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Being Around People--While Still Being Sane!
Philippians 2:1-4
Skip Heitzig

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Philippians 2 (NKJV™)
1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Outline

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  1. The Basics of Great Relationships

    1. Negatively--What Not to Do with Others

      1. Don't Be Selfish

      2. Don't Be Prideful

    2. Positively--What to Do with Others

      1. Do Be Humble

      2. Do Be Respectful

  2. The Basis of Great Relationships

    1. Because the World Won't Provide It

    2. Because You Belong to Jesus Christ

    3. Because His Love Is the Catalyst

    4. Because We're a Spiritual Family

Study Guide

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Recap Notes: July 30, 2017
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Being Around People—While Still Being Sane!"
Text: Philippians 2:1-4

Path

Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul's joy. In this teaching, Pastor Skip considered the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and taught how we can move from surviving them to thriving in them.
  • The Basics of Great Relationships
  • The Basis of Great Relationships
Points

The Basics of Great Relationships
  • The church is not a society of perfect people, but redeemed people.
  • In this passage—which in the original Greek is one long sentence, the apostle Paul used a protasis/apodosis structure, an if/then construction. 
  • Negatively—What Not to Do with Others
  • Don't Be Selfish
      • The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheia. It means a divisive faction or a contention. Selfishness is the very heart of our fallen nature, the root of every other sin.
      • The "me" philosophy is automatically planted in the heart of every child.
  • Don't Be Prideful
      • The Greek word for vain conceit is kenodoxia, a compound word meaning vainglory or self-conceit. It holds the ideas of an exaggerated sense of our own importance.
      • There are two ways to enter a room: Here I am, or There you are.  Paul entered the room the second way—as a bondservant.
  • Positively—What to Do with Others
  • Do Be Humble
      • The word Paul used for lowliness is tapeinophrosune. It is a compound for a modest disposition, a humble mind.
      • Humility was something the ancient Greeks despised, and it is looked at unfavorably in our secular world as well.
      • The secret to joy is a humble mind. Pride makes God your enemy, and humility makes God your friend.
      • Humility is the grace that becomes the grease that keeps the gears of relationships turning.
  • Do Be Respectful
      • The word for esteem is hégeomai. It means to consider, to account for, or to think of. The Message translates verse 4 as follows: "Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand."
      • When you put another person first and they put you first, your relationship will flourish.
  • Probe: Compare and contrast these two states of mind, negative and positive. Discuss a time when someone you know was selfish and prideful toward you. How did you feel? Now share a time when someone was humble and respectful? How did this make you feel? How do humility and respect reflect Jesus?
The Basis of Great Relationships
  • Because the World Won't Provide It
    • When you see the word therefore, ask yourself, "What is it there for?" It connects the passage to the previous thought. In this case, Paul was saying something akin to "Selfishness is all around you; don't let selfishness be part of you."
  • Because You Belong to Jesus Christ
    • The word if in verse 1 can also be read as since: "Since you've been consoled by belonging to Jesus Christ."
    • We belong to Jesus. He forgave us, washed us, and promises us heaven.
  • Because His Love Is the Catalyst
    • If Jesus loving you has made a difference in your life, what difference has Jesus loving you made in other people's lives?
    • The basis of our relationship with Christ is to accept others like He accepted you.
    • If Jesus is in you, then love will come from you.
  • Because We're a Spiritual Family
    • The Philippian church, like any church, was not perfect. There were two dividing forces:
      • False teachers outside (see Philippians 3)
      • Fighting members inside (see Philippians 4)
    • God's people are a fellowship of the Spirit, a peculiar people attached to a single Person: Jesus Christ.
    • Many times, quarreling families come together if attacked.
    • Everyone needs a group where we can be accepted, loved, and taught.
    • Be humble, helpful, and noble for the sake of the church and your brothers and sisters.
  • Probe: Though there are similarities between how the world and Christians value relationships (e.g., both deem respect, honesty, appreciation, and love as essential), what are some key differences? How are Jesus, the Bible, and our moral disposition to influence our relationships?
Practice

Connect Up: How should our relationship with the Lord influence our relationships with people? What are some similarities and differences between the two (e.g., God is perfect in His relationships and we are not)?

