Summary: Working through the book of Philippians using consecutive expository preaching. Philippians 2:5-11

Series: Philippians

Sermon: “The Mind of Christ”

Philippians 2:5-11

Pastor John Bright

Philippians 2 “5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

What’s on your mind?

O never mind!

I really don’t mind.

Hey, mind your own business.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Well, make up your mind.

That just blows my mind!

Maybe I’ll give him a piece of my mind!

You must be out of your mind!

There are so many ways we use that one word – “mind.”

So how do we begin to understand “the mind of Christ”? Well, let’s connect back to the end of Chapter 1 – v. 27 begins with “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ,…” Paul is not just getting them to think like Christ or feel like Christ. Jesus is the example for the Believers in Philippi and Believers today – right here and right now. These verses speak to us about selflessness, humility and obedience. If you are watching this online – some of you will want to stop right here because those words are practically toxic to the modern-day Believer. For the last couple of weeks, I have been teaching on persecution from outside the Church and disunity inside the Church. Today, we look the conduct of each believer by looking at the Mind of Christ which we see revealed through His conduct.

There is a long quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. Part of that quote goes like this:

“Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,”

To have the Mind of Christ is to get ahold of your thoughts that lead to your words, your actions and your habits. Why? Because there is a reason we treat selflessness, humility and obedience like they are toxic – we all can be self-centered and selfish. We can all be prideful. We can all be disobedient.

So where do we start?

Look at Jesus being Selfless

“6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

We are hard-wired to be selfish. I’ve told you before – we stand in the line of Orthodox Christianity and we still have a belief in original sin. My practical proof is always the same – did anyone ever have to teach a child to be bad? NO! We teach them to be good. We teach them to share because they already know how to be selfish.

Old story that you may have heard before: A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!” 😊

(Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)

If we look to Jesus – the Son was equal with the Father. So then, the Son had to be selfless in order to be less than God. We are not equal to God and we are not gods ourselves – despite what the false religions of this day may say. Scripture is clear:

Psalm 8

4 What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

5 For You have made him a little lower than God (Elohim),

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Isaiah 55

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Humanity is so far below the Awesome Holy God, that Paul would describe Jesus as becoming a bondservant or slave. In Paul’s day, the institution of slavery was alive and well. In the Roman Empire, the slave had no rights and was usually exploited. So, what did Jesus do in this position? Listen to His own words from Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Servanthood, for the Christian, should be about selflessness. Every time I have served on a Kairos team, we are told over and over again – “it’s all about the men inside.” We go there to do the same thing every time – “Listen, listen. Love, love.” The more I do that – the more I receive. It’s the same on a mission trip – you go to bless others and you are the one who gets blessed. If you make the service about you – there is no blessing for the person being served or for you.

So we start with selflessness and then what?

Look at Jesus being Humble

“8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Humility and being humble is greatly misunderstood in our day. Those who want to be seen as humble seem to have to shout it from the rooftops. Why is this one so elusive? In his book, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, Richard Foster wrote this: “Humility, as we all know, is one of those virtues that is never gained by seeking it. The more we pursue it the more distant it becomes. To think we have it is sure evidence that we don't.”

So, what is Christ’s example to us?

In humility, Jesus willingly went to the cross. Crucifixion was the most cruel form of punishment in the Roman world. It was usually reserved for the lower classes – especially slaves. The process began with torture – John 19 “1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.”

After the torture, the victim is placed on a short T-shaped cross by being impaled, nailed or tied with ropes. All four of the Gospels have the same phrase – “they crucified Him.” It is later we read of the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet where the nails were pounded. Jesus dies in a matter of hours. A normal crucifixion in that day would last for days as the person suffers from hunger and thirst and the attacks of wild animals until they suffocate or bleed to death.

We learn humility as we accept the path that God sets before us. “But I can help God.” “But I know better than God where my life needs to be going.” “Hey, I’ve got it all under control, why do I need God.?”

It’s a lesson in humility when the alcoholic or addict is willing to take the first step in AA or NA. “Step 1

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” That leads to two more steps in a path of humility:

Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Plenty of folks can’t humble themselves to the point of accepting the Humble Jesus as their Savior. That is sad. Plenty of Christians who are addicted to sin can’t humble themselves to get the help they need. That is also sad.

After leaving behind selfishness and pride – what is left?

Look at Jesus being Obedient

“8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

This obedience here is not just the normal “Yes Sir” and “No Mam” doing what we are told. The obedience of Jesus has to do with submission. That’s another dirty word today. Jesus, the Son, was so willing to submit to the Will of God the Father, that he was submitted to the point of a cruel and painful death.

Scripture is clear about our obedience/our submission:

James 4 “7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Ephesians 5 “17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

If Jesus could be obedient to God and still wash the feet of the Disciples, what might God be calling you to do in the Body of Christ? Can we practice selflessness as we go about being Brothers and Sisters in Christ? Can humility grow and grow among us? Last week we read about that – Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” I’ve seen lots of competition among folks in the local church, but never with folks trying to “let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself” (Amplified Version) We would sound like an old Chip and Dale cartoon – “No, you first. No, after you.”😊

Where do we see this selflessness, humility and obedience in God’s Word? When an angel appears to a teenaged girl and announces she will be mother to the Messiah, her final word to the angel is this: Luke 1:38 ““Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

How different would your life be if that was your every-day attitude toward God and His Word? Would that help you have the Mind of Christ? Amen.