Sunday School Material 8-8-10: Serving Others

(Philippians 2:1-13; 8/8/10)

Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that believers are urged to work on unity and service. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on unity and service.

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Body:
Read Philippians 2:1-4
I. Appeal to Serve Others.
We see in this section of the Sunday School material a number of things are urged as a condition for consolation in Christ, comfort of love, and more.

The pre-conditions include being like minded, having the same love, and doing nothing through strife or vainglory. The people of God are to look out for one another.

Applications –
- Great benefits.
Notice in vss. 1-2a of the Sunday School material that there are some great things available to those who work on unity and humbleness.

Among the great things available are consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship in the Spirit, bowels and mercies (i.e., tenderness and compassion NIV), and the joy of those who invested in us.

Surely, in times of so much economic and relational stress and health challenges popping up without apparent rhyme or reason, we can see the benefit of having divine consolation, comfort, and fellowship.

We can see the need to have tenderness and compassion. And we should want those who have helped us be who we are in Christ to have some joy.

Let's work on the doing what is needed to have the great things of our text. When there is a lack of divine consolation, comfort, and fellowship, we should check our level of obedience to God's word.

- Unity and humility. Notice in vss. 2b-4 of the Sunday School material the urge to work on unity and humility. Oneness of mind and love without vain glory or strife but with humility are so important.

The reason God sends teaching Pastors is to help us develop a oneness of mind or thinking. God doesn't want us to simply know right; He wants us to live right.

So as we learn that we are to love, we should actually love. Love is helped by our being humble. Love is hurt by our seeking vain glory and being a part of strife. Let's work on unity and humility.

God has invested too much in us and we need His consolation, comfort, and fellowship too much for us to mess everything up with strife, vain glory (i.e., doing things for our own reputation), and lack of humble unity.

Read Philippians 2:5-11
II. Example of Serving Others.
In this section of the Sunday School material Jesus is lifted as a great model. Jesus was humble and obedient. The Father exalted Him to the point that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Applications –
- Humble obedience.
Notice in vss. 5-8 the important of developing an humble and obedient mindset that is strong enough to obey God even unto death.

There are too many who lack enough humility to even follow the Pastor's instructions. There are too many who lack enough obedience to suffer being talked about and ignored for a little while.

And yet our Christ, left the throne of divinity, took on human form, and obeyed the Father unto death. Let's work on our humble obedience to God. We are not born with humble obedience towards God, it must be developed.

We develop it by prayerfully studying and obeying God's word with the support of others. In obedience to God, we should learn to follow leadership, love one another, and even take care of ourselves, so we can continue to be of service to the Lord.

- Blessings for the obedient. Notice in vss. 9-11 that Jesus is exalted and the day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

Clearly, if we be faithful in our obedience to God, God will take care of us. He will bless us with what is best for us at the right time. Let's live as if we believe God will take care of those who obey Him.

This life should be noted for obeying God's word, which teaches us to do things like invite and bring loved ones to church and Christ and to grow in our understanding and obedience to His word, to love one another.

God's word also teaches us to worship God with enthusiasm, to be a blessing to the less fortunate, and to give God our best, in all that we do in His name.

Read Philippians 2:12-13
III. Exhortation to Serve Others.
Paul urges the Philippian believers to keep being obedient in this section of the Sunday School material.

He wants them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. God is working in them to have a will to do good.

Applications –
- Obey the leader.
Notice in vs. 12 that obeying our leader is important. The Philippians had a reputation for obeying Paul, especially when he was present. He wanted them to continue to obey him, even though he was absent.

God sends leaders to lead and followers to follow the leader. Let's work on following the one God has sent us.

This followership should not be only when the leader is standing over us. We should follow leadership's instructions, when they are physically present or absent.

For example, we should smile and be kind to one another with or without the Pastor's encouragement. We should start on time with or without the Pastor's insistence.

- God working in us. Notice in vs. 13 that God is working in His people to do good. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, even the good ideas that are in our hearts and energy to carry them out.

Let's be sensitive to the good that God is nurturing in us. Where our abilities, opportunities, and desires or willingness intersect is often our call to ministry.

Remember that "working out our salvation with fear in trembling" is not an endorsement of salvation by works. It is an urging to live like saved people should live. It is a discipleship push, not a redefinition of salvation.

Conclusion: Let's work on unity and service. God has much for those who obey His will.

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