Last Sunday we introduced the Book of Philippians. This morning we are in Chapter 2. We didn’t point this out last week but Chapter 1 actually dealt with the purpose of life. It was summed up in verse 21:
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Today in Chapter 2 we will look at the Christian virtue of unity.
In verses 1 through 4 God calls us to be in unity with each other. You will notice – in these verses – how Paul separates worldly endeavor from Christian unity. This Christian unity is attainable; however, it will never come through selfish ambition or vain conceit. A difficult concept is presented. It speaks of thinking others better than ourselves. That is not a natural concept. The word is lowliness. Plato defined lowliness as follows:
“That state of mind which submits to the divine order of the universe and does not impiously exalt itself.”
I have lived through several church splits. They could have all been avoided had we merely observed that one above principle.
Verses 5 through 11 make up one of the most impacting collection of words of all scripture. These few verses in a nutshell tell just what Christ did in order to unite and unify the sinful creature (that would be us) with his Holy Creator. If you desire a compact version of the life of Christ, and it’s meaning, this is the place to get it.
Watch for a couple of Christian concepts. One is – “working out your salvation”. The New Testament never speaks of working for our salvation. The cults or religion get caught up in this. Salvation is not to be considered the result of something we work for. Jesus is the one who worked for our salvation. That is a given. Working out our salvation is completely different. The Greeks used this phrase in bringing a math problem to its logical conclusion. Salvation is a given. How we work it out to a logical conclusion is up to each individual.
The other concept is “shining out like stars in a crooked and depraved generation”. It seems in every generation the older we get the more we realize that we live in such a situation. Our times are no different that Paul’s when seen from a maturing Christian point of view.
Paul mentions two people by name in this chapter. They are given as examples. Timothy evidently kept tabs on this Philippian church. He is mentioned as a shepherd, a son and a servant to this church. In all of Paul’s letters Timothy is mentioned some twenty-four times.
We have mentioned before that it was Epaphroditus who carried this letter from the prison of Rome to the church at Philippi. Evidently he had been sent out by the church to minister to Paul in prison and to take him an offering. He has now returned with this letter. He is mentioned as a brother, a companion in labor and a fellowsoldier.
So let’s see what chapter 2 has to offer.