Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes

Today: "Go Ahead, Make My Day" 

 

READ: Philippians 2:1-18

 

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

 

Read: Devotional

 

As we move into the second chapter of the Book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul gets personal and even a little bit selfish. He says: “Make MY joy complete.” (Philippians 2:2). He has heard about a personality conflict—a clash of egos in the church. This has robbed Paul of some of his usual joy. He will go on to name names in this matter—but not quite yet. Before he calls the offenders out by name, he wants to lay down a solid foundation for unity.

This passage of scripture contains one of the most powerful descriptions of why Jesus left heaven for planet earth and what he did when he lived here. Earlier in the letter (something we talked about last Sunday), he said, “To live is CHRIST.” Now, he tells us more about what that means. We must model our Lord’s ATTITUDES and ACTIONS. Only then can we truly demonstrate authentic faith and spirituality before a watching world. And only then can we know what it is to live lives in the tension of deferred GLORIFICATION.

There should be no STRIFE in the church. That’s a work of the flesh, not the spirit. Paul chooses the Greek word eritheia (translated in the NIV as “selfish ambition”). It was used in antiquity first in the writings of Aristotle, who lived about 400 years earlier. Paul’s education included the study of the writings of Aristotle. He would have read some of Aristotle’s writings in a series called, “POLITICS.” Years ago, when I was working on my Master’s degree in political science at Long Island University, I read Aristotle’s writings on the subject. Aristotle used the same word eritheia to describe, "a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means." The idea is of someone who seeks to get people to follow, someone who divides people by campaigning, working on people in order to gain their support and loyalty. I have no doubt that Paul used this particular Greek word deliberately. He tells the church at Philippi to be on watch out for those who aren’t in sync and have their own agenda.

 

REFLECT:

 

  • Have I ever sowed discord or strife in a church? If so, have I taken steps toward repentance and reconciliation?

  • Why did discord in Philippi rob Paul of joy?

  • Do I consider complaining and murmuring as serious sins

 

further reading:

 

 

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