Thoughts on Philippians 2: 1-4

Thoughts on Philippians 2: 1-4

These are thought-provoking words, aren’t they?

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2: 1-4

Paul wrote these words immediately following his reminder that the Philippians would likely face suffering. He noted that suffering had been “granted” unto them. To truly fellowship with Jesus and to totally relate to the depths of His purpose in winning the world through the Gospel, one needed to be willing even to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ. 

As he moved into chapter 2 Paul stressed our need to be as much like Jesus as possible. The need for self-sacrifice and considering others more highly than ourselves are simply non-negotiable traits for faithful believers. Just before those powerful words of Philippians 2: 5-11, Paul reminded us that “if” we really are Christians and possesses the attributes of faithfulness then we will live and act as Jesus did. We would remove ourselves from the top of the priority list and look at the needs of others, even the lost, and strive to bless them. 

Philippians 2: 1-2  | A Simple Explanation


Paul uses the if/then approach in order to make a serious case. “If” you are truly living for Jesus and possess true Christian attributes “then” self-sacrifice and the consideration of others will be the natural spiritual result. So, let’s look at the “if” terms and get a feel for their meaning, 

  • Consolation of ChristConsolation is closely related to the word Comforter in John 14: 16-26 which references the Holy Spirit. But in Luke 2:25 the word consolation is in reference to Jesus as He is called the “consolation of Israel.” So, the word consolation carries with it thoughts of both the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus. 
  • Comfort of love – The word comfort means stimulating force. The idea is to keep stimulating and motivating. Paul was encouraging the Philippians to keep on keeping on in comforting and consoling one another as they faced the struggles of sharing Christ with the world. 
  • Fellowship of the Spirit – The idea here is to participate with the Holy Spirit in His work of ministry. We are simply not strong enough to face the rebellious world with our own efforts or with any natural means. The work of the Holy Spirit is needed. 
  • Affection and Mercy – These words have to do with our hearts and our compassion for others. Paul was appealing to the Philippians’ natural sympathy, tenderness, and feelings for others. 
In verse 2 Paul gets to the “then” aspect. If they possess the above qualities “then” they will desire to fulfill his joy by possessing the unity that a true church of God should possess. The unified church is a powerful church. Working together gets things done. The Gospel message goes out more efficienty and effectively when carried out by a team of believers who have the same passion and compassion for the lost. 
 

Philippians 2: 3-4 | A Sensible Application

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Some passages of Scripture need no real explanation from a preacher, pastor, or teacher. Some simply lay it out there and there is no room for personal interpretation. These 2 verses are of that sort. They simply mean …
 
  • Don’t be selfish, especially in the work of the Gospel
  • Don’t think you are more gifted or better than other Christians 
  • Be amazingly humble as the Lord Jesus was
  • Think more of others than you do of yourself (Hmmm, maybe reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a good idea). 
  • Remember that people are always more interested in themselves than they are anyone else, so use that to your advantage when sharing thr Gospel with them.
Hopefully these thoughts resonated with you as they have with me.
Blessings,
Tony Guthrie, PhD.
tguthriebiz@gmail.com

 

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