Sunday School Material 5-1-11: Praise and Submission
(Philippians 2:1-11; 5/1/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that believers should work on unity and honoring Christ. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on unity and honoring Christ with our very lives.
Read Philippians 2:1-4
I. Submission Enjoined. Paul urges the Philippian believers to work on unity in this section of the Sunday School material.
He appeals to things like the consolation of Christ, comfort of love, and fellowship of the Spirit. He then, as the organizing leader of the church in Philip, appeals to his own joy.
It would complete Paul's joy, even though he is in a Roman prison, if the Philippian believers were to be of the same mind. Paul wants them to be known for their loving humility.
- Living like we belong to God. Notice in vss. 1-2 of the Sunday School material that Paul implies that because of their relationship with God and because of the Philippians relationship with him that they should strive to work on unity.
The NIV makes this text more user-friendly. The idea is that if we claim to have to have consolation in Christ, comfort of love, and so forth then we should strive for unity.
If the Philippians really loved Paul, their first leader, then they should work on unity. In other words, what we do says more about what is going on inside us than what we say.
In this case, working on unity is the evidence of godly relationship and affection for Paul, not simply words. Let's work on behaving like people who belong to God. Talk is cheap. By our fruits we will be known.
- Working on unity. Notice in vss. 2-4 of the Sunday School material the ideas related to unity. On the positive side, unity is concerned with an oneness of mind, love, and accord (spirit and purpose).
It involves a humble looking out for others, more than self. Negatively, unity rejects strife and vainglory (selfish ambition and vain conceit).
The church ought to be a place of unity and supporting one another to be mature disciples and a group of people focused on carrying out God's will.
Let's work on making our church better known for its unity. If it is going to be, it is up to us. Think about how our Membership Orientation reviews help us with oneness of mind and our administrative agenda and handbook help us with oneness of spirit and purpose.
Read Philippians 2:5-11
II. Submission Illustrated. In this section of the Sunday School material the Philippians are urged to have the same mind that was in Christ.
This was an humble and obedient mind. It was a mind that will lead to the exaltation of Christ.
- Letting the mind of Christ rule us. Notice in vss. 5-8 the idea of letting the mind of Christ rule us. The mind of Christ is known for humility and obedience.
There are too many in the church who would never be described as humble nor obedient. This is tragic. Let's work on letting the mind of Christ rule us. This is the path to making our church a place that both blesses us and blesses others.
However, if we chose to reject or ignore the mind of Christ then we will have ourselves to blame for the results. When we think about how all that we have comes from God, it should not be so hard to be humble.
We don't have anything outside of what God has given us. And when we think about how we don't know what we are doing, it should not be too hard to obey those whom the Lord has placed over us.
- Trusting that obedience is worth the trouble. Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material that the end of Christian humility is great blessings.
As Jesus was exalted after humbly obeying the Father, we can expect that God will bless us, after our humbling obeying Him.
In other words, there are great blessings in simply doing what the Lord says do.
Let's work on just doing with the Lord says do. We often don't understand why we have to do what God says do and we don't understand the timing of God, but if we simply trust and obey anyhow, God has a way of making it worth our while.
- Acknowledging the lordship of Jesus. Notice in vss. 9-11 of the Sunday School material that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
We may live in a pluralistic (more than one accepted way or idea) society that has a high regard for religious tolerance today.
But the day is coming when only Christ will be the One who is bowed down to in reverence and the One who all confess is the Lord and Supreme authority.
On that day, all who have been aligned with someone or something other than Christ will find themselves at a great lost. Some will bow and confess, before going to Hell.
But those of us who have been bowing and confessing all along will find this to be a day of great rejoicing. Let's make sure we acknowledge the lordship of Christ now.
The best way to acknowledge the lordship of Christ is not simply bowing and confessing, but the best way is to obey the teachings of Christ.
At the core of Christianity are the issues of accepting Jesus as savior by faith and then submitting to His lordship by loving God and others as we love ourselves.
Conclusion: Let's work on unity and honoring Christ with our very lives. God has much for those who obey His will.
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