- Sermon Notes
The Characteristics of a Christlike Community
With Philippians 2:1-11 as our anchor text this morning, I want to draw your attention and intention to four “looks” or Characteristics of a Christlike community that are pulled directly from these verses. These characteristics of a Christlike community will help us individually as we aim to be more like Jesus in our daily living, but also in our pursuit to be a church community where our association and devotion to Christ is clearly seen in you and me. So, four characteristics that have to do with your motivation, your intentions, your ambition, and your presentation.
- Make Your Motivation the Life You Have in Him
Philippians 2:1-2, Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
- As Paul underlines the importance of unity in the church community, he begins with the word “therefore,” which draws our attention to the verses leading up to this.
- In chapter 1:27-30, Paul encouraged the church to stand firm in one spirit, to have one mind, striving together for the Gospel. Last week we looked at our allegiance to Christ and His cause over any other allegiance or cause.
- Paul went on to write about the external conflicts that come, how to stand firm in light of external opposition. Now he looks at how to handle conflicts within the body of Christ.
- From what we know, the church had false teachers on the outside, and fighting members on the inside.
- In Philippians 3:2, Paul spoke of the false teachers, writing, “watch out for the dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.”
- In Philippians 4:2, he pleads with two church members who were fighting, “I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”
- Paul wanted unity to characterize the Church, this is the way he desired them to be as they carried out the ministry, what he knew was the only way unity in the body would be possible is if their motivation to move forward, was attached to the fact that they had been united with Christ.
Philippians 2:1, 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…
- In verses one and two, Paul gives an if then statement. If one set of things is true, then there are specific things we should do.
- Here are the if statements: if there is encouragement in Christ, if consolation of love, if any fellowship in the Spirit, if any affection and compassion.
- Other translation render verse 1 as Paul asking a series of questions that he knew the answer to but wanted them to remember so that they would be motivated by them as they lives as a community that represented Christ.
Philippians 2:1, Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
- Again, these are questions they would have answered “yes” to…But they are also questions, or “if” statements that must be answered by me and you.
- First Question: Do you have any encouragement from being united with Christ?
- The word for “encouragement” is paraklesis, it is translated encouragement, consolation, comfort, that which brings solace or refreshment.
2 Corinthians 1:5, …Our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16, Jesus has given us eternal comfort…
- Next Question: Any comfort from His love?
- This is another Greek work, that directly means comfort but now he turns to the comfort that comes from God’s love toward us.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3, tells us that God is the God of all comfort.
- This particular word for comfort is only found here, however, we know there is great comfort in His love. The word for love used is agape love.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 3:1-3, See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
- Next Question: Is there any fellowship in the Spirit? Any affection and compassion?
- Word for fellowship is koinonia, it means fellowship, association, community, joint participation.
1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 4:4, There is one body and one Spirit…
2 Corinthians 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
- There is one body and one Spirit, and when you came to Christ, you were brought in. You were united with Christ and brought into the body of Christ.
- Each believer has been united with Christ, has the Holy Spirit in them, they live inside of the reality of a personal relationship with Him, and they are all united and tied to their fellowship with the Spirit when they fellowship with others.
- In other words, if we are all drinking from the same well, and walking according the same Spirit, in fellowship with the same Spirit, then division should not be the mark of our fellowship.
- Jesus Christ, and what they have in Him, should be a continual motivation for them.
- A motivation is the reason why you act in a certain way. Another way of saying it is, your motives. What or who are your motives tied to?
- The next characteristic of Christlike community deals with your intention.
- Intention is tied to purpose. Intentions take us beyond our motivates (what gets us moving), and cause us to consider our desire end or objection.
- Give Him Your Undivided Intention
Philippians 2:2, Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
- In verse 2, Paul speaks directly to unity. In doing so, he directs them to get on same page, to be intent on one purpose.
- He starts with being of the “same mind,” the idea is being like-minded.
- Throughout the Bible we are told that we are to have the mind of Christ. Paul will point us to the mind and attitude of Christ in verses 5 to 11, but here he tells us to have the “same mind,” a “mind” that is motivated by unity with Christ and had undivided intentions to fulfill the will of Christ in one life individually, and in church community.
