PHILIPPIANS 2:1–8 ESV
“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. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 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. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
In our text this morning, we’re dealing with the Christians that are found in Philippi. There were houses churches all throughout, supporting Paul’s mission and ministry through giving, but these churches didn’t all get along. Part of Paul’s mission was to spread the gospel in such a way that it mobilized Christians into churches and communities of believers that could further the message.
But, if the communities couldn’t get along, then sharing the same vision, mission, and mindset would sabotage the success of spreading the message of salvation throughout the world. And even worse, if they couldn’t put the good of others first, as we read in vv3–4, then they would be missing the character of Jesus altogether, and the gospel they would share as a result would be void of power.
So, today we want to focus on team development. Using our football theme for this series is intentional because we are starting new routines that include new opportunities. For some its back to school and work, for others its adjusting to the routine of family life and traffic patterns. But for us in the Church, this is a time for us to hear the call to GET IN THE GAME; to re-engage our spiritual disciplines and our mission-mindedness.
Last week we talked about DRAFT DAY, how God desires to equip you and use you for a redemptive purpose in the world. Today, we talk about team development because once we have the players on the field (or the people back in the church), its our time to become a redemptive force in our community.
We become a powerful force for God when we are engaged in our spiritual lives. If you are growing, then you are reflecting more and more of Jesus to those around you. If you are involved, then you are working for the formation of other people. What we want to see for our church is a team that shares the same mind of making disciples who make disciples.
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” In order to do that, we have to share that vision as a team. We have to put the salvation and transformation of those around us first.
Friday afternoon, I put together a video that I think will help us out. I spend time with Coach Alan Nicely, our director of missions and evangelism. That is how we know him. But to the rest of Smyrna, he’s Coach Nicely, the 32 year Cobb County educator, 28 year football coach, 7 of which he was the head football coach for the Campbell High School Spartans. I want you to listen to Coach talk about team development and see how perfectly it translates into Christian discipleship and ministry.
Among all the important things Coach said, there’s two things I want you to take away from his message, if nothing else: 1) fundamentals—the basic, ground level things that undergird all that we do; and 2) love one another. Loving one another is the essential, foundational piece of everything we do as Christians. When we love one another and practice this fundamental characteristic, we prove Christ to be in our hearts and alive in the world. The love of Jesus Christ overcomes all manner of evils and sins.
I can’t help but think about the hate and the evil of racism that took place in Virginia this past weekend. Folks, if we want to show the world Jesus Christ, then we must open up our arms with a supernatural power and unleash God’s presence through our words and actions. Our mission to make known the saving knowledge of Jesus can’t happen without us being grounded in the fundamentals, founded on love, and developing as a team each and every day. This message depends upon you knowing your Bibles, praying often, and raising your children to know the transforming love of God! These fundamentals are what grow us into the image of Jesus for the world to see and know.
So, will you join us in the mission to making disciples, of transforming the world? Will you be developed as a team by learning and practicing the basics so that Christ is known? Will you get in the game, and play your role in God’s mission to the world? I pray you will and I hope you will come talk to us about it. There’s more to come next week. Amen.