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Be like Paul.

Today, on this beautiful Sunday, I was reminded of some very important things, as usual. 
I would like to share them with you.

I’ll start with this, “The ground is always level at the foot of the cross.” 

During our virtual church sermon (www.centercville.com) Pastor Josh Miller led us in beginning our new series: To Live is Christ (a study of the book of Philippians). Here are some of my notes from the sermon.

The book of Philippians is the 13 letters that Paul wrote to churches that he had began (see Acts 16).  Paul wrote this book from a prison cell but yet was extremely positive.  He uses the word “joy” throughout.  Although he was in peril, he knew that the secret to “joy” is knowing Christ.

Knowing Christ changes your way of viewing things. 
1. Knowing Christ changes the way you view your SELF.
2. Knowing Christ changes the way you view OTHERS.
3. Knowing Christ changes the way you view PRAYER.

Becoming a Christian is so momentous that it fundamentally changes YOUR identity.  When you become a Christian, BEING a Christian becomes the most important thing about you.  “I am a CHRISTIAN, but I’m also a mommy, a wife, a daughter, a business owner, a Conservative, etc.”

We should view OTHERS as partners in the gospel.  When we remember that we are all partners in the gospel, church life is beautiful.  We cheer for one another!  We celebrate one another! 

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:4-6

We should view OTHERS as fellow partakers of grace.

Grace is God being gracious, adopting an attitude of all-sufficient favour towards helpless and meritless sinners, and acting in line with that; God coming to them in free, unprovoked love, to give them the opposite of our deservings.” J. Alec Moyter

Again, the ground is always level at the foot of the cross.

When Paul PRAYS for his partners in the gospel, not once in the New Testament does he pray for physical things.  It is all spiritual growth.  He kept his priorities in order.  Paul was focused on eternity.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9-11

What we PRAY about, says a lot about who we are.  If we PRAYED like Paul:  instead of “God make me comfortable” it should be “God make me holy.”
Instead of “God make me wealthy.” It would be “God make me faithful.”

If God answered every prayer you prayed last week, would there be any new Christians in our community?

“Why do Christians spend so much time praying for God to keep Christians out of heaven (healing) and so little time praying for God to make non-Christians Christians so they can go to heaven?” Daniel Henderson

Has knowing Christ changed you?

To live is Christ and to die is gain.

The good news of the gospel is that your salvation is not based on what you do, but it’s based on the good work that Jesus has already done.  Your peace with God, comes from the grace of God.

(Sermon is below, begins at 12:40)

Center Church Charlottesville, www.centercville.com, April 19th, 2020

I dug a little more into “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.”
I found a quote from a book called Free at Last: The Message of Galatians

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28).  The law divided the people between Jew and Gentile, clean and unclean, slaves and freemen, male and female.  The law only perpetuated ethnocentrism, racism, and religious snobbery.  Tradition says that a devout Jewish male would pray every day, “Lord thank you that I am a Jew and not a Gentile, a man and not a woman, a freeman and not a slave.”
However, Paul hit the Galatians with an astounding thought.  Slave and free walk hand in hand into the family of God.  Jews no longer need to look down their noses at Gentiles.  The battle of the sexes need not be fought anymore.  Men and women are equals.  The first century was a world of chauvinism, racism, and classism.  However, the Church destroyed all cultural barriers and knocked down the walls of separation.
It is said that after the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee, a devout Christian, visited a church in Washington, D.C. During the Communion service, he was seen kneeling beside a black man. Later, when someone asked how he could do that, Lee replied, “My friend, all ground is level at the foot of the cross. What makes that ground so level?  The awfulness of our sins, the terrible price Jesus paid to forgive them, and the love He has for all people.  Prejudice cannot survive for those who have knelt at Calvary.”

We can all kneel together at the foot of the cross.

I share this with you today as a reminder, again, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. 
Know Christ.  Pray like Paul.  Be like Paul.

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