Summary: Paul discusses two actions that will give us like minds.
LIVING TOGETHER WITH LIKE MINDS
A. Spock performing the Vulcan mind meld on Star Trek at the OK Corral, so they would think the bullets were not real.
• We have a better basis for which to have like minds, and Paul gives it to us before he calls for us to have like minds.
B. The Basis for having like minds.
1. Paul lays down a four-fold basis whereby we can have minds that think alike in the church:
a. We have encouragement because we are united with Christ. Paul said, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold everything is new." By virtue of our position in Christ, we have encouragement to maintain our Christian walk.
b. We have comfort because God loves us in Christ. Because God loves us, we can have the comfort of knowing he will stand with us through anything (Romans 8:28); we can thus take the risk of standing together.
c. We have fellowship with the Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit abides in us, we know he will bring us together in unity. We can have like minds because we all have his mind, and he will enable us to think together.
d. We have tenderness and compassion; both words refer to deeply caring about others. We can unite because we really care about each other.
2. Do not get hung up so much today on what those terms all mean (that is for another day), but learn a basic fact about the basis on which we can be like minded: Paul really says "since" you have these things, not "if you do."
a. He makes an assumption that God has already given them all to us.
b. Do you catch the significance of that? By virtue of our relationship with Christ, when we became Christians, we gained each of these qualities. It only remains for us to put them to use by making our minds alike.
c. We have often failed to have unity in the church because we have failed to realize this fact. We have thought thinking alike in the church was something that just happens because people are alike, but it is God who is able to make us think alike.
C. The nature of having like minds.
1. Paul was already experiencing joy because of his association with this church, but this act of being like minded would make it complete.
2. The basic idea, then, consists of having the same opinion, not just on some things, but he is talking about our whole way of thinking being the same.
3. The early church demonstrated this quality:
a. In Acts 1, when they chose Matthias to replace Judas.
b. In Acts 15, when they decided the Jewish question.
c. In both cases, they submitted to each other’s viewpoints and agreed on a decision.
4. Paul further elaborates on the last two phrases of vs. 2, which are intended to define like mindedness:
a. When we have like minds, we have the same love, spirit, and purpose.
b. He is speaking about a church committed to the same task. We do not think alike because we let ourselves put other matters in front of winning the lost to Christ and advancing the kingdom. That is what Paul is challenging the church to.
c. Only God can cause us to think any differently – 3:15.
Paul discusses two actions that will give us like minds.
WE WILL HAVE LIKE MINDS WHEN WE...
I. ...LOOK TO THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS – Vss. 3,4.
A. We are to avoid selfish ambition and conceit, but are to consider others better than ourselves.
1. Selfish ambition works like cancer in the body, whereby the cancer cell becomes a renegade, stops performing the functions that it formerly carried out for the benefit of the whole community of cells, and begins working only for itself.
"Cancer occurs when a single cell (or a group of a few cells) escapes from regulatory control and is able to bequeath its independence to its descendants through every succeeding generation. The cancer cell exploits his new-found freedom to the utmost. No longer need he stay in place, wait in line for food, nor perform any function for the benefit of the whole organism. He can reproduce at will, building up an immense clone of equally ruthless offspring. Suddenly he and his offspring can travel throughout the body, taking over new areas of territory and, by leaping in and out of the circulatory systems, establish new colonies of equally ruthless aggressors in distant lands. He has acquired the trick of securing the lion’s share of the available nutrients. He may cease to perform the functions that he formerly carried out for the benefit of the whole community of cells. He is the true wayward renegade rebel, creating his own largely independent colony within the corporate state of the human body."