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February 27, 2000 PM

Phil 2:3-5

INTRO: Nothing will rob the church of her vitality more quickly than internal division. Nothing will affect the joy and happiness of the church more thoroughly than disharmony and disruption within the church. So many years ago the psalmist David observed, How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Ps 133:1). And it seems that wherever people are brought together into close fellowship marriage, the home, friendship, the church - the danger of this disharmony exists. To that danger Paul is addressing himself in the opening verses of Phil 2. In our thoughts tonight I want to consider Division: Its Causes and Cures.


A. Strife selfish ambition

1. desire to put self forward - partisan, factious spirit

2. further, not caring how it is accomplished ... tread on anyone, use any trick or innuendo, etc.

3. 3 Jno 9,10 Diotrephes notable example

a. his love was preeminence with people we need to note that preeminence may come, but it must not become ones goal, aim, desire

b. he behaved maliciously toward others whom he saw as a threat to his position of prominence

c. you either accepted him, or he excluded you

4. Mt 20:20,21,24 strife among the apostles

a. prominence, honor desired for James and John

b. immediate result was a divided group

c. such is always the case of selfish ambition

B. Vain glory empty pride

1. an improper pride at root of selfish ambition

2. conceit is so exclusive, so unable to place either proper value on self or upon others

3. 1 Tim 3:6 pride noted as a danger for elders selected to leadership, he must not let it go to his head

4. Prov 13:10 a truth of which Paul is so aware

C. Look not ... on his own things selfishness

1. always concerned - first, foremost with ones own interest

2. with such a spirit one is bound to collide with others

3. (read quotation from Barclay)

4. look out for number one has become the watchword of our world so much so that we even question the motives of one who seems unselfishly generous

a. selfishness is the spirit of immaturity

b. selfishness is ultimately an isolating characteristic


A. Lowliness of mind humility (Rom 12:10)

1. while ambition, pride use others, humility values others

2. Rom 12:3 learning ourselves knowing our strengths, our weaknesses ... realizing that without Christ wed be zero

3. this idea is not an attack, or thereat, to self-esteem rather, it is the ability of one who knows who he is, who does esteem himself ... only such a person can put others first

4. note: 1 Cor 15:9 Eph 3:8 1 Tim 1:15

B. Look ... also on the things of others people helping

1. neither carelessness of ones own affairs nor busy bodiness are Pauls intentions

2. emphasis upon seeing others needs, caring for them

3. courtesy, love and sympathy ... expressed in action ... are the needs of a church where unity is sought and prevails

4. Mk 12:31 this is no doubt what he is seeking and he refers to this same text at least twice in others letters

C. Jesus, the perfect example Phil 2:5

1. the mind - disposition - of Jesus is essential

2. thus, we must constantly focus and refocus on the example of Jesus in His humility and in His servanthood

3. following His example will insure unity

CLOSE: The causes of division are so prevalent. The cures are so obvious. But the words of a song say it so well ... none of self, and all of thee.

Cecil A. Hutson

27 February 2000

If for any man life is a competition whose prizes he must win, if he for ever regards life as a struggle to overcome, to surpass, and to conquer others, then he will always think of other human being s as enemies, or at least as opponents who must be pushed out of the way. Barclay, William; Letters to Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians; p. 40

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)