LAKEVIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH
Weekly Update for November 10, 2021
“You have to look out for #1. You have to do what is best for yourself.” That was the mantra of one of my roommates in college. When faced with a tough decision, he said you should do what is best for yourself. When you aren’t sure what to do, do what is best for you. All things being equal, do what is best for you.
But in our lives as Christians, the #1 is Jesus Christ. We serve him as the most important person in our lives and we serve his people. Admittedly, this is extremely difficult. Our human nature wants to satisfy our own selfish desires. It’s our natural instinct to look out for ourselves before thinking about someone else.
While in prison for sharing his faith the apostle Paul told the believers in Philippi to focus on serving others. He told the Philippians about the result of Christ’s work for them and what their responses should be as Christ’s workers.
Paul starts his statement with four rhetorical questions that are assumed true for the sake of an argument. In Greek grammar this is known as a “first class condition” which can be translated as “since.” Paul writes, “So if [since] there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy” (Philippians 2:1, ESV).
With those things assumed true because of Christ’s death and resurrection on behalf of us (along with our faith in him as savior), Paul moves on to tell us what should occur as a result: We respond by serving others. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV).
Paul addressed this specific command to the Philippians because of the culture where they lived. The city of Philippi was a previous Roman military outpost and had many veterans of Roman wars living there. The emperor gave Philippi what was called, ius italicum, which was one of the highest privileges attainable by a city. The Philippians were bursting with pride about their city, their ties with Rome, their Roman customs, and about being Roman citizens.
Jesus Christ is #1 in our lives. We serve him and his church. We don’t look out only for our own needs, but instead we focus on him and his church. Yes, it’s difficult. But the Holy Spirit is present with us and helps us serve Jesus Christ, his church, and his people.