Calvary Road Baptist Church

“LOOK!”

Philippians 2.4

Have you ever noticed how different professions have their own jargon, their own terminology, with which to communicate their ideas and concepts in such a way that the uninitiated won’t know what they are talking about? Perhaps there was a good reason, way back when, for these different professions to begin using their terminology and jargon, but it has gotten way out of hand. Let me give you some examples of what I mean. Your doctor is called a physician. He won’t tell you what is wrong with you or how to fix it. Instead, he will diagnose you and give you a prognosis. If you ask him for some medicine, he may say that it is contraindicated. What he means is, he does not think that medicine will work for what he thinks ails you. The military used to talk about warfare during the Vietnam era in terms of bringing significant assets to bear upon the objective. Then, thankfully for our information, then President Bush broke the tradition of verbal camouflage established by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, when they started the Vietnam War, by telling us that when soldiers mounted an offensive against Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards they were going to attack them and then kill them. What clarity. Politicians tell us that they are going to slash spending. However, spending cuts to them are not a reduction of the amount of money spent, but rather a reduction in the rate of increase of money being spent. Therefore, a spending cut in Washington, DC is actually an increase in spending, but at a rate of increase that is less than the rate of increase of a year before.

Lest you think that such nonsense is foreign to churches and religion, let me give you a few more examples: How many of you have ever heard of this thing called “serving God?” People talk about “serving God” all the time, but no one is ever specific about what they mean when they say “serving God.” Ever wonder why such fuzziness? Serving God does not mean attending church regularly. Serving God does not mean giving ten percent of your gross income. Serving God does not mean arriving early enough on Sundays to participate at the very beginning of the Sunday service. You can do all those things, and you should do all those things, and you still have not yet begun to serve God. However, people get uncomfortable when you bring clarity to the topic and they must face the fact that though they claim to be Christians they do not in fact serve God, and never have. Serving God is not really a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Serving God is the total involvement of a believer in the life of his church. It is a level of commitment that goes way beyond the merely religious. It is a life given over to seeing sinners come to Christ, to seeing those new converts baptized, and to seeing those new converts trained to do what they ought to do. The commitment level is so high that the life which is hid in Christ is a life lived for that purpose.

That is simple to understand, is it not? Simple because there is nothing about the Christian faith and life that is not practical and that is not relatively easy to understand to the mind that has been opened up to truth by God. Today we once more look at another area of the Christian life that has been clouded and shrouded in ambiguity by so many people; the subject of unity. Is it not amazing how many people think unity is all about feeling good and being happy? The Promise Keepers used to get together, some fifty or sixty thousand strong in a large stadium, and think there was unity because a bunch of guys who had no agreement about the Bible, about salvation, about God, or about much else, were all agreed that it was good to be there that day. Those well-intentioned guys had no concept of unity. They did not realize that there can be no unity that is not based upon the foundational truths of God’s Word. Yet those 60,000+ men at each gathering around the country were the strangest mixtures of wild beliefs about how to be saved, about how to have their sins forgiven, and about Who Jesus is and what He did for sinners on the cross. Real unity, on the other hand, has a foundation to it, and that foundation is an already established saving relationship with Jesus Christ and the common commitment to live for Christ as the member of a church.

Remember what we have learned so far, that Paul’s appeals for those ingredients that God would transform into unity were all made to people who were already saved, baptized, and members of the same church? Whether Corinth, or Ephesus, or Colosse, or Philippi, the appeals that Paul made which he hoped would result in unity were appeals that were made to congregations like ours, not appeals made to professing Christians at large. So, how can folks be so confused about such a thing as unity and what leads to unity? Simple. People use terminology they are not familiar with, jargon, buzz words, and even Bible words and phrases that they do not know the meanings of. This evening, how about we try to solve a bit of that problem?

Last week we learned that the Holy Spirit of God is the One Who actually gives unity to a congregation. Only He can provide the unity of the Spirit the scriptures speak of. We also learned last week that a critical prerequisite to unity is lowliness of mind. Lowliness of mind, we see in Philippians 2.3, is the humility that the normally proud person needs to enable him to esteem others better than himself. This is so important, since the world makes such a big deal out of being proud instead of humble, of being high minded instead of being lowly of mind, and of esteeming yourself highly instead of esteeming others better than yourself. However, this stuff is all Greek to me without a concrete explanation of what I have to do, what behavior I have to demonstrate to really give evidence of being humble, lowly of mind, of really esteeming others better than myself. In other words, how do I do this?

