Humble Holiness
Philippians 2:1-11
Christ died to unite us to God, and we die to ourselves to unite the body of Christ
Published May 18th, 2020; Updated May 18th, 2020
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Main point summary
Expository Sermon
Main point summary
If you're born again, then fill up my joy by having a mind taken to investing in others' concerns, as modeled most fully in our King Jesus, who is deserving of all praise, yet came to Earth to serve in lowliness.
Philippians 2:1-11
So if there is any encouragement in Christ,
Therefore, because Christ has given you such a great salvation, if you have tasted and seen the goodness of God,
any comfort from f love,
if you have experienced the peace and rest of His love,
any g participation in the Spirit,
if you have any share in the Spirit and His gifts,
any h affection and sympathy,
if you have any love and mercy towards the church,
i complete my joy
then fill up my joy in the work of God
by being j of the same mind,
so that you might all have the mind of Christ,
having the same love,
receiving and giving the same love of Christ,
being in full accord
being brought together in unity,
and of one mind.
and with one purpose.
Do nothing from k selfish ambition or l conceit,
And work for unity by doing nothing in obedience to your own ambition or pride,
but in m humility count others more significant than yourselves.
but instead consider others to be more worthy of your time than you are;
Let each of you n look not only to his own interests,
caring not just about your own likes and dislikes,
but also to the interests of others.
but caring for the concerns of others.
o Have this mind among yourselves , which is yours in Christ Jesus, 1
All of you should have the same mindset that Jesus Himself had,
p who, though he was in q the form of God,
who, even though He had all power and authority as God Almighty in eternity past,
did not count equality with God r a thing to be grasped,
did not consider His glory something to be held onto in coming to the Earth in the present,
but s emptied himself ,
but instead emptied Himself of His glory at the right hand of the Father,
by taking the form of a t servant , 1
by taking on the status of a servant,
u being born in the likeness of men.
and leaving his throne in heaven to put on skin in coming to Earth.
And being found in human form,
And coming to Earth as a man,
he humbled himself
he brought His own status low
by v becoming obedient to the point of death,
primarily through being obedient to the end,
w even death on a cross.
even through the most gruesome death imaginable.
x Therefore y God has z highly exalted him
So, because of Jesus choosing a lowly suffering and obedience when He deserved nothing but praise, God has brought His Son back to the highest position in heaven
and bestowed on him a the name that is above every name,
and made sure that Jesus' name was the name above all others.
so that at the name of Jesus b every knee should bow ,
Why? So that at the name of this gloriously humble King, every person would bow down (willingly or unwillingly),
c in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
whether in heaven, on Earth, or in Hell,
and d every tongue confess
and everyone would state in agreement
that Jesus Christ is e Lord,
that Jesus Christ is Lord and King of all,
to the glory of God the Father.
ultimately for the glory and praise of God the Father.
The end of the mind of God is humble sacrifice for holiness.
2b-2e is the purpose, and 3a-4b is the means.
The way that we accomplish the same mind, the same love, full accord, and one mind is by putting significance on others, it is by putting interests on others. We take off countenance and put it upon others. We take off our interests and put them upon others.
He did not fill Himself with glory, but emptied Himself of it.
The purpose, even of Jesus' Kingship, is glory to God.
The teacher's joy is complete when the hearers love one another, not primarily the teacher.
Expository Sermon
Trace the Progression- If any evidence of new birth, complete my joy (even the newborns among us are to be engaged in this). Why complete my joy? So that YOU might be united in love. How do you complete my joy? By investing in the concerns of others, and counting them more important than your own. Humility is unity in action. Christ humbled Himself unto death to unite us to God. The best example we have of humility is Christ. Christ's humility was towards holiness. Humility becomes low not for temporary need, but for eternal. Holiness completes Paul's joy, for the end of holiness is heaven. Expository Sermon- The Great Foundation Before we get into chapter 2, we must for go back and look at the rock that chapter 2 rests on. In the Greek, Paul begins chapter with the word "οὖν," which connects everything it is about to say in chapter 2 as something that is only true because of what was said at the end of chapter 1. So, what was said at the end of chapter 1? Let's look: "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..." (Phil. 1:29). God has given us belief, and God has given us suffering, all for him. It is God who has accomplished and given us salvation-- it is not something that came from us. We have been granted a great salvation from God. Something for Every Christian So, then, when we get to chapter 2, Paul keeps emphasizing the idea that if there is any evidence at all that God has granted you this salvation, then listen to my commands. He repeats this phrase "if any" to emphasize how much evidence needs to be present before growth can occur-- which is apparently any evidence at all. If there is anything in you that shows evidence of new birth, then listen to this command. If there is any goodness from God that you have known, any peace and rest from His love for you, any share in the growth the Spirit provides, and any love and mercy towards the church... any at all, then listen up. Jesus can work with even the most minuscule of faith, because it is Jesus who accomplished the beginnings of that minuscule faith. Recall Paul's words earlier in chapter 1: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). So, if you are "born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13), then take faith that God is your Father and He will watch over your growth. There are no children born into His Kingdom that do not grow into maturity, no matter how small the beginnings. This also emphasizes that the command Paul is about to give is for every single Christian. This is for newborns in Christ and this is for the elderly in Christ. So what is it? Humility is Unity in Action Well, Paul says that if there is any evidence of new birth caused by God (1 Peter 1:3), then we are to complete Paul's joy. And before we talk about what that means, it is important to note that any "completion" on our behalf is only made possible because of our new birth. If we are not included in the "if" of verse 1, being born again, then we cannot obey the command at the beginning of verse 2. At a first glance, Paul's command to complete his joy sounds selfish. Like, make me happy. But, if we look closer, we see that Paul's command is not