Philippians PART 2: Chapter Two: “Christ is Our Pattern!”
PATTERNS. Making a Dress…You Follow a Pattern. Knitting a Scarf…You Follow a Pattern. Even Coloring Follows a Pattern. And If You Don’t Follow the Pattern? [PICTURE OF DRAWING]
- Things Always Turn Out Best When You Follow the Pattern!
Have you taken time to Consider the Patterns of Your Life? Patterns Follow Thought life. Consider the Ripple Effect of Your Thinking Pattern!!!
For Example…Picture a Pond Still Without a Wave…It Remains Calm, Until You throw a Rock and see it Splash…Then it creates ripples that expand in the form of waves, and the Calmness of the Pond is Disrupted until the Effect of the Splash Completely Disappears.
Your Mind is just like the Pond, in its natural state it’s calm and still; but when you start thinking a certain way, a series of thoughts create a “Ripple Effect” and proceed to Occupy the Mind…Until you Gain Control Over Your Thinking Pattern.
Weather Your Thoughts are based in Desire…Fear…Anger…Want…Etc. Every Thought that You have has the same ripple-creating power as the rock that is thrown in the pond.
SO…Let Me Ask You… With What Kind of Thoughts Do You Feed Your Mind?
John Stott, “We must Allow the Word of God to Confront Us, to Disturb Our Security, to Undermine Our Complacency and to Overthrow Our Patterns of Thought and Behavior.”
In Chapter One of Philippians, we focused on Vs 6 which says that God, who Began a Good Work in Us, Will Complete it!
- Christ Purchased Us with His Blood…He is Our Possessor!
- When we Give our lives to Jesus Christ…He Commits Himself to Changing Us to become More Like Him…He Changes Our Pattern of Thinking…So that we have His Mind, His Heart His Purpose and Become Part of His Plan to Reach the World for Jesus Christ!
- We discussed that the Good Work that God wants to do in our lives is to Make Us Mature in Christ! HAVE THE FULNESS OF CHRIST
- To Become Mature in Christ Requires We Change Our Patterns of Thinking and Have the Attitude of Christ…Committed to the Mission of Christ!
- Vs 6 Makes it Clear that God is Committed to Helping Us Reach His Plan for Us…So that We Will Reach Maturity in Christ, Vs 21, “For Me to Live is Christ and to Die is Gain!”
To Not Live for Christ From God’s Perspective…Is A WASTED LIFE! Just Living For the Present… Without Acknowledging or Seeking Gods Eternal Plan for Our Life!
- What Pleases God is clearly stated in Verse 21 [SURRENDER OF SELF]
- When You Allow God to Accomplish His Plan in Your Life…You Will Know Gods Greatest Peace…His Joy… And Complete Fulfillment!
Chapter 2 of Philippians Focuses on Christ Being Our Pattern. And if We Follow His Pattern…We Will Accomplish His Purpose in Our lives. For God’s Purpose to become a Reality in Our lives…We need to have 3 things Christ’s life Teaches Us in chapter 2…Obedience, Humility and the Heart of a Servant!
ME: Now…I love the fact that God Saved Me through the Atoning Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross… However, I have NOT Always had the Same Excitement about being Obedient, Humble or Serving Others!
- At the Start Obedience, Humility & Serving Others First was Not my Greatest Strength
- God Has Spent a Lot of His Time Working to Complete His Plan in ME!
- God had to Change My Patterns of Thinking so that I would Surrender to His Plan for My Life!
Maybe Most of You have Never had a Problem with being Obedient and Always Humble in every Situation. Serving Others Sacrificially…But if You’ve had the same issues I’ve had…Chapter 2 is for You Too!
Today’s Life Point is: “My [Your Name] Purpose is to Be Christ to the World!”
- Let’s Not Let Today’s Point Just Role Off Our Minds as I’ve Heard this Before! This Point is the Difference Between Living an Empty Life or One Filled with Joy
- So How do YOU and I Become Christ to the World?
In Phil 2: 1-16 God Gives Us the Recipe. Vs 1-5 “A Charge” Vs 6-11 “A Pattern” Vs 12-16 “A Challenge”
Before we look at Phil Chapter 2, I want us to Review Chap 1:27-30. Paul Concludes Chap. 1 Telling the Philippian Christians that they need to “Live a Life Worthy” of the Gospel.
