Selfless Sacrifice

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Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself for us.

Philippians(2) (Part of the Easter(2) series)
by Stuart Johns(68) on April 1, 2018 (Sunday Morning(85))

Easter(1), Gospel(10), Resurrection(1)

EASTER SUNDAY 2018

Selfless Sacrifice

(Philippians 2:5-11)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Millionaires are booming in the U.S.

 

Since 2008, the country has added 1.1 million millionaires to its roster – a growth rate of 28.6 percent.

 

What do they know that the 99% don’t?

 

There’s one key investing concept millionaires have mastered, according to Brent Fykes, a senior investment partner at GenSpring:

 

They know when to stop being greedy.

 

‘[Most average investors] tend to want to dabble in the stock market and buy the latest hot stock like Facebook or Apple,’ he told Bankrate.com.

 

On the other hand, wealthy investors ‘by nature are less risky because they’ve created a nest egg and don’t need it to grow at incredible rates . . . They just want to stay rich. ​​ On the whole, the 99 percent is in the get rich mode.’

 

This passage from Investopedia drives the point home:

Perhaps the No. 1 killer of investment return is your emotions. ​​ The axiom that fear and greed rule the market is true. ​​ Do not let fear or greed overtake you. ​​ Focus on the bigger picture. ​​ Stock market returns may deviate wildly over a shorter time frame, but over the long term, historical returns for large cap stocks can average 10 to 11%. ​​ Realize that, over a long time horizon, your portfolio’s returns should not deviate much from those averages. ​​ In fact, you may benefit from the irrational decisions of other investors.”

 

Mandi Woodruff, “Consider Greed The First Deadly Sin Of Investing,” http://www.businessinsider.com/greed-is-the-deadly-sin-of-investing-2013-3

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Envy

        • Envy is easy to fall into, especially in this age of technology

        • It’s not hard to do in the pastorate, because I see what other churches are doing and wish that we were able to do those same things here

        • If I allowed envy to have full reign in my life, it wouldn’t be long and I would become discontent here and begin looking for another church where I could serve

        • Envy can drive us to do things we wouldn’t normally do

          • Judy and I were on vacation one year and because of that we let our guard down

          • The sales representative played on our desire to have a nice place to stay when we went on vacation – something better than a hotel or motel room – something with multiple bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, and living room

          • We were cautious, but still invested in something that we probably shouldn’t have

          • These deals are not easy to get out of – they’ve designed it that way on purpose

          • We were really envying how other people take vacations instead of being content with what we normally do

        • Those desires of envy boil down to the fact that I want to feed my own pride

    • Pride

        • Envy and pride go hand-in-hand

        • I want people to look up to me and consider me to be a success and a great leader

        • It’s the desire to be known that feeds pride in me

        • It’s a reflection of the sin of selfishness in my own life

        • This sin of selfishness can take many forms – envy/pride, greed, ambition/peer pressure

 

  • WE

    • Envy

        • Perhaps you struggle with envy in the position that you hold at work

          • It doesn’t make any sense how or why that other person got the promotion when you should have gotten it

          • You’re better at what you do than anyone else

          • When you allow envy to control you, you struggle with contentment at work

          • It affects your relationships with others

          • You can become paranoid of why people are doing and saying certain things

          • You can incorrectly read something into a statement or action that is said or done

        • As a young person your envy is primarily directed toward those at school

          • You wish your hair, eyes, body, teeth, etc. were like someone else’s

          • You wish that learning came as easy to you as it does to that really smart guy or girl in your class who always gets an “A” on the tests and throws off the grading curve

          • If you’re on a sports team, perhaps you envy the person who seems to be able to excel at the sport without trying very hard

    • Greed

        • Greed is defined as, “Excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” ​​ [dictionary.com]

        • Maybe this form of selfishness is the one you’re struggling with

        • Everything you do is centered around making money so you can purchase things

        • The show Clean House highlighted those who had an excessive desire for possessions

          • The show helped families get their house in order

          • It also helped the family overcome some emotional issues that had led to the “mayhem and foolishness” as the host of the show always says

        • Envy can lead to greed

          • Perhaps you’ve done some things that you would not normally do in order to achieve greater wealth

          • You work out a business deal that will make you a bigger profit, but jeopardize the safety of your product – you just hope that most of them will be fine

          • Many times you will compromise your value system in order to achieve greater wealth or possessions

          • Maybe you work out a deal with your friends at school to help you fund a project or event that will benefit you the most – you use your influence and persuasive abilities to convince them that it will benefit them more than it actually will

          • You know that trading a certain toy with another boy or girl at school is not an equal trade, but will benefit you more than them, because you’ll receive the more valuable toy

