Philippians 2 - Joy in Serving
1If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
22But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
23Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
24But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
25Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
26For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
27For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
29Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
30Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Exhortations to a kind, humble spirit and behaviour. (1-4) The example of Christ. (5-11) Diligence in the affairs of salvation, and to be examples to the world. (12-18) The apostle's purpose of visiting Philippi. (19-30)
Verses 1-4: Here are further exhortations to Christian duties; to like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness, according to the example of the Lord Jesus. Kindness is the law of Christ's kingdom, the lesson of his school, the livery of his family. Several motives to brotherly love are mentioned. If you expect or experience the benefit of God's compassions to yourselves, be compassionate one to another. It is the joy of ministers to see people like-minded. Christ came to humble us, let there not be among us a spirit of pride. We must be severe upon our own faults, and quick in observing our own defects, but ready to make favourable allowances for others. We must kindly care for others, but not be busy-bodies in other men's matters. Neither inward nor outward peace can be enjoyed, without lowliness of mind.
Verses 5-11: The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, (Joh 1:1), had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, (Joh 5:23). Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?
Verses 12-18: We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God's grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God's good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us. Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence. The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Running, denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward; labouring, denotes constancy, and close application. It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.
Verses 19-30: It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Philippians with Chapter 2 and in our text we see Paul continuing with the theme of Joy. In this letter to the Church at Philippi Paul expounds on the Joy in Serving, explaining how we are to be humble like Christ and shine as lights in a dark world. In making application we see that the world is still dark and we can let our light shine showing the love of Christ where God has placed us. How about you? Are you allowing Christ to be seen in your life? Let us learn from our text today and the reminder of Paul that we are to allow the Lord to shine in us, for others to see and experience the love of Christ, while in return we will experience this Joy in Serving Others.
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Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.