Philippians 2.4 is how we do this. Philippians 2.4 is Paul’s explanation of what it is a church member actually does to other church members when he is lowly of mind, when he is esteeming them better than himself. Therefore, since the Bible teaches us to commit our works unto the LORD, and our thoughts will be established, we know that spiritual behavior is behavior that we do whether or not we feel like doing it, whether or not we feel comfortable doing it, and whether or not we are even particularly good at doing it.[1] God’s attitude is, you start doing His will and He will take care of your attitude. Your attitude will come around in due time. This evening you are going to find out what it really means, in practical terms, to act like you are like-minded, to act like you are of one accord, to act like you are of one mind, to act like you are not striving or vainglorious, and to act like you are in lowliness of mind esteeming others better than yourself. This will not mean behaving properly will be easy for you. Neither does it mean you will initially be very good at what God wants you to do. However, it does mean you will never again, for the rest of your life, wonder what it is God wants you to do to create the fertile soil in this church for unity to grow.

Philippians 2.4. Turn there and then stand and read this simple and plain verse with me, please. This evening, let us all read this verse in unison. Ready? “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” This verse can be examined in its two simple parts:

THE FIRST HALF OF THE VERSE IS THE PROHIBITION

“Look not every man on his own things”

Two straightforward sets of comments about this phrase:

First, comments about your occupation. “Look not” - Your occupation as a member of Calvary Road Baptist Church is to not do something. That is, there is something you are not to consume yourself doing. You are not to consume yourself “looking.” The word “look” translates the Greek word skopew, from which we get the English word “scope.” However, this word does not mean to just take a look at something so as to see it. This word refers to paying careful attention to something.[2] Thus, it refers here to setting something as your aim, as your goal, or as the object of your life. Therefore, Paul is telling his readers what not to target, what not to aim for, what not to set as a goal, what not to occupy ourselves with. Do not think you are an exception to what Paul is setting down as a rule of life for a church member, either. Remember, he is addressing his comments to “every man,” “look not every man.” This applies to every church member. No one is to do this.

Second, comments about your observation. What should not be your target, your aim, your goal, your objective? What should your occupation of your observation not be? Yourself. Consider the words “his own things.” My friends, Paul is very clear here that your own things are most definitely not to be the aim of your life. And is this not consistent with what the Lord Jesus Christ taught when He said, “If any man will come after me let him deny himself?”[3] Reflect on this, friend. If you think that the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood and died for you, or that He established the church for you, so that you could be saved from your sins and have a place to go on Sundays, but otherwise live a life unto yourself, achieving your own goals and aspirations, and fulfilling your own dreams, you are mistaken. Christ’s plan is for a sinner to be saved, to then be baptized, and to serve faithfully in this church, spending the rest of your life living for Christ, serving Christ, conducting your marriage and raising your kids to see that your family members and others do likewise.

THE SECOND HALF OF THE VERSE IS THE EXHORTATION

Having told us what not to do, Paul now clarifies for us what to do. Is it not wonderful that the Christian church member does not have a directionless life, but guidance provided in God’s Word? Want to know what it means to be led of the Spirit, Romans 8.14? The Christian who is led of the Spirit is the believer who complies with the direction for living found in God’s Word, such as is found in this very verse.

Notice the specification. “But every man . . . .” Does this seem like Paul favors the 80% - 20% rule that most churches seem to operate by, wherein 20% of the people do 80% of everything and the other 80% do 20% of what is left over? I don’t think so. It seems to me that Paul is of the inspired opinion that for unity to result every single church member is expected to get with it, to do right and to be right and to be serious about serving God. Every man means every man.

Now, notice the consideration. Paul has told us what our aim is not to be, what our objective is not to be, and what our priority is not to be. It is not to be self. It is not to be me. It is not to be I. Wow! This is certainly contrary to the predominant so-called Christian view, is it not? Biblical Christianity, the faith once delivered to the saints, the way it is supposed to be, is salvation through the blood of the crucified One, baptism in obedience to Christ and into your church, and then focus strongly on being a profound blessing to them, not using yourself up on yourself. If folks will actually do this, you can see how unity will result.

