Summary: A sermon about what it takes to have a successful harvest for the kingdom of God.
The book of Philippians has some missionary tones to it.
It is a missionary book in many ways.
AThe Gospel@ means a great deal to Paul
It is a book about a harvest.
And how can we have the harvest that God would want us to have.
I. The Conditions of a successful harvest
Look in 1:27
When Paul tells them to strive together for the gospel he is not just meaning that we should defend the gospel.
What he is telling them is that the Agospel@ is good news.
And it is not the gospel unless it is shared, unless it is told.
But there is something else that appears out of this verse.
AI may hear of your affairs that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind@
The gospel must be the business of everyone of us.
Whether it is working with RA=s or GA=s.
Whether it is working with the Youth or Senior Adults.
Even working with the Choir.
We need a unity of goal and that goal is for the sake of the gospel.
Now Paul carries this theme on over into chapter two.
He knows that if the gospel is going to be spread in anyway it must be because of unity of purpose.
The church must be unified.
There seems to have been some trouble on the home front.
Were the members beginning to get on each others nerves?
Were they beginning to dwell on the negatives of their fellow members?
We can only speculate through reading the Scripture found in the first part of chapter two.
Paul was telling them that if they received any comfort or encouragement from their vital union with Christ.
If you have felt any of the comfort of the love of Christ in your life.
If you are rejoicing at all in the marvelous Spirit-fellowship.
If you have experienced any of the tender mercy and compassion or Christ.
Then prove your gratitude for all of this by loving your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Paul is telling them that his greatest desire for them is that they be one.
Because Paul knows that as long as they are not one what suffers is the Gospel.
ALet nothing be done through strife or vainglory@
If everyone is constantly thinking of himself alone, how can unity ever be brought about?
Strife and vainglory are Selfish ambition and empty conceit.
They had selfish motives and the craved honor and prestige for themselves.
ABut in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves@
This is when in a church each member counts the other better than themselves.
Thus the members, filled with tender affection, will be outdoing one another in showing honor.
If one regards the brother very high, he will wish to look to his interest in order to help him in every possible way.
Now Paul is thinking.
How can I drive this point home.
How can they truly see what I am talking about?
Then he writes V. 5
Don=t take this out of context.
It is tide in with verse four.
Paul is thinking that what they need to do is have the mind of Christ.
He knew that if the Philippians could see just how much that Jesus went through so that man might be saved then it would change their whole perspective on their fellowman.
And I say today, that if only we could get the mind of Christ about us as well, we would be different.
We have seen the conditions
Now we must see
II. The Cost of a Successful Harvest
What is the Cost?
The cost is that we too must have the mind of Christ.
And Look what it cost him.
What does it mean to have the mind of Christ?
We know that it does not mean the knowledge of Christ because He was omniscient.
There is no way that we can copy his redemptive acts.
We cannot suffer and die vicariously.
It was he, he alone, who was able to satisfy the divine justice and bring his people to glory.
But with the help of God, we can copy the Aspirit@ that was basic to these acts.
And I think that the little phrase that catches it all is found in V. 7
ABut made himself of no reputation@ - He emptied Himself.
And this emptying of himself affected how he did ministry.
It affected how he treated people.
This is why he had the little children come unto him.
This is why he would touch the unclean leper.
This is why he would go and save the life of an adulterer.
He emptied himself.
And I must admit....I don=t always empty myself.
I=m quite selfish with my time.