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Unified Body of Christ

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Delivered By
Sean Kelly
Delivered On
November 12, 2023 at 11:00 AM
Central Passage
Philippians 2:1-4
Unified Body of Christ
Philippians 2:1-4
By Sean Kelly

What the session was about and from the title. But I'm like, okay, well, it's Dr. Paul.

I've not heard him speak a lot. I know he's very smart, very well learned. I'm going to go to his session.

And so what he ended up presenting was, like, kind of a prelude to either. I don't remember if it was a journal article or if it was the dissertation or something like that. But this is like, I'm going to be writing about this.

Here's my stuff, here's my thoughts. And while I followed what he was saying, I also knew the whole time I had to have my brain on it was very smart stuff. So I do appreciate Dr. Paul, his time, that he's taken to study the word of God, to know it. I think you saw a bit of that in the message this morning, that he has a good grasp of what the word of God says. Abigail.

Okay, beautiful. Okay, so we're studying through Philippians together in Sunday school. We're just beginning Philippians chapter two this week.

We were going to start last week, but things got rearranged a little bit, so we put it off a week. Philippians two, one through nine is probably an extremely familiar passage to most people. At one point in time, my family and I had this memorized, and I think so up in front of church.

Nathan probably still has it memorized. Yeah, I have most of it still memorized, too, but I haven't practiced it. But I know we saw in front of church and recited it and stuff.

It's a very good passage. Lots of good theology in here. And we're going to look at it this morning.

The first part of it, Philippians two, one through four. And then we're going to take verses five through nine next week. So break it up a little bit.

So why don't we go ahead and we'll open prayer, and then we'll dig into the passage. Lynn, would you help us in prayer? Thank you for how you love us and care for us, for us, for encouragement. And so I was looking at Ted as.

I was looking to see who I could call him to pray, and Ted has a mouthful of stuff. So, yeah, I'm like, okay, that won't work anyway. Philippians two, verses one through four.

Paul writes, therefore, if there's any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also the interests of others. So Paul's expanding here on his idea of walking worthy of the Gospel of Christ, which he brought up last chapter.

Again, remember, in the original writing, there were no chapter markings, no verse markings. This was just one letter. So he's continuing the thought of what he started out with, his first thought, considering how we walk worthy, is dealing with our relationship with other believers here.

So Paul teaches us that our attitudes need to be unselfish and our purpose needs to be unified. And that's where we're going to look at this morning. We'll start on verse one.

We see the affirmed proposition. Now, when I wrote this, I thought, this sounds really good, but I guess I'm just giving you kind of weird titles for things so you'll remember them better. Maybe still, probably not.

I try. So, verse one, he says, therefore, if there's any consolation, Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, of any affection and mercy. So we start out.

We see this verse starts off with therefore. He's building on what he said previous here. And since your conduct should be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, he's saying, therefore because of that, because that's the way your conduct should be, that's the way you should be living.

Therefore, let's look at what he's going to look at here. And then he gives us a couple of if statements here. And this if carries the idea of that the answer is yes to these things are true.

That's why I say it's a firm proposition. This isn't an if like, well, we got to figure out, because it might not be true. These are things that are completely true.

The way the Greek is worded, it assumes that there's a yes answer to these things. So as we look through these, if this condition is true, and it is, then we're going to go on to verse two and say, this is what you need to do with that. So instead of you just believing that these things that Paul writes is true, I'm going to go through each one of them and try to show that elsewhere in Scripture it teaches these things that are true, so that you don't have to just believe what I say.

So, first of all, he says, if there's any consolation in Christ, the word consolation there. Did I leave the Greek in there for you? Paracolesis. This is encouragement, help.

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. The paraclete that comes from a similar root word here. So if there's any consolation in Christ, if there's any encouragement in Christ, if there's any help in Christ, if there's any comfort could be another word that's used in Christ.

And the question is, do we have comfort in Christ? And the answer, of course, like I said, is already yes. We're going to look at a passage here that shows us that two Corinthians one, three through seven. Jonathan, I'll let you read.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now, if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffered.

For if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation, and our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. So why did I underline all those words? They might be the same word. Yeah.

Thank you, Nathan. Yes, this is the same word as if there's any consolation in Christ. In Philippians two, one.

And so you see how many times it appears here? If I'm counting right, it's nine times in these six verses that are here. Five verses. Whatever it is.

Is there comfort in Christ? Is there consolation in Christ? Yes, it talks about that. It starts off by talking about that God, the God and the Father, Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercy, is the God of all comfort. If there's any comfort at all, this is where it comes from.

