Summary: Paul talks about two themes as Like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness in Philippians 2 to describe the humility of Christ or the mind of Christ. Paul demands affection beyond apprehension.
Theme: “Mind of Christ”
Text: Philippians 2:1-11
This chapter has two themes as Like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness. Paul demands affection beyond apprehension. This passage has the eschatological Hymnal. Kummel says this is the “Kerygma of Christ”. Bruce says this passage is the “Crowing Jewel of NT”. Howard sees three themes here, “Pre-Existent Christ, Incarnated Christ and enthroned Christ”.
1. SHARE WITH OTHERS(v.1-3)
Paul was saying them if any way you were benefited by Christ by being united with Him. If you feel that you had been benefited “any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion” then why don’t you share with others who are your fellow worshipers.
"Encouragement" paraklesis "lifting of one another spirits." United with Christ" en Christo united with Christ. The unity of the Church is an outward sign of the unity of every individual with Christ. "Comfort" or "consolation" paramythion "pertaining to that which offers encouragement, consolation, alleviation, solace” to one another by presence and fellowship.
"Fellowship” or "sharing" koinonia, understood as partnership with all in their joyful occasions and dreadful situations. "Tenderness" compassion "bowels" Greek noun splanchnon, "of the seat of the emotions, heart ... the seat and source of love, sympathy, and mercy." "Compassion", "mercies", "sympathy" "display of concern over one another misfortune, pity, mercy, compassion."
Sharing illustration: Once upon a time a rider came across a few soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood without success. The corporal(non-commissioned officer) was standing by just watching as the men struggled. The rider couldn’t believe it. He finally asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied: “I am the corporal. I give orders.“
The rider said nothing in response. Instead he dismounted his horse. He went up and stood by the soldiers and as they tried to lift the wood and he helped them. With his help, the task was finally able to be carried out. Who was this kind rider? The rider was George Washington, the Commander-in-chief. He quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the commander-in-chief.”.
Paul talks about Being United with Christ (v.1) leads you to enjoy the benefits and forces to share with others. But the Philippians were so excited to live as Christians. Individually they were excellent. Their individual spiritual strength and grace was so excited and commendable. Their love for Paul and God’s Gospel was so admirable. But as collective body, they had problem.
William Barclay interprets the Philippians believers had ‘selfish ambition, desire for personal prestige and concentration on self’.
Philippians problem were ‘lack of humility’. No respect for one another, first in terms of age, education, profession, social status, these are temporal. No respect for one another holiness and spiritual power. No respect for one another humility and love. So real care was missing.
John Hargreaves affirms these characters were part of their daily living. These characters must be exhibited in the lives of believers. Unfortunately not seen in the lives of the believers of the Philippians.
We all are familiar with apartments culture. Your neighbor may be a Hindu, a Muslim, or an atheist but all are living together for peaceful existence. All are sharing common water resources, common gym, common swimming pool, common garden and play ground. You may like one another or may not. But all are living together beyond regional allegiance, without religious animosity and linguistic differences.
Likewise, in Church we may be brought up with different family backgrounds, different cultural values and different affluent but Christ has united all of us as one body.
Now whatever we do in church matters but with what attitude matters more.
2. LOOK AT OTHERS INTEREST(v.4-6).
So, Paul says look to the interests of others, Being Considering others better than yourselves (v.4). Humility was considered weak and lowliness. But Paul says humility was not to manipulate others and to get extra mileage but to have it as hallmark. True humility considers God and others better than self.
C.S Lewis “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
Marvin Vincent says ‘the self-denying zeal of Christ was for the salvation of others’ and not for personal gains.
EM Bounds an attorney turned Methodist Clergy, spent many years in Prison for his conviction and ministry, he wrote many books. In his book titled “Essentials of Prayer”. He defines the Humility:
“Humility is not abstraction from self, nor does it ignore thought about self. It is a many-phased principle. Humility is born by looking at God, and His holiness, and then looking at self and man’s unholiness.
Humility loves obscurity (insignificance) and silence, dreads applause, esteems the virtues of others, excuses their faults with mildness, easily pardons injuries, fears contempt less and less, and sees baseness and falsehood in pride”.