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,
"Bowels and mercies" means the tenderness and compassion. If there is to be unity in the church, Christians must feel and how kindness and affectionate sympathy to fellow believers.
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.
Selfish ambition ("vainglory") can ruin a church, but true humility can build it. Being humble ("lowliness of mind") means having a true perspective on ourselves (see Romans 12:3). It does not mean that we should put ourselves down. Before God, we are sinners, saved only by God's grace; but we are saved and therefore have great worth in God's Kingdom. we are to lay aside selfishness, treating others with respect and common courtesy. Considering others' interest as more important than our own links us with Christ, who was a true example of humility.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Paul encourages us to guard against any selfishness, prejudice, or jealousy that might lead to dissension. Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity among believers.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Many people - even Christians - live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves. When people are concerned only for themselves, seeds of discord are sown. Paul therefore stresses in verses 1-5 spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to work together with one heart and purpose ("being of one accord, and of one mind"). When we work together, caring for the problems of others as if they were our own, we demonstrate Christ's example of putting others first, and we create unity. Don't be so concerned about making a good impression or meeting your own needs that you strain relationships in God's family.
6 Who, being made 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:
The incarnation was the act of the preexistent Son of God voluntarily assuming a human body and human nature. Without ceasing to be God, he became a human being, the man called Jesus. He did not give up his deity to become human, but he set aside the right to his glory and power. In submission to the Father's will, he limited his power and knowledge. Jesus of Nazareth was subject to place, time, and many other human limitations. What made his human ity unique was his freedom from sin. In his full humanity, Jesus showed us everything about God's character that can be conveyed in human terms.
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Crucifixion was the form of capital punishment Romans used for notorious criminals. It was excruciatingly painful and humiliating. Prisoners were nailed or tied to a cross and left to die. Death might not come for several days, and usually came by suffocation when the weight of the weakened body made breathing more and more difficult. Jesus died as one who was cursed (Galatians 3:13). How amazing that the perfect man should die this most shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment!
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 he Father.
At the last judgment, even those who are condemned will recognize Jesus' authority and right to rule. People can choose to regard him as Lord now as a step of willing and loving commitment, or be forced to acknowledge him as Lord when he returns. Are you prepared to meet him?
Jesus Christ ...
- has always existed with God.
- is equal to God because he is God
- though he is God, he became a man in order to fulfill God's plan of salvation for all people;
- did not just pretend to have a man's body - he actually became a man to identify with man's sins;
- voluntarily laid aside his divine rights and privileges out of love for his Father
- died on the cross for our sins, so we wouldn't have to face eternal death
- God glorified him becasue of is obedience.
- God raised him to his original position at the Father's right hand where he will reign forever as our Lord and Judge.
Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their "rights." They think, "I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass this class," or "I can spend all this money on myself - I worked for it." But as believers, we should have a different attitude; one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others.
If we say we follow Christ, we must also say we want to live as he lived. We should develop his attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve?