Summary: How would the world see you if Christ fully changed places with your heart for one day? Would they see a noticeable difference?
Scripture Ref: Philippians 2:1-5
Other Ref: Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines
Believer’s Bible Commentary
a. In 1882 Mark Twain published the novel The Prince and the Pauper in the United States.
b. Set in 1547, the novel tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII of England.
(1) Tom Canty has always had aspirations to a better life, encouraged by the local priest who taught him to read and write. He hangs around the palace gates one day and sees the Prince (the Prince of Wales - Edward the Sixth).
(2) The prince invites Tom into his palace chamber. There, the two boys get to know one another, somewhat - and each becomes fascinated by the other's lifestyle, and even more fascinated by the fact that they each bear an amazing and uncanny resemblance to each other.
(3) They decide to switch clothes (and thereby, lives) "temporarily."
(4) Edward leaves in a hurry, before they boys are caught.
(5) Soon Prince Edward is attempting to escape from the brutality of Tom's abusive and drunken father, while Tom posing as the prince, is attempting to cope with court customs and manners.
c. Let’s jump forward to 2010 and reenact this novel, only the prince is now Jesus Christ and you are the pauper. We’re going to give it a slight twist. Our pauper, rather than getting to live as the prince, gets to be a silent observer, watching the effects of the prince inhabiting this new body.
d. For one day, Jesus becomes you.
(1) Wakes up in your bed
(2) Walks in your shoes
(3) Lives in your house
(4) Assumes your schedule
(5) With one exception, nothing changes — health, circumstances, schedule, problems
e. He lives your life with His heart, yours gets the day off.
(1) His priorities govern your actions.
(2) His passions drive your decisions.
(3) His love directs your behavior.
f. What would you be like? Would people notice a change?
(1) Family see something new?
(2) Co-workers sense a difference?
(3) Would you treat the less fortunate the same?
(4) Would your friends detect more joy?
(5) Would you your enemies receive more mercy from Christ’s heart than from yours?
g. What about you?
(1) How would you feel?
(2) What about your stress or mood swings?
(3) Your temper?
(4) Would you see sunsets, death, taxes differently?
(5) Would you need fewer aspirin or sedatives? Would you still dread what you are dreading?
(6) Would you still do what you are doing or what you had planned for the next 24 hours? Would anything change? What about obligations, engagements, outings, or appointments?
h. This test shows you what God wants. He wants you to think and act like Jesus.
2. The Example of Christ
a. Read Philippians 2:1-5
b. The “if” in Verse 1 is not the “if” of doubt, but of argument. It lists four points that should draw us as believers together in harmony and cooperation.
(1) Paul is saying, in effect: “Since we are so encouraged through Christ, since His love is so persuasive, since the Holy Spirit brings us all together in such a wonderful fellowship, and since there is an abundance of tender affection and mercy in Christianity, we should all be able to get along in happy harmony with one another—not just with fellow Christians, but with mankind at large.”
(2) He is asking that we be united based on our shared devotion to Christ and shared possession of the Holy Spirit. With all that we have gained in Christ, we should be united in purpose, affection, accord, sympathy.
c. Paul encourages the church at Philippi, based on their Christian experience, to have unity of mind and heart and to put others ahead of themselves. Why?
(1) Christ is the greatest incentive; if we are in Christ, we ought to be able to live with one another!
(2) Other incentives include love, the fellowship of the Spirit, the deep-seated desires we have in Christ, and the joy we can bring to others.
(3) He saw strife and selfish ambition among the Roman believers and warned it should not be present at Philippi.
(4) Humility, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, reminds us, is “not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
(5) Paul points to the attitude of Christ before His incarnation
(a) He didn’t selfishly try to hold on to His privileges as God.
(b) He willingly laid aside His glory and “put on” the form of a servant.
(c) He did not stop being God. He simply laid aside His glory and the independent use of His attributes as God.