Connect In: What are some key characteristics of our relationships with other believers?  Look up these verses for insight: Romans 14:13; 15:7, 14; 16:16; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; Colossians 3:13, 16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Connect Out: When developing relationships with nonbelievers, what tactics can you use to lovingly share the gospel? Look up Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 3:15 to help you form an answer.

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses this message to strengthen your faith. And hope he does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.

Relationships take a lot of work. And every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together reveals this truth. Every friendship, marriage, family, and organization, including every Church, has relational challenges. In the message, being around people while still being sane, Skip considers the basis of successful relationships. Now, please turn in your Bible to Philippians, chapter 2, as he begins.

Our Father, we now want to just put our thoughts and life on pause and open up our hearts and ask you to speak to us. We feel like little Samuel who said, speak, Lord, your servant hears. We're listening. Our ears are wide open. Our heart is wide open. And I pray, Lord, that you would ready us for what we need to hear so that our lives might bring you the ultimate glory. We want that. We need that. And we need you. And we confess that freely. And we pray that we might glean even more of your truth so that our families would benefit, our friends would benefit, and the cause of Christ would be furthered. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Amen.

I want to begin by asking you a question as you look up at the screen. Do you ever feel like this? I love mankind. It's people I can't stand. So this comes from a Peanuts cartoon where Lucy says to Linus, you a doctor? Ha. That's a big laugh. You could never be a doctor. You know why? Because you don't love mankind, that's why.

To which he replies, I love mankind. It's people I can't stand. So the reason I think that was a successful cartoon and why people resonate with that is because we've had our own frustrations in life from time to time with people. We'll even say things like, those people, or you people. We understand that people can be hurtful. They can be prideful. They can be spiteful. We understand that people can be careless. They can be heartless. They can be thoughtless. They can be tactless.

And we discover that many of our problems in life come from our interaction with people so that, it's a threat to our joy. People can rob us of joy. And we have discovered that the book of Philippians is about joy. It's dubbed the epistle of joy. Paul uses a joyful tone throughout the entire book, even though he's in jail. He says circumstances cannot rob me of joy.

Even though people talk smack about Paul and try to ruin his reputation, he has said, they can't steal my joy. But he also knows that people can be the biggest challenge to our joy. Having said that, we must also quickly turn the page and realize that we're part of the problem. Because we're people too.

So we might say those people. These people. You people. People rob my joy. We're a people. We're a person. And have you ever thought that you might be the person robbing somebody else of their joy? So we all have to realize we are all fallen creatures. And we are part of the greater problem. You may have heard of the psychiatrist who walked into his patient's room doing morning rounds. The psychiatrist found two of his patients in the room.

Patient number one was sitting down on the ground pretending to saw a board in half. And patient number two was hanging from the ceiling by his feet. And he said to patient number one, what are you doing? Patient number one said, well, can't you tell? I'm sawing this board in half. And then he said, well, what's he doing, referring to patient number two. And patient number one said, oh, well he's my friend. He's a little crazy. He thinks he's a light bulb.

And so the doctor looked at patient number two hanging upside down noticed his face is getting redder and redder. And he said to patient number one, well, if he's your friend, you better tell him to get down soon because he's going to hurt himself. And patient number one looked up and said, what, and work in the dark?

So it's not like he had the problem. They both had some issues. So what's a person to do with problem people? In fact, what is a Christian to do? And the reason I ask that question is because sometimes we think, well, I thought Christians should be different than just people. Christian people should be much better at getting along with others than outsiders. And they should be. But often we are not. And here's why.

Because a Christian is somebody who is going through an internal struggle with the flesh. That's what a Christian is. He's going through, she's going through, an internal struggle with the flesh. Remember Paul said that? The flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh? And do you remember that Paul said, I know that I should be doing things. But I'm not always doing them. And there's other things I shouldn't do. But I find myself doing those things.

