Philippians 2

June 16, 2013   Philippians 2 

     We talked last week about outlining and so I have a couple of suggestions for outlining this chapter.   Certainly serving is one; godly living, sacrifice and giving are possibilities in my mind.    I am not saying that these are the only possibilities there are just some that come to mind to me.  This would be a great book to learn.   To read it and study it and make it part of your life.  I wonder how many of the books of the bible do we really know.  Are we eager to learn and apply the word of God?   Do you eagerly and attentively listen to the sermon to obey God and to be more like Jesus?   That is your responsibility and that is my responsibility.   You know it is not head knowledge that counts but a changed heart.   Knowledge puffs up and makes us proud but love builds and edifies and blesses.  

    It is Father’s day men and happy father’s day.  That is a holy calling.  Your children men will get a concept of God and what God is like through how you treat your children men. They will see God in a similar way that they see you.   God is the father and you are a father.  Children see their earthly father and that shapes their concept of God.     Men do not take that lightly.   God hold s you accountable.  The spirit of God is screaming to us from this passage to be like Jesus.   Maybe scream is not the best word to use here.    Proverbs 1:20 says Wisdom calls aloud in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares.   Certainly God’s Holy Spirit speaks to us.    God wants us to be men of love and compassion.  The Holy Spirit in this passage uses the word tenderness.   Jesus had a tender spot in his heart.   Men that walk with Jesus are tender and compassionate.  That does not make you a sissy it makes you a man a real man in God’s eyes.  Jesus was meek and lowly in heart.   Jesus was kind and gentle.   He was the friend of sinners.    He was approachable.  In Ephesians 4:32 in the King James translation says and be kind to one another tenderhearted.   God tells us to be tender hearted.    It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. - Johann Schiller   Dad you're someone to look up to no matter how tall I've grown. – Anonymous    Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. – Anonymous   Men we make a permanent impact on our children men.  They will never forget. 

        Paul opens this letter with if you have any encouragement.   There certainly is encouragement in Jesus.  There is comfort from Jesus love.   There is fellowship with the Holy Spirit.   I hope you are getting encouragement and fellowship and love form the spirit of God.   My heart was just breaking this week and I was sad and grieved about this church and I just lifted it to the Lord.   Lord my heart is broken.  I said it over and over again.   And you know what God’s spirit minister to me and encouraged me.  And a couple of needs came up which I worked on.   I know God is concerned about things in this church and we need to be careful to hear God and listen to God to do our part.   All of us are ministers.  

    This passage tells us to consider others better than yourself.   That is interesting verse when you think about all the people that talk about hypocrites in the church isn’t it?   The next time someone tells you that give them this verse – the bible encourages us to think of others as better than our self.   As people we tend to be critical of others which is not good.   To think of others as better than I am does not mean that we are not thankful for what God has done in our lives.  I like to look at this verse with the thought that what do I owe to that person.   Paul said he was a debtor to all men.   In humility consider others.   When you think about others do not exalt yourself above them.   Jesus washed the disciple’s feet.   Jesus stooped and washed the disciple’s feet.   Be involved with others and not with a critical, superior, and arrogant spirit.  That is how I look at that verse.   Maybe others see that verse differently.  As brothers and sisters in Jesus we are all equal.  We have different roles to do and we have different responsibilities.    

    There is a theme of unity that goes through this chapter.   A great challenge and a great need of the church is to maintain unity.    Paul certainly addresses the issue of discord in his letters to the churches.   Satan likes to attack unity in the church and the reason he likes to do that is because it is so destructive.     Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand.    Satan also likes to attack and destroy marriages.     Peter reminds us that our prayers can be hindered if there is discord with our spouse.    What God has blessed and created Satan likes to destroy.     There is power in a united front and a 3-fold cord is not quickly broken.   

      The people in Genesis 11 said come let us build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may build a name for ourselves, and not be scattered over the face of the earth.   The Lord came down to check it out and He said if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.   The plan of these people was for unrighteous reasons and God said they will be able to do all kinds of things in fact nothing will be withheld from them.  God makes a powerful statement in that passage about unity and the power that results when people band together to do something.  When Christians band together to build the kingdom of God and sacrifice for God they can do great things especially when they want God to be glorified.   God delights in blessing people when God sees unity and their desire for God to be glorified.    Disunity among the Lords people grieves God’s heart.   Jesus prayed for spiritual unity that we see in John 17.  It should be every pastor and leader and church member’s prayer that the church would function in unity.   That is God’s will.   God has divinely joined us together in His body.  

