Sermon: The Mind of Christ and Gospel Ministry: Philippians 2:1-10

The Mind of Christ and Gospel Ministry

A Charge to Dylan and Megan as they are sent to minister

Philippians 2:1-10

Truth Taught – All of Christ’s followers should seek to have the mind of Christ

 

Introduction

Throughout the course of pastoral ministry a pastor is met with untold challenges and opinions. Challenges come in the form of human frailty, day to day issues, the stress of preparing for Sunday’s worship service, and the unknown factor…the late night family visit that you need to make and that just popped up unexpectedly or the hospital visit or funeral or the visit to the wayward brother.

There has been one truth that has kept me (you may check with others about this) on target as a pastor; one overarching priority to fashion your pastorate around. This one principle will not only keep you on track but it will rub off on others who are around you. This principle will help not only you but it will also help your wife and your children.

Seek to be Christ-like over anything else. Seek the mind of Christ, seek to walk as Christ walked, seek to be Christ-like in all you do.

You are a Christian first and foremost not a pastor. Your role as pastor/shepherd must not be what defines you but what must define you is the fact that you are a follower of Jesus Christ first, you are a husband, you are a father, then you are a pastor.

I know the expectations that a church has when calling their new pastor. Many times their thinking is our church will grow in numbers with a new young pastor and his family. If that’s God’s will I hope it happens. However, you must ask yourself early on, which is most important, a big church or a biblical church, a church that exalts Christ or one that exalts man?

Be a biblical pastor/shepherd who loves God and its evident by the way you handle His Word and love and care for the flock He has given you to love.

 

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

 

Philippians 1:21–2:10 (ESV)

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  1. Paul’s Joy Over the Churches Walking in Humility

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The Philippian Church was the first church founded by Paul in what is now Europe. The first convert was Lydia whom the Lord opened her heart to believe. He had a wonderful ministry even though it was a brief time. Throughout this epistle it is very evident that his purpose in writing was to encourage them in their faith and to live their lives following Christ’s example. He especially highlights humility and love as clear markers of having the mind of Christ.

Paul was a great example to the church in what Christ-like humility and love looked like. That’s why in other places he would write that the church should be imitators of him, live as he lives, speak like he speaks, love as he loves and walk as he walks. So, a pastor must live out what Christ desires to see within His church. The pastor must be the visible example to his flock to what the Bible teaches.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

He tells the church to complete his joy by being of the same mind as Christ, having the same love as Christ, being unified with Christ.

The issue here is that the humility Paul desired to see in the churches was the outflow or we might say the manifestation of truth made to come to life within the believers.

The challenge often especially in certain circles that place a high priority on doctrine and theology is to settle for just knowing truth. I say it that way because just knowing truth is not the end. Many folks today see it as the end. Probably the reason we get to truth and then stop is because having and teaching truth in your church is more than most churches have. We think we’ve arrived because we have truth. Paul taught the churches truth and the way he knew that truth had found a permanent residence in their hearts was that it began to change them on the outside. He gives some ways to live out the truths that are within.

Then its as if he says, for starters, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Doctrine and theology are vital in the local church. That’s where we begin as pastors but we never end there. So, as leaders we must know truth, we must know the Gospel, we must know the condition of mankind etc before we can teach others. As we teach we must never stop with mere head knowledge but knowledge must transform us for God’s glory. The best way to see if the Gospel is working within a person is to watch for humility. The Apostle Paul was a great example of truth and humility. However, there is Another even greater example for us to follow…

  1. Jesus Christ’s Supreme Example of Humility

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

All believers are to act in accordance with our supreme example, Jesus Christ. Paul as the church planter/pastor exemplified Christ-like humility as he was around the church teach and preaching to the people. They saw humility from their leader. He now directs their attention and our attention away from himself as the example of humility and focuses their gaze upon Jesus the supreme example.

Lets think together through Paul’s logic…

Jesus is God of very God, divine in every way. He is one person of the Holy Trinity.

Paul’s point is that if there ever was anyone who deserved to act in splendor and pomp it is the Lord Jesus Christ. It was right and fitting however, for Jesus to come in humility and meekness rather than even in the spectacle that He could have come in.

His thinking is that if Jesus ministers to us in meekness and humility when He could come to us in majesty and splendor then it is infinitely more appropriate for us to minister to others in humility as well.

Jesus is God and for a time emptied Himself of majesty, not deity.

He goes on to further explain that not only did Jesus empty Himself of majesty and splendor but amazingly enough became for us a Servant. He didn’t demand to be served but He did the serving while on earth. His disciples learned service by watching Jesus serve others.

He goes even further, not only did God come to earth, take on flesh in infinite humility, He became a servant to all.

He also, was completely and entirely and perfectly obedient to His heavenly Father.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

When following God’s will took Jesus to the cross, He went willingly. In sacrificial obedience He died the sinner’s death and accomplished the mission God had for Him.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Because of Jesus’ humble obedience God has lifted Him up to His rightful place of exaltation. Jesus did not have to defend Himself, or struggle to achieve some level of status all He needed to do was to be humble and obedient to the Father’s will and God did the rest.

Application

There is no better example for us than our Lord Jesus. All believers everywhere must seek Christ-like humility and Christ-like obedience to the Father’s will. This is especially true for Christ’s ministers.

Rather than laboring to make something happen such as church growth, rather than bouncing around from the latest greatest program that promises success in ministry, stay humble and obedient to what God has called you to. Teach the truth, love the people sacrificially, and grow in Christ-like humility and obedience. Stand back and watch what God does and give Him the glory for everything.

Elders- are you an example to the church in Christ-like humility?

Believers- are you an example to the church in Christ-like humility?

Remember it doesn’t end with theological knowledge but that knowledge must manifest itself in humble service and obedience to the Father. Being conformed to the image of Christ is the goal.

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