Advent Second Sunday
By: Thomas E. Brewton
Christians must strive to live a life of Christ-like humility, while living in the world.
Sundayâ€™s sermon at the North Stamford, Connecticut, Long Ridge Congregational Church was preached by the Rev. Dennis Reiter. His texts were Philippians 1:27 – 2:11; 4:2-3 and Acts 16:12.
Rev. Reiter noted that, as described in the passage from Acts, Philippi was the leading city of that district in Macedonia and, equally important, was a Roman colony. The latter made the Apostle Paulâ€™s preaching more dangerous than otherwise, as the citizens of Philippi were more than usually sensitive to any doctrine that Roman authorities might construe as subversive to Roman rule.
Nonetheless, despite being beaten and jailed, Paul and Timothy persevered and established an important church in Philippi. Writing his epistle to the Philippians a few years later, Paul offers his advice to the members of that church.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be savedâ€”and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to
suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:27-30)
The key passage for Rev. Reiterâ€™s sermon was â€œ…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.â€
What does it mean to conduct oneself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?
Imitating Christâ€™s Humility
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 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.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deathâ€” even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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.
Shining as Stars
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyedâ€”not only in my presence, but now much more in my absenceâ€”continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:1-13)
No one living in this world can see the overpowering majesty of God directly. But we can see what God intends for us by striving to imitate the life of Jesus Christ, by humbling ourselves and seeking to help our fellows in their times of need and tribulation.
We cannot do this on our own. Only with Godâ€™s help can we approach an imitation of Christ.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776 [http://www.thomasbrewton.com/]
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.