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Philippians Chapter 2 

Memory verses for this week: 1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Introduction:    We began our study in Philippians last week, and saw Paul accepting his position there in prison with total calm.  At the end of the chapter, he spoke of how it would be great gain for him to depart this life and to go to be with Christ, but he was willing to live for the church’s benefit if that was God’s desire.  But he wanted to honor God with either his life or his death.  In Chapter 2, we are given the ultimate example of humility which is of course Jesus Christ. 


I.  The Exhortation to Unity and Meekness


Philippians 2

1If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

If we will seriously take these verses to heart and follow the example that Jesus set before us, I know we will be unified as a church.   When we mimic the life of Jesus we don’t worry about self, but look to the benefit of others.  Selfishness is of the world, and should not be known among Christians.


We see five things in these first 2 verses.

1. Consolation in Christ

2. Comfort in love

3. Fellowship of the Spirit

4. Bowels and mercies (remember in last week’s study how this referenced the most inner of the feelings... the feelings from the heart)

5. Joy.   Christians should be known as people of joy.   Look at all that we have.  Peace and happiness today, and a promise of tomorrow as heirs with Jesus Christ.


Verse 2 speaks of how we should all have the same mind (the mind of Christ) and live in unity of love.   We should all speak the same thing and have the same beliefs in the doctrines laid down in God’s Word.   All of the division among Christian groups today was never meant to be.   But when we talk of unity, we are not talking about coming to gather with a small base of common beliefs and everyone having a dozen different beliefs of doctrine.  God wants us to all agree and be of one mind, and that should be settled by scripture.   When doctrines do not align with all of God’s Word, false teaching is being done.


3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

We should not serve God to gain fame.   Ministries with a man’s name (other than Jesus Christ) should always be carefully examined.  Our goal should be to do whatever we can to uplift Jesus Christ.   As John the Baptist, a man that Jesus called the greatest that had ever been born of woman, said, “I must decrease that he may increase.”

John 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

John 3:28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

John 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

John 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

John 3:32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

John 3:33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

John 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

John 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.


Things done through strife and vain glory do not honor God.   When we go forth in God’s work, we need to be sure we are going forth in the power of God’s Spirit.   When young David faced Goliath, he told him that he wasn’t coming with the power of spear and shield, but was coming in the power of the Holy God of Israel.


1 Sam 17:45  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

1 Sam 17:46  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

1 Sam 17:47  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands.


Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.


James 3:14  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

James 3:15  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

James 3:16  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

James 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

James 3:18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Verse 4 speaks of how we are to esteem others better than ourselves.  Real service for Christ will take our eyes off of self and give real concern for the needs of others.

1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.


II.  The Self Humbling Example of Christ

5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Every Christian should have the mind which was in Jesus.


John 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

If you study Christ’s life, you find a person who did not seek after things for himself, but rather looked to honor the Heavenly Father.  Think of the humility this exemplified.  Here was the Son of God, one of the co-equal members of the Holy Trinity, and he did not seek His own.   What an example of giving up the riches and glory that were his and coming down and effectively emptying himself for the benefit of sinful man.   We who do not deserve salvation, the sinful and ungodly, were given a higher priority by Jesus than himself.  What an example that we should follow.   We can show this in so many small ways.   Let someone go first at a four way stop sign.   Buy a stranger a drink sometime.  There are many ways that we can do small things that will glorify God and reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Christ was co-equal with God, but rather than glorify himself, he humbled himself and took on the nature of a servant.  If you want to be great in God’s sight, be a servant.

Mat 20:25  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

Mat 20:26  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

Mat 20:27  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Mat 20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


Several important things are pointed out in these verses:


a.  Christ made Himself of no reputation.

b.  Christ took upon Himself the form of a servant

c.  He was made in the likeness of man.

d.  He humbled Himself... ultimately to the cross of Calvary for you and I.

e.  He was obedient unto death.


James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Hebrews 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

III.  The Exaltation of Jesus

9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There is a day coming when EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord … and this to the glory of the Father.   God exalted Christ with a name that is above every name.   Jesus… there is something about that name as the song says.  What a lovely name, the name of Jesus.

Is the name exalted, or is it the person of Jesus.  I think the name is special, but Jesus Himself is the one God has exalted.  His name “Jesus” was given at his incarnation, and it will be the name when He is exalted.