        • This is a reflection of the sin of selfishness in your life

    • Ambition/Peer Pressure

        • Perhaps the driving force in your life is status or prestige

        • Greed many times accompanies ambition or prestige

        • Your desire to maintain the status you have may drive you to not do what’s right

        • You may begin to listen to the voices of those around you who’ve made you what you are today instead of listening to the truth of God’s Word or being confident in what you know is right

        • Your beliefs become skewed and tainted by what others think

        • You are no longer your own

    • Biblical examples

        • There were two individuals and one group who struggled with these sins of selfishness as it pertained to the life of Jesus and the final days before His death, burial, and resurrection

 

  • GOD

    • Selfishness

        • Judas Iscariot – Greed (John 12:4-6; Matthew 26:14-16)

          • Judas struggled with the sin of greed

            • John 12:4-6, But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? ​​ It was worth a year’s wages.” ​​ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

            • When Mary anointed Jesus feet with perfume (pure nard), we see in John 12:4-6 that he was indignant and scolded Mary for being wasteful

            • He tried to sound spiritual by saying that the perfume could be sold and the proceeds used to help the poor

            • He knew the value of the perfume and how much money could be added to the disciples coffer

            • He was the one who took care of the money bag for the disciples and routinely helped himself to what was in there

            • His intentions were not pure, but rather greedy

          • Jesus scolds Judas for bothering Mary

            • No one really enjoys being corrected, but this is what happened to Judas in public

            • We then see in Matthew 26:14-16 that Judas meets with the chief priests and asks them what they are willing to give him in exchange for handing over Jesus

            • The chief priests count out 30 silver coins and gave them to him

            • From that point on he watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over

          • It was selfishness expressed through greed and perhaps pride that caused Judas to reject Jesus and follow Satan

        • Chief Priests – Envy/Pride (Matthew 26:59-68; 27:18)

          • Imagine being a chief priest in the Jewish tradition during this time

            • You were highly respected and rarely questioned if at all

            • Achieving this level of prestige was something that perhaps many Jewish priests aspired to

            • Everyone looked up to you and would listen to every word you had to say

            • You would teach, and people would take it as law

            • You had the power to influence people in any direction you desired

          • Jesus arrives on the scene

            • He begins to draw large crowds and people begin to follow Him and listen to every word He says

            • They are no longer listening to you

            • In fact, Jesus scolds you on multiple occasions in public, making you look foolish instead of intelligent

            • Even when you finally are able to arrest Jesus because of a traitor in his inner circle of 12, you can’t make any of the false accusations stick

            • You finally have to claim blasphemy as your reason for condemning Him to death, but your Jewish law doesn’t allow you to put anyone to death

            • You take Jesus before the Roman governor because the Roman law allows for death

            • The Roman governor tries to protect Jesus because he knows why the chief priests have handed Him over

            • Matthew 27:18, For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

            • The chief priests were jealous and envious of the power that Jesus exhibited not only in His teaching, but in His ability to heal people

            • They were envious of the fact that Jesus was doing things on the Sabbath that they, had been falsely taught for years, was wrong

          • It was selfish envy that caused the chief priests to reject Jesus as the Messiah and turn Him over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified

        • Pontius Pilate – Ambition/Peer Pressure (Matthew 27:15-26)

          • Questioning of Jesus

            • After talking with Jesus, Pilate knew that the trumped up charges of causing riots, claiming to be a king, and encouraging people not to pay taxes, were false

            • He wasn’t dull and was able to see through the smoke screen to the real reason the Jews brought Jewish to him – it was envy

            • That’s why Pilate stated multiple times that he found no basis to charge Jesus with any crime

          • Pilate’s wife

            • Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus that caused her great suffering

            • She encouraged Pilate not to have anything to do with an innocent man

          • Other avenues

            • Pilate tried desperately not to be a part of salvation history

            • He sent Jesus to Herod, so he wouldn’t have to make a decision

            • He tried offering to release Jesus or a real criminal and the Jews chose the real criminal, Barabbas, over Jesus

            • He tried washing his hands of the situation, so he would not be held accountable

          • The decision

            • Pilate’s final decision was made because of his selfish desire to remain as the governor instead of doing what he knew was right

            • Matthew 27:24-26, When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ​​ “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. ​​ “It is your responsibility!” ​​ All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” ​​ Then he released Barabbas to them. ​​ But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

            • John 19:12, From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. ​​ Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

            • Pilate had already been in trouble with Tiberius Caesar on at least two other occasions and he could not afford to be in trouble with him again

            • Caesar only allowed men to remain in positions of power who were able to maintain control of the people

            • So Pilate gave in to the will of the people

          • It was Pilate’s selfish desire to preserve himself and his status that caused him to reject Jesus and hand Him over to be crucified

    • Selflessness (Philippians 2:5-11)

        • Greed (2:5-6)

          • Philippians 2:5-6, 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, . . .

