Pray for Help to Serve and Sacrifice (Phil. 2:3-4)

There is a book called: Same Kind of Different as Me.

This book is a true story that follows two people’s paths in life until they meet up.

One person was raised in a middleclass white family. He grows up and becomes very successful and very wealthy.

The second person is a poor uneducated black man. He grew up as a modern-day slave. His parents worked a farm and he did too. He experienced heavy racism. Eventually this man ran away. However, he never had been educated. He lived homeless and learned how to fend for himself.

Eventually the wealthy white man, now married, is convinced by his wife to begin helping at a homeless shelter. They had committed their life to Christ and she wanted to go deeper. He was willing to give money, but she wanted to do more. So, they start helping at a homeless shelter. She then says that she wants to take one group from the homeless shelter to dinner and a play.

Now the relationship grows between this wealthy man and woman and this uneducated poor black man.

The wealthy white man asks to take the uneducated black man out to breakfast. At breakfast the black man asks, “Why are you doing this?” the white man says, “To be your friend.” The black man says, “I like to fish, but I notice when white people fish they catch and release. I don’t want a ‘catch and release’ friendship.”

Well, this wealthy husband and wife decided to do more than give money and because they did they touched many lives. One of those lives was that uneducated black man. Later on, they formed a friendship that will last the rest of their lives and has lasted the rest of her life, as he was there for the woman’s death.  The wealthy white man and the uneducated black man published this book together.

What I just shared with you is an example of Philippians 2:3-4 in action. That is the passage I wish to talk about today.

Today, my theme is:

Pray for help to serve and sacrifice. Live out Philippians 2:3-4.

Read with me the passage:

