Radio Study Manuscript (2/1/15, WBTG)
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus… 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…
The Bible is written for you & me to read personally. It is God’s Word FOR us & TO us. If we read and/or hear Scripture without taking it personally we are not reading it as God would have us to. As Jesus prayed for us, “Father sanctify them in Truth… Your Word is Truth.”
The Bible IS the mind of Christ. It IS the heart of God. It IS the rule & guide for our life. It is NOT something to be studied to win arguments. The eternal Word is the bread of life by which the Christian learns to live holy & Godly lives so as to be conformed to the image of Christ! With that said…
Some passages run so contrary to the norm in us (Did you hear that? The norm IN US) that we would prefer to ignore them (In practice sometimes we do). We don’t really take them for what they are… God’s Spirit inspired Word for how we’re to LIVE. If we took it seriously, we would be deeply convicted of our conduct… and then change it accordingly. This passage from Phil 2 is one of these.
Let’s be honest with each other… we’re selfish. We want what we want when we want it. That’s our basic nature. Truth be told, we’re willing to do shady things to get our way. We’ll embellish… not tell the whole truth… & many other things to get our way OR keep from getting in a difficult spot.
Paul in Phil 2 turns the way this world functions upside down & inside out. When we read it we’re afraid that if we REALLY lived that way we’d become the world’s doormat or fire hydrant. We think if we really lived according to Phil 2 we’d never get promoted, get a raise, or rise to the top.
In Vs. 3 Paul paints us into a corner. He doesn’t give us any escape clauses nor are there any caveats. He is plain & straight to the point… “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit” means that all we do is to be properly motivated (Defined in a moment). Our actions should NEVER be for the purpose of showing off, pushing our agenda, getting the limelight, or taking control. That is just not the way Christians are to ever (!) conduct themselves.
By contrast, in every endeavor Christians are to be humble. Do you know what humility is? It isn’t thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It is not having a low view of yourself, it means you aren’t the main person you think of! Thus the last part of vs 3, “Count others more significant than yourselves.”
Acting out of humility by seeing others as more important than you are just isn’t normal. It would be like you & another person being up for a promotion. Your family is comfortable & financially secure. The other person is a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Phil 2:3 means you’d give the promotion to the other person… joyfully & gladly. (PAUSE) How many of us could/would do that?
Paul’s thoughts from vs 3 carry over to v 4, “Look out not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.” Here’s the thought behind the point. Christians live this life w/ a different ethic than the rest of the world. We not to live a “Me & mine FIRST” attitude. We are to live in a manner that builds others up & blesses them. We are to put others before ourselves. We are to sacrifice for others to have.
Let’s be honest! How many people do you know who put others before themselves? How many examples can you name of others going without or losing SO THAT others can have? How often do we… you or I… make conscious choices that inconvenience us SO THAT others have it better?
Let’s even make it a little tougher… in thinking about this do you or I WANT to sacrifice… lose… be inconvenienced… or even suffer SO THAT someone else can be better. Do we hesitate in our spirit to give up recognition and/or money for others? Reflect on that…
If we hesitate in our spirit OR draw back from putting others first, the remedy is in vs 5. “Have this mind in you, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” THINK! If it weren’t for Jesus doing the things found in Vss 3-4… we’d be damned to hell forever.
Jesus gave up perfect fellowship w/ the Father & Spirit. He gave up being worshipped by angels. He gave up His Godhood in some fashion & became a human being, a baby. He never used His divine power for his own benefit… even to the point of refusing to call angels to deliver him from the cross! If Jesus hadn’t given up SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE… we couldn’t be saved!
Paul writes Christians… who are the beneficiaries of Christ’s sacrifice… are therefore able to do the same because He lives in us! It is the height of selfishness to have received so much from Christ & then not be willing to do the same as best we can for others! WE must examine ourselves in light of this!
Now in v 14 Paul flips from “Do nothing” to “Do all things.” He follow a negative with a positive. It is at this point that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. As we count others more important than ourselves, and AS we look out for the interests of others… attitude is everything. Why? Because God loves a cheerful giver! Paul writes it this way, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning…”
I can’t stand whining. I can’t stand grumbling either. You’ve heard it… someone does something but the whole time they’re griping, fussing, mumbling, & have a bad attitude. Then when they get done they say… “THERE! I did it. You happy now?!” That should NEVER be a Christians conduct!
There are two kinds of people: Christians & everyone else. The problem many times is NOT that sinners sin, but that Christians sin as much or worse than sinners! People who sing hymns on Sunday are the ones backstabbing, manipulating, & trampling others Monday to Saturday.
Example: I officiate high school sports (Thus the picture above). Last year I did a game where the coaches & fans of a Christian school yelled & screamed at the officials using language unlike any other school I called. They didn’t know several of the officials they berated were brothers in Christ. That ought not be! But yet it happens more often than we’d like to admit… and sometimes it’s us…
Why are we not to grumble or question? Listen to Paul’s reason in V 15… “That you may be blameless & innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked & twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Read it again)
Paul’s point is this: Our conduct and attitude is to be such that there is a stark contrast between us and the world. No matter what everyone else does, we have a different moral and ethic that causes us to live in a manner that glorifies God. One that is humble, servant oriented. Christians are to be people of light in a dark, sinful, crooked, & twisted world. All because we have been treated in a manner we don’t deserve by the great God of the Universe and His Son Jesus Christ!
By the way… there may very well be times that as a result we get trampled. We may be pushed aside. We may be made fun of and/or laughed at. We may end up losing or being last. But remember what Jesus said as found in Mt 20:16… “The last will be first, and the first last.”
Phil 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus… 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…