“Getting the Win” Philippians 2:5-11
Winners think they will win BEFORE they've won.
The big difference is in how a man thinks. His attitude will govern his actions.
For instance . . .
A winner is always ready to tackle something new ... a loser is prone to believe it can't be done.
A winner isn't afraid of competition ... a loser avoids it, thinking the competition will beat him.
A winner knows he's sometimes wrong and is willing to admit his mistakes ... a loser usually finds someone else to blame.
A winner is challenged by a new problem ... a loser doesn't want to face it.
A winner is decisive ... a loser frustrates himself with indecision.
A winner realizes there is no time like the present to get a job done ... a loser is prone to procrastinate with the hope that things will be better tomorrow.
A winner thinks positively ... acts positively... and lives positively ... a loser usually has a negative attitude and a negative approach to everything.
Winners win because they think differently:
“I’m not losing, I’m just behind at the moment….”I’m behind so I’ll just play harder…….
In the final message of this series “”Making God’s ‘A’ Team”, we are going to learn that not only do winners think differently but thinking differently IS THE WIN – when thinking differently means THIKING LIKE JESUS!
So far we have examined three attitudes that make God’s Team:
UNITY – Committing To Think Like Christ, Aiming My Thoughts At His Word And My Emotions At His Will.
HUMILITY – Thinking Of How To Serve God And How To Serve Others.
COMMUNITY – Committing To Live In Unity And Humility With Others And Seeking To Call Out The Best In Them
The reason Paul wrote these words to the Philippians Church for a very specific reason – they were struggling with those very attitudes of unity, humility and community. So He points them to another winning attitude – SPIRITUALITY – the result of thinking and acting like Jesus!
Look To God’s Word With Me:
Philippians 2:5-11 – “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Here’s How To Think Like A Winner:
WINNERS THINK OUTWARD, Vv. 6-8
Peyton Manning of the Colts is a proven winner. You can be sure he will be looking outward this afternoon. He will be quickly scanning the defense and finding the open receiver, reading the blitz, and knowing what audible to call.
A winner is constantly looking over the field or the court gathering and processing data – adjusting – adapting – it is impossible to win if you are not thinking outward.
Paul was clearly thinking outward – which is why he wrote this letter in this way to this church. He was aware that they were not in a winning frame of mind. They were not winning because they had lost their unity & humility. They had become self-seeking, vain and contentious. Their sense of community had been destroyed and they weren’t close to getting it back. So – Paul points them to the example of ONE Who thought outwardly – and did it better than anyone ever did – JESUS.
If you want to know what it means to think outwardly – learn from Christ. He thought outside or beyond Himself and His needs. Verses 6-8 give us some amazing insights to how He thought:
“Who being in very nature God…..” - “NATURE” = “morphe” – “ESSENCE”
“Did not consider equality with God…” – “EQUAL” = “isos” = “EXACTLY SAME”
“Something to be grasped……” – Here is an amazing irony. The very thing that Lucifer coveted and Adam craved and that powers our own sin nature is the VERY THING THAT JESUS POSSESSED – and voluntarily gave it up! He did not clutch it – He did not leverage it – He did not rely on it – what did He do with it?
He made Himself nothing…..” – This self-emptying is called The “Kenosis”. It means “self-depravation” – Jesus deprived Himself of what was rightfully His – the glory and beauty and majesty that accompany His position at the right hand of the Father and came to earth. He could separate Himself from all of His divine attributes but by putting on flesh He veiled His full glory and limited the expression of His divine power.
When you are a majestic, glorious spiritual being and you empty yourself into human flesh you certainly lose something in the translation.
One of the things we fear the most – that we are nothing and that our life means nothing. The need for meaning and significance are strong motivating forces in our lives. Jesus had ALL OF THAT and gave it all up to become NOTHING! Why? So He could make us into something!
“And being found in appearance as a man…..” - The word for this is “hypostasis” and means “substance” or “essence”. The doctrine of the “hypostatic” union declares that Jesus was 100 o/o God and 100 o/o man – one Man with two natures!
The Second Person of the Godhead emptied Himself by pouring His life into the flesh and blood of a man we came to know as Jesus of Nazareth – Jesus the Christ!
“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross…”
Imagine the most embarrassing humiliating thing that can happen to you and then imagine voluntarily surrendering yourself to that. That would be humbling and humiliating. People don’t normally do things like that BUT JESUS DID!
Crucifixion was the most degrading form of human punishment known to the Romans. The word “cross” was never mentioned in polite society.
By Jewish law, anyone who died on a cross died under the curse of God.
You may be thinking, “Brad, that doesn’t sound like winning to me! How can dying a horrible humiliating death be considered winning?”
It was a win because it was obedience! Jesus was a winner because He obeyed God! He thought outward – outside of His own self-interest and accomplished the will of God! Every time we obey God’s will – we win, no matter what it may cost us at the time!
