Summary: Paul addresses the church with the instruction that our concern is to be primarily with serving the community, but … obedience begins with the individual before the community can be served. Will we serve our neighbor before serving ourselves?

"Imitating Christ (Part 1)"

Philippians Sermon Series, Part 6

Philippians 2:1-4


- Last time we examined an incredible message of what I’d call, pillars of the faith

-- Bro Mike gave us a real encouragement for living for Christ everyday

-- Paul outlined four pillars that we can hold too in everything we do

- Remember what they were? Paul said we must be:

-- United in Declaration

-- United in Direction

-- United in Defense

-- United in Determination

- Today, we will continue on that thought with a specific challenge to us:

-- We are called to imitate Christ; to literally show Him through our lives

-- But more than that … through our words, actions, and even our thoughts

-- When we imitate Christ, we are wholly following the example before us

- APP: This allows us to be witnesses of who He is …

- This is the challenge before us as we grow closer to Him

- Read Philippians 2:1-4

∆ Point 1 – Paul’s Encouragement

- v1: Therefore (ties to what was just said and directs us to act)

-- Phil 1:30 is the tie in statement here, “… since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”

-- Since we are partners in this calling, we must see Paul as an encourager

-- He has been strong enough to make it; will we be brave enough as well?

-- APP: We are walking on the same truth, with testimony about Christ

- Paul makes four statements which challenge us and how we live

-- These are opportunities to check yourself and your own testimony

-- Are you a follower of Christ who has also received or been through this as well?

- Four IF’s to focus on:

1) … if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,

2) … if any comfort from his love,

3) … if any common sharing in the Spirit,

4) … if any tenderness and compassion

- All four of these are basically saying the very same thing

-- “If you have received from this community behavior characterized by love”

--- “If you have been blessed to be given the same hope that I have …”

-- APP: If you are truly a believer in Christ, then you can tackle the next thing

- I think it is safe to say that if you are a Christian; these four “If’s” cover us all

-- We have all received at some point in your life one of these encouragements

- When you have an “IF” statement, it is almost always followed by “then”

- v2: “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”

- APP: Then make me proud in your life by showing Christ’s love to other people

- They can do this, only if they show love to each other

-- If they are not united, their witness to the world will be weak

-- Paul is already very happy about the Christians’ joy (see Phil 1:4)

- But his joy can be even greater

-- He wants to hear that they are living at peace with each other

-- It is then that Paul’s joy will be even greater; this would please him even more

- APP: Love through the example that you yourself have received in Christ!

- THOUGHT: Too many try to outdo the other and then hide their sin

-- Easy one: Prayer requests turned into gossip chains and speculations of sin

-- Tougher to see: Working for God and considering yourself better than another

- TRANS: Paul reminds the church that we too have received all from Christ

-- And so if we have received, we would respond the same to others around us

∆ Point 2 – Paul’s Challenge

- So, what then? Paul sets up his appeal in v1-2 with his concern for them

-- But, rather than tearing into them, his direction is more subtle and meaningful

-- APP: Anyone can bash another person; Paul chooses to not do this here

- Phil 1:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

- The first thing Paul does is appeal to who we are at the core of our being

-- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”

-- APP: This is who we are; we are sinners at our core: bent on self promotion

- IMP: It is the mature Christian who can identify this in themselves

- Paul does this quite effectively, because at his core he knows who he is

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