Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

Speaker: Phil Vischer

Series: Partnering Together For The Gospel

Where Does Joy Come From?

Everyone wants to be happy. We chase happiness in 1000 different ways. But if we think about it, there are two different kinds of happiness – “cookie happy,” and “hug happy.” Eating a cookie makes us happy, but it’s a shallow happiness that doesn’t last very long, and leaves us needing more and more of what gave us that happy feeling. The happiness that comes from a hug – from a relationship with someone we love and who loves us – that’s a much deeper, longer-lasting happiness. Another word for “hug happy” is “joy.”

Paul has joy, even though he’s in prison. How is that possible? In chapter 1 of Philippians, he hints at three things that give him joy: 1) Remembering his good friends, the Philippians. 2) Remembering the work they did together, sharing the good news about Jesus, and the fruit that work bore. And 3) Remembering God’s promises – how, on the day of Jesus, God will set everything right, allowing us to live in the kingdom of God with no sin, sorrow or death. Living the way we were designed to live.

In chapter 2, Paul goes further. He says the way to make his joy “complete” – so full he could bust – is if the Philippian Christians would share one mind and one love. If they would have unity of purpose. If they would share “the mind of Christ,” sacrificing for one another just as Christ sacrificed for us all.

This sort of self-sacrificial unity is what Paul wanted to see in the local church. Like our church, Wellspring.

Merging Living Water and Wellspring required bending to the needs and desires of each other. It required Blanchard, as the larger, older, and culturally more dominant or “privileged” group, to bend more. We saw this in the attitudes of Blanchard elders who worked on the merge team. We see it when older, white Christians adopt “one voice prayer,” a tradition from the Korean church that strikes many white Christians as uncomfortable.

But even though Wellspring is growing, and the merger appears to be successful, we still need to see the dominant culture bending more to our minority culture brothers and sisters. Joy comes from working together, in unity, to bring about the kingdom of God. And in a diverse congregation like Wellspring, those of the dominant culture need to bend further. Creating space for those who aren’t “privileged” by our culture, with joy, is a witness to the world around us, and a living proof of the kingdom of God.

What do we have to offer our neighbors around us? A new way of living… in diverse community, united by the mind of Christ, and marked by joy.