Philippians 1:27-2:4

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:58
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What is taking place in this scene?

How is it taking place?- This is what some researches call selective attention. It is the process of focusing on a certain item that allows us to block or blur other actions taking place.
Attention is a limited resource, so how does something come to occupy primary attention?
We all know how the dynamics work. Kids if you are intent on playing something, it is fairly easy to block out someone calling your name. At the same time when Mom and Dad are whispering something, you have probably yelled out “What did you say about me?”
So if attention is a limited resource, is there a certain focus that would aid in you doing the rest of life well?
With the introductory questions that we have pondered so far, here is a question that gets us closer to the theme that our passage is teaching us today.

What happens in a church body when individuals have different focuses?

Scripture tells us that diversity in gifts and service are very important. There is also the reality that our different personalities and backgrounds will have a great influence on how we view and interpret things.

However, division creeps into a body of believers when the individuals have the wrong focus.

Transition: What focus must the body have in all of its diversity?

You must live worthy of your privileged position (v. 27a)

An all-encompassing theme
This church had participated with Paul in the gospel in a loving way. Paul has just explained that even tough circumstances serve to advance the gospel, yet there was a concern that he is saying must be addressed. “Only”- seems to indicate that if you take care of this matter, it will address the problems that arising among you.
2. There is no greater privilege than citizenship in heaven
We use the words privileged status because Paul uses a verb that expresses the idea of living as a citizen. Those in Philippi had the privileged status of being Roman citizens. We see the pride of this position in Acts 16:20 when the opponents of Paul and Silas accused them of practices that were unlawful for Romans. We see the privileges of the status when it was used by Paul to free him from jail. The theme of citizenship seemed important for Paul to bring up to the Philippians when he later told the Philippians in 3:20 that their citizenship was in heaven. So it seems that Paul is calling them to such action that reflects a citizenship much greater than Roman citizenship
3. Your life serves as a representation of the worth of the gospel
Worthy-life the matches the privileged position we have been given.
The Gospel-we saw above that Paul’s imprisonment was about Christ and the gospel advanced. A few verses later, he is calling the Philippians to conduct that will lead to them shining as lights among a crooked and twisted generation.
Illustration: PFD “If you do anything to establish residency in another state or country while you are out of Alaska, such as registering to vote or filing a resident income tax return, you will not be considered a resident of Alaska for the purposes of this program.”
What must be paramount in a body of believers for them to work together- their residency and their representation. If any other allegiance captures us, we will not be a unified body.
Transition: Paul goes on to describe what living worthy of the gospel looks like. Keep in mind we are considering what must be the focus of a body of believers in order to guard us against division

We must be unified in our defense against opposition (v.v 27b-31)

Picture: Reaching an anticipated goal- finish line of a marathon, keeping a supplied resource -water/food, keeping the pedal to the metal- don’t stop running. All of this is necessary because there will be alternate destinations, resources and stopping points all along the way.
We have established the anticipated goal- we await a Savior who will transform our lowly body
Until then we must stand firm and strive-The standing posture is not a proud posture.(1 Cor. 10:12) It is a continuing posture ( drawing on grace, living by faith). It is a defensive posture. There is an enemy attempting to make you fall. Striving- there is effort and struggle that must be taking place.
It must be done together. We must be sided by side. We have to have the same mindset about the course and our resistance.
It is to be done without fear
The opposition that we know of in the book is Philippians 3 where speak of those who are giving wrong doctrine about circumcision, who put confidence in the flesh, and whose god is their belly. There is the mentioned problem of brothers and sisters not working together. (Chapter 4
This serves as a warning to their opponents- possible connection of Luke 21:12-19 of the persecutors not being able to withstand the wisdom with which they speak
If God is for us who can be against us
God has given you the gift of suffering.
The suffering is a joint effort
Application: May we gather often together (Hebrews 10); May we affirm truth together in song - acknowledge there may be times the heart is too heavy to sing(Col. 3:16). May we take the Lord’s Supper together. Listen to your leaders- they are watching for your souls. Watch out for bitterness that can spring up and defile many in the body (Hebrews 12:15) May we strive together with those who are facing loss in our church. I would imagine that they face the enemy of fearfulness and loneliness. May we watch and pray with them. In light of this Sunday in which we are focusing on a group going to be an encouragement to other laborers in Christ’s work. May those going see the importance of the task. Ask God to prepare your heart to look to the needs of others and not your own. The first missionary journey of in Acts 13 and 14 begins with men in the church of Antioch sending them praying, laying hands, and sending off Paul and Silas for the work the Holy Spirit had set them apart for. At the end of chapter 14, it is said that Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch where they had been commended to the grace of God. They declared all that God had done with them and how he had opened the door to the Gentiles. We don’t know exactly what kind of work God will due in these few days, but may God created that spirit within our church that support, prays, and declares God’s work to each other. May we pray that our church family will invest all of their days in the advance of the gospel.
Transition: How does this unified standing, striving, courageous stand take place? Keep in mind we are considering what must be the focus of a body of believers in order to guard us against division

You must think humbly (2:1-4)

You have partaken and experienced benefits that call for humility/
The Philippians have experienced each of the benefits that are described in this passage. These gifts are experienced. I don't just have a creed that says I am loved and belong. I am experiencing this in a thousand ways which I could never number.
They have shared them together and they have been extended to them by Christ and His Spirit.
Each of these "ingredients" are personal. They come from Christ and the Holy Spirit.
They have been given freely, richly, and genuinely. They are not on borrow. They are not finite.
These gifts are not burdens. They are meant to be encouragements to the heart.
If one is hoarding them, he doesn't see them as gifts. He must think God is stingy.
Picture: Paul’s description of the qualities that they have shared can be likened unto a plentiful crop. However, Paul sees the seeds of a plague that could destroy the crop.
The benefits you have received are not maintenance free- complete my joy. When one starts to lose the value of the gifts given to him, the seeds of division are starting to sprout.
The essence of humble thinking
Selfishly looking out for my own interests
Having an exalted view of myself
Considering others more important than myself
Putting others interests before mine
Picture of a team. There is the hype and the excitement of winning. Then there comes the hits and the fouls and the letdowns of other team members. Coach calls time out. What needs to happen in the huddle? The team members come to the huddle with complaints and gasping for breath. The coach would not be wise to take a vote on who wants to quit, or to open up a discussion about the refs or the other team. He puts the cause before them. He reminds them of the need to do it together. He calls for individual sacrifice.
As a church we are going to have struggle and suffering, but through the grace of Christ may we live with the mindset of heavenly citizens. May we not fight the battles alone. May we draw upon grace to put the interest of others before our own
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