So we're in this battle with the flesh. And sometimes the flesh wins. And when the flesh wins, relationships get strained. Now, Philippi, the Church at Philippi, it's a good Church, a growing Church, a loving Church, a mature Church. Paul had a very close, intimate relationship with the Philippians, perhaps greater than any other Church. However, there were tensions within this Church as we will see going through the letter.

And it's not the first time that there are tensions among God's people. You remember the Twelve Apostles? Did they always get along with each other? Did they not argue from time to time more than once as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom? Didn't they have a disagreement as when the Messiah sits in the kingdom in his glory who's going to be at his right hand? Who's going to be at his left hand?

And then, Paul and Peter, they had a disagreement about the law. And then the council at Jerusalem didn't agree on the requirements for salvation. There was a disagreement between them. So pretty quickly when we read the New Testament, we discover that the church is not a perfect people. They are a redeemed people working through all of their imperfections that are a part of their fallen human nature. And the Bible recognizes that this can sometimes be tough.

In Romans 12, Paul writes, and I love how he writes it, if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. I'm glad he said, if it's possible. Because frankly sometimes it's impossible. There are some people who just don't want to be gotten along with. They make it impossible. But as much as is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

So sometimes we feel like Linus in that cartoon. And that's why I've given this message title, Being Around People While Still Being Sane. Being around people while still being sane. Because you know what? You can't run away from people. You might feel hurt in life. And you just say, those people, man, I'm just going to get away from people. And I suppose you could become a recluse and buy a house in the middle of nowhere and not deal with any people, live off Amazon Prime your whole life. But I got to guarantee you at some point you're going to be staring another human in the eyes and have to have a conversation where you gel together.

So let me throw this out at you as we read through our verses and we consider these things together. Imagine this. What if you were to decide to become really good at interpersonal relationship? What if you thought, I'm going to become an expert at getting along with people. It is possible, you know. Now as we consider our text, and we're going to look at Philippians 2, verses one through four. You may want to just glance at them.

This paragraph verses one through four of Philippians 2 has several sentences in English. But here's what's interesting. It's one single, long, complex sentence in Greek. In fact, if you have a literature background, you will recognize this. It is written in a literary format called protasis and apodosis where you have a conditional clause followed by a main clause and if, then, relationship. If this is true and if that is true and if the other is true, then this ought to be the result. That's how it's written.

It's a very long, complex sentence that forms the basics of relationships and the basis for good relationships. So let's look at Philippians 2 and read verses one through four before we jump in. Therefore, verse one, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out, not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Now what I'm going to do, and every text sort of demands its own approach, its own outline, I'm going to look at this by beginning with verse three and four, because that's the main clause. And then I'm going to go back to verse one to two. So I want to begin with the basics. Here's the basics of getting along with people, the basics of great relationships. Think of it as the do's and don'ts. And we're going to begin with the don'ts and then go to the do's. And there are two don'ts and there are two do's, things you ought to do.

We're going to begin with the negative. These are things not to do. And you make an interesting discovery right off the bat. The two things he says we shouldn't do are the same two reasons why Satan got kicked out of heaven. The very reasons Satan didn't get along with God was because of selfish ambition and conceit. You remember, perhaps, in Isaiah 14, it tells us that the devil Satan, Lucifer, said, I will descend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will be like the most high. That's selfish ambition and conceit.

So think of it this way. You are never more like the devil then when you display the first two negative characteristics we cover. And you are never more like Jesus then when you display the second two positive characteristics. So the first two will ruin relationships. The second two will remedy relationships. So let's look at what not to do.

Number one, don't be selfish. Don't be selfish. Verse three. Let nothing be done, through selfish ambition. Or you could just translate that, selfishness. Now I think everybody understands what selfishness is. And if you don't, it's because you're really selfish. But I think everybody here understands what-- if you have kids, you understand what selfishness is. Or if you have parents, you understand what selflessness is. If you know any other human being, you understand what selfishness is.

