Philippians 1:27 – 2:11

Last Sunday (23 February 2014), I heard an excellent sermon on unity in Christ, based on the following verses:

Philippians 1:27 – 2:11 (NIV):

Life worthy of the gospel

‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Imitating Christ’s humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death –  even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’

I’ve included an edited version of the sermon, MP3 format, in my other blog, http://www.tofollowjesus.org/2014/02/24/the-basis-of-community/   The post is on the topic of Christian community. I feel it’s a useful subject to think about, given the current situation where we see a lot of disunity in various churches.

A Cry from Iran

I watched a documentary today, with the title: ‘A cry from Iran’. It is a documentary on the religious persecution of Christians in Iran.

The DVD’s cover notes contain the following information: ‘An Islamic judge in Iran condemned a zealous Christian convert, Mehdi Dibaj, to death. His crime was apostasy from Islam. Dibaj had already served ten years in prison.

Haik Hovsepian, the leader of Evangelical Christians of Iran, chose to speak out and launch an international campaign for Dibaj’s sentence to be overturned. Haik’s campaign was successful. …

On January 19, 1994, Bishop Haik Hovsepian disappeared. Twelve days later his corpse was identified by his son. The body had been stabbed 26 times. He was not the last to be martyred. Since then several other Christians have been brutally tortured and put to death.

The documentary is the untold story of their sacrifices, courage, commitment and faith.’

If you can obtain a copy of this DVD, I can recommend that it’s well worth your time to watch it.

You can find more details at this site

One of the people interviewed made this interesting comment: ‘There is a thin line between a moderate Muslim and an extremist.’ It’s a comment that should be tested – for example, is there an outpouring of disapproval by moderate Muslims over the violent actions of Muslim extremists?

I would also ask the question – do Muslims find it possible to forgive their enemies?

Your thoughts?