Gospel Unity (Philippians 2:1-4)

February 6, 2022 | Brandon Cooper


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

As the little ones are dispersing, you can open up the Philippians chapter two Philippians chapter two will be in verses one to four this morning, as it turned into Philippians. Two, this was, you know, many decades ago in Wales, there was a small church, just about 40 people, that we’re looking for a new pastor. The problem is that there was more than one faction in this church. In fact, there are two competing factions, and they each had their preferred candidate for Pastor. So on a candidate King Sunday, they each sent their candidate to the pulpit, to preach, simultaneously thundering over each other about themes like forgiveness and reconciliation and the love of God. After the sermons they both called for a hymn of response, different hymns, and the two factions sang with gusto, the two hymns simultaneously, which I think was Kyle’s illustration there a moment ago, what happens when we decide not to sing the same thing, Unity not so good. And eventually, of course, this just devolved into a shouting match, with people raising their Bibles, in anger against each other, just absolute bedlam. Eventually, a deacon went to get the police. And the police came, they sent two officers, thankfully, the two police officers were much more united in their purpose than the church had been. And so they they worked the same goal here and dispersed the meeting and sent the 40 or so people home. The newspaper the next morning, the headline was Hallelujah to Jack’s in a pulpit. So horticulturally interesting, as well, I’m sure the town enjoyed it. I’m sure they got a good laugh, reading the newspaper headline, but do you think the gospel advanced in that time? Well, I’m not by any means above laughing at ridiculous Christians. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep your sanity, because there are a lot of us. But it’s a deadly serious thing, too. Because that sort of disunity dishonors Christ. I mean, what’s our main point for Philippians as a whole, we keep coming back to it right to advance the gospel. That’s the goal to advance the gospel, we must emulate Christ and Paul, as we’ve seen, but that imitation means, you know, we’ve actually got to act like them. Right. And that’s even despite opposition I mentioned early on that opposition was both external in the form of persecution, which we’ve looked a lot at, but also internal. When there is disunity, we still have to imitate Christ interactions with each other, even when we don’t like each other very much how we treat each other matters enormously, Whose Gospel unity is such a huge part of gospel advance. And so as Kyle mentioned already, in our passage, today, Paul gives us a map for gospel unity, map, ma P, motivation, attitude, and practice. And that’s what we’re going to look at as we go. So let’s look first at our motivation there in verse one. 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 pause their mid sentence, I understand. Let’s not skip past the logical connection. Paul does begin with a word therefore. And that means it’s connected to what preceded it. This is always a challenge for us, right? We need to learn to read the Bible, slowly and quickly at the same time. And that is a challenge. I understand. Because we need to know the big picture of the Bible as a whole and even individual books, as well as getting into the weeds of individual passages is a little bit like knowing a city, right? You can claim to know a city, but you got to kind of know both pieces. So you’re saying Oh, yeah, I know. I know this place for sure. The best pizza joint in the whole town is this one. It’s got you know, you can describe the pizza to your heart’s content to be well, that sounds amazing. Let’s go there you drive. And they go, I don’t know how to get there. We’ll probably pull out their phone wouldn’t be that embarrassing, but you know, do they really know the city if they even know how to get to the pizza joint that they claim is their favorite place? Or on the flip side, you got something I could draw a map of the city I can show you all the highlights. But I’ve never been to any of these places that I’m drawing I’ve never been to the pizza joint would say they wouldn’t know it either. We got to know both. Right. So what happens when we’re preaching through a short book like Philippians? Like we’re in four verses today? Like we are at the pizza joint, and we are savoring the pizza bite by byte. But we don’t want at the end of this for you to go.
