Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide SA
SUN 04-OCT-2020 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon
Pentecost 18 – In our Western culture, a person's status and worthiness can often depend on achievements such as academic success, a good annual income, and the ability to accumulate stuff, in the hope that they will bring a sense of satisfaction and well-being. In first-century Philippi life was understood quite differently, and a person's worthiness and status could largely depend on the 'badge of office' for position in a hierarchy. In the letter to the Philippians, Paul related how he had formerly acquired some impressive 'badges of office' as a scholar and lawyer in the Jewish hierarchy, and had been spending time 'ticking the boxes' on lists of religious laws and punishments. But since his encounter with Jesus his understanding of God was very different. Sticking to the letter of the religious law leads to community suspicion, despair, hatred, retribution and envy; but Paul was saying that he had found the secret for forgiveness and reconciliation - it is not found by earning enough good behaviour badges, it comes to us as a gift. On account of Christ's faithfulness with us, we are not going to be assessed and judged on the basis of our status badges. In what do we place our confidence, our sense of identity and our well being? It is in the faithfulness of Christ. (In Chapter 3 Verse 9, the phrase habitually translated as "faith in Christ" is more accurately translated as "the faithfulness of Christ".) Christ is faithful with us, and we are not ranked in order of worthiness - regardless of our flaws, God holds us equally in Jesus.
Philippians 3: 4b-14

Playing Time   –   19:15