When reading through Philippians you will notice that it is primarily a
PRACTICAL epistle. In the section from chapter 1:27-2:18, Paul answers the question: How now shall we live?
Chapter 2 begins with four verses of exhortation which describe the selfless Christian as opposed to the selfish Christian. Our attention is then drawn to the example of Christ Jesus from verse 5-11.
One word that stands out in this whole section is the word ‘mind’.
“Like minded”, “one mind”, “lowliness of mind”, then in verse 5 it is all connected to the mind of Christ saying “Let THIS mind be in YOU”.
A little glimpse ahead in Philippians shows us the context of the situation in the church Paul was addressing.
Php 4:2 (NKJV) I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
The issue of disunity was because the members were not centred on the Mind of Christ. If they imitated the mind of Christ described in CH2:1-8 then these issues, whether ‘selfish ambition or conceit’ (v3) would dissipate.
So there is a clear message here for us. We need to make a determined decision to follow Christ’s example.
The words “Let this mind be in you” is an instruction for us all.
Paul didn’t want his readers to admire this from a distance or to write a song about it. He wanted them to live it.
In many places Paul told believers that they needed to ‘put on’ spiritual things.
There is one example which I think is especially relevant due to the fact that the context sets itself in the ‘last days’, a time where many feel we are approaching quickly as our world deteriorates.
Romans 13:11-14 (NKJV)
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy [see Phil 2:3].
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
So with that we look at the example of Christ.
Chuck Smith describes this section as “treading into the Holy of Holies”.
On Sunday I mentioned that if there was one verse that you could highlight in your bible, it is verse 5. If you put that verse at the forefront of your lives and filtered everything through it, you might be surprised at how your walk with God changes. Your mind and focus is guaranteed to change for the better.
What’s noticeable in the description of Jesus’ earthly ministry was His selfless attitude and complete submission. From the top rung of the ladder being glorified in Heaven, all the way to the bottom “EVEN the death of the cross”.
When you examine the story of Lucifer and Adam you see the intention being “I will!” Whereas Jesus said “Thy will”. What camp do we fall into?
We see at the conclusion of this section from verses 10-11 that ultimately Jesus has been restored to His glory and sits enthroned. Paul uses a quote from Isaiah 45 which equates Jesus with Yahweh.
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
The sobering thought here is that ultimately every human being will make this confession. Either with joyful faith, or resentment and despair.
It’s vital that one choses Christ now, before it is too late. The scriptures say “Now is the day of salvation”. Don’t delay that decision!
The exhortation will continue in our next study as Paul implies the church is witness to this salvation, as lights in the world. We need to have ‘one mind’ in this purpose and unity amen!