Let Us Be Like-minded
INTRODUCTION: A little boy with a baseball bat in one hand and a baseball in the other hand was overheard talking to himself, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world." Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it and missed. "Strike one!" Undaunted he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, "I'm the greatest baseball hitter ever," and swung at the ball again. Again he missed. "Strike Two!" He paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. Then a third time, he threw the ball into the air. "I'm the greatest hitter who ever lived," he said. He swung the bat hard, a third time. He cried out, "Whoa! Strike three! What a pitcher! I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
I like the kid’s attitude. Our attitudes are important! In fact, they are more important than our actions, because they are the foundation upon which our actions are built.
With that in mind, we come to the book of Philippians, chapter 2. Most commentators believe that the first eleven verses are an attempt on the part of Paul to deal with the friction that had grown up in the Philippian assembly.
He had already admonished the Philippians Christians in 1:27 to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Later in chapter 4, he would speak of two ladies who were at odds with one another.
Now he wants to encourage them to form habits that would promote harmony. In Philippians 2:1-4; the Apostle Paul gives the church a 3-dimensional approach to life.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
In verse 2 for the CHURCH, God wants us deeply concerned about HARMONY.
In verse 3 for OURSELVES as individuals, God wants us deeply concerned about HUMILITY.
In verse 4 for the WORLD, God wants us deeply concerned about HUMANITY.
Paul's desire was for the church to have HARMONY among themselves, HUMILITY as individuals and a deep concern for HUMANITY in the world.
FIRST: In Philippians 2:2; we find Paul’s instructions about the unity and harmony that is to be within a church. “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” The words, "ONE ACCORD," could be translated "UNION OF SOULS." Paul's desire was for the church to be so KNIT TOGETHER that they would be ONE UNIT.
Someone made this profound statement, "There has never been a church in any age or in any place free from DISCORD or immune to the DANGER of RIVALRY and STRIFE." Another said, "Whenever a church is advancing in fulfillment of its obligations to proclaim Christ, you may be sure Satan will be at work, because Satan never disturbs a sleeping Church. The members of such an assembly are no problem to him. But when God's people are wide awake and busy for the Lord, Satan and his emissaries will be there to impede their progress."
How true that is. There is one outstanding lesson we must learn from history. Satan's primary strategy involves destroying UNITY AMONG CHRISTIANS. He is the author of – Confusion, Insecurity, and Church splits.
The only sure weapon that will defeat Satan in any Bible believing church is the power of "single-mindedness." At the time, the Apostle Paul is a prisoner in Rome. He has heard some discordant notes being struck among the assembly of believers in Philippi. So immediately, he calls for them to be "like-minded."
If God is anything to NATURE, He is a God of VARIETY. What do I mean by that? For example,
There are no two snow-flakes alike.
There are no two blades of grass alike, and
There are no two individuals alike.
Now if that is true and Paul knows that, then how can he expect people to think alike, to have minds that are alike? What does God mean in verse 2 to be "like-minded," of "one accord," of "one mind"? I believe it primarily has to do with agreement in doctrine and creed.
When it comes to the fundamental doctrines of our faith, someone said, "Christians should be like clocks that strike at the same moment." Those who are in the body of Christ, those of us who have accepted Christ as personal Saviour should keep in mind that:
We are to think the same way about Jesus Christ.
We ought to think alike about God the Son. There ought to be no question of His:
Victorious resurrection, and His
Bodily visible return.
We ought to think alike about our condition before we were saved. We were "sinners without hope who were eternally lost."
We ought to think alike about the eternal redemption Jesus died to secure for our souls on the cross of Calvary.
Without any mental reservation we ought to think alike about Jesus Christ.
We are to think the same way about the Word of God. We ought to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, that this IS the Word of God from cover to cover. We ought to be like-minded as to the preservation of the Word of God.
We are to think the same way about getting the Gospel to every creature. Our efforts ought to be spent on soul winning in every area of this ministry. We don't come here:
Just to be entertained, nor do we come here
Just to be preached at, nor do we come here
Just to be Bible educated.
Our main thrust has got to be SOUL WINNING in every ministry.
In Luke 19:10 we read, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost."
In John 20:21 to the disciples Jesus said, "…As my Father hath sent me, so send I you."
If the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost, and since He is now back in Heaven, it becomes the mission of the church and every individual believer to seek and to bring to Christ those who need Christ. Remember Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive Power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you and You shall be witnesses unto Me… unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Now if that is true, the only way we are going to make an impact upon the World for the cause of Christ is through a UNITED BODY OF BELIEVERS. The world will not believe our message if we are worshipping in disharmony.
We are to think the same way about:
The vision of this ministry,
The vision of missions, and
The vision of outreach.
