Summary: The greatest danger facing the church today is a attack on the authority of the Word of God; general coldness and indifference to biblical truth and God’s standards of righteousness. These are both attacks that face the unity of the church. This can cau
The greatest danger facing the church today is a attack on the authority of the Word of God; general coldness and indifference to biblical truth and God’s standards of righteousness. These are both attacks that face the unity of the church. This can cause disruption, weakening and even destroy a church. Paul saw this problem in all of the churches he ministered too and he noted the problem in each of his biblical letters to the churches. The church of Philippi was for the most part theologically sound, yet it faced the danger of discord.
In 2:1-4, Paul gives us a very concise and practical teaching about unity in the New Testament church. Today, I want us to look at the three elements that are necessary for unity to be built.
I. The Right Motives for Spiritual Unity (2:1-2a)
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete.
- First, we must find encouragement in Christ.
1. Encouragement in the Greek (Paraklesis) means to come alongside someone to give assistance by offering comfort, counsel, or exhortation.
2. The Good Samaritan
- The second motivator of unity is the Consolation of Love
1. Consolation, literally means to talk softly with someone and give comfort and solace
- Third, unity is motivated by the fellowship of the Spirit
1. Koinonia, means to have a partnership and mutual sharing
2. This is to be intimate time with the Holy Spirit, since our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
3. The Holy Spirit is the seal that guarantees our inheritance
- The fourth motivator of unity is Affection and Compassion
1. These are the qualities that characterize Christ, who tenderly comforts and encourages the weak and oppressed.
2. We should be gracious in the treatment of others.
* There is a negative side to these positive motivations though. If we fell to seek and preserve spiritual unity weakens Christ’s church.
II. The Right Marks of Spiritual Unity (2:2b)
..by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
- First, we must be in the same mind
1. We must strive to achieve a common understanding and genuine agreement
2. If we continue to walk in the flesh, we cannot be in one accord with Christ.
- Second, we must maintain the same love
1. This is the agape love that flows from being of one mind.
2. To have the same love is to be devoted to one another
- Third, we must be united in spirit
1. In the Greek, (Sumpsuchos) literally means “one souled”
2. This means that we should have a life that excludes personal ambition, selfishness, hatred, envy, jealously, countless other evils.
- Fourth, we must be intent on one purpose
1. If we cannot walk in the same direction and agree on what direction we should go, we will pull apart.
III. The Right Means for Spiritual Unity (2: 3-4)
Do nothing form selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.