120513 nt vistas 20 the power of humility - philippians

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Lesson 20 of 26 in a series of New Testament Vistas. This sermon on Philippians 2 was presented May 13, 2012, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells.

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  • 20 HumilityPaul has close emotional ties with church he planted in PhilippiWritten from prison, probably in Rome, in AD 59-61 (Acts 28:30-31), while awaiting the outcome of his appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:10-12).In spite of uncertainty of the outcome (Caesar was Nero), there was much joy in his letter to themYet it was a church with its share of problemsExternal persecutionInternal rivalry, envy, self-centerednessThe motivation of some preachers was to undermine PaulSolution is to call the church to humility, unity, and focus on God/gospel
  • StartswithLifestyle.
  • Conduct: WantedChristianstolive up totheircallingπολιτεύομαι ( “conduct yourselves” ) "to live, live as a citizen": "behave as citizens worthy of the gospel“. Connotes the life of a freeman in a free Roman colony.Philippi had special status — Roman privilege — proud of Roman citizenshipPhil 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven.— outpost of heaven — live in a way that is worthy, appropriate, for a citizen of heavenWhat does it look like to live as a citizen of heaven?
  • Solidarity: "Stand firm in one spirit”In the face of external persecution and internal rifts: stand firm!Don't waver in your commitment to Christ/one anotherHow do I do this? “By God's Spirit”You and I can’t live on earth as citizens of heaven by our own strengthBy the sustaining grace of GodWhen we are together, united, empowered by the same Spirit, we can “strive side by side for the faith of the gospel” “with one mind.”
  • Solidarity is based on what we share in common 2:1-2
  • “Likeminded" — mindset — disposition, way of thinking, focus — like-mindedLiterally “mind the same thing” – in context, it is Paul saying, “You should mind the same things I do”, not “You should all think like each other.”It is an appeal to be “Paul-minded” – to see things through his eyesDoesn’t mean we have to agree on everythingNot a command for unity at the expense of truth – it assumes “the same thing” is also “the right thing”.Also doesn’t mean we ignore significant problems and “just get along”How so? Four bases for unity:
  • 1. One Love "Same love": my love for you is to be the same as your love for me.We should possess a mutual love, since we are all believers indwelt by the same Spirit (2:1)The love that is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) ought to be demonstrated in every life.
  • 2. One Spirit:“One in spirit and purpose": The Greek word here is σύμψυχοι (sumpsuchoi, literally "fellow souled").There was a problem of disunity in the congregation – exemplified in Euodia and Syntyche (4:2), but they were just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of trying to bring the factions together, others had apparently chosen sides.We really are in this togetherSo easy to lose our focus (esp. as a church) — become distractedWhen we lose our focus on God and his gospel, secondary things become primaryChurch becomes about numbers, growth, sing hymns/choruses, spill coffee on the carpet.Focus naturally, sinfully, shifts to me. Instead of, “Glorify God?”Do I like it? Does church make me feel good about myself?That person hurt me. I don't like the way (s)he does thingsChurch — glory of God — becomes the glory of men/women and diesWorld sits back and smiles – doesn’t have to lift a fingerWe have become our own worst enemiesWe cannot afford to lose our focusWith one mind, we must focus on God, the gospel, and our true enemy
  • 3. Humility: This has to do with my view of myselfOur lives must be characterized by humility. “Once you think you got it, you’ve lost it.”“Its hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.”Neither is humility is to be confused with false modesty (I'm no good) or with milquetoast, that kind of abject servility that only repulses. Rather it has to do with a proper estimation of oneself, the stance of the creature before the Creator, utterly dependent and trusting. Here one is well aware both of one’s weaknesses and of one’s glory (we are in Gods image, after all) but makes neither too much nor too little of either. True humility is not self-focused at all but rather, as further defined by Paul, considers others better than yourselves.Opposite of …Rivalry, conceit, looking only to your own interests“Self-interest & self-aggrandizement at the expense of others”Servility that claims to be humility but in reality wants to attract attention to itself — you know this kind of person
  • 4. Other-focusedHumility is not thinking that everyone else is more important, more valuable, intrinsically superior to you.When Jesus humbled himself, he was not of less intrinsic worthHumility is caring for othersMore significant in that we put their needs ahead of your ownHumility is coming to a right understanding of who you are in ChristWe stand before our Creator “utterly dependent and trusting”Focused not on ourselves but on him — center of the universeWhen we begin to think rightly about GodThen we will begin to think rightly about ourselvesThen we will look to the interest of othersLives marked by humility, probably with us not even realizing itPrecisely the point Paul will make nextPaul clarifies what he means in verse 4. It is our view of their needs, not their character. We care for their needs – and put their needs ahead of our own. They are not necessarily better than I, but their needs surpass mine.That is the way Christ’s humility expressed itself in the next several verses. He didn’t regard us as better than himself; but he recognized that our needs required his intervention, even though that intervention cost him dearly.If we would read Philippians 2:1-4 daily and prayerfully, with a view toward obedience, it would put an end to all the bickering that goes on in Christian churches, and in families, which are the nucleus of the church.We need to put ourselves in perspective in respect to God – that is humility. Then we need to put ourselves in perspective in respect to others – their needs may be greater than our own.
  • V 5 "Have this mind(set) among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (ESV footnote)φρονέω ( UBS ) denotes primarily, not an act of thinking, but a state of mind, an inward disposition. Mindset is one of humilityChrist’s incarnation/death/resurrection shows us God’s willingness to humble himself in order to meet the needs of othersWe need to learn to see others through Jesus’ eyes
  • The hymn (2:6-11) begins and ends with the Glorification of Jesus as GodMuch theology packed into these few verses:Jesus existed "in the form of God" before he was born (“Pre-existence”)“Being” ὑπάρχω "to be, exist, possess“ – Present participle, emphasizes a continuing state of being, not just present time. “in very nature” μορφή only occurs 3xNT. Besides here (v. 6 “in very nature God” lit. “existing in the form of God” and v. 7 “taking the very nature of a servant” lit., “taking the form of a servant”), the only other occurrence is Mark 16:12 (the spurious long ending).The Greek term translated form indicates a correspondence with reality. One of the strongest affirmations that Jesus is GodThis is Paul’s way of saying Jesus possesses, at any point in eternity, the same nature as God. John put it this way: John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Fathers side, has made him known."Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped“ἁρπαγμός "something to be grasped“ – not in sense of reaching for something he does not possess, but in sense of clinging to something he already hasNLT says “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.”
  • Humiliation (2:7-8)Being God is not about grasping for yourself — hanging on for my benefitBeing God is about “making himself nothing”By taking the "form" — very nature — of a servantSame word μορφή as in v. 6. If he was really a man in v. 7, then he was really God in v. 6If Jesus only appeared to be God, as some believe today, then he only appeared to be man in v. 6, because Paul uses the same word to describe his nature as God and as servant.This is the beginning of many false doctrines. Mormons teach that even God began as a man; not that one who was God became man. Joseph Smith said "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. … God himself, the father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ." - The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 342-345.Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only the Father is eternal, and that Jesus is his only creation. Everything else was created by Jesus.Islam teaches that Jesus was one of many prophets sent by God before Muhammad. He was a prophet, but he was never God.Paul says he possessed the very nature of God in eternity. He had it, but he didn’t cling to it.Rather, he “made himself nothing” lit. “emptied himself” - κενόω – is an aorist. Contrast the enduring present of “being in very nature God” with the act of “taking the nature of a servant”
  • Specifically a human servant ("likeness" points to Jesus' real humanity)John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.Extent of God's "making himself nothing"? HumiliationHuman — died — crossChrist’s death on the cross shows that God made himself nothing for the needs of his creation for the sake of his creationGordon Fee in NICNT: “Here is the very heart of Pauline theology ...: God is love and … his love expresses itself in self-sacrifice … for the sake of those he loves”.
  • Exaltation (2:9-11) — illustrates the depth of his humiliationGod the Father "highly exalted" JesusNot a reward — Not giving Jesus something he did not already possessUniversal declaration of who Jesus truly isIn the resurrection and ascension, God declares Jesus' true name: “Lord,” “Yahweh”Ultimately, all of this is to the praise and glory of God the FatherPoint of the illustration:Christ, in his incarnation and death, revealed part of God the Father’s characterWilling to make himself nothing for the needs of his creation for the sake of humanityWe too should make ourselves nothing for the needs of others ultimately for the glory of God
  • Comes back to application (2:12-13)“Work out our salvation”God saved us — changed us — not earn but work out consequencesSerious stuff — fear and tremblingWhat do people see when they look at us?• Someone casually going through life at their own speed for their own purposes, focused almost entirely on ourselves?• People who understand that our sin cost Yahweh his human life, and in light of his divine sacrifice we must take our spiritual maturity — specifically humility — very seriously?Quickly corrects any possible misunderstandingYou can work out the consequences of your salvation, only because God has already been at work, giving you the desire/ability to changeWord play: work out salvation because God is at work so you can workUltimately, a life of humility is possible only because of God’s prior work
  • Paul concludes with one way in which we work out our salvationChooses sins that are especially destructive of unity — 2:14-15Can we be that kind of church?1. Get the focus off ourselves — wants, desiresIn humility, put the needs of the others before our own2. Keep the focus on the gospel — strive side by side for the gospelIf we can/will, CV won’t know what hit itAre you shining like stars in the universe?
  • 120513 nt vistas 20 the power of humility - philippians

