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Be Like Christ

January 7, 2024 Preacher: Chris LaBelle Series: Various Messages

Topic: Humility Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Sermon Transcript:

 Review: As we take a break from preaching through another series, this week we will dive into the book of Philippians, specifically chapter 2. Paul, while in prison in Rome, is writing to a group of believers in Philippi who have supported him throughout His missionary journeys. Paul wrote this letter to give them an update on where he is and to thank them for their support financially, and encourage them to continue pursuing Christ as the church. At the end of chapter 1, we saw the dilemma of Paul. Either remain on this earth in hopes of seeing the Philippians again, or die and spend eternity in the presence of Jesus. No more sin. No more suffering. For Paul, he knows that to be absent from the body, but present with the Lord is the far better option. Yet, his vow to remain with the Philippians was more necessary. All of it to encourage the Philippians and him to be encouraged by the church for the sake of the gospel. In it, we start to see Paul’s heart for church unity. 

Paul writes in Philippians 1:27, 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.”

 

Reading: Philippians 2:1-11 ESV

Relevance: If we follow the previous passage in Philippians 1, the main idea centers on the will of living for Christ now. For Paul, that the gospel still had to move forward. That believers would press into the Lord with the remaining time of their lives. To be encouraged by the work of the gospel in the present and what’s to come, because God is at work within them and God is at work within us as well. This week, we will see the unity of the church and how it points us to being like Christ.

 

Being like Christ now means we need to consider how: (1) Church unity is built on love through the Spirit; (2) Practical unity is built on Christ’s example; and (3) Christ gets the glory.

Transition: First, we will seek to answer what motivates and drives church unity; what motivates us to be like Christ? 

 

 

  • Church unity is built on love through the Spirit. (v.1-2) 

 

 

Explanation: 

Philippians 2:1-2, 1So 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.”

  • Where does our worth come from in the gospel?
    • From God, united in Christ. United together.
  • Paul’s motivation for church unity is founded in Christ. The encouragement we find as believers is always in Jesus. And this truth. This reality that Christ is the cornerstone. The foundation of what we believe, affected how Paul felt for the believers at Philippi. If any acts of love, or work from God are to take place, Paul ultimately felt that he would be most joyous if they were united in Christ, and Christ alone. 
    • Comfort or consolation (παραμύθιον) of love.
      • To that which offers encouragement, consolation, means of consolation, alleviation.
    • Participation in the Spirit- Bond that ties brothers and sisters together in Christ. This means we are actively, by the power and work of God in our lives serving one another in love. This means we all come together by the Spirit to make disciples and to pray for one another.
    • Affection and compassion.
  • Paul’s desire for joy is seen through the unity of believers set on love through the Spirit. 
    • One purpose.

 

Illustration: Tomorrow night, we get to see an example of one team trying to accomplish one goal. We get to see the Michigan Wolverines in the National Championship game. For those who do not understand college football, to get to this moment takes years of building a roster of players and coaching staff that will implement culture and a good gameplans against their opponents. To get there on any given year, it takes the right guys for each individual role, the right execution for plays and gameplans, and most importantly the unity of a team. The team coming together with one purpose and the same set of goals and aspirations. For the Wolverine football team, they have a chance to put it together one last time and bond together to achieve their goal. One opportunity to win it all tomorrow.

  • For us, we have the real thing and our purpose is for the advancement of the gospel. The church, made up of individual believers united to Christ, bound together as one body by the fellowship of the Spirit will be successful in proclaiming the gospel to the world through speaking biblical truth, and living it out practically. For Paul, he desires the church hone in on this one purpose, which is ultimately unity of the body to Christ by the Spirit. What’s even more awesome about the comparison of a football team to God’s team, is that we will spend eternity together at the foot of Christ. When we are all dead and gone from this earth, we will be present with the Lord, side by side. On Monday night, when the game is over, Michigan will clean out their locker rooms and the season will be over. As believers, we get to spend eternity together. This reality would make Paul’s day and give me great hope thinking about it. 

 

Corroboration: Being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, first involves us coming together regularly.

Hebrews 10:23-25, 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

 

Application: What does church unity look like on a practical sense? What does this look like for RGC? 

