“Built For Community: Life” out of Philipianns 2:3-11 was preached on November 18th, 2012 by Pastor Brett Baggett at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Muskogee. Week #2 in Ekklesia’s Built For Community sermon series.
We all, like Narcissus, have fallen in love with ourselves and our default mode is to live with ourselves as if we are the chief and best of all creation. But community is focussed on others, God-glorifying, and Jesus-centered. Paul tells us to “count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” Philippians 2:3-4). In every aspect of life, we are to love like we have been loved- with others first. The only way we’re going to be freed from the love of self is if we behold something far more beautiful- Jesus. The only way we’re going to stop substituting ourselves for God is we see, trust, and are constantly blown away by the fact that God substituted Himself for us. On the cross, because we have substituted ourselves for God, Jesus had to substituted Himself for us. Jesus is far more beautiful than us. May we fall out of love with ourselves and fall more in love with Jesus, which will free us to put Him and others first- glorifying God and bringing us joy in Him.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[ 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Q.1 Was there anything from Sunday’s sermon or the big idea that was new to you or had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
Q.2 Why is it important to understand that community is others-centered; what kind of destruction does sin bring when we are living as if we are the center of the universe? How have you seen destruction from the sin of narcissism flesh out in your own life? What about in other’s lives?
Read and discuss these 9 things that the Scripture tells us to focus on for living in community. Talk about areas that you are weak and strong, areas you need to repent, etc.
A Biblical survey of community-building practices by Tim Keller from The Gospel in Life Bible study.
1) Affirm one another’s strengths, abilities, and gifts
• Romans 12:10 – “Honor one another above yourselves.”
• James 5:9 – “Don’t grumble against each other.”
• Romans 12:3-8 – Confirm the gifts of one another
2) Affirm one another’s equal importance in Christ
• Romans 15:7 – “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”
• 1 Corinthians 12:25 – “Have equal concern for each other.”
• James 2:1 – “Don’t show favoritism.”
3) Affirm one another through visible affection
• Romans 16:16 – “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
• James 1:19 – “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.”
• Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
• 1 Thessalonians 3:12 – “Your love increase and overflow for each other.”
In his book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “The first service that one owes to another in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. Listening can be greater service than speaking. However, there is a kind of listening, an impatient, inattentive listening, that is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person.”
4) Share one another’s space, goods, and time
• Romans 12:10 – “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”
• 1 Peter 4:9 – “Offer hospitality to one another.”
• Galatians 6:10 – “As we have opportunity, let us do good.”
5) Share one another’s needs and problems
• Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens.”
• 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Encourage one another.”
• Hebrews 3:13 – “Encourage one another daily.”
6) Share one another’s beliefs, thinking, and spirituality
• Colossians 3:16 – “Teach and admonish one another.”
• Ephesians 5:19 – “Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns, and other spiritual songs.”
• Romans 12:16 – “Live in harmony with one another.”
7) Serve one another through accountability
• James 5:16 – “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.”
• Romans 15:14 – “Instruct one another.”
• Ephesians 4:25 – “Speak truthfully.”
8 ) Serve one another through forgiveness and reconciliation
• Ephesians 4:2 – “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one an- other in love.”
• Colossians 3:13 – “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” • Galatians 5:26 – “Don’t provoke or envy one another.”
• James 4:11 – “Don’t slander one another.”
• Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15 – Reestablish broken relationships with one another.
9) Serve one another’s interests rather than your own
• Hebrews 10:24 – “Spur one another on toward love and good works.”
• Galatians 5:13 – “Serve one another.”
Q.3 How does Paul teach the church at Philippi to become less narcissistic and more others and Jesus-centered (Philippians 2:5-11)? What does this tell us about how we are going to fall out of love with ourselves?
“It takes a gospel-changed heart to give help unselfishly to others, and it takes a gospel-changed heart to receive help unashamedly from others” (Tim Keller). Let us continue to look to Jesus and be changed by His gospel. May the God of all grace continually free us from our love from self and give us a more of a love for Himself others. For His great glory and our increasing joy in Him! Amen.