It comes from God. He's the Father of all comfort, of all consolation. And then when does he comfort us? He comforts us in our tribulations.

Tribulations was brought up a little bit in the passage this morning that we can have joy through that. Well, we can also have comfort through that because of what God's doing, because of his grace towards us. So he comforts us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble.

So the purpose of the comforting is that we can go and comfort others. I was talking only before the service, and she was sharing how she had lost a child a while back. I don't remember how many years it was, but she says that she's been able to use that to comfort other people, the hope that she's found in Christ, the trust and the faith that she has.

And I related that to losing my wife. That, yes, it's a hard thing, but God has comforted me. I'm able to go and comfort others also.

It's a ministry he gives us through the trials, through the tribulations, as we experience God's comfort. And it doesn't have to be a loss of some loved one. It can be any hardship, any hard time.

If God's comforting you, he wants you to go ahead and then use that comfort that you found in Christ and be a minister, being encouragement to others around you. And it's a neat thing. So verse five says, whereas the suffering of Christ abound in us, so the consolation also abounds in Christ.

So as there's more suffering, as it abounds, as it increases, so does the comfort from Christ. So even though times may get Harder, even though you may go through more tribulations, God's comfort is there. Verse six.

Now, if we are afflicted is for your consolation. So Paul's bringing it back to himself in this passage here and saying, if we're afflicted, if we're going through trials, it's so that we can comfort you as you go through trials. And he's giving himself as example.

And then he goes on later to say, if we are comforted, it's for your consolation, salvation. As we experience comfort from God, it's so that we can minister to you and do the same to you. At the end there, it says, if you are partakers of the sufferings, you will also partake of the consolation.

It's from God. So is there any consolation in Christ? Well, this passage seems to say, yes, there's a lot of consolation in Christ. In fact, that's where it all comes from.

It comes from God. He's the father of all comfort. And as we suffer, God also comforts us, as we trust in him.

So is there consolation? Christ answers, yes. Okay, so next, if there's any comfort of love, guess what? This is a different word for comfort here. The word for comfort only appears here.

It's not easy one to figure out because I can't go back and say, well, here's where this word appears again. But is there any comfort of love? Well, I think the Bible argues for that, too. Two Corinthians 1311.

Who would like to read Nathan, go ahead. Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete.

You have good comfort. You have one mind. Live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

And here, this is Paul's final greeting, or final resolution to the letter. There he tells them, among other things, to be of good comfort. And I don't think he's saying, like, well, I sure hope you're going to be of good comfort.

I think he's saying that you can be of good comfort because of what God offers. So there's comfort there. And then it says at the end of the verse, and the God of love and peace be with you.

How do we have comfort? Because we have a god of love and a god of peace who is with us and who helps us and walks alongside us. So comfort of love. I believe that there is comfort of love.

In fact, I know that's true. If there's any fellowship of the Spirit, fellowship here is koinonia, and we use that a lot for all kinds of different fellowship. First, John one, one through three is the passage we're going to read here.

Who would like to read? Ted, go ahead. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon in our hands and handles concerning the word of life, was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, which was with the Father and was manifested to us. That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us.

Truly, our fellowship is with the Father. So here, one of the main points of what John is doing in sharing the Gospel and sharing the word of God with the Church is that they may have fellowship with them with John and those he's with, who he's ministering with. And they can have that because their fellowship is with God the Father and with his son, Jesus Christ.

So is there fellowship in the Spirit? And I would say that the fellowship with the Son and with the Father would have to be in the Spirit. It has to be as we're in the Spirit, then we have fellowship with them. So if you're saved, you have fellowship of the Spirit.

I think that's a truth that's there in God's word. So, fellowship of the Spirit, if there's any affection, I'm going to split these two up. In our version, there's no comma there, it's just any affection and mercy, but I'm going to split them up here.

So is there any affection? The word affection is the word that means one's innermost self or feelings. The idea the literal thought of the Word is bowels, your intestines. I always tried to think about this when I learned about this, that sometimes when you have a bad feeling, you say you got this feeling in the pit of your stomach.

I think that's maybe where the Greeks came up with using this idea for affections. It's this deep place where you feel these feelings. So if there's any affection, and this is obviously in Christ.

Again, we'll look at a couple of places. Luke 178 through 79. Abigail.

Go ahead. Visited us to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. And this tender mercy idea, the same word.

I believe here that they use the tender mercies, the affections of our God. So do we have affection from God? We definitely do. And, in fact, his affection is manifest in that he sent his Son to be our propitiation, to be our sacrifice for us.