  • The first step for us is to acknowledge our need to be of the same mind. What does it mean to be of the same mind? I believe this means we are all thinking about who Christ is, what the Scriptures say about Him, and how that radically changes our lives. We all come together on Sunday with Christ on our minds and hearts, and we encourage one another in valuing Christ alone for the advancement of the gospel (the mind of Christ, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on advancing the gospel).
    • Make it to church. Many reasons why it would be easy to miss.
    • Become members of a solid bible believing church that magnifies Jesus. A church that preaches the sufficiency of Jesus through His death, burial, and resurrection. A church that makes much of Jesus and less about our selfish agendas. 
    • Submitting ourselves to one another through church membership ensures that:
      • We can help one another grow in Christ through accountability.
      • Ensures that as elders we can properly shepherd the flock.
        • Throughout the NT, we see examples of believers that reflect believers submitting to one another, under the guidance of elders that God has gifted to them. .
        • This isn’t submission through tyranny or legalistic strongholds. This is so the elders can freely love and help to minister to specific needs.
        • Us elders will be held accountable for the lives that we oversee. 

Transition: Being like Christ tells us to maintain our love by the work of the Spirit, through the example of Jesus.

 

 

  • Practical unity is built on Christ’s example. (v.3-8) 

 

 

Explanation: If we are to be united in Christ as one church, devoted to loving God and one another, advancing the gospel, what does it look like? 

Philippians 2:3-4, 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.”

  • Regard others as more important than yourselves. Paul’s example in sharing the gospel.
    • Don’t be consumers in a world that tells us to focus on ourselves.
    • God isn’t primarily concerned about our happiness, He’s concerned about our holiness. When we are most satisfied in God, we will live holy lives. Not out of compulsion, but with glad hearts.
  • Paul is more concerned that the Philippians advance the gospel and lay their lives down for Jesus, than they pursue their own worldly happiness and comfort.
  • Love then is laying down your life, for the encouragement and betterment of others in Christ, over personal agendas and our own self-help or self-promotion.

 

Corroboration: God’s character is personified by love. Love is the practical outpouring of God’s character through us. Scripture confirms this.

1 John 4:7-8, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 

  • Love not only displays God’s power through the church, but also helps to carry the burden of sin.

1 Peter 4:8, Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 

  • If love is personified by humility, setting aside your own personal interests for the sake of others, who is the standard for this love? From whom do we emulate this type of love?

 

Explanation:  Much of what I preached last week is reiterated here. Jesus is our example in selfless love. How did He personify this? Read v.5-8

Philippians 2:5-8, 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.”

    • Paul tells the church to have this mind among them which was in Christ.
    • The mindset that says, I want to love him or her despite their flaws. I want to consider them more than I want to consider my own personal welfare. It is the mindset that considers others needs are taken care of before our own. And none of it is done out of pride. This is the selfless love that is personified in Christ and carried out by those whom the Spirit dwells and works through.
    • Let’s look at Jesus’ resume for a minute.  
    • Jesus is both fully God and fully human. (Born from a virgin woman, but not from an earthly father, in Adam’s sin).
      • Jesus is the 2nd person of the Trinity. (Son of God)
      • Jesus did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped in being fully human. (Son of Man)
    • Jesus empties Himself, not of His divine qualities, to take on the servant role.
      • Humbled Himself to love and serve others.
      • Not to establish the nation of Israel. 

 

  • ((Temptation) 40 days in the wilderness, (Washing the feet of the disciples) Not to be served, but to serve).

 



Illustration: Think about some of our favorite super-heroes. They have two qualities about them.

  • They have a human form.
  • They are given supernatural powers.

They are not judged in their story by those powers, but what they do with them. 

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Uncle Ben

  • Jesus then, doesn’t strut His stuff with arrogance and pompous masculinity, overthrowing nations and setting up His throne during His ministry. Instead, being found in appearance as a man, He humbles Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. You don’t think that Jesus could have called upon twelve legions of angels to rescue Him? Yes, He could have, but He didn’t.
  • Jesus was united to the Father. Christ was fully dependent on the Father’s grace, His direction, His plan, His motives, and His call to serve others in place of Himself, His miracles, and ultimately His death on a cross.
  • This same mind that Christ has, we already possess. It is ours in Christ Jesus. We have the mind of Christ in our union with Him. We can pursue this life, because Jesus already did. We can look to His example. By God’s grace through Christ, we no longer look to our own selfish passions, but we are fashioned and molded to look more like Christ. We have the Spirit of the living God and His living Word inside of us.

