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Sermons about Philippians 2
Godly servants share many characteristics with Christ, our Savior
Jesus Christ came to this earth all God, and all human. However, He put His godliness to the side to show us that as a human He could resist and overcome all temptation. Jesus wants us to know that we too can overcome; the task is easier for us now, because through Him we can do all.
By looking at the life of Jesus, we see that Christians are supposed to exemplify the same humility in their lives that Jesus did in His life.
• We continue our march through Philippians...the book of encouragement and joy...the book that contains the deep pattern of the Christian experience...perfection that yet is not perfected...the book of decisions... • As we've studied the text verse by verse these last five weeks, we have broached some heavy topics...pride, humility, suffering, faith, forgiveness, fellowship, grace, love, prayer, holiness, peace, discipline, our witness, brokenness... • If you recall, last week we discussed humility in the deepest form or in the Greek Kenoo...the emptying of yourself...and it we discussed the biblical truth that humility, Kenoo is the secret to fellowship and it is indeed pride that is the secret to division.... • This week the text would have us to broach a new topic, equally was impactful on our lives and walks with the Lord...as we look at Paul's instruction on the topic of complaining... • Verses 14 – 16 • The bible has much to say about complaining. It is one of many topics that the bible gives clear instruction. Complaining is a sure sign of ungratefulness...a sure sign that one has forgotten what God has done for them...complaining is really one of the many faces of pride. • The Psalmist similarly ascribes complaining to unbelief...Psalm 106:24-25 says “Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, but complained in their tents, and did not heed the voice of the Lord.” • We see in Jude that habitual complaining is a consistent characteristic of a non believer. Turn over to Jude chp 1...pick it up in verse 4 (read 4 and then jump to v16)...you can see the root of complaining found there in v16...walking according to their own lusts...self-centeredness - PRIDE • Check out for a moment Matthew Chp 20...in which Jesus teaches, reveals to us the root of complaining through a parable...pride manifested in a complaint of unfairness, a comparison to others rather to the true standard, Jesus Christ > what He suffered, so unfair > as we grumble, so ungrateful... • So what is the conclusion of the matter? 1 Cor 10:10 says “beware of complaining as some of them also complained and were destroyed by the destroyer.” An unknown author once said, “the devil thrives in an atmosphere of complaining.” Therefore it is not for us saints...if you find yourself walking in grumbling, complaining, talking under your breath, beware...the destroyer is at the door and you are calling out inviting in corruption, destruction, confusion and dishonor to the Savior whom you claim allegiance. > sound, strong witness • If we walk in truth, the bible says that we shall be set free...and so if we take what we now know about complaining and apply it personally then the result is verses 15 and 16. • Verses 17 – 18 • Paul says as he faces death, “I am glad.” This Christian life, we will be instructed, we will be asked and we will have to do things that are seemingly impossible. To face death, to face being a literal sacrifice with gladness seems so contrary... But understand that the Christian life is supernatural, it is indeed spiritual and as you walk with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself rising above the natural...triumphantly...and being conformed into the image of Christ...becoming and being something/someone greater than yourself! • Take out the italics again here because the expositional translators have once again put them in to help us understand Paul's words...”poured out” exposes technical clues to the translators which led them to write in “drink offering.” Why?.... • Well the verb that is being translated “poured out” is actually a very specific word for a certain part of a pagan sacrificial offering. A valuable animal would be killed and then burnt on an altar. Following this sacrifice the pagan priest would make an additional offering called a libation. He would take a cup of wine and pour it on the altar, thus pouring it upon the burnt sacrifice. Because the altar was hot the libation would immediately disappear in a puff of steam. • This is the offering that Paul is referring to...he is saying to the church at Philippi, I know that you are worried about me because I am in prison in Rome and my life may soon be offered up upon a pagan altar. But my life is not the important thing. The important thing is your faith...the greater burnt offering upon the altar, not my life but the work of God in yours....what humility. • Verses 19 – 24 expose four characteristics of Timothy. Four commendations from Paul. First Paul says “I have no-one like minded” as Timothy. Paul has been writing about humility, about being like-minded in unity, about having this mind that was in Christ Jesus...this is the mind that was in Paul and Paul says is also in Timothy. • Second Paul says that Timothy “sincerely cares for your state” which indicates for us that Timothy was concerned for others. His care for them was similar to a true shepherd, faithful in the care and protection of his flock. • Jacob was not a very praiseworthy character...he was a liar, a cheat....a schemer. But in one respect he was eminently praiseworthy...Jacob was a shepherd who was faithful in the care of his flocks. We read in Genesis Chp 31 verses 38 – 41, after being chased down by Laban...