Faithlife Sermons

Value/Consider One Another

One Another  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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For the last two weeks, we have been in our summer sermon series looking at some of the “one another” commands that we find in Scripture and some practical ways in which we can make changes in our lives in relation to these commands. We talked about encouraging one another and praying for one another. I hope that we all have taken these to heart as we considered how we might be able to work on how we might become more intentional about live life among each other.
As we get started, I have a question for you. When you consider your options for a given situation or decision, whose interests do you take into account? Yours or others?
From an unknown source comes an article titled, "How To Be Miserable." It says, "Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use "I" as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily to what people say about you. Expect to be appreciated. Be suspicious. Be jealous and envious. Be sensitive to slights. Never forgive a criticism. Trust nobody but yourself. Insist on consideration and respect. Demand agreement with your own views on everything. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them. Never forget a service you have rendered. Shirk your duties if you can. Do as little as possible for others."
How about this one?
You may have heard the story of two friends who met for dinner in a restaurant. Each requested filet of sole, and after a few minutes the waiter came back with their order. Two pieces of fish, a large and a small, were on the same platter. One of the men proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the table.
"Well, you certainly do have nerve!" exclaimed his friend. "
What's troubling you?" asked the other. "Look what you've done," he answered. "You've given me the little piece and kept the big one for yourself." "How would you have done it?" the man asked. His friend replied, "If I were serving, I would have given you the big piece." "Well," replied the man, "I've got it, haven't I?" At this, they both laughed.
We tend to chuckle at something like this, however, I think if we are honest with ourselves, we can tend to be like that friend in our own lives. We give the small piece away, keeping the big piece for ourselves. If we can so easily do it with food or dessert, won’t it be easier in other, more important areas of life? What about trying to keep as much money for yourself instead of helping others in generosity?
Today, we are going to be in
Philippians 2:1–11 NIV
1 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.
IF I WERE TO ASK YOU TO DEFINE SELFISHNESS, it would not be a difficult task. We all know what it is. We’re all too familiar with it. In fact, it may well be the number one problem in our culture today.
The definition of selfishness is: acting or thinking of one’s own well being alone...taking care of number one. We will lie, pout, manipulate someone, distort the truth–anything to get our own way. Here are some examples:
It’s my way or the highway
Making a huge decision without consulting with my spouse
Being in a social setting and dominating the conversation
The beginning of this passage starts with four conditional statements - they start with if any. If 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. It is important for us to understand that the “if” at the beginning of these phrases is not designed to cast any doubt on whether the Philippians have experienced these blessings, but is more along the lines of “as surely as you”...... This is important as it is the basis for the unity and unselfishness that we see laid out in verses 2-4.
Let’s read these first four verses from The Message, as I think it helps us to put this in perspective.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

This is, in short, a dynamic unity of mind. Note that the thought begins with the words “the same mind” and ends with the words “of one mind,” both of which speak of a life intent on a unified purpose—a single goal. And what is the unified goal? The gospel!