The church is not a band of little groups, loyal only to that group. Our loyalty ought to be to the Lord Jesus and to the entire ministry. The Bible admonishes us "In honor preferring one another."
Each and every one of you is important.
Each and every ministry is important, and
All of us need to do our part for the GLORY OF GOD, for anything less than our best is SIN.
We are to be like-minded regarding this ministry.
Doctrinal unity is not the only thing that Paul was concerned about here in verse 2. He also said, "having the same love…" Not only should there be a unity of MIND about doctrine and our ministry, but there must also be a unity of HEART. We ought to feel AKIN to one another. O, what a spirit of revival would permeate our ministry, if we would wisely agree that:
In essentials there will be UNITY,
In non-essentials there will be LIBERTY,
In differences there will be LOVE, and
In all things there will be CHRIST!
Can we not agree that there will be those things with which we will disagree? But through it all, let’s be in “one accord, literally Joint Souls" for Christ and the cause of souls. Can we not go on singing "Blest be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian Love"?
Please let me give you several safe-guards in order to keep this unity of heart in this ministry:
Stay in touch with the Word of God, and on your knees before Him daily.
Stay in Love with Jesus; and express that love to Him daily.
Avoid being easily offended and walking around with a wounded spirit.
Always be conscious of and strive to meet the needs of OTHERS.
Keep on winning people to Christ, and you will be so busy there won't be time to fuss or find fault with any one person or thing.
Realize that all believers (you and me) are children of God, and in answer to Jesus’ prayer found in John 17, we ought to be the best of friends in Christ.
We are all fighting the same enemies, the DEVIL, the WORLD and the FLESH.
We are all on our way to heaven, if by faith we have trusted Christ as our Saviour.
We all have the same Bible, and we are indwelt with the same Holy Spirit.
On a personal note, the first time you find that your Pastor is not perfect, if you have not found that out already, please don't get huffy and say he's not preaching the Bible.
When your Pastor makes several decisions that you don't like, please don't say he is not doing what he is supposed to be doing, and quit the church to search for a more perfect church and pastor. You may find that the sought-after perfection will soon become imperfect as well.
As a believer, I am just like you, and you are just like me. We are trying to do our best for the Master. Please don’t forget that each of us will fall short of the name we bear, Christian. For the Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one…" I say, look to Christ; look to Jesus; He's our example. All of us will benefit by becoming more and more like Jesus. Amen? Amen!
We are family at the Green Street Baptist Chapel. We are learning to ACCEPT each other. We are learning that just about everyone will disappoint us at one time or another. However, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to recognize this group, right here today, as our family. Therefore let’s all:
Share in our defeats,
Share in our victories,
Share in our mistakes, and
Share in our blessings.
When it comes to our church family, God wants us deeply concerned about HARMONY.
SECOND: In Philippians 2:3; when it comes to ourselves as individuals, and you set there as an individual with needs and problems and I stand here with much the same as you do, God wants us concerned about HUMILITY. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
The word "each" in verse 3 is a reminder that we have a personal responsibility. Each one of us is responsible for the unity of the body. As individuals when we have a concern about our personal responsibility before God, then we will find the congregational responsibility is met. But we have got to be individually concerned about HUMILITY.
You know in our day when there is so much stress in, "me, myself, and I and who I am, I must get a certain salary because I am worth it…" it is difficult to be humble, yet notice what it says in verse 3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Now STRIFE causes division; it causes a fracture. It has to do with one group in the church that wants to promote its aim and ambition as opposed to another group’s ideas and plans. A division in the Spirit of the church, a “partisan Spirit” is not of God.
Let me ask you this: Has there ever been a time when someone has said or done something that has so aggravated you that you want to uncork on them? But before you do, all of a sudden an influence sweeps over you; a voice from within restrains you, and pulls in the reins of your temper. Has that happened to you? I submit, that was the Holy Spirit speaking to you.
We should heed the directive of the Holy Spirit because we ought not to do anything that would cause STRIFE or DIVISION in the assembly. Why? Because if there is anything the devil wants to accomplish, he wants to create STRIFE or DIVISION.
Sometimes he will use me, or he could use you.
The devil may even use the most devout Christian in this church!
If there is bitterness, or animosity, or a partisan spirit, this is not of God. This actually shows the carnality of individuals, not the spirituality of individuals.
Now the scripture says, "…let nothing be done through …VAINGLORY." “Vainglory” means taking action for the glorification of self, or recognition of self. Paul is saying, let nothing be done that is factious in the assembly and let no one take the glory for themselves.
