Chapter 2

Need of Spiritual Unity:
(Read Philippians 2:1)
Paul continues the exhortation he started in chapter one and pleads for unity among the believers. They were facing persecution for the sake of Christ.  So Paul emphasizes the importance of unity among the believers.  This unity comes from our union with Christ.  It is a blessed reality in Christ.  It already exists because believers share one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all ( Ephesians 4:4-6).  Paul exhorts believers to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  So in Christ they have encouragement, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and sympathy.  These are the result of spiritual unity.  Paul appeals to the Philippians that they may complete his joy by being united among them in Christ.  Someone has said "To dwell above is glory but to dwell below is another story". The Holy Spirit is our greatest comforter and helper.  Encouragement is the loving incentive that leads to action (2 Corinthians 5:14).  Comfort of love helps a person in trouble.  The agape love is self-sacrificial love.  It seeks the highest good of others.  The fellowship of the Spirit is more than agreement in doctrines. It is active participation in the things of the Lord.  Organizational unity without spiritual unity is dangerous. Affection is the love for other believers. Sympathy is compassion that leads to action. Those who lack these virtues are carnal Christians (1 Corinthians 3:3).  When believers express these virtues, the differences among them will be dissolved and unity will be realized.  Someone has said “In essential unity, in doubtful liberty and in all things charity”. "Behold, how good and how pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalms 133:1). 
Fulfill my Joy: 
(Read Philippians 2:2-4)
Paul appeals to the believers to fulfill his joy by expressing unity among them. Even in adverse circumstances believers can enjoy unity in Christ. Paul urges them to be like-minded in all things. How do we express our unity? By being of one mind, doing nothing from selfishness and prioritizing the interest of others.  And by embracing lowliness, gentleness and patience. This happens when believers love each other and seek the highest good of others. Christian harmony is a good thing in this divided world.  We should do nothing through selfish ambition to impress others (Galatians 1:10).  Believers who pursue selfish ambition are carnal Christians 
(1 Corinthians 3:3).  Paul wanted believers to evidence humility in their relationship to others.  They should regard others better than themselves. Humility is the pathway to unity and the test of leadership .  It is the Christ-like attitude (Matthew 20:27-28; John 13:14-15).  We should look out, not only our own interest but also the interest of others.

Have the same Attitude of Christ:   
(Read Philippians 2:5-11)
Philippians 2:5-11 describe the humiliation and exaltation of Christ. Despite his equality with God, he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and humbling himself to the point of death on the cross. The believers should think the same way because they have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  Mind speaks of our thinking process.  When the believers have the attitude of Jesus, they will not fight to promote their selfish interests. Verses 6-8 reveals what kind of mind or attitude Jesus had.  This passage is known as the “Kenosis” or self emptying passage. This illustrates the humbling steps Christ took to save sinners. In this passage we see the majesty, manhood and the mind-set of Jesus.  Christ was in the form of God: 2:6.  From all eternity Christ is the Son of God and equal with the Father (John 1:1; Colossians 1:17; 2:9; 
Hebrews 1:3). The Word “Form” means the inner essence of God. Religious leaders were troubled when Jesus claimed that he is equal with the Father and sought to kill him (John 5:18).  Lucifer wanted to become like God (Isaiah 14:12-15).  No creature can become like a creator.  On the mount of transfiguration, disciples saw a glimpse of Christ’s glory (Matthew 17:1-2).  God has communicable and non-communicable attributes.  Some of His natural attributes are omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and immutability. They are his own non-communicable attributes. But the fruit of the Spirit are his communicable attributes (Galatians 5:22).  Christ being God had the right to display his natural attributes but he chose not to express them.  Yet Christ never ceased be God.  


