Sermon Notes from "Preaching Backwards"

Here are my notes from my message today at Hesston MB. 


Preaching Backwards--Philippians 2:1-4

Introduction: What if you read the final chapter of a book instead of starting at the beginning?  Would it ruin the book or allow you to enjoy the characters & situations because you know how it ends? Or read Return of the King before reading The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings? What if you watched Return of the Jedi without watching Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back?  This morning, we are going to start in verse 4 and move backwards through the passage.  Often in sermons, we want to know what we need to “do” so this morning we will start with what we do and work our way back to verse one to see how and why.

Review-Therefore-Greek work “oun” translated so (AMP, ESV, RSV) or therefore (New NIV, NKJV, NASB)-Pastor Brad preached two weeks ago about suffering of Paul & Philippians.  Stand firm together, strive together (have each other’s back-fighting lions illustration), same struggle & still struggle. Today’s passage helps us understand how they were able to keep going in spite of suffering.  Remember there were no chapters or verses in the original text.  Chapters were added in 13th century & Verses in middle of 16th century.

Eyes Out (vs. 3-4)

·         Paul is encouraging the Philippians and us to get our eyes focused “out” rather than focused “in”

·         Vs. 4-Interests of others

o   Paul has in mind an issue that is occurring in the church at Philippi.  We will read more about this situation when we get to Philippians 4 about a disagreement between 2 people.

o   I need to be reminded to think about others. I don’t need to be reminded to think about myself. I am the most important person that I know. I often focus on what’s best for J.L.

·         Vs. 3-Do nothing out of Selfish Ambition or Vain Conceit

o   Selfish Ambition

§  The same word (eritheian) appears in 1:17 (which I preached on last month) to describe the attitude of those who opposed Paul. Without question such behavior is of the flesh and not the Spirit[1]

o   Vain Conceit

§  Song by Carly Simon in 1972-“you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.”

§  Vain conceit literally means “empty glory,”[2] It refers to a glory focused on us.  Psalm 115:1 says, ““Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

 
o   Humility

§  As I mentioned earlier, we don’t have to be taught to think of ourselves. Babies/Toddlers/Kids don’t have to be taught to be selfish or vain either. However, we do need to know about humility.

§  Paul tells us to Consider others

§  Pointing to humility of Christ in verses coming up 6-8, humility of Paul & Philippians

Eyes Up  (vs. 1-2)

·         Paul is helping the Philippians & us see that the way to do these things (think about others, not be selfish, vain, but instead be humble) is by getting our eyes “up” not “down”

·         Vs. 2-Joy complete-like minded, same love, one in spirit and purpose (one mind)

o   Theme of Philippians--Joy-it can’t be manufactured, it’s something God does in us for his glory.

o   Are you experiencing joy in your situation?  Look up-Christ; Not Look Down-Self, Situation

o   “This joy has its source beyond mere earthly, human joy. It is joy in the Lord, and therefore outside ourselves. This is why Paul constantly reminds his readers of its existence and exhorts them to manifest it. It is the “joy of faith” It has its basis in the hope and confidence of faith…it is also a fruit of the Spirit…Because faith and its consequent joy do not come from ourselves, Paul can be confident and rejoice”[3] no matter what

o   Greek word for Complete-make full, to fill up, carry through to the end, bring to realization, carry into effect

§  Fulfilled (prophecies, law), Filled with Spirit, filled by Jesus, filled with fullness of God

o   I cannot make you less selfish or less vain. I cannot make you humble.  In other words, I cannot change your heart. And the truth is focusing on yourself (rules, threats[4]) cannot make you less selfish or vain either.  These things come only by focusing “up” on Christ and letting God change our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

 

·         Vs. 1-If….

o   The “if” in verse 1 is misleading for us.  As a parent, I say you can go out with friends IF you have emptied the dishwasher and put away your laundry.  In the English language, IF is conditional.  Previously I had read these verses as possibly being not true. However, the Greek word here is used differently.

o   The fourfold “if” (v. 1) assumes that each of the succeeding propositions is true, and could be translated as “since.” Thus, Paul  is calling to the attention of his readers spiritual certainties… [5]

o   Tenderness and compassion “feel it in your gut”

§  Tenderness--Greek word translated bowels-inward, deep affections

§  Compassion or Mercy-bowels-heart of compassion

o   Fellowship with the Spirit

§  Indeed the Spirit is the empowering agent of all that God is currently doing among them. (Fee NICNT)

o   Comfort from his love

§  David Jeremiah writes, “The motivation behind this is God’s love. As one writer puts it, “The reason why God’s servants love creatures so much is they see how much Christ loves them…

o   Encouragement from being United with Christ-

§  “Union with Christ means you are in Christ & Christ is in you” (Wilbourne)

·         In Christ

o   For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

o    20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

·         Christ in you

o   16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

o    27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

 

Closing: pg. 54-55 in Union With Christ by Rankin Wilbourne



[1] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 653). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[2] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 653). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[3] Brown, Colin. (1967). New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol. 2, p. 359-360). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 73). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[5] Elwell, W. A. (1995). Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, Php 2:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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