Summary: link inc. to formatted text, audio.
The Secret of Success: Submission
Chapter 1 taught us that joy comes from single-mindedness. Paul had a singular goal - getting out the gospel. [1:12]
Even if it meant him going to jail, or being criticized [v. 16 - at least he's preaching Christ!]
Chapter 1 was about how to have joy in spite of circumstances.
Chapter 2 teaches us how to have joy in spite of people. We need a submissive mind.
Some people just let the air out of your tires...they make you want to find a gun...and then you'd have to decide of which of you to shoot!
With many, it is unintentional. It has to do with their childhood or their current situation. It has become habitual.
But some have the outright goal to lift themselves up by tearing others down...their goal is to create misery.
Paul was no stranger to people problems. He was in the ministry, after all, and was in charge, which made him the easy target most often aimed at. Churches would be perfect if not for the people!
He also had problems with people in Rome.
Paul was protective of his churches. He had to protect them from false teachers from without, and from strife within. [4:1-3]
Paul teaches that their disagreements are not the problem, but the symptom. Outward disagreements are like a sore on the skin. The real problem is in the bloodstream. We need to deal with the deeper spiritual problems, not by making of rules and duking it out publicly.
JOY - you must be willing to come in 3rd to win!
Chapter 1 was about putting Jesus first, and now chapter 2 is about putting others 2nd.
vv. 1-4 We hear a lot about self image and self esteem these days. [selfie stick] Notice that God's commentary on this subject is about esteeming others.
This is all about submission, which is a major key to having joy.
The submissive Christian has 3 qualities:
Thinks of others / serves others / sacrifices for others.
If we all applied v. 3, 90% of church problems would be solved. Very seldom do we have doctrinal differences. They are personal.
Selfishness. Jealousy. Power struggles.
Now Paul paints us a picture to illustrate:
vv. 5-8 How could you paint a better portrait of submission?
1. Jesus thought of others.
v. 6 Now we are in eternity past...seeing the pre-incarnate Jesus.
Form = God is a spirit, so this is not about size or shape. It's the outward expression of His inward nature.
[pitcher was in 'good form' today - refers to the nature of his game]
Since Jesus was God in eternity past, he had all the attributes of God.
Who is the image of the invisible God...
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person...
When you look at Jesus, you are looking at God. He didn't have to 'rob' or grasp after equality with the Father.
He laid it all aside for us. He didn't grip onto the privileges of deity. He let go. He SUBMITTED!
He willingly relinquished His rights!
ill.--a successful job placement counselor said, "The key to finding out about a worker is to not just give them responsibilities, but also privileges. Most people can handle responsibilities if you pay them. But it takes real character to handle privileges."
A real leader will use privileges to help others and build the organization. A lesser man will use his privileges to promote himself.
Jesus used His heavenly privileges not for Himself, but for us!
Lucifer said, "I will go up." Jesus said, "I will go down."
Lucifer said five times, "I will." Jesus said, "Thy will."
Lucifer grabbed and grasped for more, but was never satisfied, even with his lofty position as the highest of angels...he wanted more. He was cast out of heaven and invaded Eden. Man was God's highest creation there...given dominion over everything. Satan whispered to him: Don't settle for that...you can have more! You can be like God!
Ever since, mankind has been selfishly grasping for more. We shouldn't be surprised when lost people look out for #1. But Christians are called to different standard. "Let THIS mind be in you."
2. Jesus served others.
v. 7 Thinking of others is just the beginning. Next we must put it into practice. Jesus came to earth for us, but not to a palace, but a dingy stable. A lowly life. A despised existence. He was raised in a filthy Gentile village.
He was a Master, but became a servant. There's that word 'form' again. He didn't pretend to be one or take on the role of one...He WAS one. He served the sick, sorrowful, harlots, lepers, despised. He washed the feet of fishermen. He took off His garments of glory and stripped Himself of the insignia of His majesty.