“These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young; and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. There I was in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. This I have served you these last 20 years....” • On another occasion when he had returned home and met his brother Esau, Esau wanted him to hurry on to the place where he was living but Jacob was concerned for the children of his household and the flocks. He said, (and this is Genesis Chp 33 v13 – 14) “But Jacob said to him, “my lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the flock and the children are able to endure..” • Timothy was like that. He had concern for God's people and he led them gently. Do you guide your family, your children, your coworkers....gently? Or do you drive them on regardless of their individual condition and their ability to travel with you? To lead gently is the task of a faithful shepherd...is as Paul would say, to have the mind of Christ. • We also can see the effects of a shepherd that is not faithful, not long-suffering, not like-minded with Christ but rather drives the flock to the point of division, isolation and loss. In Ezekiel 34 we read...”Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy against them and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them. Therefore, God says....I am against you unfaithful shepherds and will require My flock at your hand...” • We must lead gently, yes addressing sin, and yes correcting destructive behaviors (recall Daniel with Belshazzar and Nathan with David) but ultimately feeding the flock, caring for the weak, retrieving the lost, healing the sick...not driving them forward at our desired pace but giving place to God and out of humility bearing with them and letting them walk in front of us at their pace while we follow protecting and feeding and mending and healing...we suffer great loss when we lose sight of the fact that righteous leadership is so very much more than correct doctrine and biblical head knowledge but really wrapped up in our humility, love and forbearance with others.... • You may say...I am not able but Psalm 18:34 says He teaches my hands to make war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze... • The third thing that Paul praises Timothy for is his concern for Jesus Christ. He says that Timothy is not like the rest who seek their own but rather he seeks the things which are of Jesus Christ. Timothy put Jesus first. It’s so easy for us to put other things first. You can give first place to your plans, your family, your success, or anything else. But if you do, even these things will be distorted, and you will miss life's great blessings. Timothy put Christ first, and the other things fell into place naturally. • Psalm 25 says “the secret of the Lord is with those that fear Him and he will show them His covenant...My eyes are ever toward the Lord for He shall pluck my fee out of the net... • Psalm 16 says “I have set the Lord always before me...I will not be moved...” • Fourth, Timothy is praised for his service alongside Paul. (Notice alongside Paul, not in service to Paul but rather service to God's flock as a fellow laborer) Timothy was an effective servant, while serving with others...How often we want to just be independent. We want to serve God, but the work must be our work, and it must be how we want it to be. A sure mark of Christian maturity is the ability to work with others cooperatively under the banner and cause of Jesus Christ. • Verse 25 • Paul gives high honor to Epaphroditus. He calls him a brother, a co-laborer, an a fellow soldier...together they are an important summary of what the Christian life should be.... • Brotherhood speaks of a unity in family among the people of Christ. • Coworkers – we are to be together, about our Father's business...whether it be taking the gospel to the streets, or just loving others and living out the response filled life to what Jesus has done for each of us.... • Fellow soldiers...the work that has been committed to us by the King on High thru faith and our individual callings is indeed a battle. The Bible says, “for we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and rulers of this dark world, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12). • There was a battle tactic, a fighting style that accounted for the success of Rome's armies. The Roman armies, fought side by side, shoulder to shoulder...the soldiers marched forward behind a solid wall of shields and as they marched they struck their shields with their spears in unison and sang battle songs...in like manner we are to advance in