 

Application: Are we following Christ’s example? Are we laying down our lives for each other? Are we loving others the way that Jesus loved us? Consider the remainder of the passage in 1 John that I mentioned earlier.

1 John 4:8-14, Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

 

Continued:  12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”






Transition: With all of this Jesus gets the glory!

 

 

  • Christ gets the glory. (v.9-11) 

 

 

Explanation: It’s all about Jesus! (emphasize).

Philippians 2:9-11, 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.” 

  • The person of Jesus is exalted in this passage, but also His very name.
    • Above every other name. Power in the name of Jesus. You want to know how I know that? Start bringing up the name of Jesus in conversation. Watch how quickly the mood changes. With other believers it is common. We can talk about Jesus all day and not bat an eye. 
      • What about at work? What about at the grocery store? The mood will change. People will either want to know more about this Jesus you are talking about or quickly you’ll find opposition.

 

Illustration: Naming our children. People come up with the most creative names. Sometimes our names carry meaning. God named Isaac “laughter.” My name is Chris which means “bearer of Christ.” Other creative names on the list include: Liberty, Jewel, Persephone (purrseph-o-knee), Kool-Aid McKinstry (real name btw), Forrest Gump. A-Aron (fake name, but funny).

  • The name above every name. Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς) which is a transliteration of the Hebrew (יֵשׁוּעַ) Yeshua or Joshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation”.
    • Jesus itself was a more common name at this time, but the title of Christ meant something more profound. It ultimately proves the deity of Messianic fulfillment in Christ. 
    • Christ- “Fulfiller of Israelite expectation of a deliverer, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ” 

 

Explanation: At the name of Jesus

  • Every knee will bow.
    • In heaven (Angels, those that are resurrected).
    • On earth (Everyone here who has not passed. The righteous, unrighteous, everybody). 
    • Under the earth
    • Both the lost and saved.
  • Every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord. Whether people acknowledge Jesus as Lord now or after they pass, everyone will one day see the authority and sovereignty of Christ. They will see Him sitting on a Throne and they will verbally confess this reality. They will see Jesus as He really is. 
    • To the glory of the Father.

 

Application: Our unity, our lives, our love, and our actions in Christ demonstrate a couple of profound things for believers. It demonstrates God’s true mark in our lives. It points to the world that we are no longer looking inward at ourselves for satisfaction or validity or identity. We now look at Christ in us. Our unity is an act of amazing grace which ultimately protects us from sin and motivates us to study God’s Word and point others to that living Word. When we are changed by God’s Word we will love one another and one day be rewarded in Christ.

  • Praise be to God the Father, that it all rides on Jesus. It all rides on the sufficient work of Him. His example. His life. His death. His resurrection. If we make much of Him in our lives now, we will no doubt see the fruits of His labors here in this building, in Southgate, at our house, at our jobs, in our conversations, and in our personal time. We will see one another grow in the likeness of Christ.



Conclusion

 

Clarification: There is hope and a real joy in being like Christ now. We have the distinct pleasure and opportunity to come together as one mind, one body, intent on one purpose. To take pleasure in God and allow that love to flow into others. We have the privilege to put others before ourselves. We have the privilege to be servants to other believers in this church. We have the privilege of looking to Jesus for the grace that God provides through His Son. We have the privilege to proclaim the name of Jesus in every facet of our lives. We have the privilege of bowing our knees now, exalting the name which is above all names. We have the privilege to confess to ourselves and this dying world that Jesus is Lord. He commands our destiny and directs our lives to unite us for His glory. To make disciples of all nations.

 

Encouragement and Application: The final question you must ask yourself is this. Are you born-again? Here’s the deal. 

  • If you  are born-again, you have been set free from sin and death. You are righteous before God, brought together here in Southgate, MI under this building. Take the time to know one another here. Put each other before yourselves, united as one body, putting on the mind of Christ. Lay your lives down for the gospel. 
  • If you are here this morning and do not know Jesus, unity and fellowship of the Spirit are not present in your life. You cannot be like Christ and are under sin. You are actually under the other aspect of God’s character, which is wrath. Separated from God. Consider the gospel this morning. Repent, and surrender your life over to Jesus. Believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. If you don’t know how to do that, come talk to me after the service. Find someone you know who is a believer and have that conversation. Don’t put it off as life is not guaranteed tomorrow. Let’s pray.

More in Various Messages

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