Interesting quip I found from Newsweek Magazine. They said, and I quote, "If Americans could have their wildest dreams come true, 38% would choose to win the lottery and only 1% would pick world peace." That's part of our nature. We want our lives comfortable and laden with good things. Oh, yeah, world peace, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Selfishness. Don't be selfish. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition. You know a popular form of photography these days is the selfie. Twenty-four billion selfies were taken and uploaded to Google last year, 24 billion of them. Did you know that in 2015 death by selfie was greater than death by shark attack worldwide. You know we have Shark Week every year? They could have selfie week every year. It would be just as dramatic, if not more so.

So the idea is that people are taking selfies and they're not always aware of their environment. They might get too close to the edge of something and fall down. Death by selfie greater than death by shark attack. So you see selfishness is at the very heart of our fallen human nature. And it's the root of every other sin. Satan placed his will above God's will. That's where it all started, self- ishness. And then Adam placed his will above God's will. Selfishness. Then Eve placed her well above God's will. Selfishness.

And every time you and I place our will above God's will, guess what that is? It's selfishness. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition. Selfishness is the me first philosophy. That seed is implanted in every single child who is ever born. And it grows with that child until one day that child becomes a full-fledged adult who, unless checked or redeemed, that adult will be very, very self-centered. It's in every person.

There was a mom, she was driving her five-year-old son to McDonald's. And there was a traffic accident. And as they were getting closer to McDonald's, and mom always taught the kids in the family, whenever we see an incident or an accident by the side of the road, let's just stop and pray for those people. And the very least, let's just pray that God would send somebody to protect them, et cetera. So she sees the accident. And she says, we ought to pray.

So from the back seat, the little five-year-old boy could be heard praying, please God, don't let those cars block the entrance to the McDonald's. Amen. We understand that. That's human nature. And yet Paul says on the don't list, don't be selfish. Here's the second thing we shouldn't do if you want a great relationship. Don't be prideful. You'll notice the word conceit in verse three. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit.

Now, if you happen to have brought with you an old King James version, the original King James, probably few of you have it, if any. But if you have one, it's a different word. It's translated vain glory. And I remember, I was weaned on that translation. And so I remember reading this text, let nothing be done through-- and it said vain glory. And I remember going what is that? Well they've updated it since then. And now it's translated here conceit.

But I discovered that vain glory is actually a better and more accurate translation. Because the original Greek word kenodoxia comes from putting two Greek words together. Kenos, which means empty, and doxa, which is glory. So conceit means empty glory or vain glory. And it was a word that was used to describe a person who had exaggerated ideas of his or her own importance. They puff themselves up. I'm awesome. That's conceit. That's kenodoxia. That's vain glory, empty glory, exaggerated ideas of one's own importance.

If you've ever gone fishing in the ocean, you know what a blowfish is, a puffer fish? So it's unexcited state, it's just sort of a blobby little thing, very unattractive with a big mouth. But if you get close to this fish, if it gets threatened, it will puff itself up. It fills itself up. And it becomes really this empty but round spiked creature. And the idea is, oosh, size is important. I'm going to ward off any creature who wants to get me with my size and my spikes.

Well, there are people who, like that puffer fish, blow themselves up with pride. They're conceited. That is vain glory. This is why Paul writes in Romans 12:3 that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but soberly. I said before that there's always two ways to enter a room. Way number one is to come in a room with the attitude that says, well, here I am and that swagger of self-importance. The other way to enter a room is with the attitude, ah, there you are.

Question, how did Paul enter the room? The second way. He introduces himself in chapter one, verse one, Paul a bond slave of Jesus Christ. I'm a servant of Christ, thus, your servant. So on the negative side, don't be selfish. Don't be prideful.

Now let's flip the coin. On the positive side, the do's, the things we ought to do in a relationship is this. First of all do be humble. For he says, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit. Now he turns the coin to the positive side. But in lowliness of mind. Stop right there. Lowliness of mind. That's humility. One translation says, with low thoughts of yourself. With low thoughts of yourself. I don't like that translation. Because I don't think humility is having low thoughts of yourself.