Christ humbled himself to be born as a human being.  Christ gave up his throne in glory for the cross of shame and became obedient unto death. He emptied Himself: 2:7.   Christ emptied Himself of His divine glory and not His divine nature (John 17:3).  He did not and could not cease to be God but gave up the independent use of His attributes (John 1:14).  Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). In His incarnation, Christ was one person with two natures, divine and human.  He veiled His glory and took the form of a servant, the lowest position imaginable. A slave has no right of his own and entirely subjected to the will of his master.  Christ came to do the will of the Father (John 17:4). His primary mission was to serve the Father (Isaiah 42:1; John 5:30).  Although He could retain His position with the Father, He willingly gave it up to save sinners. He was made in the likeness of men (Hebrews 2:14).  It does not mean Christ became identical with man but it speaks of his resemblance with human race. He is the Son of God and perfect in his humanity.  Christ served the Father willingly. The sovereign became a servant.  He died to save sinners. The closer we get to Christ, the better we will see his cross all glorious. 


Christ humbled Himself and became obedient unto death (Philippians 2:8-11).  He was willing to be born in a manger (2 Corinthians 8:9). He died the death reserved for a criminal on the cross. This is the real love, God sent his Son to become a sin sacrifice to take away our sins (1 John 4:10).  Christ was obedient unto death. His death was voluntary, vicarious and victorious. The lowest point of Christ’s humiliation was his crucifixion. It was a violent means of punishing and disgracing the most shameful criminals. Therefore God also has highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9).  It was an answer to his prayer (John 17:5).  Name denotes character and authority of a person. He was given the name Jesus when he was born.  He was born to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). In order to be the Savior of the world, Jesus had to be fully God as well as fully man. Jesus is Lord of all. Since He took human flesh, he was able to die on the cross and pay the penalty of our sins. The exalted Christ is worthy of praise and worship (Philippians 2:10-11).  Jesus was rejected on earth but accepted in heaven. The title “Lord” to the Jewish mind means “Jehovah-God ''.  Confess means to “speak the same thing”. Some day everybody will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  Do we love and serve  Christ who loved us and gave himself for us?  Does cross destroy our pride and ego? Christians should have the attitude of Christ. In the Christian life the way up is way down.  Christ is the exalted Savior.  God is glorified when we openly acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior.  Christians are called to follow Him in humility and in unity. Pray that God would help us to follow the example of Christ.    

