Personal Sacrifice and Service

Text: Philippians 2:17-18


I.         Paul often discussed the topic of unity in his letters to the various churches.

            A.        Unity based having the same goals and the same standards - Romans 15:5; I Corinthians 1:10; II Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:1-3; I Thessalonians 5:11-15

            B.        Paul’s letter to the Philippians is no different - Philippians 1:27; 2:1-2

            C.        To gain that unity, Paul emphasizes to the brethren in Philippi that they needed to be willing to give personal sacrifices and service to others

II.        The example of Paul - Philippians 1:21-26

            A.        Paul is awaiting trial, though he is certain at this point that he will be released - Philippians 2:24

            B.        He is willing to die for Christ because of the great advantage of joining God in heaven - Philippians 2:17-18

            C.        Yet, he is willing to delay that joy in order to help the Philippians - Philippians 1:24-26

III.       The example of Christ - Philippians 2:3-11

            A.        Even though Jesus had everything in heaven, he willingly gave them up for mankind

            B.        He died on the cross, not for his benefit, but for ours - Romans 5:6-8

            C.        He left us an example - I Peter 2:21-25

IV.      The example of Timothy - Philippians 2:19-23

            A.        Paul had no one better to send because of his genuine concern for the brethren

            B.        Most seek their own benefit and not what is needful for Christ, but Timothy is different in this regard

            C.        He has proven himself to be willing to serve

V.        The example of Epaphroditus - Philippians 2:25-30

            A.        He had become ill and nearly died trying to serve Paul on behalf of his brethren in Philippi

            B.        And what was his concern? That the brethren in Philippi was distressed about his illness!

VI.      Their own example - Philippians 4:15-19

            A.        More than once the brethren had sent funds to Paul so that he might continue preaching the gospel

            B.        Philippi is in Macedonia. The area where Paul mentions the brethren’s poverty - II Corinthians 8:1-5

                        1.         Though time has elapsed between II Corinthians and the Philippian letters, it shows the willing attitude to give of themselves to others so prevalent in this region.

VII.     All was not well in Philippi - Philippians 4:1-3

            A.        Two women, Euodia and Syntyche, were at odds with one another.

            B.        Their disagreement threatens to eventually destroy what Paul had so carefully built up

                        1.         The impact of their disagreement must have been affecting the mood in the church, which was why Paul so frequently told them to rejoice and be glad.

                        2.         Tension keeps everyone from doing their best.

            C.        The solution is hinted at throughout the letter

                        1.         Personal sacrifice to benefit another.

                                    a.         Too many people hold grudges

                                    b.         “He owes me an apology,” and thus it remains in a stalemate

                                    c.         I Corinthians 6:7-8

                        2.         Personal service to benefit another

                                    a.         If we focus outward, we stop seeing the petty slights as major problems.

                                    b.         Romans 12:18-21

            D.        The next time you find yourself in a meeting where emotions are escalating, or in the parking lot arguing over something that is really not all that important, or you realize you feel jealous of a brother or resent a sister in Christ, think about Paul’s letter to Philippi.

                        1.         Sacrifice your own personal interests for the sake of others

                        2.         Serve your brethren to the best of your abilities

            E.        If we all made this our goal, I doubt we would find time or inclinations to argue.

[Based on an article by Bob Hutto]