Oh yeah, that’s right, but I can’t remember where I parked last week. So well. Let’s get that logical connection. Just make sure where that was a really long digression but pasture throughout So I had COVID. This week, my brains everywhere. That’s just how it goes. So therefore, that means he’s saying in light of the preceding, okay, so what came before he’s flashing out one way that we can live as worthy citizens of the kingdom of God, because that’s the main imperative that’s still just hanging over the hole, really all of chapter two, whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. So here’s one way we live as worthy citizens of the kingdom live worthy of the gospel. That’s our Gospel, unity. To get there, Paul gives us this series of conditionals, if this and this and this and this, that all of those, that’s the foundation for our unity. It’s the why, what should motivate our unity, even, despite very real and occasionally very painful differences, which are there in the church? Very definitely. So what’s the first one first, it’s encouragement from our union with Christ. encouragement, the word for encouragement, also means exhortation or admonition. The whole point here is it’s the spur. It’s the pride, it’s the motivation. And it’s our union with Christ that motivates us by grace through faith. I am one with Christ. We’ve got the whole gospel really just summed up in those two words in Christ with Christ. Because you think about there’s our adoption, are welcome as God’s children. Why? Because when God sees Jesus, He welcomes Jesus with open arms and a fatherly embrace. And if I’m one with Christ, then he’s welcoming me, embracing me as His child, there’s my justification, which is one of those big fancy words, we always have to define your justification is it’s your righteousness as your performance record. Justification is the part where your performance record gets, gets looked at your resume, basically, your homework, if you want to think of it that way. And you and I did not do so well, on our homework, we failed. But Jesus did very well. And so he turns in perfection. But if I’m in Christ, and you’re in Christ, then when God looks at me,
he sees Christ’s perfect performance record. There’s my justification, or our reconciliation. I mean, Jesus is in the very bosom of the Father knows that intimacy with Him that we all seek. But if I’m in Christ, guess who’s being held right there. So there’s our whole gospel summed up in two words in Christ with Christ over whelming encouragement on my best days, I got no reason for pride, because I know it’s my in Christ. pneus that has gotten me the welcome. And my worst days, I’ve gotten a reason for despair. Because I know that God’s looking at Jesus, instead of me, thank God. Being in Christ is the one great permanent circumstance of my life. And of course, that has massive horizontal implications, as well, if we know we have that acceptance. Get there in a moment, second, conditional, so if any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, second, no word comfort that gets at the persuasive power of that love the the solace that it offers us, He loves me, He loves me. So Chris, and I, we watched Citizen Kane this week, because we’re old movie buffs. And that’s just how it goes. So what happens in Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane, the title character, it’s really just a lifelong effort to be loved. That’s all he’s doing all the money, and he’s got more money than anyone, all the success and he certainly has that as well. Even and he’s got this brief foray into politics. And then the the women, there’s more than one kind of thing, what it’s all about, that’s all just an effort to be loved. In fact, the people who knew him well, who could see through him, told him that, why are you running for office? Because every vote for you is just as affirmation that you’re lovable even though of course it isn’t. But that’s how he was reading it. And one of the women as she was leaving him said, You don’t love me. That’s not why you want me to stay. You want me to love you. That’s the only reason I’m here. That’s it. Right? So that’s, that’s that lifelong effort. But here’s the thing. It’s true of all of us, that we can wag a judgemental finger at Kane, but it’s it’s, it’s what we’re all after. We’re all you know, plucking the daisy at the end of it going. I hope somebody loves me when the pedals are gone. Here’s the way Joseph Piper puts it. He says what matters to us beyond mere existence is the explicit confirmation. It is good that you exist, how wonderful that you are. In other words, what we need over and above sheer existence is to be loved by another person. So we spend all our days wondering if we’re lovable, when we’ve already been given the definitive answer at the cross, how to the Father’s love for us, because there is His Son on the cross, for our sakes, how that consoles us, even in the very darkest days now, whose love I mentioned it already, but it’s important to see we are talking about the Father’s love, because this passages is Trinitarian any encouragement from being united with Christ, any common sharing with the Spirit, and in the middle, we get this word love. Well, we got one member of the Trinity left to talk about the Father. And Paul frequently speaks to the father is the one who loves. So you can see this in the benediction that Kyle often offers us from Second Corinthians 13. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, God, the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, common sharing and the Holy Spirit be with you all. So here it is, it’s the Father’s love that we receive, we need a parent’s love supremely. They’ve done studies about this that are mind blowing, you know, kids do better if they are raised by their mom in prison, than if they’re raised by a team of the very best professionals in a well equipped institution. That’s how much a parent’s love matters. In fact, a child who doesn’t experience a parent’s love, it can actually be fatal for them. And yet, what we desire most that parents love, it’s already ours. It’s already ours, when we lay our striving down and trust in the sons finished work when the united to Christ.