- Paul continues with “maintaining the same love,” the Greek word is “echo” there. It looks just like the English word, “echo.”
- The word for love is agape, it is the love seen in Jesus, the self-sacrificial love given to us that has brought us great comfort.
- We are to echo that type of love to one another.
- Then Paul wrote, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose.
- The word “unity” is defined as the state of being one, or oneness. It carries the idea of many parts being made into or caused to act as a single entity.
- As a verb, it means harmonious agreement. Unity, unite, or united are words often seen or suggested in our world, but not often seen.
- Paul is pointing us toward life in Christ, and the importance of undivided intention in pursuit and practice of the purpose of Christ.
Philippians 3:15-16, Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
- In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, He expressed His desire for our oneness. In verse 11, “so that they may be one”; in verse 21, “that they may all be one”; verse 22, so that they may be one”; verse 23, “that they may be perfected in unity.”
Galatians 3:28, …You are all one in Christ.
- Paul tied unity to our intention on one purpose. This speaks to an undivided intention.
Illus. Same Page.
Psalm 133:1, How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (NIV)
Illus. The Goal Line.
- A Christlike community gives Jesus undivided intention, they are headed toward the same goal line, and remain united in harmony to the degree that the intention in His direction is not divided.
- The next characteristic of a Christlike community has to do with ambition.
Philippians 2:3-4, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (NIV)
III. Set Aside Selfish Ambition
- Ambition is defined as desire.
- Not all ambition is the same, not all ambition is selfish ambition. There is a good ambition that is centered on our Jesus Christ. Isaiah 43:7 tells us that we were created for God’s glory, ambition to glorify and honor Him is great ambition!
- Selfish ambition on the other hand, is on the do not do list!
Philippians 2:3, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit.
- Likely, you have a working definition of what selfishness is.
- It is a word Paul used in chapter one verse 17 when we spoke of those who were doing kingdom activities for their own personal selfish ambition and glory.
James 3:16-17, For where jealousy and elfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy.
- It is rightly applied to the posture of satan himself in Isaiah 14 when he declared his selfish ambition to be elevated above God. He wanted to be higher and have more glory, he wanted to take God’s place and have God’s glory for himself.
- The definition of selfishness is “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, and welfare, without regard for others.
- Vain conceit is an excessively favorable opinion of oneself, or one’s own abilities that causes that person to place themselves above others.
- Selfishness is something we don’t have to look too far to see.
Philippians 2:3(b)-4, But with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
- Some suggest that humility is thinking less of yourself, but I have heard it defined not as thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
- Paul continues, value others above yourself. This attitude places a high value on others. This attitude places importance on others, this attitude looks out for the interests of others.
- This is the attitude that has personal interests but considers and values the interests of others.
- As Christ followers, we are to set aside selfish ambition and take up the mission and ambition of Jesus Christ. Remember, if we are followers of Him, we line up behind Him, walk the way He walked, move the way He moved.
- Present Yourselves as Samples of His Example
Philippians 2:5-11, In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)
- If anyone did not understand Paul’s writings on the humility that leads to unity prior to verse 5, Paul made it clear to them and to you and I.
- Most Bible scholars believe that verses 6 to 11 were from a hymn that was sung by the early church. One that put Jesus on full display as the Humble Servant. Who was God, but left glory, took on the form of a servant, being made in human likeness, humbling Himself all the way to death on a cross so that we would have a way to the Father.
- And it is our humble Savior who leads us beyond the self-life, and sets the example for us.
- It is His attitude of surrender and mindset of sacrifice that Paul says should be the attitude and mindset that characterized the body of Christ.
- We cannot go to the cross for the sins of the world, Jesus already did that, but we can take up our cross, surrender our rights, value others in this life, and in doing so, we share in the same attitude that characterized our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- A sample is a small part of something, it is a subset of a population, it is something that shows the quality, style, and nature of the whole.
- You have been united with Christ, present yourself as a sample of His example in your life.
Illus. Just like Jesus.
1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. 9For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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