Thursday, May 19, 2011

Philippians - Now, About that Attitude of Yours

Click Here to Listen to the Sermon for Sunday, May 15, 2011 by Pastor Chip Moody

Click Here to Download a Copy of the Philippians Outline Chart

Scripture Reference:  Philippians 2:1-16

“Be like Jesus.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Be like Jesus. It astonishes me that we can say this so blithely.

Be like Jesus. You’re kidding, right?

Is there anything else you would like me to do? Leap a tall building in a single bound? Stop a speeding locomotive? Catch a bullet between my teeth? It shouldn’t be a problem for someone who can “be like Jesus.”

But there it is in Philippians 2. Be like Jesus.

The precise words are “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . .” What attitude? Oh, only absolute unfettered selflessness, that’s all.

Really? Selflessness?  I suppose there are times when I am somewhat selfless . . . maybe.


But Philippians 2.5-8 describes this selflessness in a not so “sorta” kind of way.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who,
although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied Himself,
taking the form of a bond-servant,
and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross. [NASB]

Nothing sorta about this. The attitude we are to have is that of Jesus as he emptied himself of his glory to become incarnate in human flesh and offered himself to crucifixion for the sins of the world. You know. Selfless.

Oh, that attitude.   

Paul the Apostle wrote to this church of Philippi, a solid, healthy, and joy-filled church, to concentrate on selflessness, for in it they would find what all humans seek, as well as what God desires us to have--harmony with one another. Peace in the flock. Healthy relationships with brothers and sisters in the Lord. Peacemaking.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent,
children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
 among whom you appear as lights in the world,
 holding fast the word of life,
so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory
because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. [NASB]

I find it fascinating that Paul seems to be saying that at then end of the age Paul will be most proud to be able to say, “In a selfish world I planted churches in which everyone got along nice.”

That would take a miracle, you say.  Well . . . yes, I think it is a miracle. Selflessness is a miracle that only comes about because of the transforming work of God in my life. Because of the presence of God in me, thanks to Jesus, I can choose to put myself last, consider others better than myself (v. 3), and we can achieve a level of love for one another the world without God can’t experience.

Call it abundant life. After all, most of our most troublesome problems are about relationships, especially relationships with those we are supposed to love and who are supposed to love us. Most other problems don’t keep us from abundant life. Bad relationships always do.

So be selfless, Paul writes. Doesn’t he know how difficult this is? Doesn’t he see the inherent complexity and confoundedness of getting along with others?  Yes he does. And he knows the only successful solution for our inability to get along is—you guessed it, selflessness.

So be like Jesus.


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