I think humility is having no thoughts of yourself. You see, humility isn't thinking badly about yourself or thinking poorly about yourself or thinking meanly about yourself. Humility is not thinking about yourself. You come humbly. So the secret to having joy, in spite of people who are problems around us, is humility. So he talks about unity. But he talks about humility. You know why? Because unity is always born out of humility. That's the secret. Do be humble.

You want to know something? Pride will make God your enemy. I want you to think about that statement. The quickest way to get God against you is to go, oosh, and puff yourself up with pride. You will have God set against you quicker than any other way. And, if you want to get God on your side, quickest way to do that, humility. You say, preacher, can you prove that? Yes. Twice in the New Testament, once in the book of James, once in the book of Peter, they write this. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

So if you want the resistance of God in your life, be prideful. If you want the favor of God in your life, grace of God in your life, be humble. Lowliness of mind. Lowliness of mind. Now here's an interesting little addendum to that, 2000 years ago, when this was written, there was the Roman culture. But then there was the Greek culture. They had been around a little longer.

In the Greek culture, lowliness of mind, or humility, was not a virtue to be desired. It was a bad quality to be dispensed with, pushed away. The Greeks really thought they were superior to everybody else in the world. Everybody who wasn't a Greek was called by them a barbarian. And slaves, the ones who grovel in the dirt and grovel on the ground, those were the ones they said were humble-minded.

So when the Greeks would take over somebody in a battle, they would turn those into humble-minded people, make them into slaves. Isn't it interesting the very quality that the Greeks thought was so bad, the Bible says is so good? And the Bible pushes up and ex tolls and says, you ought to do that. You want to know why? Because that's what Jesus did.

Jesus was humble. Jesus was lowly-minded. I want you to see it. If you to go to verse five, and I'm taking a little thunder away from next week, that's where we'll be. But look at it. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. But he made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of man. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross.

So let me sum this little point up by saying this. Humility is the grace that becomes the grease so that the gears of relationship can turn smoothly. Humility is the grace that becomes the grease so that the gears of relationships can turn smoothly. Do be humble. Second on the do list. Do be respectful.

You'll notice that Paul says, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind. Let each esteem others better than himself. Now he qualifies that in the next verse. Let each of you look out. Be on the lookout, not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. I like the way the message translation renders this. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Here's how it works.

Let's say we're together. If when we're together I always put myself first and you always put yourself first, we're going to collide. We're going to have problems. But if, when we're together, I put you first and you put me first, we're going to get along just fine. We're going to be preferring one another. We're going to be esteeming one another. Our relationship is going to flourish.

I heard about a youth pastor who went to a Special Olympics for children. And these handicapped kids will compete in different events. Well, it was the 220 yard dash. And the race began. And a boy named Andrew took the lead. He was 50 yards out in front of everybody else in the pack and kept gaining more and more as he went. Until he turned the final round for that last little leg of his lap, as he was making the final turn, little Andrew ahead of everybody else, looked down on the track and noticed his good friend had fallen in the race and was hurt on the ground.

At that point Andrew stopped. And he looked at the finish line. And he looked down at his friend. And everybody in the crowd said, run, Andrew, run. But Andrew didn't run. Andrew walked over to his friend hurt on the ground while people passed him by, lifted up his friend, more people passed him by, and took his hand, took his arm, and walked with his friend and came in dead last. Now, everybody in the stands, they understood what was going on. And they applauded for him. But he came in last walking his friend just so he could finish at all.

What Andrew discovered is what a lot of us so often forget. And that is that sometimes finishing first isn't the most important thing. Helping somebody finish at all is. I bet you've heard the name Leonard Bernstein. You've heard of him because he was really the first American conductor and musician that achieved worldwide acclaim on his level. He was a conductor. He was a director of an orchestra. In fact, he was the conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He wrote the musical score for many Broadway plays. If I mentioned the all, you'd be familiar with them.

