It was to the church in Philippi that we find some of the most heart-wrenching words written from a pastor's heart. Paul the apostle, sitting in a Roman prison, hindered from visiting the church in Philippi himself, jotted a note to the church and wrote, "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:19-21, NKJV).
When looking for someone to care for the church, as Paul carefully and prayerfully considered those closest to him, only Timothy sought the Lord first alongside of him. Everyone else he could think of wanted their own things, selfishly. Isn't that sad? Nothing halts the joyful progress of the gospel more than those who selfishly serve, not seeking the things which are of Jesus.
As God raises you up to serve in your local congregation (Psalm 75:7), unity and like-mindedness with Jesus and your spiritual leadership is vital. If not, fruitfulness will be withheld from heaven if you choose to serve with your own agenda, in opposition to the flow of ministry in that particular fellowship, under the careful oversight of your spiritual leadership.
Please be careful here; some people think that like-mindedness means a loss of personal identity or a faltering attempt at conformity. Others may think they should submit to their leadership even when there is sin present - but that's not it at all. There is great diversity in every church and the true beauty of His Body is how God works all of our gifts, talents, and personalities together for His higher good. Additionally, God never encourages submission to sin, especially sin within spiritual leaders. No, like-mindedness is the sweet fragrance of unity that is shared among men and women whom God has knit together by the love of Jesus.
The word used in the New Testament for like-minded is "phroneo" and depending on the context used, it means to have an understanding, to be wise, to feel and think along similar lines. Amos the prophet put it this way, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3, NKJV).
"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:1-4, NKJV).
Serving Jesus within your local church requires a lot of prayer and seeking out the unique reason God has placed you in His service. If you choose to do your own thing - your own way - apart from the unity given to us by His Spirit (Ephesians 4:3), it will be a long, hard, and frustrating road of ministry for you and your church's leadership. However, if your heart resonates with the heart of Jesus, with the heart of your pastor, with the heart of your overseers, and with the heart of your fellow servants, oh what a difference you'll make for the Kingdom of God. Pray for like-mindedness with your pastors and leaders - that's a prayer God will surely answer!
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:20-23, NKJV).
We take you into the New Testament book of Romans on this Tuesday. And in the middle of chapter one we encounter the subject of the wrath of God. While it’s understandably not a favorite subject it’s an essential one none the less. It’s what the unbeliever will face unless they believe, and what the believer has been saved from. And thinking about the bad news makes the good news all the sweeter.All Sermons by Pastor Ed Taylor