harmony against the spiritual powers arrayed against us...and so we shall... • Verses 26 – 30 • It is interesting to note that this implies that Paul was not able heal him. Which brings up the question, why does God heal some and not others? The only right answer to that question, is we don't know. He says My ways are above your ways and past finding out...there have been unrepentant reprobates that have been healed and also extremely righteous people that have died in illness. • Being healed or being sick has nothing to do with one's faith or one's personal righteousness but rather everything to do with God's sovereignty. The issue and question is not will you die, its where will you go when you do die. • Paul knows death is near...yet what the world has counted dear he has counted as loss for the Excellency of the knowledge and majesty of the King, Jesus Christ into who's kingdom courts he longs to be present in....recall Stephen in Acts Chp 7, who while being pelted with large stones, bones breaking, blood flowing,...looked up into the sky and saw the Son of Man rising to escort him, to welcome him into glory.... • Paul says, Christians, don't complain, don't grumble...a little while longer and we will all be made whole in the presence of the King...build each other up brothers and sisters, he would say....stand strong in the faith and trust in the Lord...trust in His ways, not what you perceive because the King is good.... • Shoulder up and march...the charge has been given us by the King Himself to be beacons of His majesty and glory...the battle is set before us and it is fierce but the Bible says take courage...the battle is not yours, it’s the Lords...so stick close to the Commander and follow His orders and let’s take this battle field unto glory!!
Verses 1 – 4 • Last week we took an in-depth look at humility and how clear the Bible is on the topic. The bible speaks of humility as key to ministry, key to a strong witness, key to intimacy with God, key to happiness and satisfaction....the list could go on and on...Martin Luther once said that God created the whole world out of nothing and so as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us... • We also peered into the truth that suffering always accompanies humility...Robert Chapman once said “humility is the secret of fellowship and pride the secret of division.” Fellowship is so miraculous, division is so tragic. • Tozer once was quoted saying that one who lacks humility is fooled about himself. • In the last four verses of chapter 1 and in the opening verses of chapter 2, Paul speaks of a need for close relationships...and true fellowship among believers. It is a matter of unity and there are two reasons why it is necessary. • The first is that unity is necessary in a time of war. Look back at verse 27 for a moment and see how Paul says “stand fast” and “striving together”...that is battle language however see also that to do those things..stand fast and contend for the faith we much be in one spirit and with one mind. • The second reason we should pursue unity with other believers is that we have a mutual relationship with Jesus. • The second is much stronger than the first because it is lasting...wars, battles, they come and go but our relationship with Jesus is everlasting...... • AW Tozer once said “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. “ • Paul has bowed the spiritual knee to Jesus Christ. He has walked with the Lord so intimately that he has made statements like “it is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me” and “to live is Christ” • Paul was the real deal...Locked down for committing no crime...hated by so many for simply speaking the truth in love...yet pens “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself...” • In reading Calvin's commentary this week I read “there is no man that is not eager to have superiority...esteeming oneself less than others, if anything in our whole life is difficult, this above everything else is so... • We are treading within the Holy of Holies here as we step through Chp. 2. This is getting to the heart of the whole issue. The issue of Christianity: my attitudes...my attitude toward myself and my attitude towards others. • Verses 5 through 8 • Paul reinforces the call to serve by evoking the power of the cross and the example shown in Jesus Christ. • To be great in God's kingdom is to be servant of all. To be nothing is to serve few. • Christ made Himself of no reputation which in the Greek there is “Kenoo” (Ken-a-oo) which literally means “emptied Himself.” • The heart of the matter. Kenoo. This is the ultimate battleground of the Christian life. • The work of God the Father found in John 3:16, the work of God the Son found in John 3:17 (For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.) The power of the cross is found in the deep mystery of God's act of Kenoo. The power of the cross in your life and in my life is Kenoo. • God has enabled us through His Spirit to take the lower seat. He has instructed us that only by humility may we experience intimacy with Him...joy, power and satisfaction. If you're lacking in your walk today, could it be that you refuse to empty yourself? Could it be