SO, WE ARE COMMANDED TO HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE THAT CHRIST HAD. THAT MEANS WE ARE TO THINK OUTWARD – OR TO THINK OUTSIDE OF OUR SELF…….Working For Unity……Practicing Humility…..Living In Sacrificial Obedience.
The Church at Philippi was struggling in strife and disunity because the members were not thinking outwardly. They were losing – not winning. They were competing for power and position and prestige constantly trying to muscle their way to the top.
IMAGINE HOW IT WOULD FEEL TO BE PART OF A FELLOWSHIP WHERE EVERY MEMBER COMMITTED TO THINKING OUTWARD – COMMITTING TO UNITY AND HUMILITY AND LIVING IN OBEDIENCE – WOULDN’T THAT BE A GREAT COMMUNITY?
WINNERS THINK UPWARD, Vv. 9-11
Practically every sport I know about requires you to look upward if you want to win……
The Great Apostle Paul became a winner because he constantly looked up and thought upward. He focused his eyes and his mind upward to the things of God. He instructs the Church at Philippi to think OUTWARD and also to think UPWARD.
Jesus thought UPWARD and verses 9-11 show us what that looked like:
“Therefore God exalted Him…..”
An amazing thing happened when Jesus humbled Himself………….
“…to the highest place…..”
When Jesus gave up His place, when He stopped jostling for position and refused to push His way to the top. When He surrendered His rightful place – GOD GAVE HIM A HIGHER PLACE!
“….and gave Him a Name that is above every name!”
When Jesus refused to cling to His reputation and humbled Himself in obedience, God exalted Him!
When Jesus surrendered all and claimed nothing and suffered awfully God gave Him everything. But Jesus did not do it for that reason – He did it to honor the Father. When we honor God with obedience He will exalt us in His time.
“That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Now we have come full circle. Because Jesus was willing to lose it all in humble obedience to the Father, God exalted Him and raised Him up and now all creation worships Him. And those who won’t worship now WILL worship Him then!
There is a popular Christmas Carole that declares Jesus as “Lord at His birth” – but that is not so. Jesus had to resist temptation, experience the trials of life, and then suffer rejection, injustice and an excruciating death on a cross in order to become Lord. But now, as Lord, He is worthy of highest praise!
He became a winner because no one has lost more than Him or sacrificed more than Him – He Thought Outward and He Thought Upward.
What are you willing to surrender? What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to suffer in order to obey God. How much are you willing to lose in order for Him to win?
WINNERS THINK INWARD, V. 5
Here’s what it comes down to – we – you and I must have this same attitude that Christ displayed. If you are to be a “Christ-One” you must have His attitude. THAT IS THE WIN!
One of our main themes in this entire series has been the fact that you can choose your attitude. It is one of the few things in your life that you can actually control. And because you can, God expects you to do it.
God doesn't ask you to adopt the power of positive thinking. He doesn't require you to study possibility thinking. He is not into attitude improvement. He wants to transform your heart and mind so that you think, and act, and love like Christ. It's not a good attitude He expects, it is a godly attitude.
How do I get a Christ-like attitude? Do I will my way into it? No, but you do need to aim your will toward God and His will. You need, like Christ, to come into unity with God. Unlike Christ, you have a sinful will, so you need to confess your sin and repent of it. Like Christ, you must surrender your will to God and accept His will as your will. Every thought and decision after that should be in unity with God.
Then, when you have united with God you must, like Christ, live in humility. How? By always honoring God first and others second. Every thought, attitude and action must be guided by an humble commitment to please God and serve others. That is the attitude of Christ.
When you have united with God and surrendered to humility, then you are ready to live in community with like-minded believers. That is what creates a dynamic healthy fellowship! That is a place where the Spirit of God can transform and where the love of God and heal and where the contagious joy of the Lord can attract others into the Body. That is what I envision for FredWes. No program can cause this. No strategy can create it. No ministry approach or worship style can make it suddenly appear. Only individual believers like you and me can decide that more than anything else in life, we want to have the attitude of Christ.
Christ didn't cling to power and He had it all!
Is a desire for power and control keeping you from having the attitude of Christ? Is it preventing you from surrendering your will and uniting with the will of God?
Christ didn't hold onto His position and He was in the highest place!
Could it be that some selfish ambition for a higher position created within you some self-seeking thoughts and attitudes?
Christ didn't hold onto His privilege. He was the highly honored Son of Good seated in a place of glory in the presence of the Father!
Search you heart and mind to see if there might be an attitude or desire that craves attention that needs to feel significance. Could that be keeping you from coming into unity with God and living humbling before Him?
We are called to unity, humility and community. But we cannot attain those apart from Christ. We don't think yourself into Christ-likeness. You surrender yourself, you humble yourself, you die to your selfish desires. Only God can make you like Christ. Only He can "morphe" you into Christ-likeness!
What will you choose? What attitude will you take toward the will of God? Will you bow your knee to Him today? Every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess that He is Lord. There will be that brief moment in eternity where everyone has a right attitude - but it will be too late for many of the them.
Why not unite with His Spirit and His will? Why not humble yourself and live for Him?