Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Paul began chapter 2 with four questions. The obvious answer to the questions is in the affirmative. The word translated as “consolation” means “comfort” and “exhortation”. Christ exhorted His disciples to follow Him. He exhorted them to follow Him faithfully. There is comfort when God’s child obeys the commands given in God’s Word. Chapter 1 dealt with the need for unity and the need to understand that the Christian life will bring persecution. However, the true child of God can and will be consoled in Christ. He understands what His children are going through and He provides the strength and wisdom to face the challenges we face.
The second question speaks of comfort of love. It is encouraging to know the love of God in our hearts. There is comfort in knowing that the God of Creation loves us. The true saint has this assurance. Even though there is suffering in the Christian life, if the child of God is walking obediently with the Lord, there is comfort in knowing that God is there with His child.
The Holy Spirit is the One Who guides the child of God so that he or she can enjoy fellowship with God the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is great to have unhindered fellowship with the true and living God. It is a blessing to have the Holy Spirit indwelling the true child of God.
It is also important to know that God’s mercy flows from the core of His being. God is a merciful God. The enemies of God are given some leeway to persecute God’s people, but they are also limited in what they can do. The true child of God can endure the sufferings if he recognizes the consolation and comfort and fellowship that God provides. Paul was not complaining about his lot. He was encouraging the saints in Philippi to keep pressing on in the Lord.
In verse 2 Paul wanted to hear a good report from the saints. He was not looking for things to give him joy. He wanted to hear a good testimony from the saints. This good testimony would include that likemindedness that the saints need to have. That likemindedness comes when the child of God is submitted to His will. We know there is no division in the godhead. The same will be true when God’s children are walking in obedience to the Lord.
God’s love is given to every one of His children. Thus every true child of God can have the same love. God does not push the weak person aside. He works in all His children to bring them along in their faith in Him. The important fact is to be a child of God. Being of one accord is what we see in Acts 4. The early church saw the importance of giving their possessions to God. They sold them and laid the funds at the apostles’ feet. The apostles were then in charge of distributing the funds as the saints had needs. There was no competition there. There was a desire to see the Gospel proclaimed and the saints were willing to give all they could for that purpose. We notice that the apostles were not building some big building. They were busy preaching the Gospel. There was a godly spirit at work in the saints’ hearts and lives there. That needs to be true in any generation of Christians.
We are not commanded to sell all we have and give the funds to the local church. We are told to look out for the needs of other saints. The local church is not designed to be a soup kitchen. It is not a bank to help lost people financially. The true local church is designed to feed the people the Word of God. The Word of God will change the heart and attitude of the saints. It will also speak to the heart of the lost.
The saints need to be of one mind. We need to be reminded of what is important and we need to move forward in unity. We have warned of the lure towards the emergent church philosophy. The compromised Gospel and the contemporary music and the immodest apparel is becoming more evident. That should not be the nature of a true church. That will not build unity. Those who buy into that philosophy assume that others need to be more accepting and more tolerant. God says no. The teaching needs to be such as to keep God’s holiness before the people.
In verse 3 Paul reminded the saints that nothing should be done through strife or vainglory. True Christians serve the Lord out of love for Him. In Acts 5 we read of Ananias and Sapphira. They wanted to be praised for being selfless saints, but they were greedy and selfish. They wanted to be seen as being spiritual, but they were not. That is vainglory. Those who are truly saved and humble servants of the Lord, do not need to be recognized. They just serve the Lord. That is what is expected and the true saint takes pleasure in doing what God has designed them to do.
We see in verse 3 that humility is important. Rather than assuming that one person has arrived and the others need to catch up, there needs to be a lowliness of mind that sees others as better than themselves.
I was conducting a service yesterday and one of the people in attendance stated that they would not miss our service. She stated that I was very important and she did not want to miss the service. I reminded her that it was not I that was important, but rather it was the Word of God that was important. It is important to know the true God and be saved. If we have the right attitude in Christ, we will just want to be faithful to the Lord in whatever capacity He has in mind.
In verse 4 we are further reminded that true saints are not focused on themselves. Some people are very “needy”. True saints appreciate the fact that they are saved and they get their minds off themselves and on to the work of the Lord.
In the Old Testament we read of Joseph as a prisoner. He was a model prisoner and the jailer saw that he could assign duties to Joseph in prison and Joseph would do those things faithfully. Two of Pharaoh’s servants were cast into prison and one day Joseph noticed they were troubled. Joseph was not dwelling on his problems. He did not belong in prison. He had not done anything to deserve that punishment. However, God had him in that prison for a purpose. Joseph was willing to serve God wherever he was. He ministered to the needs of those two other prisoners. He was able to answer them regarding the dreams they had. The baker did not get a favourable answer, but he got the truth. The butler received a good answer, but he did not have the same heart as Joseph. When he was given his job back, he forgot all about Joseph. It was all about him. He did not remember Joseph until Pharaoh had a dream that troubled him. His “wise men” could not answer his query. It was then that the butler finally remembered Joseph.
Joseph was an Old Testament saint who cared more about the needs of others than of his own needs. He was blessed of God because God found him to be faithful. Joseph did not try to figure out how he could get God’s attention. He just did what a true saint should be doing and God is faithful to reward His faithful saints.
Joseph knew that God was just. He knew that God had a plan, even though he could not see that plan clearly all the time. He just served the Lord and God blessed him. The Christian’s attitude is such an important thing. Rather than trying to be noticed, just serve the Lord out of a heart of love. Don’t put on a show. Be real. If you are not saved, then get saved rather than trying to impress others with what you think you can do. If you are saved just walk humbly with the Lord and let Him exalt you in due time.
I Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.