Whatever Happens: Whether Good Times…Hard Times…Trials of Any Kind…We are to Live in such a way that we are a Credit to the Name of Christ!
- Paul then says, Stand Firm, United in the Spirit. As We Do…Others Will Know that You are Gods, and No Matter what Happens Your Life Will be a Testimony to Christ. Paul makes it Clear that there is Much More than just Trusting in Christ…But Also Being Willing to Suffer in Christ! The Mark of a Mature Christian! With these Thoughts Let’s Look at the first 5 verses of Chapter 2.
Phil 2: 1-5: “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:
Here Paul States How the Philippians and Each of Us Are to Live with Each Other.
- Paul’s Exhortation to the Philippians begins with the Word…Therefore.
- The word “Therefore” draws us back to what Paul stated in Phil 1:27-30, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against “External Conflicts”.
Now Paul tells US how to Act Against “Internal Conflicts” in the Body of Christ. The Words, “If there is any” Introduces the basis for Paul’s Exhortation to Unity, Humility and God’s Love among Believers.
- The Key idea is that “If” the Philippian Christians Have Received the things he mentions, then they have a “Responsibility” to do what he is about to describe.
Paul Uses Several Rhetorical Questions to Help Us Understand Our Responsibility.
First “If there is Any Consolation in Christ”.
- Paul wants the church body to Know that there is Consolation in Christ. Luke 2:25 says that one of the titles for Jesus as the Messiah is the Consolation of Israel.
- The Consolation of Israel Refers to the Promised Messiah. To Console is to Alleviate Grief or to Take Away a Sense of Loss or Trouble.
- In 2 Corinthians 1:5 Paul said, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
- In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Paul says, that God has loved us and given us Everlasting Consolation and Good Hope by Grace. In Christ We Have Consolation…PTL!
- Spurgeon “The Holy Spirit Consoles, but Christ is the Consolation. Then he said, If I may use this Analogy, the “Holy Spirit is the Physician…But Christ is the Medicine.”
Paul’s Second Rhetorical Question asks, “If there is any…Comfort of Love”
- Paul Affirms Every Christian should know what it is to have the Comfort of Jesus Love
- 2 Cor. 1:3 says, “God is the God of All Comfort.”
There is No way Jesus Cannot Comfort Us and There is No Circumstance Beyond His Comfort.
KEY: The word Comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word “paraklesis”. The idea behind this word for Comfort, in the New Testament, is Much More than soothing sympathy. It has the idea of Strengthening, Helping, and Making Strong. The Comforting Love of God Makes Us Strong and Brave.
- It is this Comfort that Allows the Body of Christ to Practice 1 Thess. 5:11 Therefore Encourage One Another and Build Each Other Up, just as in Fact You are Doing.
Paul’s 3rd Rhetorical Question asks, “If there is Any…Fellowship of the Spirit”
Paul knew and valued the fellowship of the Spirit, and every Christian should know what it is to have the fellowship of the Spirit. Fellowship is the ancient Greek word Koinonia. Meaning to Share things in Common. Together…We share life with the Spirit of God…And through God the Holy Spirit Presence We Share in Fellowship with each Other. When the Holy Spirit fills, guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way, We Experience Fellowship in the Body through the Fellowship of the Spirit!
- This is the Difference between an Organization and an Organism…The Body of Christ is a Living Organism! Growing Us together for Mission and Ministry.
Paul’s Last Rhetorical Question: “If there is any Affection and Mercy” assumes that every Christian knows something of the Affection of God and of the Mercy of God.
- Jesus said in the Beatitudes “Blessed are the Merciful for they will be given Mercy”
- The Church should be the Center of Grace and Mercy for Each Other. Forgiveness and encouragement for each other as we go through this Journey toward Heaven!
POINT: Paul mentioned these things in a manner that suggests that they Are All to be Obvious Parts of the Christian’s Experience. It’s as If Paul said, “If water is wet, if fire is hot, if rocks are hard,” and so forth.
His Point is…Each of these Gifts to Believers – Consolation in Christ, Comfort of Love, Fellowship of the Spirit, Affection and Mercy, are to be used to Build Up the Body of Christ!