    1. 1. New Testament Vistas
    2. 2. Lifestyle Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel …
    3. 3. Lifestyle Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel …
    4. 4. Lifestyle Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel …
    5. 5. Unity Philippians 2:1-4 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with 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 purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    6. 6. Unity’s BasisPhilippians 2:2 …make my joycomplete by beinglike-minded … One Mind
    7. 7. Unity’s Basis One LovePhilippians 2:2 …having the samelove … One Mind
    8. 8. Unity’s Basis One LovePhilippians 2:2 …being one in spiritand purpose … One One Spirit Mind
    9. 9. Unity’s Basis One LovePhilippians 2:3 Donothing out ofselfish ambition orvain conceit, but inhumility consider One One Spiritothers better thanyourselves. Mind Humility
    10. 10. Unity’s Basis One LovePhilippians 2:4Each of you shouldlook not only toyour own interests,but also to the Other- One One focused Spiritinterests of others. Mind Humility
    11. 11. MindsetPhilippians 2:5 Yourattitude should bethe same as that ofChrist Jesus:
    12. 12. Glory Humiliation Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
    13. 13. Glory Humiliation Humiliation Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
    14. 14. Glory Humiliation Humiliation Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
    15. 15. Glory Humiliation Glory Exaltation Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God Exaltation 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    16. 16. Making the Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have alwaysApplication obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in myPersonal absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
    17. 17. One way in Philippians 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing,which we 15 so that you may becomework out our blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crookedsalvation and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

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