Lesson 6


Paul's Letter to the Philippians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2:2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 2:3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 2:4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.  


Today's Lesson 

After telling the Philippians about his own situation and how his incarceration would actually work for the advancement of the gospel, Paul began to encourage them. He had already told them how much he thanked God for them because they had been with him since the very beginning. The Philippians had been generous and had even sent a monetary gift to help him through his imprisonment. Paul was able to maintain a small household in Rome where he was under house arrest. Because of this gift, he was able to continue to have visitors and teach whoever would come. Now in response to their generosity, he gives them the advice of a pastor to his flock.

 

He has already reminded them that they are to be united under the Spirit of God and that in order to share in the blessing of Christ they must also be willing to share in His sufferings. Now Paul reminds them of their own relationship with him and encourages them through it. They had shown that they honored Paul through their concern and their gift. He instructs them that if they indeed have this concern for him, they should make his "joy full" by working together and having "one mind". Paul understood that divisions within a local church could be some of the most destructive forces and can hinder the spiritual lives of Christians. In order to grow in Christ they must be "like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

 

This is the same unity that they sought to have with Paul. They wanted to show their concern for him and be united with him in his suffering. Paul thanks them for this and tells them that he cherishes their concern but that they should also desire to have that same concern and love for each other. Unfortunately, sometimes the people we are around most are the ones that we have the most difficult time feeling close to. This is the meaning of the old proverb, "Familiarity breeds contempt." We can often respect and admire someone that we donít see all the time. If that same person were around us all the time, we might admire them less.

 

Paul wants them to put away every rivalry and anything that does not lead to unity. They are to treat one another with humility. Each one of them should treat the others as someone being better than himself. Each one of them should look out for the interest of their brother or sister before their own interest.

 

It is only through treating one another humbly that we can approach the kind of life that Christ would have us to live. When we are united to one another through love, we begin to have the kind of relationship that comes closest to being like the relationships that God has. God does nothing out of rivalry and only seeks our own best interest. God seeks relationships that are "like-minded", where there is love and unity. This is the kind of relationship that Christ has with the Father. And it's the kind of relationship that God wants to have with you too.

 

Is there anyone that you believe you love so much that you are of "one mind" and of "one accord"? Are you willing to begin seeking the best interest of those around you even before your own interests?

 

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