“Looking Out for the Interests of Others” Phil 2:4

by Bro.Steven Chan

In a world where each pursues his own interest only, the Christian is instructed by the Word of God to also look out for the interests of others:

”Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil 2:4)

Jesus has given us His own personal example of how He lived His life for the interests of others:

He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, .. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross; though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”(Phil 2:5-9; 2 Cor 8:9)

In the interests of others:-

1. Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

2.  “Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14)

3. The early Christians “were together, and had all things in common” as they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42-44)

4. Christians are instructed “not to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but to think soberly”, “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set their mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in their own opinion…As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (Rom 12:3, 16; I Pet 4:10)

5. Christians need to be aware that God has added them to the church which is His Body (Acts 2:47, Eph 1:22-23) and that “God has so composed the church, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the church, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

6. Christians are exhorted to “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” and not to “do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom 14:19, 21)

7. Christians are to be guided by the need to glorify God in all that we do and to live in such a way others may be positively influenced to be saved: ”Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Cor 10:31-33)

8. Christians are warned not to “forsake their assembling together” (Heb 10:25) whenever “the whole church comes together in one place” (I Cor 14:23, 11:17-18, 20, 33-34) to worship God (Acts 12:12, 20:7; I Cor 16:2) and/or to do the work of God – and that refers NOT just to the assembly on the first day of the week but whenever the Christians agree to meet (Acts 6:2; 15:6, 12, 22; I Cor 5:4; James 2:2).

9. In the assembly of the Christians, the activities done should be done such that:

a. “all things be done decently and in order” (I Cor 14:40)

b. “all things – such as singing, praying, teaching – are done for edification”( I Cor 14:15,26)

c. “that all may learn and all may be encouraged”(I Cor 14:31)

d. that we may consider “one another in order to stir up love and good works” and to “exhort or encourage one another” (Heb 10:24-25)

e. that “the members demonstrate their same care for one another”( 1 Cor 12:25) and

f. that when “an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.”(1 Cor 14:24-25)

Brethren, the question is whether EACH and EVRYONE of US are actively seeking to do the things listed above WHENEVER we MEET? The activities listed above are not for OTHERS to do (eg. Worship coordinator, song leader, prayer leaders or elders or deacons) but for each of us to do whenever we are assembled. The above list is not exhaustive of all that we are to do if we were to look out not only for our own interests but also for the interests of others.  The next time you don’t feel like doing some things that do not meet your own interests, consider whether these things would also benefit others?  Will your participation or lack thereof encourage and edify others? Or, are we still seeking to further/satisfy our own interests only? The beloved apostle Paul expressed his feelings about the exemplary conduct of Timothy and the lack of selflessness in others:

“For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”( Phil 2:20-21)

What about you and I? Are we like-minded as Timothy who will sincerely care for the well-being of the brethren in the church? Or are we all busy seeking our own?  Let’s remember the exhortation of our Lord in Luke 9:23-26:

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”