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Joy in Humility

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Complete My Joy - Be United

Paul’s concern was that the people of

Refocused Minds (v. 2)

The first way that Paul says unity exists in the church is for them to have “the same mind”. They were to “think together”. One of the major causes of disunity is when the body doesn’t think together. There are three ways we must refocus our minds.

Same Love

The first way we refocus our minds is by asking God to redeem our passions. You and I are creatures of passion. Love is an amazingly powerful emotion. It was given to us so that we would focus our energy and our lives around the one we were created to love: God. The problem is that our hearts have been corrupted by sin, and we tend to love less than worthy things. We love our possessions, our position, our power. These things make us inwardly focused. But Paul notes we are to have a refocused love: A love like Christs.
Philippians 2:4–8 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5–6 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Philippians
This is the love we are to strive for: A love that loves the things that God loves.
but only God can reset and refocus our passions on what Christ loved.

Same Affections

Not only do we need to ask for Christ to change our love, but also our affections. We tend to spend so much time on our affections. These are things that we care about: our hobbies, our passions, our preferences. But God has called us to seek first his kingdom, not first our kingdoms. This is a huge problem, and a cause of much disunity in the body. A united body is a body that is longing for the same things: God’s glory, souls to be saved, lives to be changed. When we are more concerned with our preferences than what God values then division occurs.

Same Values

Finally, we must have the same values. In other words we must have the same purpose. This is not giving lip-service to a vision statement, but is asking God to change our hearts so that we are united with our brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish God’s purposes in our church, our city, and our community.
Unity begins with a refocused mind.

Redeemed Humility (v. 3)

Next, Paul calls them to a redeemed humility. The word for humility means to be made low. It’s the condition of the slave. One who has been forced to bow down to a master. A noble mind and virtue were inherited and could not be acquired. Humility expresses both the low estate of the man who lives in poor and petty relations, esp. the slave, and also the base disposition resulting therefrom.
A noble mind and virtue were inherited and could not be acquired → VI, 38, 12 f. ταπεινός expresses both the low estate of the man who lives in poor and petty relations, esp. the slave, and also the base disposition resulting therefrom.
esp. especially.
In Greek culture, one would never “lower” themselves. To self humiliate was unthinkable.
But let us not think that this is something that is only an ancient disease. Conceit and pride have always been valued over the centuries.
Oscar Wilde, the British playwright, was asked as he went through customs if he had anything to declare, answered, “Only my genius.” Conceit is de jure in the world system. Conventional wisdom has it that you can’t get anywhere without it.
WHether its in pop-culture, business culture, or even now infecting popular church culture we are told to love ourselves.
R. Kent Hughes, Philippians: The Fellowship of the Gospel, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007), 77.
And there is some truth in that. But it is an abomination in the church.
But this mindset is an abomination in the church.
But in Judeo-Christian thought, this humiliating of ourselves is called upon throughout scripture.
Ephesians 5:18–21 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Walter Grundmann, “Ταπεινός, Ταπεινόω, Ταπείνωσις, Ταπεινόφρων, Ταπεινοφροσύνη,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 2.
We are called to submit to one another.
Colossians 3:12 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
We are called to put on humility.

Refocused Love (v. 4)

Humility is also reflected in the life of Christ. As Paul notes, Christ did not demand or cling to his rights as God, he didn’t say, “I’m the God of the universe, bow down to me!” He didn’t demand that God send hordes of angles to wipe out those who didn’t worship him and denied him. Instead Jesus wept for Jerusalem (), he prayed for his disciples () and he redeemed Peter ().
Christ’s humility is the standard for evaluating the worth of others and actions toward them. This does not mean that personal concerns should be overlooked. Elsewhere Paul clearly stated that Christians must take care of their own affairs as an act of love for the congregation (). The next verse implies the same truth. Humility begins with a realistic appraisal of oneself and others as being in the image of God.
Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 95.
As Paul notes, we are not to “count equality with God a thing to be grasped” but rather to count others more significant than ourselves. It is Christ who is to be high and exalted.
Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 95.

Renewed Love (v. 4)

Finally, we are to not focus on our interests but “also the interests of others. This others focus is something that flows out of the other two calls. Because our passions and love has been transformed, and because in humility we think of others as more important than ourselves, we naturally have a renewed love for others. When God is the center of our focus, and we see the deep need of others then our needs fade into the background.
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