Follow Christ’s Example:    
(Read Philippians 2:12-14)
Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. But Christian life is not an event but a process.  The spiritual transformation does not happen overnight.  Christian life is not led on auto-pilot. It demands commitment and sacrifice.  We should pattern our life after Christ whether anybody notices or not.  We must work out our own salvation with deep reverence to God.  Paul explains the interaction between God's sovereignty and human free will. God does not say we should work for our salvation.  We must work out what God has worked in our life. We have in Christ all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The believer should have the passion to please Christ.  Salvation cannot be earned by our good works (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:21).   Christ's sacrificial death should motivate us to live a godly life. This obedience is produced by God. Fear should not rob our spiritual vitality.  Godly fear gives us victory in matters of faith and life.  For it is God who is working in you, giving you the desire to obey and the power to do what pleases him (2:13).   We are God’s master-piece.  Believers should cooperate with the Holy Spirit to live a life that pleases God.  Paul makes no attempt to reconcile divine sovereignty and human free will here because both are in the plan of salvation.  All believers have to go through this growing pain.  Dead orthodoxy and formalism will not bring any blessing in Christian life.  Christ is the sovereign ruler and master of all things. He has the absolute authority to do whatever he pleases. The world saw him as the one dying on the cross. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance on the cross to attract us to Christ (Isaiah 53:2). But now Christ is the exalted one who is crowned with glory and honor.  The believers are captivated by his love for them to obey him.  For he is the source of all things and all things exist by his power.  One day every knee will bow before him.  Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  
Be Light Bearers: 
(Read Philippians 2:15-18)
Christians should live a blameless and harmless life before the watching world.  Christians are not perfect in this life but they should not give unbelievers a reason to blame Christ.  They should not have mixed motives. They are the children of God and expected to resemble their heavenly Father.  They should do everything without complaining and arguing. We live in a world that has turned away from truth and lost in their sin.  Christ is the light of the world. Christians are the reflectors of that light (2 Corinthians 4:6).  They should shine like stars to guide the people to Christ. The believers can become effective witnesses only when they continually hold forth the Word of God.  Paul wanted Philippians to progress in their faith so that his labor would not be counted as vain at the judgment seat of Christ.  He labored to the point of exhaustion for them.  Paul had no regret of his labor among them.  He was willing to give his life for the sake of the gospel.  He was ready to be poured out as a drink offering to God for the faith of Philippians.  He considered it as an act of worship (2 Timothy 4:6).  Paul considers his life as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). Now he considers his death as a drink offering.  The drink offering was the secondary offering of pouring out the wine on sweet smell sacrifice to complete the ceremony (Exodus 29:40; Numbers 15:1-10). The Philippians are the priest and their faith is the sacrifice.  Paul's life-blood is the accompanying drink offering" that evaporates immediately. Paul wanted the Philippians to rejoice with him because their faith is far more important than his sacrifice. Paul was willing to give himself for the church.  He knew that at death he is more alive than he ever had been. From God’s viewpoint, Paul's death is a triumph rather than defeat.  How about you? What an example to imitate!
Timothy, the like-minded fellow worker:   
(Read Philippians 2:19-24)
Paul planned to send Timothy to Philippi because he was unable to visit them.  Timothy was with Paul and Silas when he was imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:1).  He was one of Paul’s closest companions and fellow workers.  Timothy means "One who honors God". Timothy had the pastoral concern for believers and there was none qualified like him. He was a proven character in the service of God (2:22).  There was none like Timothy who genuinely cares about them. He was willing to do anything and go anywhere to help believers.  Paul was concerned over the spiritual state of Philippians even though he was in prison. He longed to hear about them and be encouraged. Paul always wanted to visit the churches he established (Acts 15:36).  Paul was troubled by Christians who are seeking their own interests and not the interests of Christ (2:21). They cause strife and division among believers. These are marks of carnal Christians in the church (1 Corinthians  3:1-3). Timothy was a trusted servant of God.  He served Christ with Paul as a “son with the father”.  The words "my son” and “my beloved son” may suggest Paul may have led Timothy to the Lord (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Acts 14).  Timothy was trained by Paul and they had a father-son relationship.  Paul is ready to send Timothy as soon as he learns the outcome of his trial.  Paul was confident that he would be released from the prison and would be able to visit Philippians soon.  Do we have a burden to visit churches in need of encouragement? This is one of the ministries lacking among the Christians today. The early Christian community was a caring community. Ask God to give you a single-minded devotion to Christ and to his gospel. What a privilege to preach the gospel and serve others!
The Example of Epaphroditus: 
(Read Philippians 2:25-30)
Epaphroditus was sent on a mission to minister Paul on behalf of the Philippian church.   Epaphroditus means "Charming".  His name is mentioned only twice in the New Testament (Philippians 2:25; 4:18).  He is called “My brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier, your messenger and the one who ministered to my needs'' (Philippians 2:25). These titles speak of Paul's affection toward him.  He demonstrated a Christ-like attitude towards gospel and apostle.  He got sick and almost died due to long journeys and hard work. His journey took almost six weeks to reach Rome to minister Paul.  He brought a gift from the church to help the apostle.  They were united in purpose and in their mission. They fought the spiritual battle together (2 Timothy 4:7).  Philippians were concerned when they heard that Epaphroditus was sick and nigh unto death.  He became ill while ministering the needs of Paul. God had mercy on Paul and healed him. This spared Paul from added burden and sorrow.  Christians are not immune from trials, sickness and danger. Epaphroditus  was a godly man and a committed soldier of Christ yet he got sick. Someone has said "soldiers always have scars' '.  He was miraculously healed.  He is also a decorated soldier of Christ (Philippians ​2:29).  Paul was not indifferent towards the physical needs of fellow believers (Philippians 2:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13).  Paul sent him back to Philippi because he longed to go back.  Paul asked them to welcome such men with highest honor.  Paul was deeply grateful for his service.  Epaphroditus risked his life to complete his mission.  Someone has said "Our cleverness and eloquence will be forgotten but the kindness shown in Christ’s name will be remembered for generations to come''. Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus had the attitude of Christ. They were men of God with servant hearts serving others. They did not seek their own interests but put the interest of others first. Pray that God may grant us such devotion to serve others.  Let Christ's example shape us the way we live. Good examples always inspire others.





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