Before we proceed, notice the addition. Do you see the word “also?” The word “also” implies that you do not neglect yourself, or your wife, or your kids. That is not spiritual. Remember that in Acts 20.28, Paul told those men to “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” In other words, neglect yourself and your family and you will be unfit to be a blessing to others. However, if you take care of yourself and are a blessing to your family so that you can then be a blessing to others, then God will be well-pleased, you will be demonstrating humility, and God will graciously grant to our church the unity of the Spirit we need to actually serve Him.

What are your priorities? Is it “me first?” If it is, you are a source of continuing division in your church. However, if it is taking heed unto yourself so that you will be in a position to minister to others, be in a position to serve others, be in a position to look after the welfare of others, then you are on the right track, indeed. Remember, folks. We live in a selfish and self-centered world and country. We live in a society that has a serious perpendicular pronoun problem. I. One of the things that should distinguish us is our concern, our effort, and our focus on the others in the body. Let that distinguish us, and let God use that distinguishing feature as the fertile soil in which to grow unity. Do things for your brothers and sisters in this church, because it is right and because it pleases God.

SERMON:

It is a wonderful thing when a group of people are really tight nit. Being a tight nit community is critical to accomplishing things. Championship sports teams can only accomplish what they do when they are tight nit and cohesive on the diamond, or on the field, or on the court. They do not much need to get along when they are not competing, but they must be tight nit while engaged in their collective endeavor. Congregations are much the same way. However, since the Christian life is a 24 hour a day contest against the forces of spiritual darkness, just being tight nit does not cut it for a church. We have to have the unity of the Spirit of God. However, as I said before, unity is something the Holy Spirit gives to congregations who are humble enough to look not on their own things, but also on the things of others.

Why does the Apostle Paul not ask those who are not church members to look on the things of others? Why does he not ask those who are not professing Christians to look on the things of others? Could it be because there is an issue that makes unity out of the question for them? Obviously, unsaved people are not spiritually prepared for unity. However, not so obviously, neither are most professing Christians.

Consider several things with me to see why Paul does not appeal to everyone to lay the groundwork for unity:

First, LOOK AT EVERYONE

From a human perspective. From a human perspective things seem to be okay. Oh, I know that you might have suffered a bit when the economy turned south, and perhaps the neighborhood isn’t what it used to be. But look at the things mankind is accomplishing. Look at the computer revolution. Look at the advances in automobile design. Think about the fact that we now have high density television. And what about smart phones, global positioning satellite technology in cars, and live streaming video? Things are so great that, from a human perspective, we can all look forward to retirement and kicking back until the grim reaper takes us all. We can look forward to the good life in our golden years.

Now, take a look at everyone from God’s perspective. We think we are getting back to doing fine here in our country. There is fighting in Afghanistan and Syria, and North Korea is threatening to launch nuclear warheads. From time to time a suicide bomber makes a statement about Islam at the cost of innocent women and children, but things are fine here now that the Boston bombing has passed. Or are things fine here? Here in the United States more than 4000 unborn infants are brutally murdered each and every day. What would happen if CBS reported that 4000 Mexicans or Canadians were murdered by soldiers wearing white smocks and masks? But here it happens each and every day. Here we are making a very big deal about private ownership of guns by people never arrested for a crime. Then there is the critical problem of second hand smoke. However, no one seems to care that booze causes 100 times more deaths than cigarettes. Three out of every four car wrecks are related to booze. Most armed robberies are committed by guys who have been drinking. Wife beaters are likely as not drunk when they do their manly chores. We are a country that was established by men who embraced godly principles. But we are sadly lacking in that area now. We think it is a wonderful thing that a judge in Alabama stood up for what is right by posting the ten commandments in his court room some years ago. Are you nuts? That means one judge in the country is doing what every judge in the country did a hundred years ago. This country is sick and depraved. A man is actually considering launching a campaign for mayor of New York City who only recently resigned as a United States Congressman for tweeting obscene pictures of himself. My friends, God is judging this nation, and many of our citizens are too stupefied to realize it. Proverbs 14.34 declares that “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Isn’t it incredible that the citizens of the United States are wavering on the issue of what constitutes marriage, on whether or not killing unborn children is wrong, and people undergoing the knife in an attempt to surgically alter their sexual identity? Add to all that nudity and profanity on television and in movies. Is there any doubt about this type of conduct bringing the judgment of a holy God on us? Or does this type of thing show that the judgment of a holy God has already begun to fall on us.