And here it talks about to give light to those who sit in darkness, shadow to guide us our feet into the way of peace. So it's what God has done for us. We can see his affection for us.

And there is affection in Christ. Let's look at Colossians 312 through 13. Another reader, Lynn.

Go ahead. Therefore, as a left God, holy love, put on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. If anyone has, even if Christ forgave you.

So Luke one tells us that God has affection, has tender mercies for us. Colossians three tells us that we as Christians are to put on, among other things, tender mercies, affection for each other, that we care. So whether you look at this as do we have affection from God, or is there affection in the Church? The answer to both ought to be yes.

We know for that from God is definitely there. God's perfect in that for us as a church, as we're obeying and as we're walking the Spirit, we're putting on tender mercies, we're putting on affection for each other. And this compassion, this feeling, the heart for each other, that we care about each other.

So either way you look at it, that should be a yes. And then the last one was mercy. The word could be compassion or pity.

Ephesians two, four through five is the verse I want to look at. Olivia. Go ahead.

But God, who is rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in trespass, made us alive together With Christ by grace. So God, who is rich in mercy, when you think of someone being rich, you think of them having a lot of something, right? We generally think of money. If you say somebody's rich, you think they have money.

But here God is rich in mercy. We talked about mercy this morning in the sermon. That's one of those attributes, those gifts of God that we need to appreciate.

We need to be thankful for what God's done for us, that he hasn't given us the punishment that we've deserved. And God's rich in mercy. Not only that, but we continue to be human and sinful and depraved, and we still struggle with sin.

And God still continues to show us mercy, to offer us forgiveness, to continue to have his spirit remain in us, that we can live for him. There's great mercy in Christ even after you're saved. So it's not just being saved, but it's even beyond that.

So we look at this passage here. Verse one. It says, if there's any consolation in Christ, yes, we've seen that.

If there's any comfort of love, yes. If there's any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, these are all yeses, right? So if there is this and there is yes, what do we do with it? And verse two of Philippians says, fulfill my joy. If you say, then you could put it then in there because you have all these ifs, but then fulfill my joy, being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

So I took this all as one thing here. It's a command for unity. So verse one, he says, if we have all these things in Christ, and we do, then here's a big main thing you need to take from it as a church.

You need to be unified. And this is a theme that goes over and over in God's word for the Church, that there ought to be unity within his body. Here he talks about fulfill my joy.

This is the actual command in here. If these things are true in Christ, your command is to fulfill my joy. So he's looking at them and says, I want you to be doing what God wants you to do.

I want you to be living the way God wants you to live. And thAt's going to bring me joy in my ministry as you're doing what God wants you to do. So this is the actual command, but the content of how do you fulfill his joy? The content here is these phrases of unity.

So the first one he says is, be like minded. Now, this doesn't mean that we have to think exactly the same thing. Jonathan, I know, is very much into World War II.

Military stuff with planes, tanks, stuff like that. He loves that. I don't mind those things, but I just don't get as excited as Jonathan does over it, because Jonathan could talk to you for probably hours, maybe on some of this stuff, days, maybe.

God's not saying that we have to have those same kind of interests. What this idea more is like is that we have the same focus, the same purpose. Where's our focus supposed to be? Our focus should be on things above, on God's ideas, God's thoughts.

What's our purpose? Our purpose should be to do God's will. We ought to be unified in that as his body. So to be like minded is not we think the same, or robots like minded is that we have the same thought, the same focus, the same purpose.

A couple of verses I want to look at. Romans eight five. Another reader, please.

Nathan. Go ahead. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh.

But those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. So which one should we be? Those who live according to the flesh or those who live according to the Spirit? Okay, thank you. I was hoping somebody would say it right away and not be like, oh, I don't know about that.

Yeah. So what does it say then? We ought to set our mind on things of the Spirit. This is the idea, I think, that's here, that we're focused on the things God wants us to be focused on.

We're focused on the spiritual things we're focused on. How can I think right about Christ and do right in my life for Christ? Another passage, Romans 15 five. Another reader, please.

Elizabeth, go ahead. So here's another command in Scripture, to be like minded. Again, I'm saying this isn't a unique command here, and we ought to be like minded towards each other, that our purpose towards each other is the same, that if we look at passage like Ephesians four, what are you supposed to be doing? We're supposed to be doing the work of the ministry, where we're building up and edifying the body.

That's part of what we should be doing. We should be caring for another. We should be loving one another.

