Exhortation to Unity, Love, and Humility
Phil. 2:1 – 4
We are now in the second chapter of this book. It is an exhortation in respect to Christian life and character. Let’s take a look and see what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us and wants us to do.
I. Consolation in Christ (Phil. 2:1)
A. The word consolation here means exhortation which can also mean encouragement. But how can we have real encouragement or exhortation? The key is to be “in Christ” which is our position in Him. A personal union with Christ which I would say is the reality of salvation. To be in Christ is to be saved. From this relationship comes all the benefits and fruits of salvation like
1. Encouragement (Rom. 8:1, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 2:20). Philippian Christians are undergoing persecution so they need encouragement. We all need encouragement, even matured Christians, Pastors, evangelists, etc.
2. Comfort of love, which we get our knowledge and assurance that we have eternal life because of His death on the cross for our sins (Jn. 3:16; Ro 5:8; 8:38-39; 1 Jn. 3:16; 4:9-10, 16).
3. Fellowship with the spirit is the companionship or partnership of believers produced by the Holy Spirit who dwells with them (1 Cor. 3:16, 12:13, 2 Cor. 13:14, 1 Jn. 1:4-6).
4. Bowels and mercies. The Greek word “bowels” actually was the word for intestines, but was commonly also used figuratively for the inner affections of the heart (Col. 3:12). The seat of our feelings. It expresses itself in love, mercy or compassion. All Christians must have a genuine love, sympathy and care for each other.
5. All these benefits–encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and tender mercies are viewed by Paul as present realities for the Philippians. We as Christians now should also have these realities in our lives.
Illustration: Perplexed But Not In Despair
The British envoy to the United Nations, Lord Caradon, speaking to an American Bible Society luncheon, recalled an experience when he was governor of Cyprus. There was serious political strife in Cyprus. But his devout father in England cabled the young governor: “Two Corinthians: four, eight.”
Lord Caradon knew the passage well: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8).
It was a message of encouragement and assurance.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
II. Fulfil ye my Joy (v.2)
A. Fulfil has the idea of “making Paul’s joy complete”. Paul’s joy was connected to the unity of believers. Marriage is union but not necessarily unity. Unity has to do with healthy relationships.
1. Likeminded, that we think the same thing. Perfect unity of sentiment, opinion, and plan. We must live in harmony. We must prevent division, envy, misunderstanding, and strife in the church, and so that Christians may be harmonious in promoting the same great work–the salvation of souls.
2. Same love, this is unity of affection, two hearts that beats as one. Having the same love means constantly loving each other. Christians should love one another. Christians may differ in opinion but they can still be united through love. God loves us unconditionally. When he died for us, he knows that he is dying for people who have lots of defects. Yet, He voluntarily gave His life for us.
This should encourage us to do the same. Brotherly love can be characterized as
a. Christ love is the standard – Jn. 15:12
b. Impartial –Deut. 10:19
c. Unselfish – Mt. 22:39
d. Proof of discipleship – Jn. 13:35
e. Sincere – Rom. 12:9
f. Abounding – 1 Thess. 3:12
g. Fervent – 1 Pet. 1:22
3. Being of one accord. Being united as one soul. Unity of sentiment, a unity of life in love. Just like lovers who say they are “soul mates”. Musical instruments are sensitive instruments that easily get out of tune. A common tuning instrument is necessary to keep the instruments in harmony.
4. One mind. This does not necessarily mean that all should have the same opinion.
We cannot interpret everything or see everything the same way. There is unity in diversity.
These are called four aspects of unity, like minded, same love, of one accord, and one mind.
Illustration: Illustration: The Church As a Team
The story is told of a horse-pull in Canada. One horse pulled 9,000 pounds, another 8,000. Together you would expect them to pull 18,000 pounds. Not so! When teamed together, they pulled 30,000 pounds.
The principle is called synergism. By definition, the simultaneous action of separate agents working together has a greater total effect than the sum of their individual efforts. More can be done in a
team effort than can be accomplished solo. In order for the principle of synergism to work like it should, there has to be teamwork.
Everything we do takes teamwork and trust. Every person in the local church is valuable and needed.
The church is a team, and together we can build for the Lord.
The way to unity in Christ is a lowly path. It is the way where the look at others as better than us.
However, there are few more which would make the joy of Paul while he is in jail. They are:
5. Let nothing be done through strife and vain glory. It is possible, as Philippians 1:15-16 has already shown us, to be controlled by a competitive, boastful spirit even in connection with the holy things of the Lord.
a. Strife is forbidden
b. Self- exultation is also not allowed
c. If we will have an attitude humbleness, walk in lowliness of mind, if we will esteem each other better than himself, if we will look every not upon his own things, but upon the things of others, we will find the secret of unity in the spirit. As long as we are self- centered and proud and proud and given to vain glorying we will have strife and contention.
A flourishing church was once reduced to complete ineffectuality. Sunday school had customarily been held in the afternoon. But the pastor and others in the church wanted to change it to the
morning hour. They knew that the Sunday school superintendent was strongly opposed to this. Rather than face the matter openly with him, they met in secret and voted to change the hour.
When he learned of it, his feelings were deeply hurt. Angry words were exchanged. People in the church began to take sides, and soon a sizable faction moved out. Bitterness quenched the work of
the Spirit, and what was once a deeply spiritual and soul-winning church became a poorly attended one. Lacking support, the edifice itself became shabby and unattractive, reflecting outwardly the
destructive result of jealousy that led to strife and divisions.
As Christians we should be encouraged to unity, love, and humility. To be “In Christ” is
the key. We must be humble. We must look at others as better than us.