But Leonard Bernstein was once asked one day, what is the hardest instrument to play to which he said, the second fiddle. The second fiddle. And he explained. He said, I can get plenty of first violinists but to find somebody who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm, that is a problem. That is a problem.

So let us-- let each esteem others. Let's look out for others interests. Now, as I say these words, and as I studied this, I thought of something. I thought, this is a good point and this preaches well. But it doesn't practice easy. I mean, you and I are going to go out in a few minutes, go out and get busy with our lives and do other stuff. And chances are, we're all going to forget this, even if we take a few notes. Because esteeming other people greater than ourselves is so against our human nature.

How are we even going to pull that off? I mean, who does that? Who lives that way where we esteem others better? We're always looking out for other people. I mean, it's good. It's what we're commanded to do. But how do we do that? It's awfully difficult to do. It's extremely difficult. How do we do it? Let me give you a little help, a little hint of what might be helpful.

The one person in all the world that you know better than any other person is whom? Who do you know better? Yourself. You know you better. You know how you think. You know what you're tempted by. You know what you like and what you hate. You know what you really feel like, even though you might look good on the outside, you know who you are on the inside. So I'm looking at you all. You're all beautiful. You look good.

You have Bibles. Your hair's done nicely, most of you. Just kidding. You all look good. But I don't really know you. Now I know me. I know me. And I know what I'm made of. And I know my failures. And I know my temptations. And I know my own crud and my own junk. So if I approach people while I'm cognizant of my own shortcomings, failures, and sin, I'm going to approach people differently. I'm going to approach people humbly. Because here's why.

Based on firsthand experience only, who's the worst person you know? You. You are the worst person in the world that you know of. And I am the worst person in the world that I know of. I'm the worst. And so when I approach people cognizant of my own baggage, my own sin, I'll approach them differently. And that is exactly what Paul did. In the New Testament he writes things like this. I am the least of all the apostles. And I am not even worthy to be called an apostle.

Now, I think Paul, you're like the greatest dude ever. You're like the greatest Christian I know of. Because I'm the least of the apostles, not even worthy to be called an apostle . And then he writes in another place, I am the least of all the Saints. Because I persecuted the Church of God. He's approaching them carrying what he knows about himself. And as he does, that deflated him. That's how you can help esteem others better than yourself. So don't be selfish. Don't be prideful. Do be humble. Do be respectful. Those are the basics of great relationships. Those are the do's and don'ts.

Now, let's look at the first two verses and consider the basis of it. It's the why for all the what that we just covered. And here's the first reason. The reason that we should be humble and not prideful, the reason we should esteem others better is here's the reason. Number one, because the world won't provide that. What's the first word in verse one of chapter two? What's the first word? Shout it out, what is it?

Therefore.

Therefore. Now, who begins a chapter with that word? I mean, the first conversation you had this morning with your spouse or your child or parent or whatever, the first thing did you say, therefore? You don't begin that day that way. Therefore connects a previous statement and brings it into the present tense. You say therefore when you're talking about something and you want to use that as a reference for why you should do something now.

So he begins with a therefore. And we need to find out what it's there for. So we go back to verse 27 where we were last time. Chapter one, verse 27, only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ so that weather I come and see or I'm absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your enemies, your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition but to you of salvation and that from God.

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake. Having the same conflict, which you saw in me, and now here is in me. Therefore. In other words, here's what Paul is saying. You in Philippi are already suffering because of all of the selfishness of the unbelieving world around you who hate the gospel message. And they are attacking you. And they are persecuting you. And you are experiencing that conflict.

So the people of this world are consumed with their own agendas, their own desires. Paul is saying don't add to that. Don't add to that. Since the world is persecuting the Church, the Church shouldn't persecute the Church. You see, Jesus said this. In this world, you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. This is the reason it is so awkward when Christians fight each other. Because we're copying the world. It's the world that persecutes us. Let's not add to that.

