Verse 1 – Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
Verse 2 – fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Many people, even Christians, live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves. But selfish ambition or vain conceit brings discord. Therefore, Paul stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to be one in spirit and purpose.
Verse 3 – Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself.
Humility is an antidote for wrong attitudes, resulting in considering others as more important.
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves; do we honestly put others interests and welfare above our own? I can’t think of one person who does. Maybe this is why we have such a hard time getting someone to come to church or even listen to us about Christ. They see our selfishness and “all about me” attitudes and want nothing to do with that. We have to change, including me.
Humility is seen as a virtue and centers on low “self-preoccupation,” or willingness to put one’s self first. We live in a self-centered world where everything is about me and what makes me happy because I deserve it. Paul tells us how to correct that attitude.
Verse 4 – Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.
Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step toward maintaining unity among others.
Christ’s Example of Humility
Verse 5 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Verse 6 – who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Verse 7 – but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Jesus did not give up His deity to become human, but He set His glory and power aside for you and me. He had limited Himself to places and time at the Father’s will. What made Him unique was His freedom from sin. In His humanity Jesus showed us everything about God’s character that could be conveyed in human terms.
Imagine this: someone having all wisdom, all power, all riches, that would become servant, be punished, and put to death for all mankind.
Verse 8 – and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Verse 9 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
Verse 10 – 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,
People can except to acknowledge this while living and breathing or be forced to acknowledge His deity when He returns. We can only make that choice while living because after death, it’s too late. Believe what you will, but one day every knee will bow before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Verse 11 – and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What a terrifying day that will be for some. They will realize that all this “Christianity stuff” was true, while they ignored a loving God who would have loved them throughout their time on earth.
Verse 12 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
Meaning: There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scripture, than for the command to make to ourselves a new heart, to strive to enter the narrow or straight gate, to break off from sin, and to repent!
Verse 13 – for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
As Christians, we need to train ourselves to think like Christ. We need the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us to change our desires to His. True obedience comes from reverence, not fear.
Verse 14 – Do all things without murmuring and disputing,
Do everything in a quiet gentle manner, avoiding strife and arguments. Wouldn’t that be nice if people behaved like that? What’s good advise for the church, should be followed by the individual Christian also.
Verse 15 – that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Verse 16 – holding fast the word of life, so that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Live your life in such a way that no one can accuse you of any wrong in the view of others. Christians should never forget that they represent Christ, and are a witness to the lost.
Paul’s Example of Humility
Verse 17 – Yes, and I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Verse 18 – For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Drink offering refers to the Old Testament sacrifice system. Paul was the sacrifice for these believers.
Verse 19 – But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.
Verse 20 – For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.
Verse 21 – For all seek their own, not the things which are Christ Jesus,
Verse 22 – but you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
Paul had noticed that most of the believers were concerned with their own needs more than others. and just as a father brings up his son, Paul had trained Timothy in preparing him to carry on his ministry in his absence.
Verse 23 – Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.
Paul was telling the Philippians that when he learned of the courts decision, he would send Timothy to them with news and that he was ready to accept whatever came. (Paul was in prison.)
Verse 24 – But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
Verse 25 – Yet I consider it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;
Verse 26 – since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.
Verse 27 – for indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
Verse 28 – Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when yo see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.
Verse 29 – Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;
Verse 30 – because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
Not much is known about Epaphroditus except here in Philippians. He had come from Philippi to bring Paul money while Paul was in Rome. While he was with Paul, he had become very ill, but recovered. Paul sent this thank you letter with him upon his return to the Philippians.
This chapter was about the Christian’s humility, about being humble. We don’t think more highly of ourselves or exalt ourselves, let God do that . Pride makes us and those around us miserable, and is the grand thing that stands in the way of the influence of the gospel on our hearts. No one likes a prideful arrogant preacher.