Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)
Father of us all, who gave your only begotten Son to take upon himself the form of a servant, and to become obedient even to death on the cross; give us the same mind that was in him, that sharing his humility, we may also reflect his glory here and enjoy eternal blessedness with him in the world to come. In the name of him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
“Therefore” points back to what Paul has said in chapter 1, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against external conflicts. Now he tells them how to act against internal conflicts in the body of Christ.
if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
“If there is any consolation in Christ”: Is there any consolation in Christ? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus console their soul.
- Luke 2:25 says that one of the titles for Jesus as the Messiah is the Consolation of Israel. Paul could say in 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Paul says that God has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace. Of course there is consolation in Christ!
“If there is any . . . comfort of love”: Is there any comfort of love? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus give them the comfort of love.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the God of all comfort. There is no way He cannot comfort us and no circumstance beyond His comfort. But this is more than comfort; this is the comfort of love.
- The word comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word paraklesis. The idea behind this word for comfort in the New Testament is always more than soothing sympathy. It has the idea of strengthening, of helping, of making strong. The idea behind this word is communicated by the Latin word for comfort (fortis, the same root as for “fortitude” and “fortress”), which also means “brave.” The love of God in our loves makes us strong and makes us brave. Of course there is comfort of love!
“If there is any . . . fellowship of the Spirit”: Is there any fellowship of the Spirit? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have the fellowship of the Spirit.
- Fellowship is the ancient Greek word kononia. It means the sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that we never knew before. The Holy Spirit fills and guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way. Of course there is fellowship of the Spirit!
“If there is any . . . affection and mercy”: Is there any affection and mercy? Of course there is! Every Christian knows something of the affection of God, and the mercy of God.
Paul mentions these things in a manner that suggests to us that they should all be obvious parts of the Christian’s experience. To make his rhetorical point, he could have just as easily said, “If water is wet, if fire is hot, if rocks are hard” and so forth.
Each of these gifts – consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy – are communicated to us both in a direct, spiritual way from Jesus, and from Jesus through His people. But there isn’t any doubt that these are real gifts for Christians to really experience.
2 then make my JOY complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
If I consider you above me, and you consider me above you, a wonderful thing happens: We have a community where everyone is looked up to, and no one is looked down on!
Psalm 138:6 (ESV)
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Make a copy of these verses. Put it in a prominent place in your house. Rejoice in this truth daily.
In many ways this portion (verses 5-11) is the greatest and most moving passage Paul ever wrote about Jesus. It states a favourite thought of his. The essence of it is in the simple statement Paul made to the Corinthians that, although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). Here that simple idea is stated with a fulness which is without parallel. Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ. His final and unanswerable appeal is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.
So the follower of Christ must think always, not of himself — but of others, not of his own glory — but of the glory of God.
Isaiah 43:11 (ESV)
I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.
HERE is Chris Tomlin and “Name of Jesus.”
New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica