Counting others greater than yourself | Gig Harbor | Chapel Hill Online

Counting others greater than yourself | Gig Harbor | Chapel Hill Online

#humility #selfless #unity

Counting others greater than yourself is often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean putting yourself down, but recognizing that other people are valuable too. It takes being humble, selfless, and acting like a grown-up. After all, selfishness and throwing tantrums over not getting our own way is something we associate with toddlers or children who haven’t learned better yet. In this sermon from Mark, we learn what exactly Paul meant in the Bible when he said to count others as greater, and the importance of unity in our fractured society.

Study Questions
1. Read Philippians 2:1-4
2. Who do you know who lives out Christian unity well? Which of these qualities have you seen in them? Encouragement, comfort, partnership, affection for others?
3. “In humility count others more significant than yourselves”. Pastor Mark gave the example of being selfless in marriage. In what other relational contexts do we learn selflessness? What lessons have you learnt over your lifetime about how to maintain this attitude and behavior?
4. What is one place in your life where you are NOT looking out for the interests of others? What self-interest is the Holy Spirit bringing to mind? Pray together, asking that same Spirit to make your more like our humble savior.

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A couple weeks ago, movie star Adam Sandler walked into a Long Island IHOP with his daughter to get some breakfast. The hostess didn’t recognize the comedian behind his mask and told him there was a 30-minute wait. Then Sandler did something shocking: he politely left the restaurant. He didn’t pull down his mask in anger. He didn’t shout, “Don’t you know who I am?” Because he didn’t want to wait 30 minutes…like an adult, he left the restaurant.

It says something about our culture that this video has gone viral! Who can imagine a celebrity not cashing in on his fame? We seem to be shocked that a star wouldn’t insist on being moved to the front of the line. And Sandler’s response to the brouhaha was even classier. He tweeted, “For the record, I only left IHOP because the nice woman told me the all-you-can-eat deal didn’t apply to the milkshakes.” In response, IHOP declared last Monday as “all-you-can-drink” milkshake day at all of their Long Island restaurants.

Adam Sandler’s stock went up with me…and with a lot of other folks too. He offered an unintentional lesson in humility that this celebrity-obsessed culture of ours needs to hear. MORE importantly…what kind of example did he just offer to his daughter, right? Who watched her famous daddy behave like a grownup instead …of throwing a tantrum.

The Apostle Paul would have been pleased, judging from his letter to the Philippian church. Let’s review for moment. Paul, who is sitting in prison, has written that he isn’t sure of the fate that awaits him. He might be released. He might be executed. He’s not sure. But either way, Paul says, it’s a win-win situation. “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” Remember that phrase? If he lives, he gets to do more work for the kingdom of Jesus. If he dies, he gets to go be with Jesus…forever. It’s the ultimate win-win.

So…since the Philippians can’t be sure if they will ever even see their friend again, what are they to do? How are they to live? Well…Paul says…start by being good citizens of the Kingdom. Phil 1:27:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents…(drop down to 2:1)… ​ So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind…

That opening phrase… “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” …is actually better translated… “behave as CITIZENS worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul did this on purpose! Philippi was a Roman colony; a little piece of Latin culture plunked down 1000 miles from the capital city. It was filled with retired Roman soldiers who had been granted the greatest perk you could possess at the time: Roman citizenship. To be a Roman citizen in Philippi was a big deal; a big honor, and it carried great responsibility to protect the interests of Rome in this far flung outpost of that empire.

Paul plays off that idea when he says, “I want you to be good citizens…not of Rome…not of Philippi… but of the kingdom of Jesus. Whether I come to your or not…

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