Paul's whole point in the therefore is since selfishness is all around you, it certainly shouldn't be among you. Therefore. So reason number one, the basis of these great relationships is because the world will not provide it and the Church should. Number two, because you belong to Christ. You should be humble with other people because you are a Christian. And so he says, if, therefore, there is any consolation in Christ. Now you see the little word if? It could be better translated since.

Because the idea is if, and it's true, or since it is true, since you are consoled by belonging to Christ, right? You belong to Christ. Philippians 1:1 says, the Philippians are in Christ Jesus. You're in Christ Jesus. He loves you. He forgave you. He washed your sins away. He promised you heaven. One translation puts it this way. If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, then you ought to be humble. Then you ought to esteem others better than yourself.

So here's the deal. I can get along with you, even though you're imperfect. You can get along with me, even though I know I am so imperfect. You know why? Because Jesus can get along with all of us. And we're all imperfect. That's the idea of this thought. So because the world won't provide it and because you belong to Christ.

Here's the third reason. Because His love is the catalyst. Because His love is the catalyst. Please notice it. If there's any consolation in Christ, if there is any comfort of love. Whose love? Well, we spoke about Christ a few words back. So this is Christ's love for us. In other words, if Jesus loving you has made any difference at all in your life, then it will show up in your humility, which by the way brings up a good question. What difference has Jesus loving you made in your life? It's a good question to think about.

What difference has all the love that Jesus has given your way, what difference has it made in your life? Has it made you more loving? John 3:16, for God so loved the world that he gave-- has his love for you made you more giving, more loving? So that's the basis of our relationship. I can accept you because Jesus has accepted us.

I heard about a lady. She works in a nursing home. And she has made it her mission to sit with people who are dying if there is no family member present. She feels that life is sacred, a gift from God. And she believes that nobody should die alone. And she wants to demonstrate that love for the dying so that they leave the world in the presence of somebody who cares and loves them. That's powerful. So if Jesus is in me, then His love will come through me.

And there's a fourth and a final reason. Because we're a spiritual family. In verse one again, if there's any consolation in Christ, if there's any comfort of love, here it is. If there's any fellowship of the spirit-- and then he amplifies that, if any affection and mercy. Now in Philippi, I mentioned that things were not perfect. They weren't. There were problems that they were experiencing. There were two dividing forces in Philippi that are true of every single Church.

First of all, there were false teachers on the outside. Second, there were fighting members on the inside. The false teachers will be discussed in Chapter three, verses one and two. Paul calls them dogs and evil workers. It's going to be a lot of fun when we get to chapter three. Paul is just going to kind of come unglued.

Then we get to chapter four and we discover the fighting members. There's two gals, one named Euodia, the other named Syntynche. These two gals in the Church at Philippi have gotten a lot of people on their side. And they're creating a division, a party spirit. So the fellowship is being hurt. It's always being hurt when that happens. Now here's the deal. There's always pressure from the outside for the Church, always, every Church, every place in the world, every generation.

For the last 2,000 years, the world has always been against the Church. Unbelievers will always mock Christian's belief. Unbelievers will always challenge our faith. But if that is compounded when our own spiritual family is dysfunctional, it makes matters much worse. So here's Paul's point. We are a fellowship of the spirit. We're in Christ so we're related by blood, His blood has washed all of us. We're a fellowship in the spirit. So the same Holy Spirit that lives in me is the same Holy Spirit that lives in you.

As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12, by one spirit we are all baptized into one body. You know, we have all heard of reports of families who quarrel amongst themselves until somebody from the outside attacks the family. Then they all somehow galvanized together. Because don't you say that about my mom or my brother. And they'll resolve the conflict to fight the greater conflict. I just want you to know that everybody needs a family. Everybody needs a group where they can be loved and accepted and taught and held accountable.

So, to sum it all up, be humble. Be helpful. Be noble. For the sake of the Church of Jesus Christ, which He purchased with His own blood. He did it. It's His. It's not ours. It's His. Now if that were to happen in Philippi, that would just push Paul's joy over the top. Look what he says in verse two. Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. That's interesting.

