- Good to be here
- I love being with XA...
- Craig and I became friends on our way to the Alabama XA Men's Retreat.
- And April has a special place in my heart.

- I want you to meet DaQuan and TJ!
What a blessing to have these two young men with me.
I have to threaten them to stop saying "Sir" to me.
I told TJ every time he says "sir" to me adds 6 months to my age...so it is slowly killing me!

- I want you to meet my family:

Think of Others above Yourself

In Chapter 2 of Philippians we have a famous passage about Jesus.

THIS is Paul's most splendid passage on the humanity of Jesus. This is written as a hymn...most likely to be chanted,
kind of like singing.

My views of Jesus...as a man, come from this passage.
I have studied this hymn over my 40+ years of being a Christian.
I have preached from this text multiple times.

BUT...This hymn is NOT my focus tonight.
I want to show you WHY Paul put this famous hymn in this letter.

Let me give you my quick paraphrase of this hymn.

MY paraphrase of the text

Even though Jesus was God... He was willing to lay that down...to become a man.

But He went further than this...
He followed what His Heavenly Father wanted and submitted Himself to death...
Death on a cross...and being treated like a criminal.

The hymn centers around the emotional force of crucifixion.
The Romans used crucifixion as a brutal form of torture and death.
They could quickly kill a man by cutting his head off.

Their punishment was to die publicly...slowly...by being hung on a cross for everyone to see.


So the idea that the Messiah...the Son of God...
would come and allow Himself to be crucified was crazy to the first century Jew.

The Jews expected Messiah to lead an army and defeat the Romans...
not to die like a common criminal on a cross.

But to the Greco-Roman world it was also mystifying.
First Why/How would God become a man?
THAT is a crazy idea.

But why would He choose to die?
How can God die? THAT makes no sense.

Tonight I want you to see WHY Paul uses this hymn.
Because his purpose is NOT to teach theology about the humanity of Jesus.
This is a great example of keeping the context in focus when you read the Bible.

Look at what Paul says just before he goes into the hymn:

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value one another above yourselves,
4 not looking to your own interests
but each of you looking to the interests of others.


To repeat...
the text BEFORE he brings up the example of Jesus:

...in humility value one another [allelous] above yourselves,

Then look at the phrase that opens this amazing hymn about
Jesus the Son of God:

5 Have the same mindset like Christ Jesus:

Biblical commentaries have hundreds of pages written about whether Jesus was FULLY God...or FULLY Man....
Yet Paul was NOT trying to be theological here.
He is urging US to have the attitude exhibited by Jesus!

Look what he says immediately AFTER the Hymn:

12 Therefore, my dear friends...work out your salvation with fear and trembling...
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing...


Now...hang on...I am about to drive through Atlanta to get to Birmingham...
For just a few minutes, don't try to figure out what my point is...
Just listen and enjoy the drive.

I was introduced to Chi Alpha during my senior year at Troy University...
a long, long time ago in a galaxy FAR away.

It was nothing like what you guys have...
But we were all very close.

The first XA meeting I went to was lame.
It felt like a high school religious club.
Of course, I thought I was "Super Christian."


I had been on the mission field...lived in a monastery....
Witnessed demonic spirits and seen young men, just a bit older than me,
Rebuke the spirits.

I saw miracles....God used me to lead several people to faith.

So basically, I was an arrogant young man and thought I was HOLY.

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Story of ending in a Prayer Circle
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I went on to do a XA internship in Washington State, then returned and restarted XA at the Univ of Alabama.

When I was in XA...back before the turn of the century...
You realize it was in the LAST century!

We did what we called ALLELOUS.
How many of you know what that means?


Whether you guys do what we called "allelous" or not,
I know that this XA values "one another."

I want to tell you a startling fact.
Only twice does the Apostle Paul speak about God forgiving our sins.

He alludes to it...he says things like:
"He redeemed us..."
"you have been translated from darkness to light."
"you have been set free from sin."

These statements certainly give us the concept of being forgiven, but he only clearly states that God forgives our sin...twice.

Let me tell you what Paul does say over and over....

Paul uses allelous 24 times in his writings to indicate how WE are to interact as the body of Christ...as the family of God.


This is allelous.
This is what you like about XA.
Trust me when I tell you this...
This is NOT easy to find once you leave XA.


We used to warn our students at Alabama all the time...
When you leave XA and start becoming a part of a church,
It is not easy to find this allelous.
Oh...you will meet a few people who do it, but not a group mentality like we present in XA.

THE most important allelous you need in XA and in Church is "be gracious to one another."

Showing grace is treating somebody better than they deserve.

We had a young man come to Christ at Alabama...Ken Sanderson.
Ken was a roly-poly when he came into XA...loud and funny.
He was welcomed into the fellowship just like we welcomed EVERYONE.

He had just been recently saved...or truly dedicated and was always so happy to have all of us as new friends.

After our Friday night meeting...pretty soon after he came into the fellowship, he was helping the guys break the sound system down.

There were still dozens of students milling around...talking and laughing. I was on the stage putting my guitar up and Ken was on the floor...
probably 20 feet from me...

NOW...don't get offended.
I am telling this story just like it happened...
and I'm telling it for a reason.

So Ken yells out..."Al, that was a damn good message!"

I looked up and several of the guys were looking shocked...looked at him, then turned to see my reaction.

I laughed and yelled back,
"Thanks! I'm glad you liked it."

All the guys started laughing and shaking their heads.

That is an example of being gracious.
And NOT being religious.

But being "gracious" to "one another" - THAT is what Paul is talking about.

...in humility value one another [allelous] above yourselves,
4 not looking to your own interests
but being concerned with the interests of others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus...

THEN he goes into this hymn about Jesus...

He is using the hymn to point to HOW our faith is supposed to work:
It's about allelous...
It's not about having proper theology.
It's not about YOU being righteous in your spiritual efforts,
like fasting, reading your Bible and praying.

I'm not saying these things are UNimportant...
But the context here is really stark.
I think it is amazing that THIS is the context of the great hymn about Jesus...

It's NOT about theology!
It's about having humility...and treating one another as we want to be treated.

And it's in THIS context that Paul says,
"work out your salvation with fear and trembling..."
He is not talking about sins of the flesh:
smoking...drinking...gambling...struggling with impure thoughts...

Paul is putting a premium on

And at the end of this hymn about Jesus,
Paul does NOT say:
"Ok, now...you need to get your ideas about Jesus straight!"

What he is saying is:
"Ok, you need to keep your attitude right towards one another.
Have the same attitude that we see in Jesus,
the Son of God who gave Himself for others."

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

Finally, all of you...be sympathetic, love one another,
be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8

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Story - Desert Fathers

A young man was caught in a sexual sin. We are not told what the sin was...it doesn't matter.

The brothers called a "congregational meeting" where the young man would be required to confess and be held for discipline.

The abbot sent one of the brothers to go get Moses, a celebrated elder who lived farther out on his own in a cave.

The brothers told Moses that + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

[12 min]

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All Rights Reserved.
Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079