Let nothing be done in a vain-glorious manner, but let the Lord Jesus Christ get all the praise, because he alone is the one deserving of it. Whenever God blesses us or whenever God does something we are grateful for, as believers we ought to continually and constantly be saying "Lord Jesus you take the PRAISE, you take the HONOR and you take the GLORY!"
Now when Paul says, "in lowliness of mind," he is referring to verse 5. The "lowliness of mind” is the mind of Christ. Let me ask you, what has gone through your mind this past week? On what do you focus your thought life more than anything else? Is it the mind of Christ?
Paul is saying here "Let nothing be done though strife or vainglory… but let each of us have the mind of Christ." What is the mind of Christ? Notice verses 5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The mind of Christ is a mind of HUMILITY.
What is humility? Please go with me to Matthew 11:28-30; and notice what the Lord is saying,
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Now the Greek word for "meek" comes from a word which means "To tame or subdue."
When it comes to animals we tame them;
When it comes to individuals, we discipline them.
A humble person is disciplined to do the will of God. Sometimes we have to be broken by the Lord Jesus Christ, so that our will is subdued and submissive to His will. Someone said it this way,
"The humble person is not one who thinks only of himself, he simply does not think of himself at all! Humility is that grace that when you know you have it, you have lost it. He yields himself to Christ to be a servant to use what he is and has for the glory of God and the good of Others."
In I Peter 5:5; we read, "…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the humble."
It is important that we become deeply concerned about HARMONY in our Church.
It is also important that we become deeply concerned and committed to HUMILITY when it comes to ourselves.
THIRD: In Philippians 2:4; we discover it is also important that we become deeply concerned about HUMANITY. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” When we look at society today, it appears for the most part, that we are all looking out for NUMBER ONE. We have become a self-centered stuck-up society. Those in this category are only happy when they can sing:
Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day
I've got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way!
The concern of each man for himself is so well-ingrained in human nature, that almost no one contests it. Yet:
Paul said here, "Look to each other's interest and not merely to your own."
Paul said in Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another."
Many years ago, the Salvation Army held a convention during the later years of the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth. At that time General Booth was in ill health, aged and nearly blind, so the convention was conducted for the first time without his presence.
Someone suggested that he send a telegram to greet the attendees, which he did. The message read, "Dear Delegates, "OTHERS," General William Booth."
Others, Lord yes others, Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others, that I may live like thee.
There cannot be any successful ministry in this church, nor can there be any successful life for Jesus, until you and I adopt the attitude that it does not matter what happens to us. Rather we will immerse our lives in the Lord Jesus Christ and in OTHERS.
Perhaps you are asking, Pastor, why should I do these things? Why should I be concerned about HARMONY and HUMILITY and HUMANITY? Well, I believe that answer is given in verse 1 – “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies…”
"If there be any consolation…"The word "consolation" could be translated "persuasion." If there is anything about Jesus Christ that is worthy of persuasion, let this persuade you.
"If there be any comfort of love…" Has the Lord comforted you in your time of need? Pastor, I don't know what I would have done unless God had stepped in and shown His love for me.
"If any fellowship of the Spirit…" Has the Holy Spirit ministered to your heart? Pastor, on many occasions He has spoken to me, and I to Him.
"If any tender mercies…" Has God ever bestowed compassion on you? Has God in his mercy wiped away your sins and been gracious unto you?
If any of these things are true, then my dear friend:
You have an obligation to let nothing be done through strife or vainglory.
You have an obligation to look not out for number one, but for the needs of others.
You have an obligation to be like-minded, with the same love and with one accord.
"If, If, If, If," – four times, if God has done any of these things for us (and you know He has) the word "IF" should be read, "Since, Since, Since, Since.” Therefore let us have HARMONY, HUMILITY, and towards HUMANITY, let us live for others.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "Let Us Be Like-minded," then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
Permission to copy: Because the “Weekly SERMON” will be reproduced into other formats, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING: The “Weekly SERMON” in its original form, without any changes, may be copied and re-transmitted by electronic mail, and copies may be printed for individual or ministry purposes, provided that such copying, re-transmission, printing, or other use is not for profit or other commercial purpose. Any copying, re-transmission, distribution, printing, or other use of the “Weekly SERMON” must set forth in full the heading that is given before each “Weekly SERMON.” Any other request for use, please contact Bible Baptist Ministries at email@example.com or by phone at 570.829.5216.
PS: In order to access the Weekly SERMON, in various FORMATS please SUBSCRIBE to our weekly email list at https://theweeklysermon.com/subscribe-or-unsubscribe/ where SUBSCRIBERS ONLY have access to the link to Weekly Sermon Library, SUBSCRIBERS can choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. SUBSCRIBERS use of this material is meant to be flexible: UNSUBSCRIBING is easy, just follow the same link above..