I begin by giving you the honor and the glory for this evening.
God, every Christian in this room has been saved only by your grace even while we were all enemies of you.
We know that you saved us for great things, yet so often we settle for so much less.
This church, this message, and even the fruit are all yours, Father, and I beg you to take these words--they are not mine; I have nothing to say that anybody should listen to apart from your Word and Spirit--take these words and soften hearts and minds to receive them.
In the case that anything that I'm about to teach is not truth, please reveal that.
Nevertheless, the portion which by your grace is true to your Word, I pray you would bear fruit by it.
That we would better know and love Christ and have his mind in us.
In Jesus' name.
One chance to speak.
What a privilege!
What a challenge!
What could I have to share with a body, with many Christians who have followed Christ much longer than I have?
I have chosen to teach on Philippians 2:1-11.
At my church in Arizona, we had heard this message preached, but we did not live it.
I thought we didn't have to, that this problem was a problem that other churches had.
We knew these verses well because this section of Philippians is great apologetics verse defending the deity of Christ.
We never let the truth of this warning, this encouragement, this exortation sink into our hearts.
Because of our hard-heartedness, our sinfulness, hundreds of lives have literally been destroyed.
Christ has been robbed of glory.
I beg you to listen.
No matter how hard this message is to enact in your own life, I promise you that it is easier than what will inevitably happen if you are divided.
About a year-and-a-half ago Kiki and I, as leaders in our church in Phoenix, were invited to an emergency meeting where it was announced that because some people had decided that our pastor was not "sober minded" or "self controlled' one of our elders and some leaders were leaving the church.
Immediately factions began forming.
Those who were leaving began to meet with people in the church to defend their actions and thereby defame the pastor.
Those who had decided to stay did likewise and began have lunch with as many people in the church as possible trying to justify their support for the pastor and trying to make the deserters look as foolish as possible.
Best friends became enemies speaking about one another but never to one another.
False rumors began flying around town.
"Did you hear the pastor committed adultery?"
"Mary left the church because she is mad at Bob." "Joe is going to leave the church next week."
"Did you know?" "I heard..." "Do you think?"
An 800 member church was decimated in a matter of weeks over an issue that should have been handled in private.
Rumors ruined relationships.
Because we did not heed the message of Philippians 2:5 our testimony to other Christians as well as the millions of non-Christians in Phoenix was horribly damaged.
Paul wrote this message to one of the most spiritually mature churches that he knew.
It is one of his most encouraging letters to one of his favorite churches.
He founded the Church at Philippi on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:12-40) and visited not once, but twice on his next trip (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Acts 20:6).
The Philippians were some of Paul's biggest supporters.
This is really a letter thanking the Philippians for their most recent in a long series of huge financial gifts (2 Cor 8:1-4; Phi 4:10).
Nevertheless, despite their maturity and godliness, the church needed to hear a very important message: *Be United In Humility.*
This is the message that our church needed to hear.
I think this is a message that every church, every believer needs to hear.
Have this attitude in yourselve which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servants, and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on cross.
-[[Phillipians 2:5-8|Bible:Phi 2:5-8]]
Before we even go on, just stand in awe at what that just said.
Christ was God, but in order to be obedient to the father and out of love for us, he humbled himself.
God humbled himself.
The only being in existance who has no reason to be humble, came down from His perfect throne to become a humble servant.
The King of Kings, who created every subatomic particle and formed them together in atoms and molecules.
He made bacteria, ants, birds, trees, whales, and people.
In only a creative Word his power expressed itself by created light.
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17).
Just stand in reverent awe at the God who we serve.
YET, this King of Kings, in obedient humility to the Father out of love for us, did not hang onto this position, but he took on a most humble likeness, the likeness of a man.
Lest we still in our arrogance think that being a man is not very far to stoop let me read you a paragraph from one of my favorite author's John Piper on our worth, on the chasm that exists between fallen humanity and our awesome, Holy God:
\\ I have heard it said, "God didn't die for frogs.
So he was responding to our value as humans."
This turns grace on its head.
We are worse off than frogs.
They have not sinned.
They have not rebelled and treated God witht eh contempt of being inconsequential in their lives.
God did not have to die for frogs.
They aren't bad enough.
Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay for it.
"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
We didn't deserve sacrifice.
So while there was nothing grace-earning about us, he still humbled himself.
We deserved divine wrath.
We were given divine sacrifice.
If we continue reading in Philippians we see that because of His obedience, God the Father exalted the son to the highest place.
Our humble, almighty leader who we are to humbly emulate is Jesus Christ the Lord before whom every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth shall bow.
Look at the text where we started, [[chapter 2, verse 5|Bible:Phil 2:5]], "What is the command?"
Have THIS attitude among yourselves.
This looks back at [[verses 1-4|Bible:Phil 25]].
This attitude is Christ's attitude.
Motivated by Christ, comforted by His love, united in the Spirit, living affectionately and mercifully with one another, we are commanded to:
Be Unified ([[2:2|Bible:phil 2:2]])
Be Humble ([[2:3|Bible:phil 2:3]])
Be Selfless ([[2:4|Bible:Phil 2:4]])
Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord, and of one mind.
We are to think the same way, love the same way, have the same spirit, and have the same purpose.
How do we do that?
We look to Christ.
We think of ourselves last and God's glory first.
We love the way Christ loved.
Christ's love was a perfect love.
A love that worked for the benefit of others.
A love that moved Jesus to step down from heaven into flesh and to die.
We are to act in one accord, the Greek means "one-souled".