Philippians 2:3-4:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

  1. Serving with the heart and mind of Christ begins in our thinking:
    1. In looking at the Philippians 2:3-4 passage I have a note in one of my Bibles: There is no main verb in this verse; (“be of the same mind”) is implied here as well. Thus, although most translations supply the verb “do” at the beginning of v. 3 (e.g., “do nothing from selfish ambition”), the idea is even stronger than that: “Don’t even thinkany thoughts motivated by selfish ambition.[1]
    2. The Christian is to think about others. It begins in our thinking.
    3. Twenty-five years ago, when the New York Yankees were the dominant team in major league baseball, the manager would say to the rookies, “Boys, it’s an honor just to put on the New York pinstripes. So when you put them on, play like world champions. Play like Yankees. Play proud.” In similar fashion, the apostle Paul is attempting to inspire and to motivate the believers at Philippi by challenging them to walk worthy of the name by which they are called.[2]
    4. I like that story. We are reflecting Jesus. We are Jesus to other people. Walk worthy of the name we represent.
    5. The following is a true story. Granted, it happened several years ago. But I wonder how often such scenarios unfold. Two pastors were at lunch together. The older pastor paid for their previous meal, so the younger pastor picked up the tab for this meal. The younger pastor paid cash for the meal, so his older friend asked if he had included a tip. He said he forgot the tip, so he put some cash on the table. As they were departing, the younger pastor said he forgot something, and returned to the restaurant. The other pastor saw him through the window. The younger man went back to the table, picked up the cash, and put it in his pocket.
    6. What a sad story. The other pastor went back later and apologized and also gave a tip. We as Christians are to reflect Christ.
    7. This starts with our thinking. My thinking must not be about me first. I must perish the “me first” thinking.
    8. In preaching this passage I know that many, if not most, if not all of our congregation are pretty good at serving others. However, we all need reminded all the time. I know that I do. I also need reminded that I first must change my thinking.
    9. The passage says, “‘In Humility’ value others above yourselves.” It starts with a mindset.
    10. As Paul writes about this he gives an example and that is Jesus. Jesus valued us and that is why He went to the cross. Later in verses 19-20 Paul gives the example of Timothy who also valued the welfare of others.
    11. So, I ask all of us and I ask myself as well:
      1. How is our mindset?
      2. When we serve others is it because we love them, or we are just duty bound?
      3. Do we look down upon certain people as “below” us?
      4. Another application is really not action oriented, but word oriented. Do we try our best to communicate love through our words and non-verbals? Sarcasm can be humorous or it can cut like a knife.
    12. I want to say something about loving others. A major goal is real love shares Jesus with people. If we really love them, we make sure we share Jesus with them.
  2. Serving with the heart and mind of Christ ends in action.
    1. A woman wanted a pet so she bought a parrot. She asked them at the pet store if it will talk and they said yea. She takes the parrot home and put it in its cage and it didn’t talk. After a while she goes back to the pet store and says, “it doesn’t talk.” They said, “Did you buy it a mirror. It must look at itself in the mirror and then it will talk.” She gets a mirror and the parrot still doesn’t talk. She goes back to the pet store and they said, “Did you buy it a ladder? Once it has a ladder it will talk.” She gets a ladder and it doesn’t talk. She goes back to the pet store. They said, “Did you get it a swing? When it swings it will talk.” She gets a swing and it still will not talk. After a few weeks it dies. She goes back to the pet store and says that it dies. They said “did it say anything before it died?” She said yea it said, “Don’t they have any food at that pet store.”[3]
    2. So, we want to make sure that people are receiving the basic needs. We want to make sure they have food.
    3. But these actions are not always material things. I know that some of us on some days do not have a penny to spare, but that is not to say we cannot love other people.
    4. Listen to this from Taylor Swift when she was eighteen years old:
    5. “I wrote that about the scariest feeling I’ve ever felt: going to school, walking down the hall, looking at all those faces, and not knowing who you’re gonna talk to that day. People always [ask], How did you have the courage to walk up to record labels when you were 12 or 13? It’s because I could never feel the kind of rejection in the music industry that I felt in middle school.[4]
    6. I believe there are little ways I think we can help people.
      1. Praying with and for people. We will never know how much of a difference this will make.
      2. Sharing the Gospel with someone. You know that is a free gift you can share with another person?
      3. Bibles: give one away.
      4. Help people with meals.
      5. Visiting shut-ins and those in the hospital. Take your children with you and visit a senior saint. Or, visit some of your own family members.
      6. Sew for someone, teach someone to sew. Teach someone to cook.

Close:

Daniel Meyer tells the story of an elderly woman who heard a sermon in which she felt God encouraging her to look for ways in which she could use her particular gifts and situation to minister to the needs of others. She thought about her gifts and realized that she’d been told by others that she had the gift of hospitality. She lived alone in a small apartment near a large university and had afternoons free. She pondered the needs around her and the people who tugged at her heartstrings. To her mind came the students nearby who were so far away from home. It was then that an idea both strange and simple suddenly arose. She got a stack of three-by- five cards and wrote on each one the following words: “Are you homesick? Come to my house at 4:00 p.m. for tea.” She included a phone number and address and then posted the cards all around campus.

After a slow start, homesick students began trickling into her house each week for tea. When she died ten years later, eighty honorary pallbearers attended her funeral. Each one of them had been a student who, once upon a time, found a hot cup of tea, a sense of home, and the gospel of Jesus in the hospitable heart of this faithful servant.[5]

Think back to the story I shared at the beginning of this sermon. Remember the story about the wealthy white man helping at the homeless shelter. I challenge you to go the extra mile in service. Serve, even during inconvenient times. That is what Jesus did. That is the example in the rest of this passage.

Phil. 2:3-4:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

[1]Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes(Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Php 2:3.

[2]Bill Hybels, “The Certainty of Suffering,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 164.

[3]Chuck Swindoll

[4]– 18-year-old country music star Taylor Swift speaking about the inspiration for the song “The Outside”, Entertainment Weekly, February 8, 2008, pg. 42

[5]Daniel Meyer, Witness Essentials (InterVarsity Press, 2012), p. 186

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s