Sep 22 2019 Philippians 2 - Three Examples of Sacrificial Living
22nd September 2019
Rick and Carol: Hannah was sharing with me some things that are going on – and I asked if I could share it with Grace Summit – sure – go ahead. Hannah has about 6 weeks left – coming home November 4. She is going to be doing an anger management class with some of the parents that she tutors – and she will talk about some of the different triggers of anger – patterns of anger – lack of sleep, whatever – and what do you do in a moment of anger (like losing a soccer game) – She will be finishing up tutoring – and Tues/Wed/Thur – and a teacher who is working with them is giving them better ideas about how to tutor the 11-year-old boys… And she has a craft group with women – and wants to be able to present Jesus to these ladies. School gets out at the end of October – and one of the most important things – any thing else we can pray for? When I am driving. I knew what she meant – every time you get in a car your heart goes in your throat and whenever you get there – you give a prayer of thanks!
You might think it is like driving Rt. 8 or Columbus – but it is not – there are few rules of the road – the policemen are not like our policemen – so pray for Hannah. When I hung up – I just started crying because I know what it is like.
She doesn’t just drive herself – but drives a lot of others and has to think of their safety – and I was listening to Lauren Daigle – Safe in him – under His wings – so I started praying for her. She is from our church! We are her sending church! What a privilege to have a missionary from our church – so we should be praying for Hannah every single day – so when you are driving on Route 8 – or on 71 – let it be a reminder to pray for Hannah!
Mike Marette - Philippians 2 – we looked at the creed that Joan read – and I thought that video puts it in a nice picture for us – Jesus, although He was God became a servant and sacrificed himself that we might be brought back to God – then Paul gave 3 examples of people who sacrificed for others – Paul – being poured out as a drink offering – laying down his own life – in a way like Jesus did (not paying for sins, but stepping into the example Jesus made).
Watching that video again – this faith is so simple – it makes so much sense and fits together perfectly – and this brings us back to the simplicity of being a follower of Christ – and now Paul will give two more examples - :
Philippians 2:19 19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit (like-minded – and that takes us back to verse 2 – be of the same mind – Have this mind in yourself which was also in Christ Jesus - ) who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.
That is what it means to have a passion for Christ – to have a genuine concern for each other’s welfare.
21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.
There were Christian leaders who were preaching out of ambition and strife – and we think – how can someone do that? But I think it takes place in different ways today. In our world, some Christian leaders can focus on the welfare of the ministry and the church that they neglect the welfare of the people who make up the ministry or church. I think, oftentimes, it is done unintentionally. Paul is saying that Timothy is an example because of his genuine concern for the people. A ministry that is not focused on people is just an organization.
22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. 23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; 24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.
Timothy proved to the Philippians by his lifestyle of service – He lives out the two themes that run through this book – a life of beneficial service – and second – to be gospel partners with God/Jesus/Paul.
That is the simplicity of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. There are two things to focus on – concern for others and sacrificially giving to others – and becoming partners with God.
We’ll look at how we complicate this.
Let’s look at the third example, Epaphroditus:
25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister (sacrifice – servant) to my need;
We’ll see how Epaphroditus almost gives his life for them
26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.
So, he gives this example of Jesus, and then – look, you have a member of your own church who lived out this example. The Philippians probably sent money to help Paul, but it wasn’t enough - so Epaphroditus is spending his life – working so hard to meet the needs.
We do not graduate from service – we graduate TO service. As you go farther and farther in your Christian life – you go farther into service.
It is easy to feel that the important stuff is not connected to the mundane, everyday service.
Yes, there is up-front service that is important – but it is always important to have the hidden, mundane – it must always be part of all of our lives.
Because of my job – I am up-front serving – and I have learned that that can sometimes not be service – it depends on the motive.
For me – when I am delivering a sermon – if I were interested in being profound or clever or seeking accolades – then it is not service to Christ. There has to be this constant reminder that is for the genuine concern and welfare of others.
Epaphroditus – two aspects of his service – meeting physical needs – and the second – presence – He was there with Paul in prison – there meeting relational needs – giving encouragement and being there – and for some of us, that is the harder one to do. I can help with your yard, but sometimes it is hard to just ‘be there’
2 Cor. 11:3 – But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Ways to know you are NOT doing it correctly:
When the results become dependent on us – and not God
God must cause the growth. It must be a work of God. And the minute we think it is OUR work, we have complicated things.
Another one – from the Judaizers – Jewish people who became Christians - and they would go around after Paul left – in order to be ‘really saved’ – you must become Jewish and get circumcised and follow the Law – and Paul is saying – Absolutely NOT! We complicate the faith when we add anything beyond faith in what Christ did for us on the Cross – the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
It is easy to subtly bring other things into that – being involved in church, what type of thinking to have – holding to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ ( That is all that his required by God – faith in the message – lives turned over to that simple message.
That is why Paul brings out – Philippians 2, Romans, etc. – this is all we need.
Third – Distractions!
Worldly distractions don’t complicate the faith, they erode it.
We have cultural Christianity factions – we have created a culture that has nothing to do with the gospel – and this can be seen through popular Christian media – radio – tv/ blogs, YouTube, etc. – in all of that – there is a lot of good – but there is also a lot of distraction -and we need to be able to discern where the distraction is – and what is good – we don’t stop having Christian radio/tv/blogs, etc. – but those things – by their very nature need to focus on style, marketing and promotion – and we need to realize that all of that stuff has potential to distract us from the simple purity and devotion to Christ.
A couple years ago, I started a blog – and I realized that it was not really working – so I looked up – how to get it better – and it was recommended to be controversial! I couldn’t do that – so I’ve just left it. We can’t let that distract us from a simple faith.
The one theological issue that distracts the most – the doctrine of the second coming! Sure, we believe in it, but there is so much junk out there that just isn’t biblical – it can be such a distraction -to people – and the final thing – we[‘ll close with this – and won’t have a closing song – the cares of the world – this is different from the distractions of the world. The cares of the world are real – the financial/health/family – and for many of us – for all of us – those cares can begin to consume our thoughts – and sometimes that stuff just – well, we’ve all been there with that. It can all affect us.
For some, it is easy – we have it pretty good here – not that many cares – but some are dealing with big issues daily! – Difficult struggles that people go through – every single day.
I heard an economic report – some have no financial worries – and if you are in that kind of situation – you can think, why do you have financial worries?! I don’t, you might think.
Janitors who worked for kodak – back in the day, it was the Apple or Amazon of its day.
They did a study of janitors who worked for Apple and those who worked for Kodak, and found that in today’s dollars – a janitor for Kodak made 3 times what a janitor for Apple makes today. 3 times!
We think – how can that be? When you think of all of the wealth! And yet, there are many in our world, in our culture and context, who have never tapped into that – and maybe have no way of doing that! No resources by which to view that.
And the cares of the world – all of us have something there – and it will vary widely. When we get to Philippians 4 – Paul talks about those things – You can read ahead – how to maintain our faith when there are deep cares.
Let’s pray – Lord, help us with this- help us to keep it simple, loving one another in a way that is self-sacrificial – just like you were on the cross – and then, how to engage in partnership with You -and with others. May we become an example in these things.