Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shaping Your Worldview - Philippians 3.1-11

If you believe in some cosmic karma, you might need a new worldview. Meaning that there is a cosmic force that will repay, be it good or bad, what one does. “Pay It Forward” is one such ideology from this camp.

If you believe that God helps those who help themselves, you might need a new worldview. People who live this way believe that by our own strength, we do what we can and then God comes along and picks up the slack.

This next one is pretty self-explanatory. If you believe that God wants you to be happy, healthy and or wealthy, then you might need a new worldview.

Finally, if you believe that God is the Big Guy Upstairs, you might need a new worldview. The Big Guy Upstairs is an euphemism for our Heavenly Father. Yet I’ve enjoyed introducing myself to people I meet in the basement because I am challenging and claiming that title as my own. The BGU is akin to corporate bosses or CEOs who have the big picture in mind for the company and how it works maybe to include day to day operations, but to know all who work for him? Naw, that is not happening. He’s doing good to know how many work for his company. Yet our Heavenly Father does know how many there are in His creation, and He knows each of us by name, including those who don’t know Christ.

Now all of these worldviews I shared this morning are real views that I have heard Christians claim. Shaping our worldview is something that we need to be actively concerned. There is always something attempting to reshape it into something else. It is when our worldview is off base, that is when we tend to stumble or worse. We can become jaded, hurtful, or even isolated from our spiritual family.  So how do we properly shape our worldview? Let’s read our text.

1.  We rejoice in the Lord.
Rejoicing in the Lord isn’t just something that we do when times are good. This is what we do when they are bad. Paul has now twice told them to rejoice while he is sitting in prison. Is it easy to rejoice in the middle of the storm, especially if you are the creator of that storm? Not at all. Rejoicing is knowing and being comforted that our Father will work our storm out for our good. It doesn’t mean that we will escape the storm, but that we will weather it. Now if it isn’t a storm, but some injustice, then know that God may balance the scale, he may not.
Rejoicing also helps us to see the good that God is doing. In the previous chapter, Paul tells of their Epaphroditus who was ill, but in the illness, the Lord sustained him. Paul was able to see the good in the midst of his shackles. He is directing us to do likewise.
We rejoice in the Lord not only in the good times, but also in the bad.

2.  We keep on guard.
Staying on guard means that we are watching two fronts. One is the lies from the false teachers. In Paul’s day, most of the false teachers were teaching that good Christians follow the Law of Moses, especially circumcision. At best these teachers are power hungry. What would a Gentile know of the Law of Moses? These teachers would be able to keep their prestige because they knew the Law. They’d have control over others.
Today we might boil that down to the 10 commandments. James would say that the danger of this type of living is that by breaking one law, then we are guilty of breaking all of them. When was the last time any of us were in Jerusalem offering a sacrifice in the Temple? How many have mixed fibers, poly blends? Should I mention tattoos? The Law had the purpose, according to Moses of setting, making God’s chosen people stand apart. Paul says that it also defined sin. We look at the law to see how we’d not be able to obtain a right standing before The Lord Almighty.
But staying on guard isn’t just this teaching. It also comes in the health and wealth Gospel. One preacher in Houston is famous for telling his listeners that God really wants us to be happy, wants us to pursue our best for ourselves. He has the nation’s largest church. People like that message. But our Father didn’t call us for that. He called us to live for Christ.  To live lives worthy of the grace that we’ve received.
Another danger comes not so much from false teachers, but from a lie. Aesop’s Fables is where that one worldview comes from. This is a way that we rely upon our flesh. And yet, when storms come, we also do something else because of this lie. We allow our pride to step in and keep us from sharing our burdens with one another. There is no shame when you let a brother or sister in Christ know that you have a struggle, a hurt, a need.
So in our text, Paul tells us that there is no confidence in the flesh. If there was, then he’d have it in spades. But all that he has is worth nothing.
He would tell the Corinthian church that it is in his weakness that Christ’s strength is made known. Christ doesn’t ask for us to surrender part of ourselves for the Gospel. He wants us to totally surrender all of ourselves. He doesn’t desire just the bad parts, but also our strength, our minds, our heats. Then the Holy Spirit can work in and through us. We need to be on guard.

3.  We realize where our focus should be. This should be our goal, to know Christ more. If we are blessed by a person, aren’t we inclined to know more about him? Here we have a great salvation, a God who wants to know us to the point that He sent his Son for us. All we have to do is surrender to Him. Everything else, all the good we’ve done, all the bad stumbles we’ve made, they are nothing.  This is the attitude Paul had.

When our focus is on knowing Christ, learning how to love others as he’s loved us, when we are on guard by clinging to the Bible, and when we rejoice in the Lord, we will see those in the world as the Father sees them. We will love them as the Father loves us. And they will be receptive to the great news we have. So tell me, what is your worldview?

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