Sunday School Material 1-13-13: Imitating Christ

(Philippians 2:1-13; 1/13/13)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that believers should work on loving one another and serving God’s purpose. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to love one another and pursue God’s purpose for our lives.

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Read Philippians 2:1-4

I. Paul’s Desire. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul urges his readers to be like minded, have the same love, and to be one in spirit and mind towards one another.

He urges them to do so, in light of the encouragement they have received from being united with Christ and the impact it would have on his personal joy. He urges them to look out for one another, instead of simply being self centered.

Applications –

- Blessings for believers. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that believers have experienced encouragement from being united with Christ, comfort from His love, common sharing in the Spirit, and tenderness and compassion.

It is absolutely marvelous to be a believer. It doesn’t keep us from trouble nor from sinning. But it does help us get through whatever is going on in our lives.

Let’s live like we appreciate all of the blessings that come from being a believer. Such living should be noted for both an attitude of gratitude and obedience.

- Valuing others with unity and humility. Notice in vss. 2-4 that blessed believers are called on to value others above themselves with unity and humility.

The like mindedness, same love, and oneness of spirit and mind, in vs. 2, should move all believers to work on touching and agreeing on how to live by the Word of God.

The unity of vs. 2 calls for avoiding selfish ambition and vain conceit, while nurturing an humble concern with the interests of others. Let’s work on valuing others with unity and humility.

In order for us to live by this application, we need to work on being stronger disciples.

We must do all that we do out of a love of God, instead of the ego gratification that comes from human acknowledgement and appreciation.

Read Philippians 2:5-11

II. Christ’s Example. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul urges his readers to have the mindset that Christ had. Christ was known for humble obedient service. And Christ will receive great honor to the glory of God the Father.

Applications –

- Jesus’ example. Notice in vss. 5-11 of the Sunday School material the urging to imitate Jesus’ humble obedience to the Father with hope of a blessed end. First, Jesus sets a marvelous example for us to follow. Christians should strive to live like Christ.

Second, Jesus was humble and obedient to the Father. There is too much pride and disobedience in too many of our churches.

Third, the end of Jesus’ situation made the pain on the journey worthwhile. We should keep our eyes on our hope more than our pain. Let’s work on imitating Jesus’ example of humble and hopeful obedience to the Father.

- Jesus’ unique ministry. Notice in vss. 5-11 several things about Jesus. First, Jesus is God. He is the second part of what many Christians call the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but one God.

Second, Jesus died to pay for our sins. He had no sins of His own. Third, at the appointed time, every knee will bow and acknowledge His lordship. It is sad that some will wait until it is too late to be saved from Hell, before they bow and acknowledge His lordship.

Let’s live like we believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God who paid for our sins and who is Lord. This kind of living should be known for obedience.

Read Philippians 2:12-13

III. Readers’ Status. In our Sunday School material Paul urges the readers to continue obeying him. He talks about them working out their salvation in fear and trembling. And he mentions that God works in them to will and act upon His will.

Applications –

- Obeying and following leadership. Notice in vs. 12 the implication of obeying those who have rule over you. There are too many in the church who have too many problems simply obeying and following leadership.

This often leads to the church being less effective in ministry and to God’s displeasure. Let’s work on obeying and following leadership.

Obviously, if the leader is leading contrary to God’s word then you should stay with the Word. But too often, the conflict is not over God’s word, it is over personal preferences.

- Working out our salvation for God’s purpose. Notice in vss. 12-13 in our Sunday School material the urging to work out one’s salvation and understand that God is working in His people to develop desire (i.e., will) and actions aimed at God’s purpose.

First, the text doesn’t teach work to earn one’s salvation. It suggests that we should work out of or based on our being saved.

Second, it is good to know that God is working in us to have a desire to pursue His good purpose for our lives. And He is nurturing our willingness and actions to pursue the same.

Let’s work on living like saved people with a God given purpose. Our purpose includes loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

Conclusion: Let’s work on loving one another and pursing God’s purpose for our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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