You can go through the one others. I did a study years ago with different one another's, and I found, like 15 different one another's just without even trying. I mean, God has a purpose for us, how we relate to each other.

And here it talks about that we mean like minded towards each other according to Christ Jesus. Again, the focus is thinking and acting the way God wants us to think and act. One more passage here.

Colossians three, two. Olivia, set your mind on things. Olivia is ready to do that by memory, I think.

Right, okay. But here, very clear and straightforward, where you set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth. It doesn't get much clearer than this.

What are we supposed to be thinking about? We're supposed to be thinking about the things of God and setting our mind on those things. So we need to be like minded. We need to have the same love again, our love.

We have the God of love. There's comfort of love in Christ. You just talked about.

We're supposed to have that same love towards one another. We're supposed to act in a loving way towards one another. Our goal is, and we're going to see this in just a little bit, is not to focus on ourselves and our needs, but the needs of others, to put others above ourselves, before ourselves.

And we ought to have that kind of love for one another. So we should have the same mind, the same love. We should be of one accord.

This sounds very similar to being like minded. One accord seems to focus more on the purpose. What are you doing? What's your goal? Is our goal found in what God's word tells us to? A good example of a group of People being in one accord is Acts 246 and 47.

Go ahead, Dr. Paul. So they were continuing daily with one accord, and they were doing where they were doing in the temple, they were doing while they were breaking bread from house to house, they were praising God.

The way they were acting was the right way. They were seeing favor from all the people. And the church was growing because of that.

So they were acting together in one accord, one purpose, working together for the cause of Christ. And that's a great example for us. We ought to be that way.

Does that mean we have to agree on everything? If you like a certain coffee and somebody else likes a different coffee, do we have to? Okay, let's come to one accord on this. So you guys have to drink the same coffee? No, I mean, that's not what it's talking about. It's talking about these spiritual things, these things that we need to focus on for the cause of Christ.

So be of one accord and be of one mind. That one sounds very similar to being like minded. So being of one mind again, not that we think exactly the same all the time.

God has given us. I'm going to use a term that's been used poorly in our world, but diversity in us, because each part does a certain thing in the body, right? Each part supplies a certain need, and we're joined together and we're knit together, but each part does its own thing in order that the body can do one thing right. So, being of one mind, Romans 1216, in another reader, Nathan be of the same mind toward one another.

Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. So there's a couple of things about the mind here.

We see the command here, be of the same mind. So that's very similar to be of one mind, right? And then it goes on to say, do not set your mind on high things. And it gives us the counterexample, which maybe helps us understand what it means to set on high things but associate with the humble.

It's the idea of, how do you see yourself? Are you humble? And that you can say, I can associate myself with other humble people, or do I need to be thinking high things? And the Bible gives us that. So we have that there. And then it says, where was I? There.

Do not be wise in your own opinion. Do not think your opinion is the one that needs to be followed. Do not demand your own way.

Do not say, I'm right, you're wrong. I'm wise in my opinion. And so, being of one mind, there same kind of command.

And then one Corinthians 110, go ahead, Johnson. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be permanently joined together to the same mind. So here you can see that again, this is not saying that we all have the exact same thoughts all the time, because you see that you speak the same thing.

Certainly we're not going to coordinate the way we talk and speak the same thing, just chant things. That's ridiculous. It's not in that way, but that we speak the same thing.

Our message is the same, that it reflects out of our same beliefs. I think that we have the same purpose in the things we say, that there's no divisions among you. That one's pretty obvious, I think.

In fact, in one Corinthians, Paul goes on to talk about how there's divisions in the Church. Some are of Apollo, some of our Paul, some of our Peter, and some are of our Jesus. And you have these divisions, and that was a bad thing.

And so he's telling no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together. You're working together again, that image of the body working together, accomplishing a purpose, and that you have the same mind, think the same way and the same judgment, that you see and discern things the same way, based, again, on your faith and your belief in Jesus Christ and in his word. So four things there, be like minded, have the same love.

Be of one accord, be of one mind. Romans 15, five through seven, I think is a nice summary of what we're supposed to be doing. So have somebody read that, please.

It's right in the middle. It's another column. I didn't want to go to five pages here, so I moved it over.

Olivia, go ahead. Now, may the God of patience and comfort bring you like minded towards one another according to Christ Jesus. That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us to the glory of God. So here you see that God of patience and comfort. Again, this idea of comfort comes back to grant you to be like minded towards one another according to Christ Jesus, again, according to what his will is, his wisdom, and that you may, with one mind and one mouth, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The ultimate purpose is that we're glorifying God and we're glorifying Jesus Christ. That's what we ought to be working to as a church. That's what we ought to be working to as a body.