Okay, so that’s second and third, this fellowship in the spirit common sharing in the Spirit. So this is important too, because we saw that we have been shares in suffering with Paul already, that was not quite as much fun. But we get to be shares in the spirit as well. And that’s much better. And we share in the spirit, remember from last week with whom we strive together as one. And so really, in this point, Paul is taking us back to a point he already made, that the fellowship we have with a spirit is the source of our fellowship with each other. It’s the unity of the Spirit that we experience. And then fourth, Paul says tenderness and compassion if you have any tenderness and compassion. And this is a little bit of a change, of course, because we’ve run through the Trinity now, son, Father, Spirit, in essence, this is what happens horizontally, when we grasp what is true, vertically, already. We understand who we are in Christ, the love of God, the Father, the the fellowship of the spirit, should produce tenderness and compassion in us, Paul says the same thing in other places, classrooms, 312, for example, a number of us are memorizing and journey group together right now. Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, or there’s the vertical reality, again, very similar kind of stuff. Well, what happens as a result? What’s the horizontal implication? clothe yourselves with? Compassion, same word, actually, that Paul uses here, tenderness and compassion, Paul saying, if the gospel has really worked its way into your bloodstream, so that you feel towards others what God feels toward you. That’s that’s the this last conditional. You can see why this would motivate us, right? Because if this is true, and it is, if we belong to God, by faith in Christ, it should change everything about our experience of community. I mean, if you’ve inherited billions from some deceased Uncle You didn’t even know existed, but you knew it because the person standing in front of you with the will going look and hear the bank statements. Okay? You have inherited billions, that would motivate some generosity, don’t you think? Paul’s saying, look, I’ve got the will. Here it is. This should motivate generous relations with one another. Second point them so here’s our map. This is the A this is our attitude, the mindset that we should have as a result of knowing what we know about how God loves us when we read verse two, so if all of that then make my joy complete by being like minded having the same love being one in spirit and of one mind. So we finally get the second half that conditional right this is an if then statement, and it just took us a long time to get to event if all the above is true, which it is. then Paul says, make my joy complete. We’ll get to the how in a moment. But note first, Paul’s pastoral heart here. Paul cares so deeply for Philippians that this would be his joy. If they knew God’s love like that, and expressed their knowledge of it in the way they treated each other. I can remember a Lud sharing a few years ago. It was during pastors Appreciation Month. And so he was up here and he was reading from an article that he’d come across and said, You know what your pastor would really appreciate. It’s not gift cards, and I was about to shout heresy at that moment, because he said, what your pastor would really appreciate is that you listen, learn and if I could borrow Paul’s phrase, live worthy, like put into practice, what it is that we hear week in and week out. That’s what Paul’s saying here. That would make my joy complete. If this is how you guys were to do this in Philippi. Now, I keep saying this, we’ve been at this for more than a month now. But the church in Philippi, this is like four minutes into the the reading of the letter, right? So they would remember the word joy. And all the times they’ve heard it already. They still have chapter one, verse four, chapter one, verse 18, ringing in their ears. I hope we do too. When Paul says, In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. And then we get to his twofold rejoicing because of this, the Gospels being preached, I rejoice, yes. And I will continue to rejoice despite his imprisonment, despite these rival preachers trying to undermine him, despite you know, the threat of execution hanging over his head still, no, he rejoices because the gospel is advancing and Christ is being magnified in his life. And now he’s telling to Philippians would you bring that to completion? By advancing it’s still more.
But to do that, they need to get their act together. That’s the subtext to what’s being said here, because the Philippians disunity, they’re bickering and backbiting and complaining that needs to stop. When did the gospel advance in that Welsh town? Course not? Do you think those two police officers showed up to services the next week? Because they saw something in that community that they knew is what they were looking for the hope and joy and love that we’re all seeking? Course not. Did they show up and actually probably, you know, hand on the holster kind of thing. Like, let’s see how this goes. We can’t say we’re about gospel advance, and then sabotage the mission was selfish squabbles. Right. That’s like, a military offensive, where you keep bombing your own supply lines, not going to go so well. So what does gospel unity that completes Paul’s Joy look like? It starts with the attitude that we have toward each other in this mindset. Now, like above, we’ve got four component parts, right? It was if this and this, and this, and this, then this, and this, and this and this. And they actually link up pretty well honestly, like, you know, any comfort from being united Well, unity, and then like minded and love and love, they’re both the second ones. But let’s take them one at a time. So first, then my joy complete by being like minded, literally reads, think the same way. have the same mindset fixed on the gospel, and on its advance, second, having the same love, that love with which God loved us is what we show to each other. The point that the biblical writers make over and over and over again, here’s John, First John, chapter four. This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. There’s the vertical reality, right? Dear friends, since God so loved us. It’s got to go out, we also ought to love one another. Third, being one in spirit.
