Summary: JOYFULLY PERSEVERE IN HUMBLE SERVICE TO MAINTAIN A BLAMELESS TESTIMONY
JOYFULLY PERSEVERE IN HUMBLE SERVICE TO MAINTAIN A
The path of humble service -- seeking the prosperity of others above our own personal interests -- is not the path we would naturally choose. In fact we shrink back from such a challenge. How can such a life be possible?
I. (:12-13) GOD MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO PERSEVERE IN HUMBLE SERVICE
A. We Must Work Hard at Persevering in Humble Service (:12)
1. The Example of Christ should be Sufficient Motivation
"Wherefore" always introduces the logical application of a truth that has been presented = the example of Christ
"In total abandonment to the will of God for the good of those He loved, He gave up all the rights that He had as the eternal Son of God. He veiled His essential glory in human flesh, and He went to the cross, not for His own good but because He sought the good of
those whom He loved."
"In Paul’s mind, if his presence would put pressure upon them, the example of the loving suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ ought to put even greater pressure on them. It was Paul’s greatest desire to please a person. That was the motive in his personal life, and
it was not necessary for that Person to be present."
the extent of obedience should always be consistent since our accountability is not to men, but to God -- "just as always you obeyed not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence"
the degree of obedience of the child is not determined by what the child does when the parent is present, but by what he does when the parent is absent..the Philippians did have a good track record in terms of obedience and Paul is quick to soften the impact of his exhortations with appropriate praise
2. Our Attitude must be that of a Humble Servant -- striving to please his master "with fear and trembling"
possibly an idiomatic expression of the times
1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor.7:15; Eph.6:5
cf. hostess wanting to make sure everything is just right for a distinguished guest
opposite of being high-minded and proud and arrogant and self-confident
3. The Responsibility for Persevering in Humble Service Rests on Each of Us -- "keep working out the salvation of yourselves"
not talking about works earning our salvation -- we know we are "saved by grace thru faith and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast"
lit. "to carry out to its intended goal, to carry to its ultimate conclusion; accomplish" -- speaking not of justification but of the path of sanctification that ultimately leads to glorification
they could not depend on the Apostle Paul or even on their elders for their own progress in Christlikeness -- in a life of humble service ("your own" is emphatic by position)
Why suffer for loving others? Christ did it and so should we
Don’t give up when pressure or suffering come -- remember it has been granted to us not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake
B. God Works Efficaciously to Make It Possible For Us to Persevere in Humble Service (:13)
Gives us hope and assurance
1. Graciously grants the DESIRE to live a life of humble service in harmony with God’s good pleasure.2. Graciously grants the POWER to carry out that desire
word = "effective energy" -- only used of supernatural power in the NT
Carson: "God’s continuous, gracious, sovereign work in our lives becomes for us an incentive to press on with fear and trembling."
II. (:14-16) MAINTAIN A BLAMELESS TESTIMONY AS A CHILD OF GOD
Paul uses 6 different approaches to urge the Philippians to maintain a blameless testimony in harmony with their privileged calling and new nature as children of God
A. Warning -- Do Not Spoil Your Humble Service (:14)
Danger lies in wait to ruin our testimony
"Do all things" -- everything that submitting to humbling yourself and serving others calls for
some people try to avoid temptation by sitting life out as a spectator; not taking the risks of Christian ministry.
Paul says "Get involved; Be aggressive in taking every oppty. for humble service"
But Do Not Spoil Your Humble Service:
1. By Grumblings
Background = OT grumblings of children of Israel in the
2. By Arguments Lenski: evil rationalizing thoughts and
calculations (Rom. 1:21; 1 Cor. 1:20)
Lenski: "not referring to quarrels that would disrupt unity among brothers; but grumbling at the disagreeable hardships of life and persecution"
Other commentators feel that the context of the epistle deals with quarrels among the brothers that destroy church unity
B. Description -- of the Type of Children that Make a Father Proud --