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.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Without Jesus Christ, nothing works right. No one can think right unless they are saved. Due to God’s mercy and grace, He intervenes in the foolishness of our world and either slows down or stops the wicked plans of governments.
The apostle Paul was — an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was an ambassador for Christ. He was not the “vicar” of Christ. He was one of twelve men chosen by Jesus Christ to declare all that God wanted made known to man. Paul did not make up his own theology. He did not make up his own doctrines. He faithfully and patiently taught the truth as given to him by God the Holy Spirit.
In our text, Paul was directed to address the importance of unity among those who are saved. This unity does not come by compromise. This unity can only come when each one who is saved, willingly submits to the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be times of disagreement because we are human. However, when we humbly sit down and study God’s Word, those disagreements will be removed, if we are led by the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes those disagreements will lead to separation. In Acts 15 we read that Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement with regard to taking John Mark with them on an evangelistic journey. Barnabas was determined to take John Mark with them, but Paul, who was an apostle, stated that John Mark was not ready for another journey. Barnabas would not yield to the apostle Paul and they separated. Paul chose Silas as his new partner and Barnabas took John Mark. We do not read anything of Barnabas’ journeys from that point forward. We do read that Paul later asked for John Mark to come and meet with him. John Mark had learned some things and was now an asset to the work of the Lord. We know that Barnabas was instrumental in getting the others apostles and other saints to accept Paul when he was first saved. Barnabas had done some good work in the past. He likely was involved in helping John Mark to be a faithful servant of God.
In verse 3 of our text, Paul was directed to reminds the saints that nothing should be done through strife or vainglory. The word translated as “strife” has to do with “partisanship”. It is about causing divisions that are not necessary. In the Christian life there will be times when we see things differently. We are not talking about doctrinal divisions. God never wants His children to compromise on doctrine. We see far too much of that in today’s Christianity. God’s Word is truth and it is absolute. Doctrine is absolute. When we submit to God’s authority, we can work together with others who are also submitted to God’s authority.
“Vainglory” has to do with “empty glorying or self-conceit”. Many times, this is what causes divisions. One person thinks more highly of themselves than they should. They are looking for supremacy when it does not belong to them. God’s churches need to function in an orderly manner. Church leaders need to lead. However, they cannot be dictators. They need to stand upon God’s truth and teach that faithfully. They also need to be mindful of the fact that each person must be fully persuaded in their own heart and mind of God’s truth. God will work in His child for His glory.
Rather than be so enamoured with ourselves, those who are saved need to be glorying in the Lord. Paul stated that we need to be of lowly minds. We need to esteem others better than ourselves. The word translated as “esteem” refers to “considering or accounting” of others better than ourselves. God wants all of His children to be an asset to His body. Some may be better equipped than others. Those who are not as well taught, need to be willing to be taught. Those who have been taught need to have a right attitude in teaching others. God does not want any spiritual stragglers. He wants all of His children to be growing in Him. That is possible because all saints have one Saviour — the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is not divided.
I Corinthians 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
The obvious answer is No! Since Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all those who are saved, those who are saved can work together if we have the right heart attitude. That is what God’s Word says. It is the preaching of the cross that will bring about the unity that God says must be there among His children.
Our world is a fractious place. The wicked seldom get along. They have certain things they can agree on. They can agree on attacking God and His people. They can agree on hatred for Jews. In politics they can agree to hold the party line because that is how they get paid. Take the money out of the equation and there would not be the supposed unity that we see.
Among God’s people, unity is built upon knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. The Holy Spirit indwells every born again Christian. He does not speak of Himself. He speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ. When God’s children submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as their head, amazing things will take place.