Sermon Outline On Philippians 2:1-1
Make my joy complete. I think each of us want nothing more than to have complete joy. Have you ever experienced joy? It is such an amazing feeling of wholeness and happiness. Paul wants that same joy and he wants it for all of God’s people also.
Paul tells us in our lesson today that we are to be of the ‘same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and one mind.’ What does he mean by this? Do we all have to think alike? Of course not. God created each of us to be individuals who have their own unique gifts, our own unique thoughts to bring to any given situation. The one thing that God wants us to be alike in is having the mind of Christ. To love as Christ loved; to forgive as Christ forgave and to reach out in ministry to anyone in need. When we love as Christ loved then our lives become complete and whole and full of joy.
Paul goes on to expand on this by telling us to ‘do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.’ We are to’¦look to the interests of others. We human beings tend to be very selfish people. We may not say it out loud but in our own minds we ask questions like, what is in this for me? What do I stand to gain? What will I lose the opportunity to do or buy by giving up this money? What will I not get to do by volunteering at this event? Instead, Christ calls on us to ask the questions like, how can I best help in this situation? What can I give to someone who is so much in need? Or we need to think, I have so much let me give so someone can have more. What would Jesus do in this situation? How can I sacrifice like Jesus sacrificed for me?
When we put others needs before ours we have the opportunity to watch them experience the grace of God through us. We have the opportunity to be witnesses of God’s love by not thinking of ourselves. When we put others before us we usually end up seeing how blessed we really are and how much we truly have to give. A Christian life is about giving and an earthly life is about taking or receiving. And, it is not just about giving our money; it is about giving our time, giving our abilities and being present to another person.
Jesus was so willing to give of himself. You might think, well, that is easy; he was God’s Son. It was not easy though. He struggled with the human side of himself. He had to face temptation and know what it was like for us so he faced it for forty days in the desert and through the strength of his faith he was able to tell Satan no. In the garden, Jesus knew that he was going to suffer a tragic death of crucifixion and he begged God to take it away from him. However, he trusted God and stayed obedient and died for our sins. Jesus gave all of himself for each of us and God is now calling upon each of us to stand strong in our faith and live for Christ and when we do our joy will be complete. It doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles, but it does mean that when we live a life filled with love and if we live sacrificially for others then we will stand tall in our faith without shame or fear of doing anything wrong. Jesus did that and now His name is above all names.
Paul then says something that can be very confusing to some people. Beginning at verse 12b, ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’ Work out your own salvation. This is not a pronouncement that it takes works to receive your salvation. What he is referring to is something I think we can all understand. When we receive Christ as our Savior then God really goes to work on our souls. And, it means that God is going to be tapping us on the shoulder to give up those bad habits that we know we should not have. God is going to tap us on the shoulder to deal with the hurts that exist in our souls and in our minds. It is God who is wanting to heal us from within and make us whole and joyful. However, that healing can only take place if we go to work on ourselves. As we heal and become whole then it will only be natural for us to want to reach out to others and help in anyway we can so that they too can know salvation as we do. God is at work in each of us inviting us to become whole, loving, forgiving and healed human beings. It is up to us to respond to God and then in turn to respond to others.
What we need to do is find what it is that God is calling each of us to do. Only then will you find your joy. Each of us have gifts that we can give to help make our world a better place in our community. Within each of our jobs we have the opportunity to be God’s witnesses and God’s servants. When we answer that call then you will know God’s joy. Do you truly want to be happy and filled with joy? Then take a leap of faith and go and do and go and be who God is calling you to be. Amen.