Today's sermon began by acknowledging that this is a tough time for our church with the passing yesterday of Tom Bellino, who had been serving as an elder for many years. He had been suffering from an aggressive cancer.
Pastor Ed said that it's difficult partly because he really believes all this - and is profoundly confident that Tom is in a better place. But it's still difficult for us who are left behind. But Tom has already passed through the worst part. Now it's all glory! This will be the best Easter of Tom's life!
Then Ed finished our sermon series on Philippians and Spiritual Growth, looking at Philippians 4:8-20 with Four Organizing Questions.
1) As we grow spiritually, what should we think about?
Philippians 4:8 -- Notice three things:
-- This instruction is comprehensive in its scope. "Whatever..."!
This was a typical ethical list from that day. Doesn't have to be Christian to be worth thinking about.
-- This is the front lines of spiritual growth.
Getting healthy spiritually requires the right mental diet. For all of us, this is crucial.
-- You must choose the source of your thought-life very carefully.
This is why we dive into the Bible every week. We do find what's true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
2) What should our rule of life be? How should we live?
This isn't as comprehensive as the last verse. In terms of character, the scope is narrower. There is a distinctly Christian way of living. Though Christians should be the least judgmental people of all, tolerance isn't the highest virture, love is.
3) As we grow spiritually, where are we headed? What will this look like?
As we grow spiritually, we will become people who want, more than anything else, to know Christ. Philippians 4:10-19
In that culture, orators got money based on how well they spoke. But Paul was saying, It's not about me -- it's all about Jesus. He wants to be sure they understand it's not entertainment.
4) If this is where we end up, what is the by-product?
One word answer: Contentment!
Paul's saying, I can take anything life throws at me, I can suffer, through Christ who gives me strength!
Our own lives are characterized by too much of too many good things. We live in the capital of the treadmill world. How about stepping off? The treadmill does not take us to contentment. We're designed to get contentment through a dynamic connection with God through Jesus Christ.