Now, LOOK AT YOURSELF

Where are you in all this?

From a human perspective. You may seem to yourself to be fine. Compared to other members of society, you may be an exemplary citizen. You pay your taxes and don’t cheat on your spouse. You’ve made sure your kids are in school. You mow your lawn. You don’t drive without a license or insurance. You don’t spit on the sidewalk or throw litter from your car.

From God’s perspective, however, there is a serious issue that needs to be resolved. When God moved in judgment against the Jewish people and used Babylon to crush their armies and destroy their cities, He sent an angel through the city of Jerusalem to mark those who would be spared His harsh judgment. Those to be spared, according to Ezekiel 9.4, were “those that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” All the rest were to be smitten, sparing neither young nor old, nor child or maids or women. And begin, God told the angel, “at my sanctuary.” My friend, when you look over the land, what do you see? Do you see sin and wickedness and a nation being eaten by the cancer of sin? As well, what do you see when you look at yourself? Do you someone who is basically okay and a really quite decent person, or do you see what God sees? Understand, when God looks at you He sees only sin and wickedness, He sees only malevolence, He sees only corruption and selfishness, He sees only evil and deceit. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man.”[4] This is what God sees. This is why God concludes that there is none good, no not one.[5] This is why God concludes that there is none righteous, no not one.[6] God, Who is holy, sees all this. “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”[7] Friend, take a look at yourself as God sees you. You are sinful and not holy. Yet, without holiness no man shall see the Lord.[8] Because of your sin, it is a fearful to fall into the hands of the living God.[9] And you can’t be both sinful and holy. Look at yourself with the eyes that see and you will see that your soul stands in peril from minute to minute.

Now, LOOK AT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

From a human perspective. From a human perspective the Lord Jesus Christ seems like such a nice man. But from the human perspective that’s all He is. He’s just a nice man. He went about doing good. He was kind and generous. But He really was nothing more than that. That’s the Lord Jesus Christ from man’s perspective.

From God’s perspective He is so much more. Do you realize that the Lord Jesus Christ, the virgin born Son of the living God is, Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity? Do you recognize that He is coequal in every way with the Father and with the Spirit of God, that He is all-powerful and sovereign? Look to Him with the eyes of faith and you will see that He left heaven’s glory to become a man, and that as One Who was both man and God He took upon Himself all your sins and shed His blood to pay God’s penalty for sins, and Who rose from the dead after three days. Look to Him with eyes of faith and you will see One Who is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, Who is ready to save sinners who come to Him by faith, and Who is preparing to come to this earth again, not as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as the King of kings and as the Lord of lords, conquering and to conquer all who resist Him, all who deny Him, all who do not trust Him.

Why did Paul not ask everyone to do those things that would lead to unity? Simple. Everyone does not have the right look. Those Philippians had looked to Jesus for salvation, but Paul’s concern was about them looking out for each other the way church members should. So, Paul appealed to those people who had looked to Jesus Christ for salvation to begin looking after each other properly so unity would result. Paul couldn’t do that with everyone because everyone is not saved. And everyone not saved because everyone has not looked at himself from God’s perspective and seen himself to be a savable sinner. Not really. And everyone has not looked to Jesus for forgiveness from your sins.

My friend, I want to ask you, very seriously, to look at yourself and then look at the Savior from God’s perspective, from the vantage point that we find in the Bible. And then come to Jesus for salvation from your sins. You are not so holy that you do not need a Savior. Neither are you so sinful that you cannot be saved. You are perfectly qualified for the Savior of sinful men’s souls, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the living God.



[1] Proverbs 16.3

[2] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 931.

[3] Matthew 16.24; Mark 8.34; Luke 9.23

[4] Mark 7.21-23

[5] Romans 3.12

[6] Romans 3.10

[7] 2 Chronicles 19.7

[8] Hebrews 12.14

[9] Hebrews 10.31



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org