Summary: A sermon about following the humble life of Jesus.
“The Attitude of Christ”
Would you agree that there is nearly nothing so beautiful as a person who is both truly strong and truly humble at the same time?
Would you agree that this kind of person is hard to find?
We might know a few people who fit this description, but the majority of us have a very hard time with humility and with strength.
Pastor Craig Groeschel offers this story:
“One time I was praying during worship, a few moments before preaching.
Eyes closed, focusing on God, I felt someone slip a note into my hand.
I never saw who it was, but the note was marked “Personal.’”
He continues, “I thought to myself, ‘Someone probably wrote a nice note to encourage me before I preach.
A warm, loving feeling settled over me as I unfolded the paper.
A moment later, I lost that loving feeling.
Evidently the note was from a woman who had tried to see me on Friday, my day off.
She took offense at my absence and blasted me with hateful accusations.
This happened literally seconds before I was to stand up to preach.
In that moment, I had a choice.
I could internalize the offense and become defensive or demoralized and discouraged.
Or I could ask myself, ‘I wonder what she’s experiencing that caused her to lash out?’
I began to pray.
‘Lord Jesus, please give me YOUR compassion for the person who wrote this letter.
Give me Your attitude; Your strength; Your humility.’”
Groesdhel writes that as soon as he prayed this, his heart began to physically hurt for this woman.
He knew that such a disproportionate reaction must indicate deep pain, and he didn’t take the note personally.
Humility is the ability to get outside ourselves and into the heart and soul of others.
Humility is sanity.
It is beautiful.
But it is running scarce.
There can be no doubt that we live in an incredibly broken world.
People are shouting over one another.
Talk radio and cable t-v news channels are not helping the situation any as they go 24 hours a day with an endless array of panelists and hosts all angry with one another.
Just watching or listening to it can get your blood pressure up.
How can we learn to listen TO one another instead of yelling AT one another?
How can we learn to include others rather than exclude them?
How can we overcome so many misunderstandings that lead to hate, divisiveness and even violence?
How can we learn to become humble, compassionate people?
I think the answer is right here for us in Philippians Chapter 2: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”
I mean, we are, after-all Christians, Christ followers.
The Philippian Church was generally a pretty good church.
They had received the Gospel enthusiastically.
They had even sent Paul a gift when they had heard he was imprisoned in Rome.
This is where Paul was when he wrote the letter.
The only concern Paul seemed to have about the church was that some kind of dispute or feud was taking place between two women in the church whom he mentions by name in Chapter 4.
“I plead with [them],” Paul writes, “to agree with each other in the Lord.”
And that appears to be what Paul has in the back of his mind as he writes our passage for today.
He wants to make sure the church remains unified so that it will be able to keep “pressing on toward the goal…for which God has called [them] heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
In Chapter 1:3-6 Paul writes to the church: “I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”
God begins a good work in us when by grace—we receive the gift of faith—and make the decision to allow Christ to be our Lord and Savior.
But, as we are warned in 1 Peter 5:8 our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
And so we are to “resist him,” having the same attitude of Christ Jesus.
“Having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose…”
…and “in humility consider[ing] others better than ourselves.”
This is what conquers evil.
This is what wins the victory over envy and strife.
This is what brings peace.
It is the only way.
Everything else is sinking sand!
Now, we are told that Jesus’ very nature is God—He is God.