"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" The Unity That Produces Joy (2:1-4) INTRODUCTION 1. At this point in his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is exhorting his brethren in regards to Christian living 2. In the previous section, we noticed that he encouraged them to manifest "Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel" (1:27-30) 3. In our text for this study, Paul exhorts them to manifest "The Unity That Produces Joy" (2:1-4) 4. In doing so, Paul describes three aspects of such unity: a. The MOTIVATION for having unity that produces joy (1) b. The NATURE of unity that produces joy (2) c. The ATTITUDES required for unity that produces joy (3,4) [As we begin, let's carefully consider Paul's description of...] I. THE "MOTIVATION" FOR HAVING UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (1) A. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "CONSOLATION IN CHRIST"? 1. When Paul says "if there is any consolation...", he is not doubting that there is a. This is a common use of the conditional "if...then" where given the reality of the "if" clause, "then" a point should naturally follow b. For example, consider Ga 3:29... 1) Where Paul wrote "If you are Christ's, then..." 2) The "if" does not suggest doubt that they could be Christ's for in the previous verse he said that they were! c. In such cases, the "if" means the same thing as "since" 2. Indeed, there is MUCH consolation (comfort) to be found in Christ! a. As expressed to the brethren at Thessalonica, there is consolation from Christ in "every good word and work" - 2Th 2:16-17 b. And as written to the Corinthians, such consolation abounds even in the midst of tribulation - 2Co 1:3-5 B. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "COMFORT OF LOVE"? 1. Do we not enjoy any comfort that comes from love? 2. Does not the love that comes from God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and even our brethren provide any comfort? - again, cf. 2 Co 1:3-5 3. Indeed, it does to those who will receive it! C. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "FELLOWSHIP OF THE SPIRIT"? 1. Indeed, all who have been baptized into Christ has received the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32 2. As the church (the temple of God), the Spirit dwells in us - 1Co 3:16 3. Even our individual bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit - 1Co 6:19 4. Not only by the Spirit have we all been baptized into one body, but have all been made to drink of the one Spirit - 1Co 12:13 cf. Jn 7:37-39 5. Indeed there is a true "communion of the Holy Spirit" available for Christians - 2Co 13:14 D. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "AFFECTION AND MERCY"? 1. There is the "affection" that comes from Jesus and from other brethren - e.g., Php 1:8 2. There is the "mercy" that comes from our loving Father in heaven - Ep 2:4-7 [Enjoying all these benefits, should they not serve to encourage us to have "The Unity That Produces Joy"? It certainly moved Paul to write and encourage the Philippians toward this "unity"! But exactly what kind of unity is it that produces joy...?] II. THE "NATURE" OF THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (2) A. IT INVOLVES "BEING LIKE-MINDED"... 1. Which means to "think the same thing" 2. That this is a necessary quality of unity is evident from Paul's comments in 1Co 1:10 B. IT INVOLVES "HAVING THE SAME LOVE"... 1. This is a natural consequence if we are first "like-minded" 2. Having the same love, we will love: a. The same things, in matters pertaining to Christ and His church! b. One another with the same kind of love 1) Our love for one another will be of the same kind: sincere, fervert, and from a pure heart - 1Pe 1:23 2) Our love for one another will be mutual, not one-sided, as is often the case C. IT INVOLVES "BEING OF ONE ACCORD"... 1. Literally, "of one soul; having your souls joined together" 2. It suggests acting together as if ONE soul is driving them 3. Therefore, working together in complete harmony, not as separate entities going our separate ways D. IT INVOLVES BEING "OF ONE MIND"... 1. The NASV says "intent on one purpose" 2. Not only working together outwardly, but inwardly, having the same purpose and intentions [When such conditions exist in a local congregation, then "The Unity That Produces Joy" will be fully experienced! But what are the attitudes required for having such unity?] III. THE "ATTITUDES" REQUIRED FOR THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (3,4) A. "LET NOTHING BE DONE THROUGH SELFISH AMBITION OR CONCEIT"... 1. First, it is necessary to point out those attitudes we should NOT have! 2. Possessing these attitudes will destroy unity a. For both involve "self-centered" attitude b. Rather than a "Christ-centered" attitude 3. Therefore, it is required that we rid ourselves of: a. The DESIRE FOR EXALTING SELF ("selfish ambition") b. The IMPROPER ESTIMATION OF SELF ("conceit") 4. In place of these, we should substitute... B. "LOWLINESS OF MIND"... 1. In other words, humility 2. This will effectively replace the problem of "conceit" 3. Humility should be easy to maintain if we remember our own faults C. "LET EACH ESTEEM OTHERS BETTER THAN HIMSELF"... 1. This should be easy for us to do... a. For we are aware of our own defects, but we do not have the same clear view of the defects of others b. We can only see their OUTWARD conduct; in our case, we can look WITHIN c. We see our own hearts, with all its faults; we cannot so look into the hearts of others 2. In writing to the brethren at Rome, Paul exhorted them to outdo one another in this regard - "in honor giving preference to one another" - Ro 12:10b D. "LOOK OUT...FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS"... 1. This attitude eliminates the problem of "selfish ambition" 2. It is the attitude of MATURITY, and was the attitude of Christ! - Ro 15:1-3 3. So it should be the attitude of every Christian! CONCLUSION 1. These attitudes are essential if we are going to have "The Unity That Produces Joy"! 2. This is not to suggest that these attitudes ALONE will bring about such unity... a. For "The Unity That Produces Joy" comes only when it it is unity based upon the truths Jesus taught b. These attitudes without that truth will only produce a false sense of joy c. But without these attitudes, holding to the truth itself will not give us the joy we seek! Therefore, let us "fulfill our joy" by making sure that we manifest these attitudes as we attempt to live according to the truth that is in Jesus!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011