OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To appreciate the importance of unity, and how it can be maintained by following Jesus' example of humility 2) To understand what is involved in "shining as lights in the world" SUMMARY The first chapter included an exhortation to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (1:27). Paul continues with the call for unity, providing reasons why we should desire unity, the nature of our unity, and attitudes necessary to maintain unity (1-4). Stressing the need for humility and sacrificial service towards others, Paul appeals to the example of Christ and expounds upon how far Christ was willing to go to save us (5-11). He continues with another exhortation to "shine as lights in the world" as they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Doing all things without complaining and arguing, while holding fast the word of life, they will prove themselves to be children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. This will also prove to Paul that his labors have not been in vain, and any persecution he endures is viewed as a sacrifice in the service of their faith and a cause for mutual rejoicing (12-18). He then writes of his plans pertaining to Timothy and Epaphroditus. He will send Timothy shortly, that he might know of their condition. But Epaphroditus is coming at once in order to set their hearts at ease about Epaphroditus' brush with death due to a recent illness. (19-30) OUTLINE I. EXHORTATION TO UNITY (1-11) A. THE MOTIVATION FOR UNITY (1) 1. The consolation we have in Christ 2. The comfort found in love 3. The fellowship we have in the Spirit 4. The affection and mercy we can enjoy B. THE NATURE OF UNITY (2) 1. Being of like mind, having the same love 2. Of one accord, of one mind C. ATTITUDES FOR MAINTAINING UNITY (3-5) 1. Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit (3a) 2. With lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself (3b) 3. Be concerned for the interest of others (4) 4. Let the mind that was in Christ be in you (5) D. JESUS AS AN EXAMPLE OF UNSELFISH HUMILITY (6-11) 1. Though He was Deity, He was willing to come in the likeness of man (6-7) 2. As a man He humbled Himself in obedience to the point of dying on the cross (8) 3. Therefore God highly exalted Him so that at His name all should bow and confess Him to be Lord (9-11) II. EXHORTATION TO SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD (12-18) A. BY WORKING OUT THEIR OWN SALVATION (12-13) 1. Doing so with fear and trembling (12) 2. Remembering that God is at work in them (13) B. AS CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT FAULT (14-16) 1. Doing all things without murmuring and complaining (14) 2. Blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (15) 3. Holding fast the word of life, so that Paul may rejoice in the day of Christ (16) C. VIEWING PAUL'S PERSECUTION AS A REASON TO REJOICE (17-18) 1. He views it as a "sacrifice", offered in the service of their faith (17a) 2. For this he is glad, and calls upon them to rejoice with him (17b-18) III. PLANS INVOLVING TIMOTHY AND EPAPHRODITUS (19-30) A. TO SEND TIMOTHY SOON (19-24) 1. That Paul might be encouraged when he learns of their condition (19) 2. His commendation of Timothy, as one who seeks the things of Christ, and who serves with Paul in the gospel as a son with his father (20-22) 3. He will be sent at once, as soon as Paul knows how things will go with him, and he himself hopes to come shortly (23-24) B. TO SEND EPAPHRODITUS AT ONCE (25-30) 1. Because of his longing for them and his distress when they heard he was sick (25-27) 2. So he is coming that they might rejoice, and Paul himself will be less sorrowful (28) 3. Therefore receive him in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in high esteem for their sacrificial service to Christ and others (29-30) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Exhortation to unity (1-11) - Exhortation to shine as lights in the world (12-18) - Plans involving Timothy and Epaphroditus (19-30) 2) What four things should serve as a motivation for unity? (1) - The consolation we have in Christ - The comfort found in love - The fellowship we have in the Spirit - The affection and mercy we can enjoy 3) What should be the nature of our unity? (2) - Being of like mind, having the same love, of one accord, of one mind 4) What four things are necessary to maintain unity? (3-5) - Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit - With lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself - Be concerned for the interest of others - Let the mind that was in Christ be in you 5) What is said about Christ that proves Him to be a prime example of humility? (5-8) - Though in the form of God, He did not consider it "robbery" to be equal to God - Made Himself of no reputation, becoming a servant and coming in the likeness of men - He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of dying on the cross 6) Having been highly exalted, what should every person do at the name of Jesus? (9-11) - Every knee should bow - Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father 7) What did Paul want his beloved brethren to do in his absence? (12) - To work out their own salvation with fear and trembling 8) What is said about God working in the Christian? (13) - He works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure 9) What two things are necessary if we are to be children of God without fault, harmless and blameless, shining as lights in the world? (14-16) - Do all things without murmuring and disputing - Hold fast the word of life 10) How did Paul view his imprisonment? (17) - As being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of their faith - As a reason to be glad and rejoice 11) What two things are said about Timothy? (20, 22) - Paul had no one like-minded, who would sincerely care their state - He had proven character, having served with Paul in the gospel as a son with his father 12) How does Paul describe Epaphroditus? (23) - A brother, a fellow worker and fellow soldier, their messenger, and the one who ministered to Paul's need
Unity through humility
[Phl 2:1-30 NKJV] 1 Therefore if [there is] any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. 3 [Let] nothing [be done] through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The humble and exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you 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; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out [as a drink offering] on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with [his] father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.