Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the topic of church unity. Paul identifies the motivations and qualities that promote unity along with the importance of an outward focus.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the motivations that promote church unity

Church is not simply a building. Or a weekly worship service for your religious fix. It is a group of Christ-followers who meet regularly and relationally. Who do life together in the name of Jesus Christ. But they are all still sinners. So problems within a church are inevitable. And unity is an important, but difficult challenge.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some church conflicts you’ve experienced? Describe them, their cause and the result? What motivations fueled or diffused them?

We face different challenges in life. And often, our success or failure depends on the level of motivation. How bad do you want it? In this passage Paul begins with a discussion on motivations.

And he frames it with an “if” and “then.”

V.1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy

In other words, IF you have these motivations. Let’s break them down.

Encouragement in Christ—Encouragement in Greek is paraklēsis, which means to exhort. Literally, a calling to one’s side, or to one’s aid. Christ-followers should encourage and come alongside one another both physically and in their faith journey.

Comfort from love—The Greek for comfort is paramythion, which also means consolation. It infers a sense of constraint and speaking to other Christ-followers in a friendly manner. As Paul advises in Ephesians 4:15, it’s not just what you say, but your tone of voice in how you say it.

Participation in the spirit—Participation is the Greek word koinōnia discussed in the study on 1:26-30. It is the unique sense of community fostered by the presence of the Holy Spirit when Christ followers gather. He is the spiritual super glue that holds the church together.

Affection and sympathy—Affection is the Greek word splanchnon which also means compassion. In other words, genuine caring for others. As Jesus demonstrated compassion and caring, we are to follow his example. Especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ at church..

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the qualities that promote church unity

V. 2 complete my joy by… being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Okay, Paul doesn’t actually say “then” but it’s implied. Notice also, he doesn’t demand compliance from a position of apostolic authority or guilt them into submission. But persuasively suggests it would really make him happy to see them demonstrate these qualities. It would make the joy he expressed for them in chapter 1:3 complete.

Same mind and one mind–Both use the same Greek word phronéō, which means to think or plan. Share the same opinion. A church must move together in how it thinks. And this is directed by God’s word and the leading of his Spirit. So it’s important for Christ-followers to individually and regularly pray and study the Bible. There will always be differences in interpretations, but there can be agreement on fundamental truth and important doctrines within a body of believers.

having the same love–The agape love that motivates Christ-followers should also be expressed among them. It includes support, encouragement, and accountability. And a willingness to seek and extend forgiveness.

being in full accord –The Greek word for accord is sumpsuchŏs and means similar in sentiment and like-minded. In other words, a synonym for phronéō.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the outward focus important to unity

REFLECT AND RECORD

What comes to mind when you consider people that demonstrate humility? How is it expressed or lacking in your own life?

V.3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jesus warned about humility posers. People who showcased virtuous acts to demonstrate moral goodness. And he told stories that exposed the hearts behind certain acts of charitable giving and pious prayers.

And now, Paul identifies a simple principle of Biblical humility. Take your eyes off yourself and focus on others. In other words, it has very little to do with how you present yourself. But where you focus your attention. It’s not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:5-11. Have you checked out Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 1:26-30

Philippians 1:26-30 encourages worthy discipleship, calls for unity, courage against the culture, and warns about the cost of discipleship.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls Christ-followers to be worthy of the Gospel

V.27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…

We sometimes act like we’re doing Jesus a favor by following him. But Paul suggests the opposite. Jesus did us the favor. And our lives should demonstrate appreciation.

The Greek word for worthy is axiōs, which means appropriately and after a godly sort.

In other words, does your Christian walk reflect a Godly lifestyle that is appropriate for a Christ-follower? Is your Christian conduct worthy of the sacrifice Jesus made for you?

REFLECT AND RECORD

What does it mean to live a Godly lifestyle? How should that lifestyle present itself at home, work, church and in social settings? How would you rate your walk as worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for unity among Christ-followers

V. 27 that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.

Let’s break it down.

Standing firm…

The winds of social change are blowing. But God’s word remains the same. And Paul urges us to stand firm with unwavering moral convictions. While our culture flees from them at increasing speed. We’re pulled to go with the flow. Join the crowd. Because we want to belong. However, standing firm will leave you behind a morally moving culture. And you will have to decide. Go or stay?

One spirit…

Spirit is the Greek word pneúma that means wind, breath, life, and Spirit. It refers specifically to the third person of the Trinity–the Holy Spirit–who indwells every Christ-follower. He guides, encourages, convicts of sin, illuminates scripture and creates a spiritual community among Christ-followers described by the Greek word, Koinonia. The spiritual bond that unifies the church.

One mind…

The Greek word for mind is psychḗ, which means life and soul. The being part of human being. In Philippians Chapter 2, Paul uses a different Greek word for mind that we’ll look at next week. For now, let’s not over think his meaning here. Maybe he’s simply calling for oneness as living souls.

Striving side by side…

The Greek word synathléō promotes the idea of striving, suffering, and working together.

In other words, Christ-followers are individually disciples and corporately the body of Christ. It’s a relationship compared to marriage. And sticks together in good and bad times.