Now, it’s important to note that this is actually a different word for spirit. I don’t normally give you the Greek words, because it serves no purpose. But you know, both of these. So the word Paul uses here is not Noma like pneumonia, which is spirit. The word he uses here is psyche, which usually gets translated soul, but I mean, you know, going inward kind of part sort of thing. So what is he saying here is a little bit different. If you want the word spirit still, now we got to borrow from the French. This is the esprit de corps, right, that corporate spirit that you have. Well, it’s what we talked about last week. It’s the team advancing together, all working on the same team effort on the same page running the same play for the same goal in fact, this word Paul uses back there in 127. Striving together as one can we could render maybe a little more literally as striving together with the one spirit with one psyche. And then lastly, Paul says, of one mind, can literally thinking the same as one. That’s interesting, by the way, because what was the first thing he said, think the same. And here he says, thinking the same as one. It’s an almost verbatim repetition of the first point. When writers start repeating themselves, that’s important. You guys are probably learning that in the nine o’clock hour, right repetition is one of the first things you want to look for. The repetition is almost a little too obvious. Here. I Paul’s going, do you get the point? Do I need to say it again, Set your minds on the same things people think the same way. Now remember, we’re still under the umbrella command and 127 conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel. So what Paul is saying then is that these four ideas, same mind, same love, one spirit, one mind, all of that is one way we do this, we need to be gospel shaped as we relate to each other. That’s how we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of it. Here’s the Kent use says it he says the unity that Paul wants, is not a vacuous togetherness, right. This is not hold hands, sing Kumbaya kind of stuff, but a oneness fraught with dynamic purpose. It is cliche today to say that the purpose of the church is worship, without understanding that if the gospel of Christ is not the center of everything, the unifying purpose, it is not New Testament worship. We got to have the gospel at the center, we attempt to take Paul seriously. He says, The Gospel must be in the center of our thinking, and at every level of ministry. That’s all the policy here, we must have a gospel attitude. If we’re to achieve gospel unity, for the sake of gospel advance, as by the way is one of the reasons why we have gospel centered ministry is one of our core values here at City View. It’s exactly what Paul says here, of course, it’s got to be at the center, or else we’re going to lose so much, because the gospel both motivates and dictates all that we do as a church, our community and our mission. So I said, dictates what we do. Let’s look at that. Now we’ve got the motivation, we’ve got the attitude. Lastly, the practice verses three and four, how do we actually do this here? We 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. So here, Paul puts the dance steps on the floor. This is what this looks like, practically, we get a pair of Well, not this, but that statements, the action steps here. So we’ve got the gospel motivation, we got the gospel mindset. Now what gospel practices will promote and produce gospel unity that will lead to the gospel advance? Well, I can tell you what won’t do it. And that’s selfish ambition or vain conceit, because those are community destroying. In fact, we’ve seen this already selfish ambition. It’s not the first time this has shown up in Philippians chapter one, verse 17. Talking about those rival preachers, the former preach Christ out of selfish ambition. Not so good. Not so good. So we see that the petty rivalry there is threatening the gospel already, but this is the whole problem, isn’t it? And Kyle had had the kids raise their hands. are we above this? Should we raise our hands? Raise your hand if you act selfishly? Uh huh. Okay, Coyote,
raise your IQ? No, you did, it’s fine. The whole problem is that we are so desperate to get what we want when we want it that were willing to cast God and others aside in the process. This has been a problem since page two of the Bible. Genesis chapter three. Right, what Adam and Eve do first, of course, they cast God aside, but then when things go badly, what does Adam do next? There was wife under the bus, I cast her aside, right? It was the woman you gave me it was everybody’s fault of mine, that you all didn’t give me exactly what I wanted all of the time. I understand that some people find the word sin archaic, or maybe even was just one of those weird religious sounding words like justification and righteousness, a lot of words that I use, okay. So apologies about that. If we’re having trouble understanding the word sin, just substitute selfishness. You’re going to understand And that’s what we’re talking about. Certainly, again, a selfishness that not only wounds others but offends a holy God, as well. But they really mean the same thing. Because what sin doesn’t have self at its root. So kids, since you’re in the service day, when you disobey your parents, not that you ever would. But if you were to disobey your parents, why would you do that these are your parents, they love you. They want what’s best for you. But they don’t necessarily want for you what you want for yourself at that moment. And that’s why you’re willing to disobey. I just want what I want, and they’re in the way right now of my cookie. Maybe that’s true at school, too, for you guys, or for your parents at work. Because maybe we’re feeling a little bit of envy, a little bit a rivalry, somebody else is starting before me on the basketball team doing better than I am in class or getting promoted at work, even though I’m clearly smarter than he is she is. And so we backstab. We gossip, whatever it is to tear that person down so that we can advance instead. Or here’s another one. When we talk about a ton here, but it’s a sin. We all struggle