It’s All Good!
Sacrifice Leads to Victory
Serving Christ requires sacrifice. Sometimes those sacrifices are “on the front end” of our faith and we go in with our eyes open. However, many sacrifices come further on down the road as we make tough decisions about friendships, finances, work, or recreation. Other sacrifices are forced upon us by those who do not hold our values and may even wish us harm. Paul discusses the sacrifice of Jesus in Philippians 2. Jesus gave up everything for us and we should be willing to set aside our wants – even our needs – for others!
Since I’m “breezing” through this letter during March, I thought it best to give you a little more “meat” in this article each week. We have been reconstructing the historical conditions found in the Philippian church.
Last week we mentioned, both in the sermon and the article, some “internal unrest” affecting the church. Euodia and Synteche are instructed to “agree with each other in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2). Another person at Philippi (possibly Luke), here called “loyal yokefellow,” is encouraged to intervene and help these women in their dispute (Philippians 4:3). This has not yet become a full-fledge division or schism in the church, but it has that potential; Paul wants to head things off before it affects their “witness.”
Paul addresses these issues head on in chapter two,
If you have any encouragement from being united with
Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship
with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having
the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in
humility consider others better than yourselves.
4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but
also to the interests of others.
5 Your attitude should
be the same as that of Christ Jesus….
This disagreement appears to be caused by selfish ambition or “posturing” as one commentator chooses to describe it. It is only human (Paul would call it “fleshly” or “of the sinful nature”) to want one’s own way and seek one’s own best interests ahead of others (Philippians 2:19-21). However, Paul’s solution is to have the attitude of Christ who did not consider equality with God a thing to be selfishly grasped, but humbled himself to become a man and ultimately die on the cross. He did all of this for us. We should have the same mindset with one another!