And we have these things like in first Corinthians. It talks about the divisions that are among us when we look at Romans twelve. In our own decision that breaks that unity, that breaks that purpose, instead takes the focus off glorifying God and glorifying Jesus Christ and puts the purpose on doing what I want to do.

And we need to avoid that. I'm going to read from MacArthur. A lot of times I put quotes from his commentary in the notes.

This one is just. It was a little longer, and I didn't want to use up the space. So I'll just read you guys and follow along.

John MacArthur writes this. He says, Paul's concern here is not about doctrines, ideas, or practices that are clearly unbiblical. It's about interpretations, standards, interests, preferences, and the like that are largely matters of personal choice.

Such issues should never be allowed to format controversy within the body of Christ. To insist on one's own way in such things is sinful because it senselessly divides believers. It reflects a prideful desire to promote one's personal views, style, or agenda.

Believers must never, of coursE, compromise doctrine or principle that are clearly biblical. But to humbly defer to one another on secondary issues is a mark of spiritual strength, not weakness. It is a mark of maturity and love that God highly honors because it promotes and preserves harmony in his church.

And that's what the goal is, is that promoting love, promoting harmony within the church, to be doing what God wants us to do. So he gives us a command here. If all these things are true in this passage, and they are, then be like minded, have the same love being a one accord of one mind, and thus fulfill Paul's joy.

Then he goes into another part of this passage here. He gives us three let statements, which we're going to look at two today and then we're going to look at the third one next week. But verse three says, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliest mind, let each esteem others better than himself.

So number three here I have the command to think of others. I lost my word already. Think.

Thank you. This is the most dangerous 5ft in the world because I tend to lose my mind somewhere between here and the board there. I'm pretty sure there's some kind of radiation or something above us.

I don't know. But to command, to think of others, you look at this passage, let nothing be done through selfish ambition, prestige, but in loneliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. And so he kind of gives kind of two points here.

The first one is to not be motivated by selfish ambition. I have on here, see Philippians 116. That's a passage we looked at a few weeks ago.

I'm going to pull that up. I did have a Bible this morning. I don't know if I was clear when I read all psalms, I have my New Testament with my Hebrew Greek or my Greek interlinear.

That didn't help a lot with trying to look at Psalms this morning. Now I can't get to Philippians on talking. See, I can't talk and do stuff at the same time.

You're there. Yeah, go ahead. The former preached Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely supposing to add affliction to my chain.

Okay, so here, the SaME word, the Same phrase there as What PaUl wrote in 116 AboUt Those who Are Sharing the GosPel From a Selfish motivation, their Selfish ambition there. And he's using the same phrase. So a selfish ambition.

It's a pursuit of personal Goals. It's a pursuit of what I want. It's a pursuit of what I think is best for Me, it's a Pursuit of.

I want to do what's beneficial and what gives me the Most glory, and that's obviously a wrong Thing. Let's look at James 314 through 16. AbIGail, go ahead.

But if you have bitter envy and self speaking in your heart, do not Boast. This wisdom does not seeking. Now, why did I highlight their Self seeking, do you think? Probably the Same word.

Yeah, that's right. Thank you, NAthan. So if you have bitter envy and self seeking, your hearts do not Boast and lie against the truth.

This wisdom does not descend from above. So the idea of being self seeking in your heart, that doesn't come from God, that doesn't come from above. In fact, James goes on to say it's Earthly, sensual, and demonic.

That doesn't sound good. Right. So the SElF Seeking, this Pursuit of personal goals here is not beneficial for us.

For where envy and self seeking Exists, the REsUlt is Going to be confusion and every evil Thing. And obviously, God does not want that for his Church. He doesn't want a Church to be confused.

He doesn't want the Church to be Doing what's wrong. And one of the Ways that it gets There is When People are Self Seeking, when they have the selfish Ambition, when they have a Pursuit of their Own Personal Goals. So he says in this passage, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit.

But what's the Difference BetwEen coNceit? This IS Another Word that Only Occurs here. It's a Desire to Boast. It's literally empty and glory put together.

So do not do anything through selfish conceit or empty glory. Well, Whose glory is emPty? If we give glory to God, that's not empty glory. Right.

So if we give glory to Ourself, that's WhaT's empty glory. So it's a pursuit of Personal glory and acclaim. So I think the Selfish ambition is a pursuit of personal goals.

