Philippians 2:1-2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Over the past several months we have focused on who God is, how God wants all men to be saved, and how he shows grace and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for our sins to pay our debt, and to offer to us forgiveness for all our sins. We know that we have been redeemed not with silver or gold, but with the holy precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been changed, and while we are all unique, there is something that we all share in common, this is why we can be called together, and in Christ to be one body - the body of Christ, which is the church.

There is an amazing thing about the church, and that's what we see in our text - in the use of the word "any" - if there is any encouragement in Christ

You don't need to have it all today, just some part, however big or small - and God will bring you to completion. That's the promise, that God will continue to work in you the work begun in your baptism, until he has fully prepared you for heaven. But that's not all, for God is also working a change in us, so that we can come together in the church and become one.

These things don't happen because it is in us by nature, but it is part of the new creation, who we are as children of God. God working through the word as he brings us the good news of the forgiveness of sins brings us into a fellowship where we are one. For there is a oneness that does exist apart from Christ - but it does not bring unity or peace.

This is the oneness that leaves us alone. But we have been baptized, and in Baptism we died with Christ that we might rise to new life. And the love of God we come to know in Christ changes us, it really does make us a new creation, and it brings us into the unity which is the fellowship of the church. And it sets the world on its head.

And that is how the church is one - it is one in Christ. And we gather together to encourage one another in love and in faith and in service with the greatest encouragement there is, the good new of salvation in Jesus name. The church is the place where our brothers and sisters in Christ gather to receive the good news, and to share it with each other, and the world. Our time together has come to an end, and surely that is sad, but there is a joy that carries us forward, for even though we are parted, we will continue to be part of the one church as long as we continue to follow our Savior.