with impatience. What makes you impatient? It’s because you’re egocentric. That’s it, there’s no more complicated reason than that may help you understand this, you know, better than anyone and care more about your thoughts, your feelings and your desires, and you feel impatient, then, when they’re not being tended to first. That’s it. That’s all it is. Even though by the way, somebody else’s needs actually might be more pressing at the time. Like, it might be good that the pharmacist has taken a long time talking lady in front of you to make sure she takes her medicine, right. Whereas you, you just want to be late for the start of the game. Right. But that’s it. But I know what’s happening in me. And it’s not getting tended to so I feel impatient now. But Unity won’t survive with this mindset. This mindset would have us imitating not Jesus, but Judas. Right. Because what does Judas do, he sells his friend to advance himself. And of course, that means it was never his friend in the first place. He’d been using Jesus all along, skimming off the top of the money bag. But also was only following him because he thought this meant some fancy new role in this physical kingdom that was coming or something like that. And then even worse, by the way, so you’ve crushed gospel unity and gospel advance. But despite all the problems that is creates your selfishness, it doesn’t even bring any of the solutions you’re seeking. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Vain. That’s an important word. The word that’s used here, it really just means empty glory, empty glory. Those are key words in Philippians, by the way, so let’s take the most extreme example of all of this. So let’s say you are backstabbing on your way to the top, you get that promotion. You’ve you know, steamrolled however many people to get there, you’re raking in the dough, so you can buy whatever it is you want. You’ve traded in your spouse for a newer, younger, more interesting looking version. I messed up the kids in the process, but you know, whatever. What do you find when you’re there at the top with everything anybody could ever want?
There’s nothing there. It’s empty. In particular, there’s no love, which is what you’re actually after that whole time again, watch Citizen Kane, you’ll see all this. Because what’s there at the top? Well, your colleagues all hate you because they know you steamrolled everybody else. The people who are nice to you are just sick of fans circling in the water, by the way until it’s time to take you down. You quickly discover money can’t buy love or happiness. And even your trophy wife does not love you, but loves what you offer, which is lots of money. It’s empty. It’s empty. It’s like drinking saltwater. Right. The more you drink the first year you get that as truly empty glory. That’s the extreme example. Yes, but we all do this every day and so many different ways thirstier than we were before. So Paul says instead value others above yourselves. Now, we got to be so careful here. This is not talking about esteem. Like this is just a false modesty. Oh, yeah, he’s better. Oh, yeah. She’s, she’s more important. No, no, no, that’s not at all. We’re not talking about esteem, but care, active care, like actively placed their needs before yours. So that you are concretely tangibly not looking out for number one, but actually looking to the interests of other people. Noticing that the person behind you You’ve got a tray full of drinks, and you’re hold the door open for them, because you don’t just live inside your own little bubble. This is a lot like parents, right? This is how parents are because most parents overwhelming majority 99.99% are so willing to serve their kids at a cost to themselves. In fact, you know, how willing parents are to serve their kids is every time you get on an airplane, an announcement comes on during the safety video. And it says, Mom, mom, moms, are you looking? Are you paying attention? If we lose cabin pressure, the masks drop, you’re gonna care about your kid, you need to put your mask on first. Because that’s how powerful the parental instinct is to look to their interest instead. And of course, by the way, you put the mask on first so that you can look to their interest. It actually is for the sake of other people. What Paul saying here is, that’s how we should be with each other. That level of love and concern and commitment, where we almost have people go, No, you need oxygen to Okay, breathe. Alright, good. You notice, too, that Paul says here, not looking to your own interest. But each of you. He didn’t need to say that word. He put that in there on purpose, because it takes every individual in this room in this church online right now. For them to have a community like this. What if we have that sort of concern for each other, just trusting in God’s comprehensive provision, we’re able to pour ourselves out in service of each other. So that we are you know, only one ice cream cone left at the truck? That’s fine. You go first. What would this look like at church, if we were to show up at our community groups thinking, this community group is not for me to get my fellowship needs met, it will do that, that’s fine. But that’s not why I’m there. But I’m there so that I can be community for people who are hurting, who feel lonely or isolated. And I can do that, even for people that I find difficult, tough. I don’t want my community group to be people that I like, which by the way just means I like the way they make me feel. But I’m here to be community for people who need Jesus. And I can embody Jesus for them. Or maybe this at church looks like serving in ways or places that I might not otherwise choose. Because what people need I can provide. Maybe there’s somebody who’s in the hospital, feeling lonely, feeling confused, you know, thrown out of their routine, all that they just need to talk to somebody, maybe even ramble to somebody. And you think yourself, that’s not what I want to do with my afternoon. I would much rather do something else. But I can be that I can be that ear for somebody and show the love of Christ to them. No, none of this will happen without the word that I skipped right over.