We must remember that the goal of our lives as believers is the fulfillment of the gospel: to go and make disciples of all nations. We cannot do this if as the body of Christ we are not unified in purpose! We need to be gospel oriented as we relate and care for one another!
This unity which Paul is talking about is not something superficial, but is a oneness with a dynamic purpose. The gospel must be the center of everything we do as the church. It must be the center of our thinking, planning, and strategizing for ministry at every level. Paul was passionate about this point, remember he was writing while chained in prison waiting for whatever might come of his capital charge.
Then we get to verses 3-4:
Philippians 2:3–4 NIV
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.
Everything we do should not be for our own selfish purposes, but looking to the interest of others. That means that serving others needs to be at the forefront of our minds all the time! We must humble ourselves before God and others if that is to happen. Do you know what it means to humbler ourselves? Well the dictionary describes someone with humility as
having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance.
of low social, administrative, or political rank.
That doesn’t always sound the most appealing to our human minds, does it. However, what we see in the next verses is a call to have the same mindset as that of Jesus Christ. I think if we look closely, we will see that the definitions I just gave fit pretty well.
In verse 6 - did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage
In verse 7 - made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, and being made in human likeness
In verse 8 - he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death
These are attributes of Jesus that I think many of us struggle with, just like the Jews in that day did. They were expecting something much different out of their Messiah. However, we see God reward Jesus for his faithfulness, exalting him to the highest place and giving him the name above all other names. I think there are some things for us to learn here, however, let me clarify something: we should not be doing these things just for an eternal reward. It is not enough to do these things just to get to heaven. If that is your intent, you will not humble yourselves as we see Jesus humble himself.
Our motives should be to serve others and love others the way that God intends for us to because we are so deeply, passionately in love with him and are willing to live the way he calls us to live. When we allow him to transform us, we will love and serve people this way. It will become part of our nature, part of who we are. It will become a very natural thing for us to do. Ever come across someone and wonder how they can serve people the way they do? Even at the expense of themselves? This is what we are talking about when we talk about considering or valuing others above ourselves.
Now for some practical tips to help us as we are more intentional about being unselfish and considering or valuing others.
Offer encouragement - Whether it’s to the waiter who accidentally messed up your order or to your passive aggressive relative, a kind word can turn away anger for both parties. Treat anyone who is serving you with warmth, interest, and kindness. Do not sigh heavily when the grocery clerk is slow; make intentional conversation with him/her instead and find something to genuinely compliment. Thank people sincerely.
Smile and take time to ask, “How are you?” - Believe it or not, choosing to smile makes a significant impact on how others perceive you and your presence, not to mention your own mood. In our fast-paced world, investing a little time into hearing from another person values their story and what’s going on in his or her life. And when you ask, mean it. Be prepared to take the time to listen well to them and engage them in conversation. You never know when an opportunity may arise to share your faith!
Give the benefit of the doubt. - Don’t assume the worst in everyone, and don’t always assume that everyone is out to get you. By the way, I see way to much of this one in today’s climate, especially on social media. If someone hasn’t gotten back to you, imagine that they have had a busy week at work, not that they don’t care about your friendship anymore. If your co-worker hasn’t paid you back yet, imagine that they have forgotten and gently remind them instead of deciding he’s cheap and irresponsible.
Give of your resources - Be generous, especially towards people who could never repay you. All of us in this room are
Ask questions and listen well - Often when we know more about a person, we can offer more grace and compassion. Learn how to ask questions. I am infinitely curious (as Pastor Cindy will attest), so this comes naturally to me, but if you’re not a question-asker, learn to become one. Ask people: What are you doing after work today? What do you most look forward to on the weekends? Why do you do X? What is your family like? Tell me about your childhood. What’s it like living with X condition? How can I support you through X? What good things are happening in your life right now? I heard you went through X. What was that like? Asking others about themselves is a lost art…you would be shocked at how much people will share with you if you just ask. (Obviously, use wisdom and discernment when asking questions. Don’t be rude or nosey.)
Offer to help - Don’t try to fix everything. When someone shares something that’s frustrating, painful, hard, or sad, don’t immediately offer up your best advice. (Also, don’t say something along the lines of “better you than me!” #unhelpful) Instead, practice compassion. Practice listening. Practice sitting in uncomfortable silence for the sake of someone else. Say, “I’m so sorry that’s happened” or “That must be really hard, how are you feeling?” Affirm feelings and emotions. This will change your relationships. Instead of getting mad or frustrated about someone inconveniencing you, offer to help by assisting or teaching.
Be honest - Jesus was full of both grace and truth. Gracious honesty values others because it looks out for others long-term good. However, be polite about it. For example, don’t call people out in a crowd. Being polite doesn't begin and end with saying please, thank you, and you're welcome. It involves a comprehensive acknowledgement of another person's feelings and behaving accordingly. Follow the golden rule and treat others like you want to be treated.
Serve without being asked - If you see a need, meet it. You’ll show others that you see and value their needs above your own. As you channel your sense of empathy (and by the way, we all have some empathy - even if it is not the first tool we pull out of our tool box) and consider how others around you are feeling, choose to act on that information.
Invite - Pursuing and inviting others reveals that you value them enough to think about them and create space for them in your life.
Be patient, even if you don’t feel like it - Patience is far from a passive characteristic. It can be difficult to come by -- especially when we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and surrounded everywhere by impatience. However, that's all the more reason to find a sense of motivation and work on it. When we offer patience to our kids, spouse, or others—it shows you value someone over and above your own schedule.
These aren’t just tasks to accomplish and it isn’t a standard to measure yourself against every day. God doesn’t want us to just follow rules that obligate us to value people. He wants us to become the kind of self-sacrificing people that don’t need a rule to love and value others. As you identify any unhelpful habits that devalue others replace them with the habits and practices that help us become the kind of people God designed us to be.
If we all learned to be a little gentler, kinder, more compassionate, more thoughtful, and more loving towards others, our little worlds would be happier, healthier, stronger places and we would be following the example of Christ that we see in Scripture. Don’t let the intimidation of saving the whole world from evil stop you from spreading joy where you are. Valuing other people is a great place to start.
Benediction - Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.—Romans 16:25–27
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