's grace not only chooses and saves people of all kinds of backgrounds, but the grace that saves changes them. He doesn't leave them where they are. He doesn't leave them practicing their sin. And for the people of God to say, come on in and keep practicing your sin. You are welcome. You are included.

No, no, no, no, no. It's the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It's impossible to create the diversity artificially by human endeavors. But we must recognize the diversity that God has created and cooperate with it. Furthermore, it is impossible with a mixed multitude to create any meaningful unity within a local body.

This touches upon another problem. How many churches have umpteen members on the role who are not born again? They're not regenerate. They're not saved. And the whole structure of the church seems to be organized in such a way as to encourage that.

Just get people to come in, get them to join. We'll assume that they're Christians without any real evidence of it, without any credible testimony of faith, without any evidence of changed life, without any, any evidence that they really understand the grace of God because God's grace has worked within them. That's a problem. No wonder we have problems recreating the unity that the Bible speaks of when we are ignoring so many important factors. It's impossible with a mixed multitude to have the kind of unity that the Bible speaks of. But inclusive diversity without saving grace is a travesty, but resisting, listen to me, resisting God created diversity is sinful provincialism. There's something within us in our Adamic nature that prefers to be with people just like us.

We feel more comfortable with people of the same race, the same color, the same interests, the same economic background, and so what do we have? We have churches that cater to this class and churches that cater to that class. Someone has said that the American church on Sunday morning is the most segregated place in all of America. And that's true.

And why is that? Well, it's a longstanding problem that won't be changed overnight. But one thing is for sure, we've got to resist our Adamic tendency to look for the place and the situation where we feel comfortable and start acknowledging what God tells us in his word and what God has done and start reaching out to embrace those whom God has chosen and whom God has placed within the body and making, treating them like they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. That we have a special, warm, glad, welcoming relationship with every true born again believer in the body of Christ, regardless of their background or their similarity to us culturally or not.

And I probably stepped on enough toes for now and so we'll stop. Shall we pray? Thank you, Father, for this wonderful little epistle of Paul to the Philippians and all that it contains. Oh, Lord, give us eyes to see what is there. Give us hearts to receive what you teach us. Give us desires to obey what your word directs us to do, that we may bring honor and glory to Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-23 18:36:10 / 2022-12-23 18:50:38 / 14

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