In humility, value others above yourselves in humility. Humility is the gospel key that unlocks this lifestyle. It should go without saying that the gospel produces a deep humility in us. Because what is the gospel remind us that you and I are so wicked, and so helpless, that we couldn’t even save ourselves. And Jesus had to come and save us he had to come only Jesus can we sing it this morning. But more than that, in the Gospel, Jesus embodies this humility, he puts flesh on it. This is what humility looks like in a human, we see the humility of the very King of the universe who came to serve. And so this is not an unemotional or impersonal humility that Jesus has like just the bare facts of a story or something. This is his very heart. For wretches like us. Caitlin read it for us already. There’s only one place where Jesus describes his heart. And all the Gospels one place where he says, This is what my heart towards you is like, and what does he say? I’m exalted and dignified of heart. I’m joyful and generous of heart. No, he says this, take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, what it is you’re seeking. Dan ortlund has a whole book about this called gentle and lowly. And he just he just unpacked this one of the best books that came out last year by some margin is called gentle and lowly because that’s often how this word is translated humble or lowly. They kind of mean the same thing. But one reason I like the word lowly here, at least, is because it was not considered a virtue. We consider humility, a virtue in so many ways because of Jesus, lowly. really was a sad circumstance. That’s what that word meant for most people. So somebody who is lowly is somebody who’s been thrust down by life. And that’s how Jesus describes his heart. For us. He was willing to be thrust down for us into the dust with us into the muck and mire of our sin. Jesus didn’t act selfishly, he didn’t strive to achieve his own ambitions, we’d want to bet he could have stayed on his throne. Or early on when Satan said, I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world. If you skipped across, he could have said, sure. He was not thinking of himself, he was thinking of us rather than seek that empty Glory, he left glory, and emptied Himself, as we’ll see next week, for our sakes, looking to our interests. When Jesus says this, He reveals something so essential about God’s heart is very character who God is that He is for us, and not against us. And Paul knows this. That’s why he’s writing this here. And he encourages the Philippians encourages us to live in light of it. What is the encouragement is nothing less than this, that we have the same love for each other, that God has for us in Christ, and that we act on it. So let’s pull the strands together. We’re kind of there. Where has this map led us at this point? We started in a dark place, right? Because our self interest leads inevitably to communal strife, which imperils gospel advance, but the gospel both pictures and produces humility in us. And so it truly is that roadmap for how we live together. So here’s the main idea and pulling those strands together, we must actively and by actively, I mean, practically, concretely, tangibly, we must actively love one another, with a very love God has for us. His love motivates us to love likewise, his attitude towards us, which we’ll look at next week is his mindset. We adopt that toward each other, and how he showed that love tangibly, humbly putting our needs before his. That’s how we show it to each other this motivation that added to that practice. Look, that’s not going to end in petty squabbles like we saw in Wales, if you know where it might end, revival, that’s where it would end. Because that’s what we’re all seeking, even the watching world. And I see that and they’re going to want to come in to this place, so May it be so in this house, for our joy made complete, and for His glory magnified in us, let’s pray.
Father, we pray that You would help us to follow this map. That we would have such a deep and real sense of your love for us, our union with Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit indwelling us that would motivate us to love likewise, we would have this attitude toward each other. You first you before me. And that we would put it into practice. Concretely tangible, practical ways that we can serve and love. Encourage one another in humility. And as we do so God, may the Gospel advance in us. We find that by humbling ourselves before others and humbling ourselves before you the gospel takes deeper root in our hearts. And the gospel advanced through us. Because the world is desperate for a love like this. And if they see it in us, they will seek out its source. You Lord, we pray this for your namesake. Amen.


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