A time for……..Humility
Sermon date: March 24th
Reading: Philippians 2 v. 5-11
Who would you say has shown great humility, whether past or present?
Either in your own life or people who have been noticed publically?
Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Gandhi, Pope Francis?
Can you define what true humility is?
Humility is having a good understanding of our self-worth and self-image found in Christ alone. A Godly self-image is when we truly see ourselves as God sees us, holy and beloved. There is no arrogance or sense of being puffed up, we find our security in God.
Please read Philippians 2 v. 5-11 together
Paul is writing to the Philippians, to teach them how to live their lives, he begins in many translations with ‘therefore’ as he looks back to what he has said in chapter 1 v. 27 ‘conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ’ and ‘If there is any….’ introduces the basis for Paul’s exhortation on unity, humility and love among the believers at the time.
These few verses surely capture some of the most profound truths in the NT that have ever confronted the reader, and hopefully will inspire each one of us on our Christian journey. It is an amazing passage, yet there is always a temptation as we study, to forget the context and culture and to skip to only what it means today. The passage is about people quarrelling in the church at Philippi. The unrest was threatening to destroy the unity of the whole church. Paul has already made it clear that the secret of maintaining unity is humility. Pride in the individual, in a church, in a government, in a nation, will always destroy. So, as we study, remember how it was applicable then and it will be easy to then see how it is applicable today.
Pride will always divide, bring conflict, break up personal relationships and remove peace from our lives. The way to always move forward when we disagree is to seek for each person to show humility, V.5 ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus’
Q.1 Can you think of examples of this, where you have seen pride destroying relationships?
How can we show humility, when we are angry, passions are enflamed and patience is at breaking point! How do we stop the urge to defend ourselves? I want to be clear, I am not talking here about those who find themselves in abusive or oppressive relationships.
Q.2 If you feel able to do so, can you share a time when you have had to become humble in order to resolve conflict with another? or
Q.3 Has there been a time in your life where you have had to turn away and the conflict wasn’t resolved?
There is no condemnation in our response, we all recoil from conflict, there is no right or wrong as you discuss what has happened in the past. Sharing will help us draw close to each other as a group.
Paul gives us a clear process to follow in these few verses, in V.6-8 he reminds us of who Jesus is.
Please read out loud v.6-8
It is hard for us to grasp with our human minds, what exactly ‘being in very nature God’ really means, but as we read in John 1, ‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made’ This verse gives us a statement of the fullness of God. In Hebrews at the beginning, the writer gives us another image of the substance of God ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’
‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive and the glory of the person is the contemplation of God’ Dunstan
All of this exalts Jesus and lays out before the church in Philippi the foolishness of their disputes.
Q 4 Discuss together what ‘being in very nature God’ means to you?
Then in v. 8, we move to why we should become humble. Jesus made himself nothing, became a servant, was in appearance a man, humbled himself and became obedient, even unto death. Jesus lived under this ‘knowing’ all his life. He was misunderstood, deserted by his friends, betrayed by his disciples, handed over to be mocked, spitted upon, then stripped, flogged and outcast and yet.
Q.5 How do you feel the people in the church in Phillip would have responded to those first few verses that we have looked at?
Godly humility is a change in us, when we take on the fullness of what God has done, when we ‘see’ fully and clearly how Jesus lived his life, when we believe that The Holy Spirit is dwelling within us and if only we would allow him, to transform our very substance, we might then dare to believe that we might become more Christ like.
Q.6 What does this say to you?
Then in V. 9-11 Paul gives us a wonderful exhortation of praise. He is saying to the church in Philippi, you have the mind of Christ, Jesus in all his fullness, in your life. So, why don’t we stop resisting with clench fists, and open up our hands and receive. Accept, become humble, then peace will descend and you will be filled with praise and joy in a way that you have never experienced it before.
Q.7 How has looking at this passage helped you to understand more of the humility of Jesus and how will you try to move forward with a more humble heart in your own life?
There are many areas of our lives where we need to be more humble, it’s not always about another person, selfishness and lack of integrity could also be other areas which you might like to discuss together.
How might you as a group help each other grow in humility?
And are there people or situations that you feel need to be reconciled in your life, what might be the next steps in making this happen?
Please be aware that for some, the person to whom they need to be reconciled may be dead.
Father, we ask that we might be open and allow your Holy Spirit to show us where we need to let go of pride and allow humility to grow in us. Help each of us to have the mind of Christ in what we say and do, and bring us your peace, so that our hearts might praise you, more fully with joy. Amen
Sharon Seal, 19/03/2019