Let’s consider for a moment how our world measures GREATNESS:
Often it is equated with worth or fortune
Ones popularity or fame
The accomplishments people see that you achieve
Power is often linked with greatness, authority
Sometimes it just comes down to peoples opinion…
Our passage looks at GREATNESS in a way that is contrary to man, contrary to what our world teaches, what our schools teach… consider Paul’s words to the Philippian believers in Philippians 2:1-11…
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is 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. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Where to go with this powerful passage of scripture:
Kenosis = Empty Out (God becoming man, without ceasing to be God) setting aside divine attributes
Incarnation = The Word (GOD) becoming flesh
This is central to understanding ones atonement… God could only do what God could do and He came in the ONLY way (as a man) to pay for the sin of mankind in order to bring man back to Himself!
While both of these things are invaluable and central to ones faith… I chose to look at a very practical approach to this passage that will impact how you and I will live today & face tomorrow!
Paul lays out a solid beautiful argument here:
If / Then Phrasing
He gives an example
The Outcome is looked at
Paul begins all this by starting with THEREFORE
Since you are children of God
Citizens of Heaven
Granted the honor to suffer
With all this honor, high position, please keep something in mind…
These things are realities for the believer, NOT questionable things to ponder!
Encouragement in Christ!
Comfort in His Love!
Fellowship in the Spirit!
Affection and Compassion!
What an amazing reality to live in each day as a child of God! (DO YOU HAVE THESE???)
For the believer THERE IS! these things… Because of this there should be an outcome in our lives…
Three things should result, and play out in the believers life...
United in Spirit
Not only would their unity bring joy to Paul… it brings joy to our Savior as well.
Paul knew that in order for this unified life to be lived out there were some things to avoid...
Being selfish… me first mentality, self importance
Don’t try to impress people, outward impressions
These things will cause you to look too long in the mirror instead of looking to His Majesty! Instead purse these things...
A humble mindset (God is great, I am small)
Think of others over yourself, even as greater importance!!!
Ask how someone is (rather than tell everything about you)
Could it be someone else may be having a hard day, week, month
Don’t neglect yourself, but in the process look out for others!
Look out for #1… make that others
Have an I’m 3rd mentality… God, Others, You
Does someone else need something more than you?
Look around, Listen, just CARE MORE!
Paul as he reminds us of our place, giving us some very practical living directives… then gives us an EXAMPLE! … LOOK AT CHRIST NOT THE WORLD
Paul is NOT equating you and I to little gods here… rather he is challenging us to have an ATTITUDE like our Savior Jesus Christ!
Set aside His divine attributes… for others (you and I)
John 1:1-4; 14 shows this beautifully...
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
He never ceases to be God!
Created life… healed lives
Created the sea… storms and waves obey
All powerful… became weak, tired, hungry, even died!
Had every right… set aside for sinners
Creator, God, King, Ruler… served others humble
Even at His death when they arrest Him we see a glimpse of His deity when He responds “I Am He!”
Being God He died on the cross… pain, suffering, humility
What a powerful example of HUMILITY… of true GREATNESS!
Consider however the outcome of His humility, His obedience, His attitude...
He is lifted up… above all
He is worshiped… by all
Declare it now… before it is too late!
God is glorified, and worshiped, He is lifted up
GREATNESS is found in humility… allow God to be the One to lift you up, don’t live in such a way He needs to bring you down!!! (Proverbs)
I would like to close remembering Him today as we partake in communion… but first I would like to read the words of a narrative written called “One Solitary Life”
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property he had on earth. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.
In light of considering Christ GREATNESS I would like to draw us to REMEMBRANCE: