Standing together in Unity – Philippians 1v27-2v11

2 02 2014

Better late than never, here’s my notes from last Sunday!

“You’re looking for the path of greatest glory to God.” – Corrie Ten Boom. In everything we do, ask what would bring Him the greatest glory?

“The weaknesses I see in me
will be stripped away
by the power of Your love”

I’m going to paste the whole reading in this time, because when it got to the end I wanted to applaud! That doesn’t happen often, but have you ever felt that at the end of a reading?

Life worthy of the gospel

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Imitating Christ’s humility

2: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

There is a mistrust towards Christianity in society these days. We live in a society where it’s ok to say a religious view is true for an individual, but you can’t say it’s true for all else that’s arrogant and intolerant.

The Philippians would have been proud of their citizenship in Rome, but Paul now says they are citizens of heaven and they must live a life worthy of that. Most people are drawn to the Gospel through the lifestyle of another Christian.

We must fight division, arguing, gossip, as individuals and as a church. A Roman Phalanx of soldiers were virtually invincible if they did not break rank – we must stand shoulder to shoulder in unity.

We won’t necessarily agree on every issue, but we should share a love for God and one another, and a goal of making Jesus known to others. Keeping the main thing the main thing.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition” – v3
Ambition = the desire to succeed
There’s nothing wrong with it as long as it’s in God’s will and for His glory.
Selfish ambition is entirely for our own ends.

“In humility consider others better than yourselves” – v3
This doesn’t mean everyone else is more gifted.
Andy Murray doesn’t have to say we’re better tennis players than him.
This also doesn’t mean everyone else is morally better than ourselves.
Read it as “consider others as more important than yourselves”

Jesus attitude had no selfish ambition, no self centred-ness. He demoted Himself rather than climbing the ladder of achievement. He is the opposite of a ‘rags to riches’ story.

His death was that reserved for slaves, the lowest order of society.
He became like us so that we might become like Him.
He became a slave so that we might go free.
He died so that we might have life.
He went from the light of God to the darkness of death.
From the highest height to the deepest depth.

And our attitude should be like His.

Children inherit abilities from their parents. We are adopted as God’s children, we share in the inheritance of Christ. We inherit His blessings and we have the example of Jesus to follow. It will take a lifetime of transformation for us to become like Christ.

Jesus’ example of servant-hood may not be great in the eyes of the world, but it is in the eyes of God.

If we read secular books and watch secular tv, our minds will fill with worldly values (this isn’t to say they’re all bad!).
We need to spend time with the Word and in the Spirit – there is no shortcut.
“Habit” and “Discipline” are almost dirty words in modern day Christianity, but they shouldn’t be.
We need to root out bad attitudes and habits in our hearts and minds and ask for forgiveness.

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