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« Why the Baptism in the Spirit should be an expected experience | Main | Themes of Philippians: Chapter One »

Themes of Philippians Chapter Two

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

The reasons we serve the Lord Jesus Christ are not all doctrinal and logical. We must have a tender heart and a true commitment to each other based on love for God and love for each other.

Here, Paul appeals to the Philippians to support him and to remain unified . This appeal must be seen as a response to the contention going on in the church.

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: [1] Philippians 1:14-16.

There are five levels of unity:

  • Coalition Loosely organized, suspended hostilities.
  • Consonance Passive agreement, absence of tension.
  • Unison Forced unity, no difference in color or tone.
  • Harmony Assigned roles, varied quality.
  • Oneness Full sharing of goals, ideals, principles

Unity is one of the major themes of the New Testament. Anything that threatens our unity can neutralize the church or bring it down. We can learn something from the way cracks form in basement walls:

“As most homeowners with poured-in-place concrete foundations can attest: Cracks in basement walls are a fact of life. These cracks due to drying shrinkage, thermal movement, and other causes usually are minor and result in few problems. But over time, even minor cracks can grow larger and cause big headaches, such as loss of structural integrity or, more commonly, water leakage.

“Most basements eventually leak. “Even if a crack is not leaking now, eventually water will find it,” says Lou Cole, president of Emecole Inc., Romeoville, Ill., a manufacturer of epoxies and polyurethane foams for all types of foundation crack repair”

Cracks in basements, walls or pavement must be filled in as soon as they develop or else trouble will soon appear. They do not fix themselves. They cannot be painted over. They cannot be hidden behind a piece of furniture. Superficial repairs that don’t address the real problem will not last. The damaged area must be chipped away, the surface prepared and the right repair materials must be applied correctly. Even so, problems that cause fissures or fractures between people in the church, or between people and leadership, must be thoroughly removed, hearts prepared and the right ingredients of love and forgiveness applied correctly. Otherwise, the problem will reappear in time.

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

  • All our motives must be pure, devoid of strife and human pride.
  • Be sensitive to the feelings of others. Concern yourself with the problems, disappointments and trials of other people. Work for the success of others.
  • Esteeming yourself better than others does not necessarily mean you think you are better in every way. It means that you think you are more important than others. Selfish, self-centered, egoistic people are miserable and they are a burden to the church. Some people never get it. They never understand that the more they help other people achieve their goals, the more they fulfill their own.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion  as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

  • The mind of Christ epitomizes the meaning of Christianity. 132 verses in the Bible have to do with the mind, so it is a large subject. Basically, it means that the same attitude, motive and predisposition toward life that existed in Christ must also be in each of us.
  • “Thought it not robbery to be equal with God” means Christ thought that to stay in a position of total power with no vulnerability to human problems was not a thing to be grasped or retained. He emptied himself of his divine prerogatives. It is another way of saying “the Word became flesh.” These are the steps God took to become the atonement for our sins:
  • Incarnation
  • Denial of reputation
  • Servanthood
  • Became a man in the true sense of the word
  • Humility
  • Obedient to death
  • Acceptance of crucifixion

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • The name of Jesus exceeds all other names in importance and power.
  • Jesus is the highest name in heaven, earth and hell.
  • One day, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That means no other being will share that glory. (Acts 4:12)
  • Paganism, New Age religion and all other beliefs, personages, faiths or ideals will be shown as false. There is no other God, no other name, no other salvation than the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Isaiah 43:1-13; 44:1-20; 45:5-19

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

“Working” out your own salvation comes from the Greek word katergozomai, which literally means to accomplish or perform something thoroughly.

This is a problem verse for those who think we have nothing to do with our salvation. It is true that we cannot save ourselves. Jesus Christ supplied all the necessary components for each person’s salvation. The fact remains, however, that the application of salvation through obedience, faith and sincerity of heart will always be up to us. Why? Because that is in the realm of the human will. God will not violate the will of man to determine his own destiny. God provides everything we need for salvation. Whether or not we accept it is ours to decide.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless  , the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

  • Murmurings and disputings refer to bickering and arguing about inconsequential things or things that cannot be changed. It refers more to attitudes than to issues that need to be resolved.
  • A right attitude shows the world that you are a better person because Christ has come into your life. A wrong attitude makes Christianity look like a vain religion.

17 Yea, and if I be offered  upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

What if Paul does not make it out of prison? What if he is executed? He comforts the Philippians by saying that if he is put to death because of the sacrifice and service of their faith, it will be a cause for rejoicing .

19 But  I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. 23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold  such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

Paul shows great appreciation for Timotheus and Epaphroditus because of their care for him and their suffering for the gospel of Christ. It is right that we should honor those who have sacrificed and work for the furtherance of the gospel.

Can you name some great saints who have already gone on to their reward? Can you name some ministers of the gospel whom you esteem very highly? You need to talk about them and let others know what they did. If it were not for those who have gone before us, we would not enjoy the blessings and benefits that exist today.

[1] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Php 1:14). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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