Summary: We must look to Jesus as our example of how to use the tools he has already given us in relationships. Love, purpose, and humility are the tools.
Last week we looked at how we must all get along with each other and work with each other in order to build a strong church. This week I will continue my series on building the church with a look at exactly how we must work together. While Jesus was the foundation and cornerstone in the illustration last week, this week he is the master and we are his apprentices. Please turn to Philippians chapter 2.
When I was a teen with a learner’s permit to drive my father thought it wise to not only teach me to drive but also to teach me how to maintain and repair any vehicle I might have. He bought an old VW van with a worn out engine and insisted that I learn to rebuild the engine. I already had a good set of my own tools and enough ambition and eagerness to get me into real trouble. He didn’t just throw me to the wolves, however. Step by step he walked me through the whole process. You see, I had all the tools I needed but I didn’t have the knowledge, skill, and experience to effectively use those tools without a “master” to show me how. In the same way, we as Christians, have many tools available to us; however, we need the Master to show us how to properly use those tools. Now read Philippians 2:1-10 with me as we begin to learn from God about the tools he has given us and how to use them.
I. As a Christian you already have tools in your toolbox. (Phil 2:1)
A. The “ei” in Greek can mean both if and since.
1. We use “if” with the meaning of since, for example, at supper I’ll call out something like, “If you want to eat you better get washed up.”
a. There is no doubt that everybody is hungry and wants to eat.
b. The “if” really indicates the idea of “since” but it just doesn’t flow right.
B. Since there is encouragement in Christ.
1. Encouragement from Scriptures (Romans 15:4,5)
2. Encouragement in the hope of Jesus (Hebrews 6:17-19)
C. Since there is consolation of love
1. This is the agape type love
2. Consolation soothes anxiety (Psalm 94:19)
3. Isaiah 66: 12 For thus says the Lord, "Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. 13 "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you
D. Since there is fellowship of the Spirit
1. 2 Cor 13:13
2. You are never alone
E. Since there is affection and compassion
1. Concern for others
F. These are the tools you already have but how are they worked out in the life of the church with one another.
G. They must be used in conjunction with others using their tools.
II. Being of the same mind is modified by the word (Phil 2:2-5)
A. It is a present active participle meaning “having”
1. it is followed by a list of things
2. it is addressed to likeminded believers
B. The same kind of love (agape)
C. A unified purpose
D. Having nothing from selfishness nor from conceit
1. Don’t bring tools from somebody else’s shop
2. Cheap imitations don’t work
3. You have to have the right tool for the job
4. Highlight (kenodoksian – empty glory) as conceit
E. Humility w/ each other
1. consider others better than yourself
2. not only concern for those like you
3. but also concern for those unlike you (allos vs ‘eteros)
a. This refers to those outside the church
b. We are to hate the sin but love the sinner
c. Illustration “Care for the Enemy” from Ernest Gordon’s book “Through the Valley of the Kwai”
F. What do you have in your toolbox?
1. Is there anything you need to add?
2. Is there anything you need to remove?
III. Christ is the master who provides the perfect example of how to use the tools. (Phil 2:6-11)
A. He shed his Godly privilege to take on a servant’s life
1. This is humility
2. Lorne Sanny, President of the Navigators was once asked how he could know when he had a servant’s attitude. He answered, By how you act when you are treated like one.
B. When treated as a slave he willingly submitted even to death.
1. He chose this path it was not forced upon him.
2. He not only chose death but even a humiliating and excruciating death
3. Romans 5:7-8
C. Perfect use of the tools
1. Love is motivation
2. Humbled himself
3. Glorified God
D. By completely emptying himself he was given glory.