True community is elusive to mankind! Our default as human beings is not to unity, it is to self and pride which leads to sin. Community has been desired and idealized throughout history and we know deep down in our souls that real community is essential.
Community (‘Common-Unity’) is defined as a specific and commonly shared way of life that unites people. To achieve common-unity people must share a specific communal mentality and attitude. Common-unity requires group ownership of common purposes, shared values and goals.
It is hard for humans to agree on these things, has been for all history. In Scripture and any other account we have of the history of humanity, common-unity is a fleeting condition for people. Warfare is the result of disunity and we certainly have more war than unity on this planet. Why is it so hard for people to live in common–unity?
The Biblical Jesus Christ came to unite us with our creator which enables us to unite with our brother and sisters. As we follow him we too can be a part of God reconciling all creation to Himself. In Him we are given common unity with God and in this we can form the ultimate community: Jesus Christ’s Church
What is the basis on which we have this common-unity? How do we envision it?
Is there an essential element we can grab on to to always be our guide and foundation?
What creates this ultimate community for those who follow Christ? It is the ultimate act of humility that was His death on the cross. That humility is our example, it is our empowering and it is our lifestyle to grow in.
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
- These are rhetorical questions if you follow the Biblical Christ
- What could be more encouraging? More comforting?
- I can testify to supernatural connection with other Spirit-filled Believers
- My heart has been tenderized…but it needs more
- So then based on these amazing privileges Christ has given us…
- Be united with the rest of the Body of Christ, all the way!
- Agree wholeheartedly, love each other, work together (all W/ 1 mind & purpose)
- No Problem! Right?
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
- Here is how you do it: get over yourself! There is no ME in community
- Learn true humility and practice it…the hardest thing any of us will do
- We have to let God make us selfless because sin makes us the exact opposite
- Care for others! Don’t ignore yourself, just care for others too
- Consideration…. Practicing being considerate of others (Philippines)
- The more you care for others the less you think you are better
- The more you care for others the more truly humble & selfless you get
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
- To pull this off you need to look at everything the way Christ does
- For Christ humility is a ‘Be-Attitude’ (mindset leading to action)
- Whatever you are or have, place it under God & be willing to give it up
- Christ was willing to come down to our level, that’s a big drop
- What could be harder to give up than Godhood?
- Are we willing to ‘condescend’ in any way God would have us based on Christ?
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He came in human form, 8 He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
- So rather than leverage His position, Christ became the least of us
- It was an amazing act humility to become human! (when You are God)
- But the ultimate act of humility was allowing His creation to execute Him!
- This is our example of humility & selflessness (The highest of standards)
- Total Condescension… Perfect Condescension
- God’s will is enacted by Christ’s humility and obedience
- In the same way, God’s will is enacted by OUR humility and obedience
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Because of Christ’s perfect humility & obedience He is the apex of everthing
- The last will be first and the first will be last…
- It glorifies God to come and die for you and me (Sacrificial Love)
- What God / Christ did makes Him worthy of all glory from everything!
- This act of ultimate humility creates His church; the ultimate community!
TO THOSE WHO CALL HIM LORD…HE IS EVERYTHING!
As His followers we should spend our lives developing HIS attitude!
How do we doit?
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
- A life of imitating Christ by yielding to His Spirit within us takes practice
- We all have to grow out from under direct supervision and fly solo
- It takes hard work, focus, and persistence to get results:
- The results of our salvation show up in relationships and sacrifice
- We must practice reverence & awe or we will become complacent
- WE HAVE to do it because God has invested eternity in us!
- He is working in YOU!! SO, how can you cooperate with Him more?
- How do we get the attitude of Christ?
- Hard work and reverent obedience grows humility & consideration of others
- And this kind of biblical discipleship creates biblical community!
What we have ‘In Christ’; comfort, belonging, fellowship and compassion, is given to us to form the basis of our united thought and purpose. (His Church)
The way we live out this unity is by being considerate of others and acting from a position of humility and self-awareness.
Our example is Christ; The Incarnation of God all-everything, who laid all of His deity aside to be considerate of our eternal souls need for salvation.
In the ultimate act of humility, Christ in human form subordinated himself to the welfare of all humanity as He allowed His own creation to execute Him.
By choosing to be lowest Christ Jesus becomes the Highest! One day HE will be worshiped by all creation, we have been given grace to do it now!
We have been given grace to follow Christ’s perfect example of obedience; reverently relying on God to conform us to His will. To that we add our hard work: honoring God and worship HIM.
(V 1 & 2) )How well do you take stock of and appreciate all of the privileges you have been given in Christ Jesus? Would sharing those things make you more aware and thankful?
(V 3 & 4) What are YOU selflessly doing for others to build Common Unity here at Midtown? Is there something new you can do? Is there something you are doing that you can do more of?
(V 6, 7 & 8) What things are you willing to give up in order to be considerate of others? Things can include time, emotion, expertise, money and possessions.
(V 12 & 13) How do you balance hard work and reverent reliance on God as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Do you need new practices or more consistency with established practices?
Application for V 9, 10 & 11 is: Have you fulled surrendered your life to Christ’s Lordship? The assumption Paul is making is that the recipients of this letter all have come to salvation in Jesus Christ. But God knew others would read this letter .
If you have NOT fully surrendered your life to God; today is the day!
If you have surrounded you life to Christ I encourage you to rely on God’s power to help you commit more hard work to your discipleship!