Humbly Hold Others in High Regard (Sermon Recap)
HUMBLY HOLD OTHERS IN HIGH REGARD
In our most recent sermon, we reflected on Philippians 2:3, which instructs us to humbly hold our Christian brothers and sisters in high regard. Verse 3 is part of a larger passage which calls us to have the same mindset that Jesus displayed in His incarnation, life, and death. Specifically, Jesus' mindset is humble, obedient, and sacrificial servanthood that is centered in devotion to the Father and expresses itself in gracious care for other people (see Philippians 2:6-8) Philippians 2:5 tells us that Jesus' mindset should be our mindset, and Philippians 2:3-4 give us two specific ways in which this patterened-after-Jesus mindset should be expressed within the church community. So, following Jesus' example and obeying His instruction, we ought to walk in humility toward each other (verse 3) for the sake of congregational unity (Philippians 2:2) so that we can effectively carry out Christ's mission (Philippians 1:27-30), all for the glory of Christ (Philippians 1:20) and of the Father (Philippians 1:11, 2:11 4:20).
Keeping this larger context in mind, verse 3 says: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3 ESV). Let me briefly summarize this verse in three parts.
1) "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit..." The person driven by "rivalry or conceit" is preoccupied with his or her own personal agenda and individual honor. This is totally antithetical to the fundamental priorities that Paul has been speaking about in Philippians – the advancement of the gospel, the spiritual growth of Christians, and the glory of God and of Christ. In order to "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit" we must die to ourselves and our own egos: "If anyone would come after me," Jesus says, "let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23 ESV). Jesus "made himself nothing" and "humbled himself" (Philippians 2:7, 8 ESV), and so should we.
2) "... but in humility..." When we encounter the living God, our pride gets shattered and a new humility begins to grow in our heart. We learn that our most fundamental duty as human beings is to "walk humbly with [our] God" (Micah 6:8 ESV). The gracious humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus is the ultimate death-blow to our pride: if my sovereign King has spilled His blood to redeem me from sin and death, then how can I go on my merry way and say 'Look at me, look at me, look at me'? At the cross a self-seeking sinner begins to get transformed into a humble servant. This humble servanthood gets worked out vertically as a servant of God and horizontally as a servant of others. Not self-promotion, but God promotion and gospel promotion! Not self-esteem, but others-esteem – "... in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3 NKJV).
3) "... in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Once we have embraced the humble position of a lowly servant, we must go on to count the position of others: "more significant than [ourselves]"! With this heartfelt mindset, you are happy to be a servant in God's household, and as far as you are concerned everyone else is "more significant" than you are. You look around and see a sanctuary, a church family, a small group, a ministry team full of VIPs! These Very Important Persons are God's dearly loved children, and you feel the weight of their significance and value, and frankly you're just glad to be among them as a "servant of all" (Mark 9:35 ESV).
Do you see your fellow Christians this way? Have you learned and are you continuing to learn humility at the foot of the cross? Are you saying 'No' to your own petty agenda so that you can say a heartfelt 'Yes' to the God's glory and God's church and God's mission?
Philippians 2:3 is a wonderful package of truth for congregational life. Grow ye in it!