directly for his own benefit. It's for the benefit of the church. We know this because as we read on we see the purpose of completing Paul's joy: that they might be of the same mind, have the same love, be in full accord, and have one mind. The purpose of obeying Paul's command to complete his joy is unity. But how can they act that out? Well, Paul goes on in verses 3-4, stating that we are to do nothing out of selfishness, but to count others as more significant; stating that we must not be caught up in our own cares, but constantly looking to the cares of those around us. Paul wants the Philippians to be unified. How does he expect that to happen? Through the Philippians looking to the concerns of one another. How is the same mind accomplished? By looking to the anxieties of each other. How is the same love accomplished? By looking to the loves of one another. How unity accomplished? In humility. Humility is unity in action . So, what Paul is taking joy in, what is filling him up, so to speak, is not the Philippians' service of him, but their service of one another. How do we fill up the joy of those who preach to us? Not just by serving them, but by serving one another. Christ-- God's Humility in Action Paul then goes on to outline the best example of humility ever given. Just before we are are told to have the same mind, and to be of one mind. What is the standard that we're working towards? What is the goal? Paul makes it clear; it is the mind of Christ. What was this mindset? Paul goes on to explain in verses 6-8. Paul makes it clear that God provided the greatest possible example of humility for us because if anyone is deserving of our interest and time, it is God-- but it is God in heaven Who left His throne to address the needs of the entirely undeserving on Earth. What Paul is asking us to do is to rest our investing in others' care on the completed action of God. Think about it : we are utterly undeserving of the interest and love of God, yet, God gives it to us. Others are at least somewhat deserving of our interests, and yet we focus on ourselves. If God, the Highest Being in the universe can count Himself less for a season, then we, His children, should imitate this example. For, God, being infinitely more, became incredibly low for us. Cannot we-- who are undeserving, small, and unworthy-- become low for those around us? Examples God considered His glory something to be let go of for the sake of others. Cannot we consider our mere concerns something to be let go of for the sake of others? God left His throne in heaven to be born in a dirty manger on Earth. He let go of all bowing at His feet to sit Himself at the feet of others and wash them. God came not to be served, but to serve. Can the children of God not imitate their Father? The Primary Act of Loving Humility for Unity Then we come to verse 8, where the humility of Christ is acted most fully. For, the primary way in which the Son of Man came to serve was on the cross. For, the end of His obedience to the Father was death on the cross. He came not only to serve, but to die for others. Christ came not to give bread, but the bread of life (John 6:33-40) Christ came not to pass out water, but to provide living water (John 4:10). And we go, not to give money, but to preach the name above all names, Jesus Christ (Acts 3:6). The focus of God's service for His people has to do with eternity. "For, he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 6:45). "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?" (Matthew 6:46-47). God serves ALL of His enemies at least in the temporary sense. But the children of God receive the purpose of God, which is to make us holy. "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 6:48). And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him..." (Colossians 2:21-22). "For this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). So, track with me. God gives grace to His enemies every day. However, this is not a grace that saves. "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die" (John 6:49-50). Our needs are deeper than hunger and thirst. God came to Earth, not to provide more grace that doesn't save, but to give a saving grace, in the sacrifice of Himself on the cross. For, how are we to obey the demands of holiness? Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect? Love our enemy as our-self? I struggle to properly love my own family. Paul is asking the Philippians to look to the interests of the church, for God looked to the needs of His enemies, which were all of us before God adopted us into His family. God crossed chasms so that we could do the same. The end of "having the mind of Christ" is a humble sacrifice for holiness. We do not love one another to people please or become popular. We look to others' interests, not to gain footing, but to work towards holiness. Caring about others' cares is a necessary part of relational building towards holiness. Amplication So, get this. God, through Paul, is inviting you to play a part in saving His people. Ultimately, God's purpose for His people is becoming like His Son, so that we might be sons of God-- Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18. How do we play this part? By putting the cares and concerns of those around us above our own. But our goal in doing so is not just temporary. Our goal matches Christ's: holiness. This is the end we work for. And Paul would have us do this together , the way God intended it to be accomplished. The body of Christ must be united. And how did we see that unification happens? Unity comes through humility. Humility is unity in action. However, we aren't just united around anything. We are united around the purpose of Christ. This is a humility towards unity, and a unity towards holiness. That was the result of Christ's humility for us, and that is to be our mindset in our humble service of those around us. Our goal is to give people the bread of life, but sometimes that begins with just giving bread. Our goal is to offer living water, but sometimes that begins with sharing a cup of coffee. Our goal is to see repentance granted, but sometimes that begins with a friendship offered. Christ died to unite us to God, and we die to ourselves to unite the body of Christ. We love our neighbor not so that they might love us, but so they might love God. Does your service towards those around you accomplish more love towards you, or more love towards God? Lowliness is Not the End And as we move on into verses 9-11, you'll notice that this is not the end of the story. The humility works for unity not just here, but hereafter. The end of humility is not lowliness, but exaltation, for, "every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low" (Isaiah 40:4). Christ's humble sacrifice was not the end of God's story, Christ lifted high in heaven, with the Name above all names is. And one day, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is King-- willingly or unwillingly. Our humble work for our brothers and sisters in Christ is that, on the last day, we will confess this to be true ever so willingly.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.