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Living For More Than Myself

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Living For More Than Myself

Text: Philippians 2:1-11

Introduction

Question: Has any one ever done any problem solving? It’s a time when a problem presents itself, you are aware of the issue and finally you take the time to consider the best possible way to resolve it.
That is exactly the situation Paul has found himself in. That is the largest reason of his motivation of writing this letter.
There seemed to be TWO PROBLEMS:
False teachers coming in.
Division among the members.
Now, let us remember Paul’s admonition at the close of chapter one; 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Paul proceeds is this chapter to equip them with the solution that will assure the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ; UNITY!
WITHOUT UNITY, the church will FAIL in their purpose!!!
There is a difference between UNITY and UNIFORMITY. UNITY comes from WITHIN and UNIFORMITY comes from WITHOUT (outside pressure). Paul wants them to understand that God’s call to unity for the GREAT PURPOSE of advancing the gospel can only be successfully accomplished by UNITY that begins INWARDLY and then works OUTWARDLY.

1) The Great Plea For Gospel Unity

A. Paul presents some assumed truths

Is there any exhortation (consolation) in your connection with Christ?
Quote: “If your life in Christ, your knowledge of Christ, speaks to your hearts with a persuasive eloquence” (Lightfoot).
The thought of Christ in the hush or your heart should create a response to Christ.
Hebrews 6:18 “18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”
2Thessalonians 2:16 “16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,”
The absence of this is proof of spiritual death.
Is there anything about Jesus’ love that stirs your heart? Does His love encourage you?
Does the love of Jesus create an incentive?
A man who is deaf to love is deaf indeed, deaf to the love of mother, of father, of wife, of child, of Jesus, of God the Father. Love of man may let us go, but not the love of God. We can all understand...[Robertson, A. T. (1917). Paul’s joy in Christ studies in Philippians (p. 113). Fleming H. Revell Company.]
George Matheson said, “Oh, love that will not let me go,” the deathless love of Jesus.
Do you as a believer have any partnership with the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
He alone can bring order out of chaos and preserve harmony in the body of Christ. Unless the Holy Spirit rules, there is mere excitement and confusion [Robertson, A. T. (1917). Paul’s joy in Christ studies in Philippians (p. 114). Fleming H. Revell Company.]
Does your heart have any compassion?
Paul is saying, ”If these things be true (and they are) and you love me, then LISTEN TO ME!!!
For these things to be true of you and seen of your life is the joy of ministers. To witness God’s people like-minded and living in love fills the pastor’s heart with great joy!

B. Paul presents necessary NEGATIVES & POSITIVES

ILLUSTRATION: Let’s considering your vehicle. Right fuel, amount of fuel and in the right location. The negative and positive MUST be practiced in order to reach your destination.
Paul begins with ESSENTIAL POSITIVES:
UNITY OF THOUGHT
This is a difficult one.
People have active minds and independent spirits.
This is not a mechanical echo but rather real harmony of thought and conviction.
UNITY OF AFFECTION
This is a big one that is missing within the church.
PHRASE: “Two hearts beat as one”
If this was a reality, preachers would have longer pastorates at the same church, churches would be more fruitful in good works, and fewer losses in the membership.
HARMONY OF FEELING
You could picture this as two hearts “in perfect key.”
We use view ourselves as a symphony.
Quote: The whole church is a choir and must be kept in tune. Musical natures are sensitive and high strung and readily get out of tune. But, if each one of us keeps his life in tune with God, “in tune with the Infinite,” it will not be impossible to get in tune with each other. The discord will all be lost in the glorious orchestra that blends in common praise to God. Such a church will have variety in plenty, but it will be the variety of concord, not jarring notes out of tune with the rest. [Robertson, A. T. (1917). Paul’s joy in Christ studies in Philippians (p. 117). Fleming H. Revell Company.]
(v3) This is the KEY VERSE — The NEGATIVE
“Strife” = selfish ambition
selfish ambition n. — a strong drive for personal success without moral inhibitions.
For person to have “drive” is a great thing, but not when it’s focus is only you.
Vainglory is emptiness of ideas.
Quote: Moody says, “Strife is knocking another down—vainglory is setting oneself up.”
Christ came to slay all enmities!!!
(v3) Paul brings us back to a POSITIVE
Paul calls the church to HUMILITY.
Quote: “The truly humble man will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.” (C.S. Lewis)
Romans 12:3 “3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Christ Himself was LOWLY — Matthew 11:29 “29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
The KEY IDEA is summarized in one word; OTHERS.
Quote: The “submissive mind” does not mean that the believer is at the beck and call of everybody else or that he is a “religious doormat” for everybody to use! (Wiersbe)
2 Corinthians 4:5 “5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
ILLUSTRATION: A girl at school surprised her friends by a motto on the wall of her room which read: “I am willing to be third.” [Robertson, A. T. (1917). Paul’s joy in Christ studies in Philippians (p. 120). Fleming H. Revell Company.]
God first, others second, and her third.
TRUE STORY: William Booth was once not able to come to a meeting in New York, he send the cablegram “Other.” (the secret to his life)
(v4) Paul’s purpose for the church in 1:27 far exceeds someone living for their own self!
Paul is not saying, “Don’t work” or “Be busy-bodies.”
ILLUSTRATION: The runner fixes his eyes on a prize of self interest and excludes those around him.
Philippians 3:13-14 “13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

CONCLUSION

Dear friends, remember the origin or your connection and for what purpose your are connected; by the blood of Jesus Christ for the purpose of striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Listen to me well, the quickest way to wreck a church is for us to live with the spirit of selfishness.

PART TWO

2) The Vantage Point Of Gospel Unity

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