Other people’s things

Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day seven)

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”–v 4.

When Paul thought about unity,he realized pride is always the problem.

When he thought about pride, he realized SELFishness is the way it usually presents. Proud people aren’t always arrogant, just SELF-centered.

So, Paul taught the Philippians to look after the interests of others.  To care “for their things” (literal translation).  To develop (and practice) the ability to listen to what others are saying.

Like opposing sides in an angry protest, we often shout our opinions without any real attempt to hear what others are saying, feel what they are feeling, value what they are valuing.

“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request”–Phillip Stanhope.  “Big egos have little ears”–Robert Schuller.

You, my brother?  How are you doing on God’s assignment to look after the things of others?

Active Humility

Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day six)

“…he did not count equality with God and thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. -Paul, Philippians 2:7

Jesus emptied himself. There is nothing passive in Christ’s humility. He did not allow the incarnation, He willed it. Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17) This is the kind of humility that Paul declares is ours in Jesus, an active humility. A kind of humility that takes the first move; it doesn’t wait to be asked, or need to be noticed by men to do what is required.

Remember when Jesus told His disciples, “If you really want to be great you must become a servant to all.” Nope, there is nothing passive about that, and I need a lot more of that kind of humility! How about you?


Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day five)

V. 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient

All of Jesus’ choices, decisions, and priorities were grounded in obedience. Jesus would say His greatest desire is, “to do the will of Him who sent me”. (John 4, John 6) “For I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29)

Paul directly connects obedience with humility in this passage. Why?  “Obedience is the best humility, laying yourself at the feet of Jesus, and making your will active only when you know what it is God’s will for you to do. This is to be truly humble.” – Charles Spurgeon

Jesus’ obedience and humility were grounded in His love and devotion to the scriptures as well as His time and faithfulness in prayer. He showed us how to obey God as a man. He not only discovered His purpose, but He lived on mission with joy and courage. Have you found God’s purpose and mission?  Are you living it out with joy and courage?

Blessed are the Meek

Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day four)

Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient…”  He did not give up His power or His authority.  He submitted it all to the authority of God.  Jesus was willing to suffer and even die to fulfill the will of His Father.  In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus taught the very same truth.  “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)  Meekness does not mean weakness…meekness is power under the control of a master.

Are you a strong willed, choleric, type-A personality?  Have you placed your will under the control of Jesus?  Are you mild mannered, quiet, and a submissive personality?  You too are called to submit to His authority.  Why would we want to do that (besides the wonderful promise of inheriting the earth)?  Look at verse 11…”that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Sounds like a worthy objective for our lives!


Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day three)

“In humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Well, that’s not going to happen.  Honestly.  It should happen.  But for many of us—probably for most of us—that is just not something we will do.  Think about how heartbreaking that reality is.  It can happen, however, if the will of a human being comes under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Consider such great power—that the Holy Spirit can actually teach a man to stand down from the guard tower of his own self-interest.  How can such a transformation begin?  By making this stark admission to God: I don’t want to think like Christ.  This is, in effect, the way people such as Job and Jonah and Peter spoke to the Lord.  God will answer such honesty, and you will never be the same if you’ll take his response seriously.


Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day two) Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Vs. 2

It is one of the questions that comes up frequently to the leadership of FBCSA, and it is also a central theme of our new paradigm. Individuals with much institutional memory remember the days when the church was less complex in structure and they long for us to be “united” again. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Everyone in the same place, experiencing the same thing at the same time. Yes, indeed, but that doesn’t paint a very accurate picture of our body. We are diverse, with different needs, languages, and experiences. We are large and small, young and old, but we are united.

Being united, does not mean all the same. What unites us is our love of scripture and our commitment to Re:Verse. Our staff and leadership are united in common purpose to reach and disciple. Our resources are all channeled to a single model. We are more united than many realize. It may not look like it did, but it sure feels like we understand this scripture.


Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day one)

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”–v 4.

It is the opposite of Charlottesville.  The opposite of the new, nasty norm in contemporary American politics.  Rather than look out for ourselves (our race, our political party) followers of Christ will look out for the interests of others.  We will ask a different question.  What is best for all parties?  What is wise and fair for everyone involved?

Not an easy assignment, I agree.  It requires time to hear each other.  Time to consider opinions/feelings not my own.  Even so, it is a better path.  Learned from the “Prince of Peace”.

“A kingdom divided against itself will not stand” said the same Prince on another day. And no one should imagine that our nation will be the exception.

Want to build a church?  Want to build a city?  The Savior will teach us how.

Am I willing?

Re:Verse reading–James 2:14-26 (day seven)

“But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?”–v 20

Hard question.  Important.  Requires some soul-searching.  Am I willing to learn/know God’s truth?  Willing to change the way I see things?  Or, just looking for an opportunity to argue, determined to convince God to “see it my way”?

Sometimes, if I am honest, it’s the latter.  Not really open to change, not really listening for a new perspective, not really considering a new position or direction, I want what I want. End of sentence.

Deep in the human heart is a stubborn switch that has significant power–power to allow spiritual progress, power to resist it.  It is called “the will”.

“If anyone is willing (same word that James used) to do His will, he will know whether the teaching is from God.”–Jesus (John 7:17)

Stubborn pride is a locked door. Ask yourself.  Am I willing?

All Talk and No Action

Re:Verse reading–James 2:14-26 (day six)

“Faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) That is how Paul describes a faith that works, much like his pastor friend James does in James 2. They were very much on the same page; both tackling the same issue-dead faith.

Dead faith is all talk and no action. It is all sitting, thinking, speaking, but no going and doing. If we are not careful we will describe ourselves mostly as a people who gather together and sit; we gather for worship, we gather for Bible study, we gather for meetings, etc. That’s not faith, and it is not what it means to be the church. The church is not a place or only a gathering; it is a people who are working out their faith through love in a particular place. By faith the church is sent, it doesn’t just sit.

Faith Without Works

Re:Verse reading–James 2:14-26 (day four)

Can we claim a valid, saving faith if it does not result in works of mercy and ministry?  James says “no.”  James would not disagree with Paul or Jesus that we are saved by grace through faith alone.  James is going one step further and saying that if our faith has any usefulness, it will result in works of service.

Here at First Baptist, San Antonio, we put action to our faith.  Christmas Care, Disaster Relief, ESL training, serving military, working at Lamar and Briscoe elementary schools, backpack ministry, Mission: Dignity, SA Christian Dental Clinic, community garden—all of these ministries and more are doing what James tells us to do.  How about you?  Are you involved in serving and ministering to others…giving your faith the opportunity to exercise and grow?  Find out more about these ministry areas in our church and get to work.  Faith without works is useless!