Paul already said he was joyful, no matter what. Paul already said, you can lock me in prison. I'm joyful. You can beat me up. I'm joyful. Because my joy is in the Lord. You can have people talk smack about me and try to slur my reputation around town. I'm joyful anyway. But now he says, but here's a way I could actually be more joyful. Fulfill my joy, or complete my joy. So Paul is saying, man, if you guys were humble with each other and you esteemed others better than you esteemed yourself, that would be the icing on the cake for me.

I mean, that would be the cherry in the Coke. That would be the whipped cream on the apple pie. That would fulfill, that would complete my joy. And by the way, if we were to live that way, you know who else would be really, really, really, really joyful? You would be. We all would be. All of us would be. You've heard me say it before that the more you do as you please, the less you are pleased with what you do. Think about that statement. The more you live as you please, the less you will be pleased with what you-- if you live for self, if it's all about you and your agenda and your comfort and you being happy, you getting your way, you will become a miserable person.

I'm going to close with an illustration of that. And I will close. It's by Bernard Rimland. Bernie was the director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research. He conducted a study. And at the end of the study, he concluded the happiest people in the world are the humblest people in the world. So he did a study. I'll read it to you.

Each person in the study involved was asked to list 10 people that he knew best and label them happy or unhappy. So you think of 10 people you know and label which one, happy, unhappy, unhappy, unhappy, happy, happy. You do that with 10 people. Then you go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish. Using the following definition of selfishness. Here's his definition, and I'm quoting. "A stable tendency to devote one's time and resources to one's own interests and welfare and unwillingness to inconvenience oneself for others."

In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were all so labeled unselfish. And he wrote, and I'm quoting, "Those whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy." And then he concluded with a remark that I thought you would find interesting.

He said, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Now who said those words? Jesus said those words in the Sermon on the Mount. He had to go through a whole study to figure that out. And he found it out. And he said, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So listen, the quickest road to joy is Humility Boulevard.

The quickest road to unhappiness is the Freeway of Self. And if you get on that freeway of self, you know it you're going to discover? Its packed. It's bumper to bumper. There's people who are nasty. They'll give you gestures. They'll cuss you out. And there's a lot of people on it. You get on Humble Boulevard, it's pretty lonely out there. It's the quickest road to joy. Let's pray.

Father, we're going to see these principles unfolded and unpacked in the next few verses concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. But for now, we consider simply these two things, the basics, the do's and don'ts, and the reasons, the basis. We've been told by Paul, it's your Word us that, that we ought not to be selfish people, that we ought not to puff ourselves up with pride. You've told us to be humble, lowliness of mind.

And in that humility to be looking for and thinking about and pushing up other people and serving other people. It is so counter to our human nature. It would take a move of God, a work of God, for us to change. And that work of God has already taken place at the cross. We belong to Christ. We're your possession, Lord. You've loved us with an everlasting love. And we're a spiritual family so that we should be able to provide, among us, what we'll never get from the world.

It should be in abundance among us. Would you turn us, Lord, into loving, humble, serving individuals? For our own joy's sake, but more importantly for the glory of God. In Jesus' name. Amen.

As believers, we're a spiritual family and have the love of Jesus to unify us. Did this message encourage you to make changes in your relationships? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.

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Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
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Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/7/2017
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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
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No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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5/14/2017
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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
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Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
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What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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6/11/2017
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Pest Control
Philippians 1:15-18
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Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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6/25/2017
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Can You Predict Your Future?
Philippians 1:18-21
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If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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7/9/2017
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Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
Philippians 1:22-26
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Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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7/16/2017
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How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
Philippians 1:27-30
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The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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8/6/2017
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What Would Jesus Do?
Philippians 2:5-8
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The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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8/13/2017
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Be Humble or You'll Stumble
Philippians 2:8-11
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Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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8/20/2017
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How to Have a Great Workout
Philippians 2:12-13
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Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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8/27/2017
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Glow in the Dark!
Philippians 2:14-18
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To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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9/17/2017
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A Little Help from My Friends (Part 1)
Philippians 2:19-24
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Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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There are 14 additional messages in this series.