This is what's best for me. What's going to accomplish what I want to accomplish. The conceit seems to be a pursuit of lifting myself up and making my name great instead of God's.

And so both those things are wrong. Let's look at, again, a couple of passages here. And I have James 314 again.

But if you have bitter envy and self seeking in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth. And that kind of idea of the boasting about yourself, this envy, this pursuit of what you want, your Glory, I think that's there in James 314. Then Galatians six, three.

Another passage. Isabelle, go ahead. So very clear that if anyone thinks he's himself to be something, I'm not saying that you're supposed to be like, oh, I'm the worthless worm in the dirt.

Although some respects the Bible does tell us that we are totally praised. Anyways, that's another point. But the idea here is that you think yourself something, you think yourself important, you think yourself to be all that, to be the one worthy of glory when you're not, you're deceiving yourself.

It's not about you. You're not the center of the universe. It's about worshiping and bringing glory to God.

And so he commands us not to think of ourselves, not to put us in that primary place, whether it be our Goals or whether it be our personal glory. That's not the point of what we're supposed to be doing as believers in Christ. So don't be motivated by the Selfish Ambition or conceit.

But then he says, but in loneliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves. So we need to esteem others. The word Esteem has an idea of consider, to regard, to think of.

So to think of others as better, as more important than ourselves, that they deserve our attention, they deserve our focus. And he uses two phrase here when he talks about we need to esteem others. He says in lowliness of mind, so again, we just talked about thinking of yourself as something when you're not.

The opposite here is to have lowliness of mind. Romans twelve three. Let's look at that.

Who wants to read? Alyn, go ahead. For I say, through the grace given to me among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly. As God has dealt.

So we're not to think more highly of ourselves. We're here. To think soberly is to think rationally, to think really to think kind of as things are.

Think soberly, not more highly of yourself than you ought, but to think as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. So to think soberly, to have a right perspective of who you are and where you fit into God's plan. And it's not that God doesn't care about you.

It's not that God's not going to use you. It's not that God's not working through you. It's just you're not the focal point, you're not the end all of the mission.

It's not about focusing on yourself, what you need, what you want, what you get is to be focusing, in this case, in this passage, to think of others. And to have the right mindset there. So in loneliness of mind, first Peter five, five, I guess, through seven there, because I have three verses in the passage.

Dr. Paul so he commands us to be submissive to each other. The idea of submission, it's a military term, is to put yourself under somebody else's authority, and we're to be submissive to each other.

So we're supposed to say that other person is literally, as this passage is talking about, more important than yourself, prior priority than yourself to submit to them. And then it goes on to say, and be clothed with humility. What's humility? Well, humility is not thinking of yourself as the most important.

It's to be thinking of others, be putting others first. So kind of twice in there he hits us with that, and he tells us if you humble yourself, God's going to bless you for that. And that's a good motivation.

But the command there is still to submit to others and to be humble. So in lowliness of mind, we have to have that right mindset that we're not the most important. It's not about us, it's not about what we want.

And then he uses a phrase better than yourself. The word better here is to be more of more value, to be surpassing. I want to read this passage because this passage and I left the E off or the R off.

Peter which is kind of funny there first. Peter 213 because this kind of explains the idea of this word here of being better. So I have a reader for that.

Ted go ahead. Therefore, submit yourselves to every ordinary. And it goes on to say other things, but the word there, supreme, is the same word as better.

And so when you come before a king, especially in that time, especially when Caesar's king and basically he rules all the known world, how are you going to come before him? Are you going to come before him making demands, saying, hey, look, you look at me, Caesar, I'm important here. No, that's a good way to get yourself killed. You come before him humbly, you come before him, you bow before him, you come before him seeking out his will and guidance, because he is the king.

And funny enough, that's how we're to treat each other, not going up to each other and demanding, I need you to do this for me. You need to do this my way. This is about me.

It's about others. It's about submitting to others and saying, what can I do for you? What are your needs? How can I help you? So let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but it will ease the mind to steam others better than himself. Starts with the right mindset that leads to these right actions, that we would do everything esteeming others.

So the command to think of others, and then there's also a command here in verse four, to focus on others. Each one of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others. I tried to crack at a literal translation of this, and it comes out to not each look out of himself, but each of the other.

I don't know if that helps any. I did at the time when I did it. It makes sense to me.

Sense to me. But look out not for himself, but for the other. Don't look out for yourself, your own, whatever, because it leaves out interest here, but also look out for others.

