Philippians 2:1-2 - So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
That's Paul's prayer for us, and it's one he prayed for the Philippians. The apostle often prayed for the unity of all believers to whom he ministered in the cities and towns of the ancient world. Yes, be "of the same mind," he said, be like-minded in a world too often at odds.
That's the harsh reality: our world is really quite divided. This planet in truth is fractured. You wouldn't notice the divisions and the separation if you orbited this globe from hundreds of miles up in space. No, you'd see the grandeur of God's excellent creation.
But we've done plenty of damage here. We've divided His world. We've separated ourselves from one another, setting ourselves at odds by our disobedience to His Word and will. Adam and Eve plunged us into disarray by their deliberate rejection of God's command. And now we all follow suit.
We share in that rebellion. We contribute to the disorder. We live in the harsh reality of sin—sin we've inherited and sin we commit. We disagree with one another; our wills clash; we demand our way, and insist on the paths we've laid out for ourselves. But we don't simply sin against one another; we sin against God. The harsh reality is we are divided. We're fractured. We're no longer simpatico: "one mind."
Until Jesus saves us. Until Jesus seeks and finds and rescues us from our self-imposed brokenness.
Jesus was on a singular mission—one He accepted when the time had fully come and "who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:6-7).
The Son of God did not refuse to leave the glory of heaven: the glory He shared with the Father and the Spirit from eternity. No, He did not disdain us. He didn't say, "No!" to the Father's will or to entering this world of hostility and separation and cruelty and sin. He said, "Yes!"
He said, "Yes!"
"And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8).
And when His work of saving us was finished, the Father raised His Son from the dead, magnifying Him in eternal glory. "Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
Are you longing for a home, a fellowship of believers who will welcome you and support you and serve you? Listen now as the Holy Spirit invites you to come to worship, to hear God's Word, to receive His forgiveness.
The invitation is always open.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, empower Your church as a like-minded community, serving others in divided world. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From a message written by Rev. Ken Wagener for Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Do you find the world to be disjointed, fractured, or do you think life as we know it is just the normal state of affairs for mankind?
2. Why would unity and fellowship be important issues for the apostle Paul? What were some of the things he had to deal with that caused discord in his day?
3. Do you suggest your church to others as a place where they will find a welcoming attitude and a spirit of fellowship? Why or why not?
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