This post contains the manuscript I take into the pulpit when I preach (Thus a little longer than usual). This is a message I plan to deliver this coming Sunday (God willing) at the church where I am interim. As you read please note there are contractions and devices I use in delivery. This manuscript isn’t intended for anything other than to keep me on track as I deliver God’s Word to His people. I pray that you will be blessed.
It All Begins With Me (Philippians 1:27)
(Prayer: God reveal to us our blind spots. Show us how You see us. Do Your work!)
I hope you have a good memory b/c I want you to memorize a paragraph from a book millions of C’ians have read. If you’ll try hard, you’ll probably be able to. Ready? Here it is, “It’s Not About Me.” (That’s it!) Say it… “It’s not about me…” One more time… “It’s not about me.” (R. Warren)
Those words are profoundly Biblical. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33)…” It’s not about me. “The greatest among you will be your servant (Mt 23:11)…” It’s not about me. “Whoever would be first among you must be your slave (Mt 20:27)…” It’s not about me. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:32)…” It’s not about me.
It’s not about me. “I.N.A.M” Write it down in your Bible & put today’s date beside it.
To glorify God this must take place one person at a time. W/out pointing fingers or expecting anything of others… each individual must do what is right, REGARDLESS of what anyone else does. Therefore “It’s not about me… BEGINS WITH ME!”
If we & MBC are to glorify God, grow, & mature… we ALL are responsible. When it comes to the church, we all either help bring about her health OR demise. (BIG PAUSE) HOW??
If you don’t help… you hinder. If you don’t bring together… you divide. If you don’t heal… you hurt. If you don’t forgive… you hold a grudge. If you don’t seek peace… you destroy it. If you’re not part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem. That’s from Jesus in Lk 11:23.
Call me simplistic… call me naive… but I believe God’s way of leading & guiding is clear & simple. He doesn’t make it difficult for us to know how we are to conduct ourselves & what He expects. We make it harder than it is… & that’s today’s message.
What you & I want is not important. What we desire is meaningless. Our goals for MBC carry no weight. The staff doesn’t matter, nor do the deacons, me or anyone else! Why? It’s not about me…
I wear a band around my wrist. On one side it says, “Worthy of the Gospel.” On the other side “Phil 1:27” which is, “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.”
“Whatever happens…” Don’t rationalize those words! “But preacher, you don’t know what that person did to me!” What they did doesn’t matter! What matters is found in the rest of the verse… “Conduct YOURSELF in a manner worthy of the Gospel!”
They insulted you… be kind! They’ve offended you… encourage them! They’ve attacked you… pray for them! They told lies about you… bless them! They’ve hurt you… do good to them!
Why? It’s not about you… it’s about Jesus! It’s about reflecting God’s glory! It’s about the reputation of the faith! It’s about living the C’ian life! It’s not about you OR them!! Ro 12:18…
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…
THAT is conducting ourselves “Worthy of the Gospel.” We are able to do it b/c “I can do all things thru Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). B/c it’s not about us, it’s about God’s glory!
When we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel whatever happens to us… THAT brings God glory! THAT reflects His love! THAT makes Him smile! Mt 5:43-45…
You have heard that it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor & hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
Now… do we naturally WANT to do that? No. I don’t & neither do you. And that is why WE need to confess & get our heart right w/ God. Until that happens there will be conflict IN US & around us. We MUST get the board out of our eye before helping anyone w/ a speck in theirs!
Right about now someone is thinking… “I hope so & so is listening!” Are YOU? ((PAUSE)) This message is not for “so & so,” it’s for you. It doesn’t start w/ them… it starts w/ you. Phil 1:27…
Thus the title of the message… “It Begins W/ Me.” You & I will stand before God & give an account for our actions. Not theirs. We must conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel so that when we stand before God He says, “Well done good & faithful servant!”
I don’t wear this wrist band for other people to see, it’s to remind ME of MY call to do what glorifies God & makes HIM smile! You see… as best I can… I don’t want to give anyone cause or reason to defame the name of Christ! I don’t want to be a stumbling block in anyone’s life.
For that reason, sometimes it is best to get a black eye… take a hit… be maligned… be scorned… to lose in the eyes of men (1 Cor 6:7). Why? It’s not about me… it’s about God’s glory! If the name of Christ is to be spoken of in a negative light, let it be b/c of what someone else did. Let them be responsible. Let’s conduct ourselves in a manner worth of the Gospel FOR GOD’S GLORY!
There is only one person that matters at MBC… God. His son died for the church. His son bought the church w/ His blood. Jesus is the head of this congregation & only what He wills is important. Nothing else matters. Why? It’s not about me… or you… or us. It’s about God’s glory!
MBC’s memory verse for August. It’s perfect for this point. 2 Cor 1:20, the last five words… “To God for His glory.” God’s glory is the only thing that matters. God’s glory is whatever causes people to admire, praise, worship, & adore Him. Anything that doesn’t glorify God is improper & unacceptable for all of us! Why? It’s not about me… IT’S ABOUT GOD’S GLORY!
Turn to 1 Cor 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God…” WHY? It’s not about me, IT’S ABOUT GOD’S GLORY!
Class, what all is included in 1 Cor 10:31? What does “whatever you do” include? Are we to glorify God when we talk on the phone? What about in committee meetings? Are we to glorify God in Walmart? At home? Is there ever a time we aren’t to glorify God? Well?? (PAUSE)
Pride keeps us from glorifying God. What we want is more important to us than God being glorified. Being right… people’s opinion of us… or 1,000 other things WE WANT are the things keep us from glorifying God. And do you know what that is called?
Idolatry! When what we want comes before God’s glory… we have bowed down to a false god. We have violated the first commandment. We have transgressed against God. If that doesn’t drive us to our knees in brokenness and repentance… we need to repent of our unrepentance!
The future is in OUR hands. What we do & say is of GREAT importance…
We are responsible for every word, every thought, every deed. They are being recorded. And one day every person here will stand before God. Every one of us will have to answer for it all.
But right now… in this moment… at this time… we are given a chance. God is allowing us this opportunity to set things right. Regardless of our past… what we’ve said or done… right now we can be reconciled to Him. The question is will we?
Let’s not let today be another day at church or a religious meeting. Let’s leave changed. Let’s surrender ourselves for God’s glory. Let’s determine to live Phil 1:27 for this reason…
It’s Not About Me… It’s About God’s Glory!