Thursday, October 20, 2016

Suffering and Salvation

Devotion: Philippians 1:27-30

Editor's Note: Given my travel schedule last week I was unable to post a devotion. This week will pick up where we left off.
The Apostle Paul's major call to the Philippians is to be united in and with Christ. This unity is couched in the incarnation of the Son of God (more on that in a few weeks) and is expressed in facing suffering for the sake of Christ with humility and grace. When we are united to Christ, the pain and suffering we experience in this world for the sake of Christ becomes for us a sign of our salvation, even as it serves as a sign of destruction for those who inflict upon the beloved of God (i.e. the Church, see Philippians 1:28).
Suffering is difficult (I know, understatement of the age). In the midst of suffering, therefore, God gave us the gift of community. We stand together for the Gospel, encouraging and modeling a life lived well through faith in Christ Jesus. We share in the suffering of our sisters and brothers in Christ even as we stand firm in our faith. We cannot back down, we cannot retreat, and we cannot compromise when the Gospel is at stake. The truth of the salvation we have in Christ is the one and only truth that can set us free from sin and death. To deny, dilute or deflect this truth is to be complicit in the destruction of others.
Our place is to stand together as a church community, to understand that if we truly stand for Christ we will not only be ostracized, but actually endure true suffering. For a while in our country this was not the case. Christians held the majority and the dominant position in the culture. Now, we can see that a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ is not only out of favor culturally, it is quite frankly, condemned as bigoted, hateful and cruel. Yet we must stand firm and encourage one another to do the same. We can no longer avoid conflict because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at odds with the spirit of the age--the spirit of this age that promises freedom, but gives slavery, that promises fulfillment but leaves empty, that promises truth but tells lies. The spirit of this age wants us to put our own comfort and ease first, meeting our desires and wants first, turning in on oneself. Yet, it is precisely this that traps us in the downward spiral of sin and shame. The Gospel liberates us, reshapes us and truly frees us by turning us away out from the self to the other, putting the desire for God first and seeing that suffering is to be desired for the sake of Christ.
This means we will need one another to encourage and be friends along the road of faith. It also means we will need Christ to be a truest companion in faith as we live for him. For suffering is not a sign of being God-forsaken, but rather our salvation won for us by the suffering servant, Jesus Christ our Lord!

News and Events

  • Trunk-Or-Treat: October 31. 5-7 p.m. we will host a trunk-or-treat in the parking lot of CPC. Decorate your trunk, grab some candy and come spend time in a great outreach event.
  • Wedding Shower: Emily Martin is getting married in November and the church will be hosting a wedding shower for her November 6 at 2 p.m. Ladies, let's surround Emily and Miguel in Christ's love.

Shout Outs

A long overdue shout out for Joe Miller this week. Joe works tirelessly keeping the church's IT up and running. Honestly, if you enjoy any aspect of CPC's electronic presence (from radio to webpage), Joe Miller is the man to thank.

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