Philippians 1:26-30 calls for courage against the culture

V. 28 not frightened in anything by your opponents.

As Paul said in V. 20, he didn’t want to be ashamed, but full of courage. And now he encourages the Philippians not to fear their opponents either.

Easier said than done, right?

Especially in a morally intimidating culture. One that threatens cancellation to gain support for morals that oppose Biblical teaching. So how should we respond? Compromise on convictions? Hold fast, but remain quiet?

Presently, Godliness and Biblical truth are increasingly labeled intolerant. The moral divide between Christianity and culture grows wider. And simultaneously, puts the two on a head-on collision course.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Share a memory on how you navigated social pressure growing up? How does rejection come into play? What is your greatest concern as a Christ-follower in an anti-Christian culture?

V. 28 This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation

When you live a Godly life, it exposes the ungodliness around you. Because you’re a living testimony that glorifies God. And a witness that influences others by your positive example.

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47)

However, others may resist and mock your faith. Exclude you from social circles. And try to take you down. Because righteous living illuminates sin. This where God is your refuge.

You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man. (Psalm 12:7-8)

Philippians 1:26-30 warns Christ-followers about persecution

V. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake

Jesus Christ ultimately suffered for our sake. And Paul says those who follow him may suffer too. Jesus said the same thing.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Christ-followers in other countries already suffer persecution. Although it’s still a religious freedom in America, Christianity has certainly lost favor in the mainstream culture. And is under increasing attack. How should we respond?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Can you remember a time someone mocked you for your Christian faith? How did you respond? How should we relate to others as sinners saved by grace, but disciples of Christ who strive to live righteously?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 2:1-4. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 2:1-4

Background On The Book Of Philippians

Background on the book of Philippians begins with its author–the Apostle Paul. He wrote it as a letter to the church while he was imprisoned in Rome. Here are other elements that form the background on the book of Philippians.

Background on the book of Philippians involves the city of Philippi

The city of Philippi was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. It was a Roman colony where many Roman soldiers retired and its inhabitants enjoyed the privileges of Roman citizenship.

These colonies, located on the outskirts of the Roman empire, and populated with former soldiers, effectively secured the empire borders.

The book of Philippians is commonly called one of Paul’s prison epistles. Paul wrote two other epistles during his prison stay. The New Testament books of Ephesians and Colossians.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a call by God

God uses Christ-followers to carry out his will. And God initially called Paul while traveling to the city of Damascus. At the time, Paul actively persecuted the Christian church. But on the road to Damascus, God appeared to him in a blinding light.

Because of the encounter, Paul commits his life to Christ and makes a course correction. Ok actually, a complete change in direction. And what the Bible calls repentance.

Has God ever affected a course correction in your life? Take a moment to reflect and write down what it involved. How did it impact your life today?

Then Paul dreamed about a man from Macedonia who asked for his help. And he concluded God was calling him to go there and preach the gospel.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a woman entreprenuer

So Paul ends up in the city of Phillip and on the Sabbath, he looks for a group of Jewish worshipers to join. And he meets Lydia, a business woman who sells purple cloth.

She’s described as a “worshiper of God” which probably means she practiced the Jewish faith. But when Paul shares the gospel with her, she opens her heart to faith in Jesus and is baptized. And immediately offers her home as a meeting place for other followers of Jesus.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a fortune teller

Next Paul encounters a young, demon possessed slave girl. And the demon gives her the power of fortune telling, which is highly profitable for her owners.

As Paul and Silas share the gospel around the city, she follows them for several days announcing, These men are servants of the Most High God who proclaim to you the way of salvation.

It’s easy to imagine her mocking tone of voice. As if to say, these guys are complete losers. Take them seriously and you’re a loser too. Similar to the way many skeptics view Christ-followers today.

But after several days of this verbal onslaught, Paul had enough. He commanded the evil spirit to leave her.

It obeys Paul’s command and with the vacating spirit went the slave girl’s fortune telling abilities. Her lucrative income. Which left her owners very unhappy.

So they dragged Paul and Silas before the city rulers and complained. And the rulers–seeking to please the citizenship–had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown in jail.

Background on the book of Philippians involves a suicidal jailer

That evening around midnight, with bruised bodies and feet lock in stocks, Paul and Silas do just what you expect after a hard beating…pray and sing hymns to God.

Suddenly, an earthquake occurs, prison doors fly open, chains fall off, and the jailer behaves with a clear head. He draws his sword to kill himself. An impulsive, act first, think later, knee jerk reaction that accomplishes half your goal.

He stops, however, when Paul assures him no one has escaped. And he falls before them and asks how to be saved.

They share the gospel with him, he believes in Jesus, and then takes them into his house and treats their wounds.

The next day, the city rulers told the Jailer to let Paul and Silas go. But Paul tells him to inform those leaders that he and Silas are Roman citizens who were denied due process. And demands the city rulers to personally escort them from jail.

Which they do. Afterwards, Paul and Silas encourage their new group of believers and leave.

And so you get a glimpse into the beginning of the Philippian church.

Join me next week as I dive into Philippians 1:1-5.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.