Expository Preaching
J. Michael Shannon and Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright J. Michael Shannon, 1982
"Living the Life of Christ"
Philippians 2:1-11

Introduction:  Our age tells us to look out for number one.  It glorifies those who have power and know how to use it.  Yet Jesus said he who would be greatest should be servant of all.  Paul must have learned humility from Christ.

Proposition:  The Christian must understand the benefits of humility and the source of humility.


A.  You can achieve unity (not uniformity).
1.  You can find motivation for living.
2.  You can find comfort in His love.
3.  You can find fellowship in His Spirit.
4.  You can find goodness.
B.  You can control ambition.
C.  You can ease boasting.
D.  You can display honor.
E.  You can show concern.
A.  The status He surrendered
B.  The service He offered
C.  The sacrifice He endured
D.  The supremacy He commands
In humility we honor Christ.
In humility we minister to each other.
In humility we receive joy.

    Among the interesting motto T-shirts created lately is this one that fits our times: "Woman has to do twice as much as a man to be considered half as good.  Fortunately, it's not difficult."

    The boxer who is now known as Muhammed Ali began life as Cassius Clay.  When he reached fame, he changed his name.  He said Clay was a name that came from slavery and he would not wear it any longer.  What he did not know was this: THE Cassius Clay for whom he was named was a fiery opponent of slavery.  He opposed it at a time when it was quite dangerous to do so.  On the other hand, the original Muhammed Ali had done nothing to replace slavery with freedom!  In his pride, the boxer had displayed his ignorance, spurned the man who helped his people's cause and named himself after a man who had done nothing for it at all!

    There is a time-honored custom in the Syrian Orthodox Church.  A basin of water is brought, and the bishop washes the feet of the choir boys.  Even symbolic humility may be instructive, but our minds run to a more practical humility.  We need to be humble enough to wash feet that are dirty, not feet already clean; to do it practically, not just symbolically.  To reach out to the world's hurting, hungry people and never think ourselves too important to serve them.  Jesus, on the night before the world's most significant event, did not think himself too important to wash the disciples feet!

    Robert Goizueta is the president of the Coca-Cola Company.  He likes to quote Henry Ford.  Ford said, "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do."  Commenting on that quotation, Goizueta said, "We must lead by example first, then by precept."  That is exactly what Jesus has done.  He leads us by example.

    Rivers gain more attention than the little streams that create them.  You can name the great rivers of the world, but you cannot name their tributaries.  However, without the tributaries, there would be no river.  And it must be remembered that the smaller streams, while less well-known, are purer and are found on a higher elevation.  Some of our lives are tributary lives.  It is our role to provide the pure water from the higher elevation that enables another to be a mighty river of power and influence.

    It was just shortly after the resurrection. Jesus must have had many very important things to do.  Yet He took the time to gather some sticks, build a fire, and cook breakfast for the disciples beside the sea.  It is amazing that He should do that.  We think ourselves too important for the menial tasks of life.  We say that we have such important things to do that these must be left for others.  But Jesus, in a superb example of humility, came from the victory of the resurrection to the simple task of building a fire and cooking breakfast.

    Sadly, we get our ideas of humility from Uriah Heep, in the novels of Dickens, or from Casper Milquetoast in the comics, and not from Jesus, and Moses, and Paul.  Biblical humility must be understood in the light of Biblical lives, not in fiction or fantasy.

Live With Perspective (1:12-30)
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