Philippians 2 is the bloodline of a Church rooted in the Gospel and shaped to reach a world for Christ.
Philippians 2:5–8 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
It’s important to see the truth presented in this passage. Jesus never “became” God. He has always been God the Son from everlasting to everlasting. His incarnation is proof the character of God is to give, serve and lay down His priorities and rights for others. Jesus laid aside the blessings of heaven to bring heaven to us.
Now if we serve a Savior who so willingly laid down what was rightfully His (the eternal presence and enjoyment of God) to bring us into the presence of God, shouldn’t we do the same for those who are not yet in God?
It is for that reason we ask people who come to our services to do three specific things that annoy the heck out of “consumer” Christians.
Number 1. We ask that you check your beautiful little children under age 10 in our children’s program as we do not allow those under 10 to come into the adult service. While we know that many of you have children who can quietly listen to the messages, we have also had a long history of distraction from the Gospel because some children aren’t quite as tame. Hey, every child is different and that’s great! But we believe the Gospel is so important we want our auditorium to be as distraction free as possible so all may hear what Christ has done. AND we want your kids to hear the Gospel in a presentation that fits their age group with other kids who they can befriend. Let the sweet fellowship of heaven start young, Amen!?
Number 2. We ask that you sit close to the front and NOT in the back. Our incredible ushers do such a great job making sure everyone finds a seat but they also want to make sure we make as much room for everyone. Having church is like putting on a concert without selling any tickets. We never know how many seats we will need. So let’s make room for those who are NOT YET HERE! Further on this point, I’ve been a New England Christian my whole life and there is one thing I have observed clearly: New England Christians LOVE the back seats in church and the box seats at Fenway. WHY IS THAT? Is God’s presence, the worship of Jesus and the Preaching of the Cross less attractive than a home run over the Green Monsta??? Come on! No way! As wicked awesome as a homa’ can be, it can’t compare to hearing the truth of God’s Word about me! So get here early and sit up front with anticipation. God meets you here!
Number 3. (And this is an area where we need some work.) We ask that you MOVE INTO the center of your row. I know, I know… the side seats are so much more comfy. You only have to rub shoulders with one other “dirty” New Englander. But the fact is – as a Christian, you are called to the unclean masses, to touch the untouchable and love the unlovable. Surely sitting in the middle of the row is a TINY step in the direction of Christ’s mindset (read Philippians 2 again for reference) as you make room for people who are coming to our church.
Our church is growing fast. These are small accommodations we can make so that the Gospel can be heard. We also have our parking lot expansion in the works to make more room for all who are coming. God is moving. What a privilege and joy it is to be part of a church with problems like this!
So if you are into the whole “following Christ” deal presented in the Bible… perhaps a great way to experience the love of Jesus THROUGH you is to lay down your rights and privileges for others. Yes, you could be a consumer Christian. You can get annoyed with us and demand your back row seat or plant yourself in the end-of-the-row-seat or get ripping mad at our children’s policy. I hear you. That path is popular and well worn in America. But Christians are called to be different than Americans. We aren’t in this for what we can get out of it because we already got promised eternal life in heaven – where there are no back seats, end-of-the-row seats or children’s ministry. There’s “only” the glorious God of all eternity in His beauty and radiance for our eternal satisfaction and enjoyment.
These temporary and significantly small sacrifices can’t compare.
(see you this weekend).