September 15, 2019
Main Point: Counting others as more significant than ourselves, let us look to Christ as we look out for the interests of others.
I. The Source of Humility (verses 1-2)
- The source of humility is our relationship with God. Note the phrase “participation with the Spirit” or “fellowship with the Spirit” as other translations put it.
- Our fellowship with the Holy Spirit – our daily, moment-by-moment experience of the Holy Spirit is the source of true humility.
- The Holy Spirit creates fellowship — fellowship with God and others. This is foundational to humility !
- The Spirit is the One who produces fellowship characterized by the humility the Apostle speaks of in this chapter.
- Paul’s personal joy was so inextricably intertwined with the joy of the people around him that he could say that to see them living a life of joyful humility and service would yield the completion of his joy.
- This is an amazing example of the kind of others-centered joy that God had worked in Paul. And if God can do it in Paul, who was formerly a persecutor of Christians, God can do it in you and me!
II. The Application of Humility (verses 3-4)
There are three basic exhortations here designed to foster humble fellowship among believers.
- Do nothing from rivalry or conceit (verse 3)
- Count others more important than yourselves (verse 3)
- Take great interest in the interests of others (verse 4)
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit
- Do nothing from rivalry – “competition for superiority in the eyes of others”
- Do nothing from conceit – “self-regard” – to be noticed, something done to draw attention to self.
- Paul is getting at heart motivations. He is exhorting us away from motivations that are not Christ-like.
Count others more important than ourselves
- This only happens as we embrace humility — “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
- The humility to which Paul speaks here is a kind of “lowliness.” It is not a false humility, but a disposition to not see ourselves as high and exalted, but lowly, as servants. As the old KJV says, “Let each esteem others better than themselves.”
“The point is not what others are. The point is what you count others to be.” — John Piper
- When we count others more significant than ourselves, we will rejoice in their successes.
- When we count others more significant than ourselves, we defer to them, because their opinion matters, it counts for something.
Take great interest in the interests of others
- “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (verse 4).”
- Another way of saying this is – don’t just look to your own spiritual welfare, social concerns, property and financial concerns, health concerns, etc. Look also to the spiritual welfare, social concerns, financial concerns, health concerns of others. As Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
- To love others in this way is the opposite of a “I’m going to sit back and see what others will do for me” attitude. This is hard to do, because we can be so self-absorbed! This is impossible to do in our own strength, but with God, all things are possible!
III. Our Example of Humility (verses 5-8)
- We look to Christ, the example of our faith — “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus….”
- Our hearts have been changed as we’ve been born again. Now we’ve been given the heart and mind of Christ. We have the ability to love like Him, take the interests of others to heart like He does.
- Jesus “made Himself nothing.” Jesus didn’t concern Himself about rank or status.
- Though equal with God, He didn’t count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, He made Himself nothing. He took the form of a servant
- Though He could have come in glory, our Savior came on a mission to serve. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”
- If the exalted Son of God came as a servant, how much more should our posture be to serve, and to give.
- Consider His example of emptying Himself. He was obedient to His Father’s will, all the way to the Cross.
- If you ever struggle to love someone, think about what Christ has done. He willfully died to take your place and mine on the Cross.
- “He exchanged the homage of angels for the hatred of men.” — Alastair Begg
- Lord, where necessary, help us to change our mindset! Help us to be like Christ!
- We’ve considered the source of our humility — the fellowship we have with God through the Holy Spirit. As we stay connected to the source, we can love one another with humility.
- We’ve considered what it means to walk in humility towards one another…
- Do nothing from selfish ambition.
- Count others as more significant.
- Take great interest in the interests of others.
- As we seek to grow in humility, may God help us ever and always look to Christ, the One who humbled Himself and gave Himself for us.
Questions For Discussion / Application
- Re-read the text, Philippians 2:1-11. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- Re-read verses 1-2. How does the believer’s fellowship and communion with God fuel fellowship with others characterized by humble, Christ-like self-sacrifice? In other words, “what difference does our relationship with God make in how we relate to other people?”
- Consider each of the exhortations in verses 3-4.
- What does it mean / look like to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit” ?
- What does it mean / look like to ‘count others more significant than ourselves?’
- What does it mean / look like to take great interest in the interests of others?
- What are one or two ways you think God may be calling you personally to apply verses 3-4?
- How is God calling you to put others first? How is God calling you to Christ-like, self-sacrifice for the the good of others? What burdens do others carry that God may be calling you to carry with them or help alleviate?
- Re-read verses 5-11. How did our Savior, Jesus model humility for us? How does it affect you when you consider how Jesus humbled himself for you by going to the Cross for you. What implications does Jesus’ example of humility have for us?