          • Jesus is the Son of God

          • He was there when the world was created

          • He knows about the riches of Heaven

          • He owns everything

          • He has unlimited power

          • Jesus sacrificed all of that for you

            • He set aside the right to his glory and power

            • Even as He suffered a horrible beating at the hands of Roman soldiers, He did not use His power to avoid it

            • As He suffered the brutal death of crucifixion on a cross, He could have called down angels from heaven to minister to Him but He chose not to

            • He showed no signs of an excessive desire for wealth or possessions

          • He was selfless

        • Ambition/Status (2:7)

          • Philippians 2:7, . . . but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

          • Jesus made Himself nothing

          • He took on the very nature of a servant

          • Jesus was selfless when it came to ambition or status

          • He did not allow what others thought about Him to affect what He came to do

            • Mark 8:31-33, He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. ​​ He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ​​ But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ​​ “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. ​​ “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

            • John 11:7-8, Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” ​​ “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”

          • He knew what was right and He followed through with it even though the Roman soldiers mocked Him and beat Him

        • Envy/Pride (2:8)

          • Philippians 2:8, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

          • Jesus showed humility as He went to the cross

          • He didn’t let His deity stop Him from accomplishing His mission and goal

          • He wasn’t prideful about His position as the Son of God, but was willing to take on the essence of man in order to save you and me

          • Perhaps the chief priests wouldn’t have envied Jesus if they had understood who He was and why He had come to earth

          • Jesus selflessly became obedient to death on the cross

        • Jesus’ Exaltation (2:9-11)

          • Jesus death brought you victory, because His death destroyed the devil who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) ​​ [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]

          • Jesus’ resurrection vindicated Him and declared with power that He is the Son of God and that His death was effective for the forgiveness of sins [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]

          • Philippians 2:9-11, 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.

 

  • YOU

    • Jesus died for your sin

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of envy/pride, Jesus died to take your punishment

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of greed, this excessive desire for wealth or possessions, Jesus paid your fine

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of ambition/compromise, Jesus shed His blood so you could be set free

        • My greatest desire for you is that you’ll recognize all that God has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ

          • Romans 3:10-12, As it is written: ​​ “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

          • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          • Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ​​ While were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          • Romans 10:8-10, 13, But what does it say? ​​ “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: ​​ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

        • You may be here today and can say that you know about God and you know what Jesus Christ did for you when He died on the cross, but there is something that is holding you back from giving your life completely to Him as your Savior

    • Rejecting Jesus

        • Judas, the Chief Priests, and Pontius Pilate all knew about God and saw Jesus face-to-face and yet they rejected Him

        • Perhaps it makes perfect sense to you why Judas Iscariot rejected Jesus

          • Maybe you are seeking true happiness by accumulating wealth or possessions

          • You may have the misconception that if you dedicate your life to Jesus Christ, that He will require you to sell all of your possessions or empty your bank accounts and give to the poor

          • You’re concerned that you’ll have to live like a pauper and never be happy

          • When Jesus comes into your life, He will change your desires to coincide with God’s purposes

          • The Holy Spirit will teach you how to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-24)

        • Maybe you continue to reject Jesus because of pride

          • You want to be in charge of your life

          • You don’t want anyone telling you what you can and cannot do

          • You view the Bible as God’s rule book and rules are meant to be broken

          • You don’t want to admit that you could use someone else’s help with the situation(s) you are currently going through

          • Perhaps you’ve seen answered prayer in someone else’s life, but you’re too prideful to experience it for yourself

        • You may be dealing with peer pressure, which has caused you to reject Jesus

          • You know what’s right to do, but you’re afraid of what your friends might think if you turn your life over to Jesus Christ

          • You’ve allowed them to influence how you think and act, but you’ve felt the leading of God’s Spirit in your life

          • He’s calling out to you to follow Him

        • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to read the Gospel of John in the Bible for the next month and ask God to reveal Himself to me.

 

  • WE

    • We have a responsibility as Christ followers to share this transformational Gospel with those in our sphere of influence

    • After Jesus’ resurrection, he stayed on the earth for 40 days, teaching His disciples

        • They were the ones who were going to carry the Gospel to the known world

        • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

        • These are our marching orders – Jesus is alive! ​​ The world needs to know

 

CONCLUSION

“In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contrasts the humility that characterized Jesus’ royal visit to planet earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today:

 

In London, looking toward the auditorium’s royal box where the queen and her family sat, I caught glimpses of the…way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, and a trumpet fanfare and a flourish of bright clothes and flashing jewelry.

 

Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost twenty million dollars.

 

In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.”

 

Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 1995)

 

[http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1999/november/12115.html].

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