by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Philippians 3:7-16
I. Many Christians understand that acts of immorality will keep them out of heaven, but many don’t realize that our attitude or disposition is important in determining our outcome as well.
A. What is your attitude?
1. Sometimes we hear someone say “he has an attitude!”
2. I use to work for a man with the nickname “Yosemite Sam” because of his disposition. He was always grouchy and cantankerous, though the majority was for show. He had an attitude!
1. The posture or position of a person showing or meant to show a mental state, emotion, or mood.
2. The manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one’s disposition, opinion, etc.
C. There are numerous passages that discuss our attitudes. There are many passages which instructs us to watch our disposition.
D. Attitudes are important in getting along with other people
1. Few people like to be around someone who is always complaining.
2. I get nervous being around people who can’t control their anger. You always wondering when the next eruption will take place.
3. Attitudes are often the catalyst for divorces and congregation splitting.
E. Attitudes are hard to change, but they must be changed if we expect to conform ourselves to God’s will.
A. “You’re crossing a street when suddenly a huge truck comes right at you. You’re petrified. You know this is it. All at once a man grabs you and pushes you out of the way just as the truck speeds by. You get up, look at the man, who is lying on the ground breathing hard from exhaustion, dust yourself off and walk away. That is ingratitude!”
B. II Timothy 3:2-5 - In this list is the sin of being ungrateful.
1. Some people go through life never appreciating what they have. They are always dissatisfied with everything and everybody.
C. Christians can show ingratitude
1. Ignoring their responsibilities, they are saying “I don’t care all that much that Jesus died on the cross for me.”
2. Being too tired to attend a worship service - think about Jesus
3. If you feel like complaining about going to a special Bible study - think about God
A. “A husband and father spends every available dollar on his fishing boat. Every chance he gets he goes on a fishing trip with his buddies. During the summer months it is practically every weekend and several week nights. Once, his wife asks him if he could take the family to a circus that was coming to town next weekend. The husband begins to rant and rave about how he can’t afford it. Besides, he has a fishing trip next weekend. That is selfishness!”
B. Selfishness is why many marriages fail. Husbands and wives are too busy trying to figure out what they can get out of the relationship instead of what they can put into the marriage.
C. Philippians 2:4 - look out for the interests of others
D. Selfishness can divide a congregation. Listen how often arguing brother talk about what I want instead of what their brethren need.
A. “A mother repeatedly told her little boy to sit down. The boy continued to stand, disobeying his mother. Finally, the mother plopped him down in a chair. Fuming, the boy said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside! That is stubbornness.”
B. Some people just can’t admit that they are wrong.
C. Deuteronomy 9:27 - The Israelites sin at Mt. Sinai was due to their stubbornness
D. Judges 2:19 - Following God means we can’t stubbornly hold onto our old lives.
E. Romans 2:5 - The Jews would not admit the Gentile’s salvation because of their stubbornness.
A. “There was once an elderly woman who complained about everything. The preacher of the congregation she attended would occasionally stop by and visit her. During each visit the poor preacher was subjected to a long speech about how terrible life was. During one visit, the preacher noticed how well the woman’s apple orchard was doing. The trees were full of beautiful red apples. Finally the preacher thought he had found something about which the old woman could not complain. However, he was flabbergasted when she said, ‘I won’t have any rotten ones for the pigs.’ That is discontent!”
B. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to better oneself, but it must be tempered with contentment. There are times when we must be satisfied with what we have.
C. Philippians 4:11-13 - learn to be content
A. “George dropped out of high school when he was 17 to begin work at the local factory. His parents had urged him to remain in high school so he could get a diploma, However, at the time George thought school was just a lot of foolishness. Later, he married a local young woman and eventually they had three kids. For twenty years, George had worked long hard hours at the plant and he had very little to show for it. He never when back to school to get his GED. In fact, he had done very little to improve himself. Consequently, he turned into a bitter, miserable human being. In contrast, his brother Jim had remained in school and even continued into college, receiving a degree in business management. He was the plant manager at the very plant George worked. Jim and his wife owned a beautiful home and had a lovely family.
Every time George saw his brother at the plant he was filled with hateful feelings. He hated Jim. George didn’t think it was fair that his younger brother had done so much better in life than he did. Jim would always try to stop by George’s station and speak with him, but George would always look the other way, refusing to speak. That’s envy!”
B. Galatians 5:21 - envy is a work of the flesh
C. Envy is feeling sorry for yourself and having hard feelings toward others who are more fortunate than you.
D. Consider Cain’s envy of Abel. Instead of improving himself, Cain’s envy led him to killing his “competition”.
VII. What kind of attitude do you cultivate?