Jun 10, 2016 Words of Grace – When “You” Means “Y’all””
We read the Bible through the lens of individualism. I often preach that way. A discipline I am learning is to read, think, pray, and live corporately.
Here’s an example. The past couple of weeks at Grace we have considered passages in Philippians 4 that address prayer in anxiety and thinking on Christ. I preached and you heard a message to individuals. Each person in the congregation was encouraged to think about his or her own life. Applications were given for how each person can practice prayer and discipline the mind to think well.
That’s a good thing. We are disciples of Jesus Christ and each of us is called to follow him. But to limit our thinking only to the individual application of the Bible is not a good thing. In fact, it’s not even the way the Bible was written.
In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul writes, “Finally brothers ” He is addressing a group we often refer to as “brethren,” meaning brothers and sisters or the congregation. He is not addressing only the individuals in the congregation but the congregation as a whole. In the south we distinguish between the individual “you” and the corporate “you.” When there is more than one “you,” it’s “y’all.” As I read back through Philippians 4 this week, I heard Paul with a southern accent.
Paul is addressing us as a church. He is applying the gospel to us as a congregation. As congregations spread all over the globe, we are here to be “lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). By living in unity with one another, praying in our anxiety, and thinking on the things of Christ, a congregation does two things. First, it lives in contrast to the world (which is divided, reactionary, and thinks at a low level with no reference to Christ). Second, it shines as both a witness of the power of Christ and an invitation to come to him.
This Sunday at Grace I will encourage us to think about how we as a congregation live in the world.
Take some time this weekend to read Philippians 4:1-9 through a congregational lens.