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.
- Through these five means, Paul shows us how to achieve genuine spiritual unity
- All Five means are interrelated and inseparable
1. Rejecting selfishness is the first means
a. It is the rest of every other sin
b. When we place our will above God’s we fell
i. Example: Adam/Eve and Satan
2. We must Forsake empty conceit
a. The Greek translation (kenodoxia), which comes from the two words (kenos) “empty” and (doxa) “glory”.
b. Empty conceit is no more than arrogant pride
c. We must remain humble
- Third, we must have humility of mind.
1. This is opposite of selfish ambition and empty conceit and is corrective for them.
2. Humility is a dominate virture we all should strive for
a. Christ was humble enough to ride a donkey into Jerusalem
3. We should never think ourselves to good for anything
4. We must regard one another as more important than ourselves.
- Fourth, we should not merely look our for our own personal interests
1. When our own personal interest starts to dominate our thinking and way of life, we forget about the real purpose of living.
2. Christ was the true example of denying personal interest.
a. His ministry on earth was focused on the needs of man, not himself.
- Finally, we must look out for the interest of others
- Rejoice with those who rejoice
- Weep with those who weep
- Bear one another’s burdens
If we all can strive for the right motive, marks, and means to achieve spiritual unity we will be successful in life and thereafter. When we forget how we should act as the body of Christ, we need look no further then Christ life alone for the example.