Summary: This sermon is a look at the opposites that are described in Philippians 2:3-4. The first part is the way of war and strife. The second part is the way of peace and joy in the Lord.

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Philippians 2:1-11 (Read from the Bible with the congregation)

As I’m sure you noticed, our new memory Scripture is found in this awesome passage. Let’s take a look at the first part …

Philippians 2:3a

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit …

Selfish ambition or vain conceit

What is selfish ambition or vain conceit? It is simply this: I am the target of all my passions?

Selfish ambition or vain conceit says, “My purpose of my life is to please me. If others are hurt or lose out that is OK with me; that’s their problem!”

Selfish ambition and vain conceit flows out of an orientation of this world and this life only. Grab all you can get.

I know this is probably going to get some people irritated but an analysis of our spending would most likely reveal how “me-centered” I am.

“A checkbook is a theological document. It will tell you who and what you worship.”

- Billy Graham

Just think about this; after necessities are met and I mean necessities, an adequate roof over our heads, enough food for health and survival, heat for the winter, a modest vehicle for transportation, medical needs and things like that.

If you added them all up for the past year and then you took everything else, all other expenditures for the past year.

Think about how much you spend on the non-essential items:

The newest cell phones with data plans

TV cable or satellite services including expensive movie and sports packages

The TV itself or multiple TVs throughout the house


Multiple vehicles (if not necessary)

Motorcycles / ATVs / Motor homes / campers /

Cigarettes / chewing tobacco / alcoholic beverages / soda / candy / coffee

Internet services

Multiple computers/tablets

Gaming devices Xbox, WII, etc

Extravagant vacations

Movies at theaters or rentals

Sporting equipment - guns, fishing gear, golf clubs and fees

Clothing other than what is necessary for modesty and utility


Piercings and the associated jewelry

Extravagant rings and necklaces and watches

Purebred pets and the associated vet bills

Expensive artwork

All of these and much more are not necessary but many people run out of money well before the end of each month because of these things.

So, if you were to add up all that you spend on these non-essential things and compare them to what you give to help others and to the Lord’s work how would it all stack up?

Is Billy Graham correct in saying that, “A checkbook is a theological document.

It will tell you who and what you worship.”?

How far is self-centeredness from selfish ambition and vain conceit?

Self-centered, selfish ambition and vain conceit.

The realm of Christianity is not immune from such thoughts either.

Just listen to these totally insane lyrics from a Southern Gospel song!

Southern Gospel music (which I like for the most part) kind of has a real grasp of, “He Thought of Me”

He said “Father if it be Your will” as the sweat turned into blood

All at once His heart stood still overcome by love,

With 10,000 reasons why it didn’t have to be

In mercy, love and mercy HE THOUGHT OF ME

From the garden where He prayed straight to Pilate’s hall

Where His perfect innocence took the blame for all

Hanging on that rugged cross, tho’ He spoke not a word





Tho’ the soldiers tore His flesh in anger


Way before He ever cried it’s finished

Long before I ever bowed the knee

About the time He said father forgive them

Without a second thought, HE THOUGHT OF ME!

What this song is saying is, “I’m the pinnacle of God’s creation.”

What is the end result of selfish ambition and vain conceit?

Isaiah 14:13b-14 ESV

“I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Who said that? (satan)

What was the result?

Isaiah 15:15 HCSB

“But you were brought down to Sheol into the deepest regions of the Pit.”

That is where selfish ambition and vain conceit will take you.

Selfish ambition and vain conceit will result in brokenness on many levels; families, friendships, churches.

If God doesn’t want selfish ambition or vain conceit from us what does He want?

Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

“In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”

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