TEXT: Philippians 2:1-4
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
Sunday morning, January 14, 2007
(Background and portions of the outline come from Lehman Strauss' Devotional Commentary to Philippians, pages 74-104)
NOW – If you brought your copy of God’s word please stand to your feet. If you didn’t bring a bible today for whatever reason, then take a copy of the NIV text provided for you in our pews, or look along on the scene as we read our text for this morning’s message, Philippians 2.
1Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
THEN – At the close of the first chapter of Philippians we find the Apostle Paul appealing to the Philippian Christians. He issues a threefold plea:
1) A Plea to Stand, Philippians 1:27, that you stand fast in one spirit,
2) A Plea to Strive, Philippians 1:27, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
3) A Plea to Suffer, Philippians 1:29, For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Philippians 2 is intimately connected to chapter one. Here Paul pleads for unity and humility.
The plea is fourfold: “If……any.”
ALWAYS – Four reasons why Christians should live in close harmony.
I. PLEADING FOR PEACE IN THE BODY, Philippians 2:1
1Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
“If there is any consolation in Christ….”
“If any comfort of love…”
“if any fellowship of the Spirit,”
“if any affection and mercy.”
The word “if” is actually “since,” or “in view of the fact…”
1. CONSOLATION, “If there is any consolation in Christ….”
What Christ had done for them and for us should be an encouragement to peaceful and purposeful pursuits. The very fact that believers are one in Christ should have a binding effect upon us. In the Body of Christ, there should be no schisms, cliques, isolated groups or divisions.
2. COMFORT, “If any comfort of love…”
If the love of God had been truly shed abroad in their hearts, comforting them, it should then promote among them harmonized relations.
Since God loved us so much that He gave up His own Son for us, we then should love one another with that same kind of sacrificial love.
Note: The moment Christ ceases to be real to us, we lose our love for others!
3. COMMUNION, “if any fellowship of the Spirit,”
We who have experienced the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit ought to be able to walk together in the same mind, having the same heart.
1 Corinthians 12:13, (NLT) Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ’s body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit.
4. COMPASSION, “if any affection and mercy.”
(KJV – “if any bowels and mercies.”)
We are to be tender, compassionate, sympathetic, caring about the needs of one another.
II. PLEADING FOR PRACTICAL LIVING IN THE BODY, Philippians 2:2
2fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
1. Like-mindedness, “being like-minded”
“Like-minded” occurs 10 times in Philippians. We are to set before us the same goals and contemplate the same thing and be unanimous in our decisions. This is not found in identical likeness or life-style, but in identical values, priorities and commitments.
Who we are in Christ and what we are called to do is greater than any one of us. It is not about me, but others. It is not about me, but Him. That’s what matters.
2. Affection, “having the same love”
Love is the starting place for true Christian unity. Love covers a multitude of sins.”
Unity of Affection for:
God’s love for the World of lost mankind.
3. Togetherness, “being of one accord”
Having our hearts knit together and mutually constrained by the same desire.
So often we hinder the work of God by our pettiness. The smallest things can cause us to lose our focus on His Kingdom Priorities to be paralyzed by our personal ambitions.
4. Agreement, “of one mind.”
“Mind,” occurs 4 times in 5 verses. It is a reference to a wrong attitude toward others whose viewpoints differ from our own.
Now in these next few verses God is going to give us the secret to getting along with everybody all the time.
The secret can be summed up in one word, “others.”
III. PLEADING FOR PATRONAGE TO OTHERS, Philippians 2:3
3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
How do we dissolve our differences and solve and problems with others?
Look at verse 3. First, stated in the negative, 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit. There is no room for self-centered or egocentric Christians in God’s Kingdom. It’s not about us.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 says, 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people.
Stated more positively in verse 3b, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
True unity will be destroyed where self-esteem prevails rather than a higher esteem for others. We need to develop the capacity to understand our own insignificance, having a modest opinion of ourselves and count our fellow men as more important than our own rights or opinions.
Galatians 6:14, (NLT) 14 As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago.
Finally, in verse 4, Paul points out the perfect pattern for genuine humility. 4Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
May I plead with you church, that each one of us, from the youngest to the oldest, consider others and the interest of others as more important than our own.