To look out means to observe, to give close attention to careful consideration. This is the idea of that we're looking for others and their needs and what would be helpful to them, that we're paying attention. We're focusing on that.

We are trying to observe what needs to be done for the people around us. So, again, he gives us kind of in two parts here. Do not look out for your own interest is the first part.

So your focus should not be, again, on what you need, what's beneficial for you, what makes most sense of your time. Don't look out for your own interest. Since this is the context of our spiritual walk, I take this as you are, to look out for the spiritual needs, for your own spiritual needs, which is a good thing, but in the same way and same commitment, you should be looking out for the spiritual needs of others.

It says, let that each of you look out not only for his own needs. So, yes, you got to take care of yourself spiritually. You should be reading your Bible.

You should be praying. You should be attending church, because the Bible commands us that we don't forsake the assembly, and together of each other should be doing all these things. But you also need to be focused on the others around you.

Let's look at Ephesians 528 through 29. Lynn, go ahead. The husband ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.

He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hates his own flesh nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the Church. So I thought this passage. Because this passage carries that idea that you are taking care of your own body, right? It says, no one.

He who loves his body, wife loves his self. No one hated his own flesh. You take care of your body.

You eat when you need to eat, you breathe when you need to breathe. You drink water when you need to drink water. If you're smarter than me, you exercise and drink less soda because you want to take care of your body better.

I need to work on that. But to some extent, you don't throw yourself in front of a car on the freeway because you know that's going to be bad for your body. You take care of that.

So here, talking about taking care of your spiritual needs, yes, take care of those things. But here the command is also given. You need to look out for your wife in the same way.

So it has a parallel here that you need to care for your wife, you need to take care of her. You need to treat her with the same kind of love and care that you would treat for your own body. And in the church.

What we need to do, yes, we need to be spiritually on the right track, but we need to take that same kind of care. If we care about our walk, if we care about our spirituality, we ought to care about those around us. We ought to see where their needs are and meet those needs and help them to grow and encourage them to walk in Christ.

So I took that verse as kind of a good example there. Another verse, one. Timothy four six.

Another reader, Nathan. Go ahead. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine that you have carefully followed.

So here, part of Timothy's goal here is to look out for the church. He's to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. And as he's nourished in the words of faith, as he's nourished in the good doctrine, the idea is that you're going to instruct the brethren these things.

You're going to look out and help them to understand and learn the things you have learned. So the whole point of what Timothy is doing is to nourish those around him, not only look out for his own interests. Like Timothy could say, well, look, I got this all.

I don't really have to do anything else. And Paul says, no, you take what you learned. You take how you're growing.

You help others. You need to look out for the interest of others. So that's letter B there.

Look out for the interests of others. Romans 419 through 21. Dr.

Paul, go ahead. So here it's talking about some questionable things. Meat sacrifice to idols.

Is it okay to do? And Paul's first answer is, yes, it's fine. It's just meat. God created it.

As long as you take it with Thanksgiving, you're good. But some people don't have this knowledge. Some people see that and say, you're eating meat.

Sacrifice to idols. How dare you? That's terrible. That's awful, and it's hurtful to them.

And so Paul's point here is that we don't pursue the things which we want to do. We don't pursue what our interests are. I'd like that piece of meat.

It tastes good. There's nothing wrong with it. I understand that.

So there's no reason for me not to have it, except that there is a reason for him not to have it because it's going to cause his brothers to stumble. And so he says for them that they need to pursue the things that make for peace and the things which may edify one another. So sometimes you say, I'm not going to do what I want to do.

I'm not going to do what benefits me, even if it's not a bad thing, because I need to focus on the body around me. It says also verse 20, do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. Yeah, food's fine.

It's nothing wrong with the food you're eating. But if it hurts others in the body, you need to stop because you need to focus on what's beneficial for them. And his conclusion is good.

Needed to eat meat or drink wine or do anything by which your brother stumbles or offended or is made weak. If what you're doing is hurting the body even again, even if something that's really not in essence bad, because it is hurting the body, you're not looking out for their interests. You're just looking out for your own interests.

And that's wrong. That's a bad thing. So that's kind of where he's going there.

Romans 15, one discontinues the thought here because it's right after Romans 14. Romans 15, one through three. Nathan, go ahead.

We then, who are strong, ought to bear with the scruples of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification, for even Christ did not please himself. But as it is written, the approaches of those who approached you fell on me.

So he's continuous thought from Chapter 14 and saying, if we are strong ought to bear the scruples of the weak. In other words, you ought to look out for what's causing them to stumble and not to please ourselves. It's not to focus on ourselves and what pleases us.

