What Paul wants to hear about the Philippians is that they are
Standing firm in one spirit – Philippi was a Roman colony and fiercely loyal to the Caesar. It was beginning to be expected for citizens to say ‘Caesar is Lord’ – something no Christian will do, so this passage ends with the declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Striving for the gospel with one mind – just as Paul witnessed to the Roman guards every day, he wants the Philippians to be fearless in sharing Jesus…
Not frightened – which will show who will ultimately win! At the end of the day, as we saw yesterday, to live is Christ and to die is gain, so they have nothing to lose by suffering in persecution. Easy to write, but needs the power of the Spirit in us to live out.
Knowing Jesus gives us encouragement (an infilling of courage!), comfort from His love, having the Spirit. Therefore Paul would like us to be united – same mind, same love, in full accord!
That means no rivalry or conceit, but instead humility and looking out for other’s interests.
Jesus is our model – he is equal to the Father, so didn’t try to grasp it.
Actually he made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant – Jesus was 100% God and 100% human on the earth – he didn’t empty himself of his divinity or he wouldn’t have been the perfect sacrifice our sin required. The ’emptying himself’ is in the context of not grasping equality with God – it is about limiting his omniscience so he needed to rely on the Spirit and His glory – at the transfiguration, he unveiled that glory for the three disciples.
He humbled himself to death on the cross – which the Old Testament tells us was cursing himself. He was cursed with our sin!
Therefore the Father raised him up and exalted him higher than anyone else – to His right hand – and gave him the name that is higher than any other name.
So Jesus was honoured in all eternity, shamed himself on the cross to take our shame and then was honoured again to free us from shame. Hallelujah!
One day everyone will have to acknowledge that; everyone will have to bend the knee and acknowledge not Caesar is Lord, or anyone else, but Jesus is Lord! Praise God that we get to do that now and enjoy the eternal benefits. Who will you tell that to?