This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series, Get (Outta) Your Own Way
Self-interest is a cultural buzzword that some see positively but most see negatively. Some accuse the church of being this way. Nonetheless, it is actually in our self-interest to pursue unity in the church to bring glory to God in the gospel.
1. Understanding Self-Interest
We throw the word “self-interest” at those we believe to be selfish. At the same time, self-interest, when rooted correctly, is a good thing. Scripture even points toward elements of self-interest that are good for us. Jesus tells us to lose our lives if we want to save it. There are eternal rewards promised to those who persevere in faith, who remain steadfast. This is not selfishness nor works-righteousness but a self-interest that is rooted in the gospel to honor God.
2. A Unity of Vision
Paul had to have been tempted to be a control freak. Yet the testimony of Philippians shows he had great care and love for Timothy because they shared a united love for Christ. Likewise, Timothy served with Paul out of a shared vision for gospel work. Do we live our lives with the same vision of unity in line with Christ and his church?
3. A Unity in Community
The two men were also dependent on each other. Timothy needed Paul because he encouraged and legitimized Timothy’s calling in ministry. Paul needed Timothy’s faithfulness and perseverance in order to serve God rightly. The reality is that all the Christians we admire are not believers who operate apart from a community of faith. It is in our self-interest to live in union with the church in Christ.
Reflection and Application
What do you think of when you hear the word, “self-interest”? Is it positive or negative to you? Why?
How can self-interest be a good thing in certain situations? How can self-interest be good at all?
Why would self-interest in the gospel be a good thing? Why would it lead us to unity with others by sharing the same vision?
What was the last decision you made with a vision of unity in line with the gospel? In view of the church? Why would it be in our self-interest to consider these things?
Consider Christians whose faith you admire. Why do you think community is integral to their faith? Would it be in your self-interest to grow in the community God has placed you in?