In VS 2-4 Paul Gives us the Specifics of his Exhortation regarding Love and Humility Among Believers.
Vs 2-4: 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.
Paul wanted them to know, if they would heed his word his Joy would be complete knowing they understood what Christ desired in & through their lives and the Church.
- It’s the Same JOY we Have when Our Children Heed God’s Word.
Being Like-Minded: Having the same love, being one in the Spirit and of one mind, All Speak of a Deep, Abiding, Internal Unity Among the Philippians.
- Unity is the Goal. And Verses 3 and 4 Describe how to Achieve and Practice the Unity mentioned here in verse 2.
Let Nothing be Done Through Selfish Ambition: This is the first step to unity.
- In the flesh, we are often motivated by selfish ambition or conceit.
- But when we let the Holy Spirit take Control…That Ambition Changes to Ministry!
Let Nothing be Done Through Conceit. This is the 2nd Step to Spirit Filled Unity.
- Conceit is thinking too highly of one’s self, of having an excessive self-interest and self-preoccupation. Seeking “Empty Glory.”
- When We Seek these Fleshly Things…We are Out of God’s Will.
“In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” is the third step to the kind of unity described in Verse 2 Lowliness of Mind is completely contradictory to the Attitude of the World.
- The World believes that Esteeming Others Better than Ourselves is Foolish.
- Fighting to be #1…Seeking the Best Place of Honor is much of the World’s Way!
Spurgeon: “The apostle knew that, to create concord [agreement or harmony between people or groups], you need first to beget lowliness of mind. Men do Not Quarrel when their Ambitions have Come to an End.”
As we esteem others better, we will naturally have a concern for their needs and concerns. This Outward looking mentality naturally Leads to a Unity Among the People of God.
KEY: If I consider You Above Me and You consider Me Above You, then We have a Community where Everyone is Looked Up To, and No One is Looked Down On.
Paul’s Completes his Thought with a Request, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of other’s”
As we put away our selfish ambitions, our conceit, and our tendencies to be high-minded and self-absorbed, we’ll have a greater concern for the interests and needs of others.
- Paul doesn’t tell us that it is wrong to look out for our own interests…Rather that We Should Look Out for the Interests of Others as Well.
So…What is the Solution to Paul’s Challenge to Us? What are We to Do?
Vs 1 Gives Us the Answer: The word “IF” is key…Four IF’s are used…IF You are Christ Possession…IF Any Comfort from His Love…IF Any Common Sharing in the Spirit…IF any Tenderness and Compassion…Then You will be Like-minded as Christ.
In Vs 2: Paul desires for US to have the Same Love as Christ for a Lost and Hurting World [COMMISSION] This Requires Us to be One in Spirit and Purpose with Christ.
Vs 3-5 say The Key to Accomplishing this is HUMILITY…Eyes Off Self and On Others. And he makes it clear that Christ is Our Model to accomplish His Purpose in Our lives!
STORY: When I Think about Humility, I think of the story of a Turtle that lived in Cleveland…OHIO This Turtle in Cleveland wanted to winter in Florida. Since it was too far to walk, he convinced two geese to tie a rope around their necks and fly south while he hung on with his vise-like jaws clamped onto the rope. As they crossed the river into Kentucky, some other geese joined the formation. As the other Geese looked at the Turtle they were Very Impressed with the getup, one of the geese said, “Hey, who thought up that brilliant idea?” The Turtle Busting with PRIDE and Wanting to Take the Credit, Immediately Opened his Mouth and said, “I did…” and Fell to his Death The Parable of the Story? Proverbs 16.18 says it all, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall!
- PRIDE Always Destroys!! Pride destroys People, Relationships, Unity…And Flying Turtles! It Gets in the way of What God Desires to Accomplish in Our Lives?
- This is Written in the back of my Bible, “A persons Potential to be Used by God, Lies Not in Ones Opportunity or Ability… Rather in their Humbleness and Obedience!
- As we will see in the coming part of Chapter 2…Christ is the Perfect example! He Obeyed the Fathers Will and Gave Himself for a Lost and Dying World…
The Question for Each of Us is WILL I DO THE SAME!?
Today’s Life Point is: “My [Your Name] Purpose is to Be Christ to the World!”
PD: MARANATHA! (the Lord is Coming) Congregation: And it Could Be Today!