Paul’s letter to the Philippians helps us see how the gospel changes everything. Faith in God is not depended on your personal race (3:5), religion (3:5) or self-righteousness (3:6). Believing the gospel means you exchange your resume for Jesus. Spiritual acceptance comes only through Jesus Christ not your works.
Today we will look at Philippians 2:1-11. In Philippians, Paul says that if you have connected with Jesus through the gospel then you must learn to do as Jesus did and care for others. In this passage we will study what it means to be one in Christ.
One in Christ’s Character (2:1-5).
Paul tells the Philippians that “since” they have received the benefits of God’s blessings in their life (united with Christ, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and compassion) then they should live like it. Their lives should reflect the character and heart of God. Paul’s command is to be “like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose.” Paul urges unity through humility toward others. In other words, the Philippians are to grow together toward the same goal – that of spreading the gospel.
As Christ gave His life, He calls us to give ourselves to others. He says, “stop being selfish and consider others more important than yourselves… look out for the interests of others” (2:3-4); this is the mind of Christ (2:5). Therefore, God’s people are to reflect the unselfish character of Christ.
Christian unity with God and each other is gained slowly and lost quickly. For the most part, the Philippian church had few problems in comparison to other NT churches. However, to protect and encourage further unity Paul reminded them of its importance.
There is only one way to have your character shaped by Christ and that is by spending time with Him. You spend time with Christ when you are reading Scripture, talking & listening in prayer, fellowshipping with other believers and serving Him in obedience each day.
One in Christ’s Cross (2:6-8).
Paul explains Jesus’ character by showing the humility of God becoming man (incarnation) and going to the cross. Jesus was and is the very nature of God. The point in saying Jesus is God is that many other religions do not agree with this statement. Some believe Jesus became like a god or is a second tier class of divinity. This couldn’t be further from the truth and Paul reminds the Philippians how great salvation really is that almighty God would condescend from heaven to die such a cruel death. All Christians are to spread this message for the salvation of the world.
Notice the building of language:
– Made himself nothing – he did not subtract his divinity but added humanity (John 1:14)
– Taking very nature of a servant – came to serve and give his life as a ransom (Mark 10:45)
– Being made in human likeness – was tempted in every way like we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15)
– Humbled himself and became obedient to death – chose to die for sinners (Romans 5:8)
– Even death on a cross – the execution of cursed and criminals (Galatians 3:13) [no Roman/Philippi could be crucified]
ð The cross symbolizes surrender
Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
ð Treasure & Trust the gospel.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
ð Jesus was sent. All Christians sent to spread cross message.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
One in Christ’s Confession (2:9-11).
The result of Jesus’ humility was his exaltation. God “highly exalted” Jesus. This term means to raise someone to the loftiest height. Jesus has the name above every other name and every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Ultimately, every person from every nation throughout history will acknowledge Jesus’ identity at Lord. There will be a day when people gather saying,
“Worthy are you [Jesus] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
ð Submit and worship Jesus as Lord.
ð Celebrate and worship Jesus together that He has ransomed those from every nation.
ð Unite together for the spread of Jesus’ fame and Lordship through Severna Park region.