   Paul writes approach others in humility.   Be like minded having the same love and be one in spirit.  Don’t exalt yourself and consider others.  Have the same attitude that Jesus had.   Boy that is a challenge.   This is just an incredible passage in this chapter that Jesus who is God left everything in heaven and came to die for us.   God is amazing.  God tells us to not sacrifice our children but that is what he did for us.   He sent his son to die for us.   When I preached on this passage a few years ago I said our God is radical.    How is He radical?   God is radical in creation.  God is radical in making Adam and Eve.  God is radical at the tower of Babylon.   God is radical when He flooded the earth.   Everything about Jesus is Radical.    His birth is radical.   His life and death were radical.    He was not conceived in a usual way.   The events of His life were certainly not usual   His resurrection from the dead is certainly not usual.  By radical I do not mean weird.     Radical means - a departure from the usual and Jesus was RADICAL.  Jesus was radical in cleansing the temple.   He was radical when He talked with the woman at the well.   Jesus was radical in all of his human contact.   His love for out casts such as tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers is beyond comprehension.   Jesus love and humility runs deep. 

     Jesus laid aside his power and glory to come to earth.   Jesus limited himself when he became a man.   Jesus did not hang on to all of his rights and abilities as God but became like a man.   He was sinless and Jesus was God but in a man’s body.   From the glory and power of heaven to come to earth was huge.  The distance is beyond comprehension and I am not referring to miles.   You could not even liken that to a man becoming an ant or a worm.   And Jesus traveled that distance willingly.  In heaven Jesus did not need anything.  Heaven was full of praise and glory. But Jesus willingly laid it all aside for you.   He was equal to God but became the lesser by being willing to become a human.   As a human being he became dependent upon God and God’s spirit.   And sometimes when people think about that they think that Jesus is somehow not equal to God.   That somehow God is greater.  But really it is a difference in roles.   In Hebrews 1 God calls Jesus God.   Thy throne O God, God says to Jesus will last forever and forever.  Jesus was so great in heaven and yet humbled himself to take the sin of the world upon him and to die a criminal’s death on a cross.   Jesus accepted shame and suffering.  That is amazing and radical.  We sin and we should be cast into hell and our God comes and pays the price for our nastiness, our meanness, our self centeredness and our waywardness.  That is grace beyond comprehension. 

     That is not the normal way of the world is it?   That was not the way of Satan.   That is not the choice that Satan made.   Satan wanted to be higher than God.   Satan wanted it all.   Satan wanted the worship.   Satan wanted Jesus to worship him.   Satan wanted to be above God.  The number 1 spot was the only place that was good enough for Satan.   Sometimes I think that somehow Satan thought he could pull it off.   Satan thought he ascend above God.  If he thought that he made a big boo, boo.    Satan said I will do this and that and I will force my way.   Jesus did not force his way.  Jesus said your will be done not my will God but your will be done.   Adam and Eve chose to disobey God when everything was virtually perfect for them and Jesus came under the most difficult of circumstances and perfectly obeyed God.   Don’t you want to be like Jesus?   .

   Then in verse 12 the Holy Spirit tells us to work out our salvation.  Jesus is in us and we are to work that out.   Bring out that life of righteousness.   Let Christ likeness be seen in us.   Do what Jesus would do in your situation.  And do everything without complaining and arguing.  The Children of Israel made God angry over and over again in the desert because they complained.   I Corinthians 10 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.     Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."    We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.    We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.   And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 

    God is at work in us.   God is on the throne.  God is in control.   God is never surprised and never caught off guard.   God never says let’s wait and see what happens.   He never thinks I’ll see how things work out.  That does not mean that God likes everything that happens but we can certainly rest in the Lord in these troubling and unsettled days.   God is working in you.   God’s Holy Spirit is active in the Christian.  Sometimes we may push him aside and do our own thing but the spirit continues to work.   Sometimes it is years because of our stubbornness but the Spirit is at work in the Christians life.  God is alive and well.  

   Paul closes this chapter with 2 godly examples of Christian men.  Timothy and Epaphroditus served others.  They were interested in the things of Jesus Christ.   They had a genuine interest in others.  They lived what was stated in verse 4 each of you should not look to his own interests but also the interests of others.   Paul said Epaphroditus almost died for the work of Jesus.   We do not see commitment like that today in this society.   He almost died for the work of Jesus.  Where are the young men and older men like that?   We need men like that today.  And Paul writes saying honor such men.  Honor men that show forth Jesus.  Honor men and women that are godly examples.  Paul tells us to have the mind like Jesus.   To be humble and serving others.  Don’t be wrapped up in yourself.