He gives the Command. Let us each please his neighbor for his good. Leading to edification, lead to building up.

Your goal ought to be to build up the body, not tear down the body. He just talked about the way they were acting, was bringing destruction in the body. That's not the Goal.

That's not what God wants you to do. He wants us to be coming alongside one another, building each other up, helping each other grow. And then, in case you're not sure about it, he gives an example here.

He says, Christ didn't please himself. What did he do? Well, here's Christ. Here's God.

Here's the one who created all things. Here's the one who has all wisdom, all knowledge, all understanding, all power. He comes to Earth.

What he deserves and what he could demand is that you stop and you worship me because I am God. And that would be totally fair and good. And that might serve his own interest, because that certainly is a lot better than going to a cross to be crucified.

Right? But what did he do? He saw the need that was there, that we cannot be saved without his sacrifice. And so it says here he, as is written, he reproaches of those he reproached. You fell on me.

He took our reproaches upon him. He took our sin upon him. And even though that was a painful thing, even though it wasn't beneficial to him, even though that was a very hurtful thing in so many ways, he did what was best for us.

And Paul here is saying, you ought to be the same Way. And he's relating to not Eating meat. And so you sacrifice yourself by not eating meat because that's such a terrible thing not to do.

You don't eat the meaT. Sacrifice to idols, that's a tough punishment to deal with. He's saying, look at what Christ did.

Christ went and died and died a horrible death of crucifixion for you because he cared more about you than what was best for him. And so that was his example. And that kind of leads into our third let, which we're not going to cover this week because I want to take time with it.

This is a very profound passage in verses five through nine. But the third let is let this mind be in you, which is also in Christ Jesus. So we're commanded to think of others.

We're commanded to focus on others. And Paul's then going to give an example of what that looks like by looking at the life of Christ and a lot of times we go to this passage so we can understand the kenosis, how God emptied himself, what that means, what that looks like. But the focus within the context of the passage is, here's your example.

Do likewise. Do what Christ did have that same mindset that he had. So come back next week for that.

Let's look at a couple takeaways, quick, before we close. So, takeaways. God desires that his church be unified.

I think that's pretty clear from this passage. We don't have to be robots and believe and think exactly like we should have the same purpose and same goals as we are his people and he is head of the body. Disunity in the church is something that God is not pleased with at all.

And I think I understated that a little bit. We ought to be unified. We ought to have that same purpose, that same goal.

What are we to do? We're to glorify God. We're to glorify Christ. We're supposed to reach the loss with the Gospel.

We're supposed to encourage and build up one another. We're supposed to work together. So we ought to have that same mindset and that same philosophy and that same goal.

God desires the Church be unified. Second one here. When our focus is on ourselves, we are missing the purpose of what God has for us to do.

We have been given a responsibility to minister and serve those around us. God has made the process of the health and growth of the church the responsibility of the church. Again, I could go back to Ephesians four, where it's the work of the saints to do the ministry of the church or the building up of itself.

It's our job together to bring health to God's body. He chose to have us do that. He gave us that responsibility.

And when we focus on ourselves, we miss that. We miss what we're supposed to be doing. As we see the needs of others, the body grows and accomplishes what God wants it to accomplish.

And so our focus needs to be on each other, because only in doing that can we do what God wants us to do. So any thoughts, questions? Comments? Yawning yay. So you'll be here next week? I know you were.

Nathan doesn't get sick. Okay. Well, one of the things I do at work, because I have a lot of time where I can just work and not think is I've been listening to some radio, and one of the things I've listened to is ESPN because I'm a big packers fan.

I like to hear them talk about how bad the packers are. I don't know why I do this. It's a punishment to myself, I guess.

One of the sportscasters is very said if you say all the jets, for sure, he's a big jets fan, says the jets are going to win this week. Somebody says, oh, they're definitely going to win. They're going to kill this opponent.

He's like, well, the jets are going to fail terribly because you just cursed them that way. And I almost know now that we brought up that Nathan is definitely going to be here. He's probably not, but that doesn't work that way.

That's all in God's hands and sovereignty. We don't have to worry about superstar stuff like if you say something, then the opposite is going to happen. That's not true.

I would encourage you not to worry about that if you do. That's not how it works anyway. That's my little soapbox extra for today.

Okay, let's go ahead and close in prayer. Nathan, will you close us in prayer for the time you spent doing that? Our lives learn to become more likely to do it. Keep us all safe and allow us all to come here next week.