A sermon on living out the Gospel of love, based on Philippians 4:1-9 (Proper 23A).
I saw an advert for an Atheist Convention, basically saying that all religion was bad. I challenged this: isn’t condemning all religion, regardless of whether it leads to love or hate, just prejudice? I will not share the nasty answers that I got! Nobody even tried to address my question.
Scripture, Philippians 4:1-9
The Apostle Paul is not giving us a new law here, but he is calling us to be people who are characterised by rejoicing and gratitude, and to cultivate those attitudes within ourselves. Now, how we go about striving to cultivate these things is given in verse 8:
‘Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’ Phil 4:8
Living the Gospel
It reminds us again of that idea of having the same mind as Christ Jesus because it is all about what you set your mind on. Think about these things. Fill your mind with these things. Seek them out and ponder them. Meditate on them.
We might add: whatever is gracious, whatever is loving, whatever is hospitable, whatever is merciful, whatever makes for reconciliation and peace. Think about these things. Paul urges the church at Philippi to keep on imitating the good things they saw in him, as he kept on imitating the ways of Jesus, who is imitating the ways of his Abba, the God and creator of all.
That way our religion will result in good things, in good lives lived in love, hope, faithfulness, kindness and generosity. This is our work, our worship and our witness. Those that look upon us with open minds will see God and may be saved as a result! This is our duty and our joy, now and always. Amen.