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Elder Commisioning Service: Mindset of Self-Denial, Service and Sacrifice

Philippians 2:5-8, Peter Elward, May 24, 2015

Sermon Notes:


  • Copernicus in 16th Century caused a scientific revolution
  • The Apostle Paul is causing a spiritual revolution
    • We live in a selfish world
    • There is a danger we become obsessed with ourselves
    • Paul is exhorting Christians to be more like Christ
  • The word is directed at believers
    • We are not perfect people
    • Very appropriate for setting aside of church officers
  • Fulfill my joy (v2)
    • To become more like Jesus Christ
    • Selfishness and pride is to be banished (v3)

Mindset of Self-Denial (v6-7a)

  • Jesus was God yet made Himself of no reputation
  • Jesus' existence did not begin at Bethlehem - He was in existence in eternity, before the world was made
    • Jesus was always in the form of God
    • He had all the qualities of the Divine
    • Jesus is not a created being or a created angel - He always existed in the form of God
    • He is the Son of God
  • Equal with God
    • Jesus did not grasp at this but gave this up
    • He was not preoccupied with Himself
    • Aristotle in the 4th Century thought that God was so preoccupied with his own majesty
    • God is concerned with His glory but not preoccupied with Himself
  • What was Jesus thinking when He was a man?
    • He put His father first
    • He put sinners before Himself
      • Think of this as a Christian
      • Jesus put us before Himself
    • Samuel Peeps - "he is love with his own nature..."
      • This surely is the view of the 21st Century

Mindset of Service (v7-8a)

  • Came as a human
    • Not as a celebrity or an important person
    • Came as a servant - came as a slave
  • Servanthood
    • Servants had no rights in the 1st Century - they served others
    • The work of an Elder is a servant
    • Matt 20:20-28 - the example of James and John
    • Luke 14:7-14 - the Pharisees who loved the best seats but Jesus instructs His apostles to be humble
    • Jesus had time for blind Bartimeus, the tax collector Zacheus, the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Mary Magdalene possessed by demons
  • Jesus put others before Himself
    • He comes to individuals and cares for us
    • He allowed the little children to come to Himself after others sent them away
    • People of all ages matter to Jesus
  • Consider the disciples arguing who was the greatest
    • Jesus put Himself at their feet (to wash their feet)
  • Not about envy and jealousy
    • Whatever role you have in the church you follow the Lord Jesus

Mindset of Sacrifice (v8)

  • Obedient to the death of the cross
    • He gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin
    • No one took His place - He was crucified
  • Jesus gave Himself:
    • Out of love
    • To pay for sin
    • To satisfy the wrath of God (against sin)
  • Martin Luther: 'either your sins are on Christ or on yourself'
    • Jesus has been to calvary and died for our sin
  • "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
  • It's amazing to think that Jesus went to Bethlehem, to wash the disciples feet, but even more amazing to think that Jesus would go to the cross
  • Personal example of substitution
    • Jesus has taken our place
    • Jesus has taken our punishment, out of love
  • Application to Christians:
    • Some are [sadly] martyred
    • We are called to sacrifice
      • Examples of Christian sacrifice - Phil 2:25-27, Rom 9:3

Closing Remarks

  • May the mind of Christ be in us
  • Bow the knee to Jesus

Sermon Passage:

Philippians 2:5-8

5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (KJV)

Other sermons:
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