that you resist the breaking of the Holy Spirit? God has something far better for you than the fruit, or more appropriately said, the refuse of your pride. (Matthew 7:11) • Verse 9-11 > The name of Jesus, above every other name. Did you see in the news this week how a pastor in America quote/unquote causing death by his burning of a Koran? The Muslims thousands of miles away are rioting and killing each other because a pastor somewhere in the US burned Korans. What if a Muslim cleric burned a Bible...no one would say anything! • I can say Muhammad, Buddha...as much as I'd like and noones ears burn but as soon as I mention the name of Jesus, all hell breaks loose...the name of power, Jesus. • Jesus went from glory to glory with the cross in between...In the beginning He was with God and was God but then He humbled Himself and came as a man to bear the cross for which now He is exalted to the glory of God...what a pattern for our own lives, the only true pattern. Adam was made in God's glorious image yet that image, distorted/perverted by sin...now through the power of the cross we are again able to return to that glorious state through God's grace. • Grace is what sets Christianity apart. All other formulas for spirituality, no matter what religion you study are works based...man getting back to God by good works but you see grace, unmerited favor is the work of a God who is so full of love, so longing for His creation, His children that He has Himself has done all that is required to set right what we cannot...Kenoo. • There are things today in your lives that need to be set right. Maybe your marriage, maybe your relationship with a sibling, a coworker, a neighbor, an enemy...you know they may even reject you reaching out to them, they may attack you if you attempt reconciliation, but you know what, it can be set right...however it requires Kenoo...it requires you emptying yourself. No matter how they respond, you take the place of humility and make your perspective, your viewpoint, your needs and pain of no reputation... • Turn over to John Chp 12 > pick it up in verse 23. Set a grain of wheat on a pedestal and come back in a year and it’s still one grain of wheat. But put that little grain into the ground, it dies but out of that death comes a new form...all things about that grain of wheat have been made new and many many seeds are brought forth. The potential of one wheat seed is tremendous. Ten planting cycles and one little seed can cover the entire earth...The heart of the matter indeed. • I wonder, are you on a pedestal today? Are you not willing to accept the breaking work of the Holy Spirit. If that is true of you then my friend you are walking in the flesh...or may I say, you are stumbling...the gospel of Jesus Christ...the mystery of humility...according to Isaiah Chp 8 is either a sanctuary for you...or a stumbling block... • Jesus said to His disciples “it is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing.” Then many of His disciples turned, went back, and followed Him no more. • I wonder if this is where you are today? Do you come to the point, right up to the point where the cost of following Christ begins to hurt, really hurt and then you follow you? The bible says that many followed Him however offended, they turned and only the 12 were left. Are you a follower, a believer, or a disciple? Search your hearts on this matter...there is a decision to be made... • Verse 12 > it is rather sad that many teachers stop at the end of verse 12 and give a strong exhortation concerning works...but we will not we will continue as verse 13 states that it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. • The bible says that God will give you the desires of your heart. And then with those desires He will enable you to fulfill them to the glory of God. I remember one night at church...I saw a young man stand..... • So often we feel that our yearnings are of us...they are not...the bible says that man plans his way but God directs his path...He has placed eternity in the hearts of man and also God says that He writes His law on the fleshly hearts of men...What are you called to do? What is God's will for you? These are questions we all sincerely seek the answers to...but I want to tell you this morning, act on the urges you have in your heart to do and to work for the Lord and watch His will unfold so wonderfully in your life. • Wes Bentley is a great example of this... • The story of this fellowship is a great example of this....
Jesus suffered and humbled himself to death on a cross...therefore God glorified Jesus. We follow him in our lives partaking in his sufferings and also great joys. The mission of God requires suffering, yet we will also receive the crown and reward with him when he brings into the fullness the Kingdom of Jesus.
Jesus gives us unity in the gospel that we maintain by following him in humility.
What would it look like if every person in a church family was pursuing the same goal? What would it feel like if they were all working together? Philippians chapter two introduces Paul's passionate plea concerning the necessity of unity and the importance of individuals within the body of the church working in unison.