Matthew 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 

In Revelation, it says that Jesus is a name above every name.


Revelation 19:16  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

What exactly is meant about every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.   I think it means just what it says.  All knees, whether they are human beings or angels, will bow before the Greatest of all time and acknowledge with their tongue that this is the Son of God.  This will happen at the Great White Throne Judgment of God, a very sad day for the lost of all time.


J. Vernon McGee commented this on the name of Jesus.

Here is the first step up: “God also hath highly exalted him.” The supreme purpose of God the Father in this universe today is that Jesus Christ be glorified in the universe which He created and that He be glorified on the earth where man dwells, where man rebelled against God.

The thing that makes this little earth significant and important is the death of Christ down here—nothing else. Astronomers tell us that we are a little speck in space, and if our little world were to be blotted out, it wouldn’t make any difference to the universe. And that is absolutely true. Someone else has said that man is a “disease on the epidermis of a minor planet.” That is what we are! The thing that has lent dignity to man and has caused him to look up into the heavens and sing the doxology is the fact that Jesus Christ came to this earth and died on the cross for him. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.”


IV.  Salvation in Us 

12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 

This exhortation is given to Christians, and is given to work out our salvation.  Before you misunderstand what is being said, remember you have to have something before you can work it out.  We don’t work for God in order to obtain or keep our salvation.  We work because of what God has done for us in saving us to give honor and glory to Him.   A good example would be a farmer working in his cornfield.  He couldn’t work out in that cornfield if he did not have it before he went to work, could he?   We are given salvation as a free gift from God. 

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This whole letter was written by Paul to exhort these Christians to a life of sanctification.  God wants us to be set apart for his service.   When we cultivate our lives for God, we will live a life that is far different from the world.   In verse 13, Paul makes it clear that it is God that works in us.  It truly is not of self. 

14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain..  

Notice that he says to do all things without murmurings or disputings.  An obedient Christian will be one seeking ways to solve problems, not one creating problems.   If we work out our salvation, we see some of the benefits.  We will be blameless and harmless in the midst of a wicked nation.  We will be blameless, harmless, and without blemish.   We are to the seen as lights to the world that they may see Jesus living in us.   Paul wanted to be among those who had held forth the word of life to others and found that he had not run nor labored in vain.  Nothing that we ever do, not the smallest of things done for the honor of God will fail to be rewarded. 

Mat 10:42  And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.


17Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.


Paul was more than willing to die if God desired him to die.  “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy.”  He was saying if he was martyred for the cause of Jesus, his blood would represent the outpoured wine, or drink-offering, completing their spiritual meal offering.    There were many various offerings (such as the drink-offering) given in the Old Testament, and many of these were used as examples of how our sacrifices might be considered in service to the Lord.  The sacrifice would then be a joint one, their part representing the meal, oil, and incense, and his part the pouring out of the wine.


Genesis 35:14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.



Title:   Matthew Henrys Commentary on the New Testament

Author:   Henry, Matthew


The apostle not only ran and laboured for them with satisfaction, but shows that he was ready to suffer for their good (v. 17): Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. He could reckon himself happy if he could promote the honour of Christ, the edification of the church, and the welfare of the souls of men; though it were not only by hazarding, but by laying down, his life: he could willingly be a sacrifice at their altars, to serve the faith of God’s elect. Could Paul think it worth while to shed his blood for the service of the church, and shall we think it much to take a little pains? Is not that worth our labour which he thought worth his life? If I be offered, or poured out as the wine of the drink-offerings, spendomai. 2 Tim. 4:6, I am now ready to be offered. He could rejoice to seal his doctrine with his blood (v. 18): For the same cause also do you joy and rejoice with me. It is the will of God that good Christians should be much in rejoicing; and those who are
happy in good ministers have a great deal of reason to joy and rejoice with them. If the minister loves the people, and is willing to spend and be spent for their welfare, the people have reason to love the minister and to joy and rejoice with him.


V.  Friends in Christ

 18For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. 19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. 23Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

 Paul explains that his early intentions were to send young Timothy to them.   He knew Timothy was like minded like he was, but he says later that he hoped to come himself.    Paul sent Epaphroditus with the letter to the church there in Philippi.


25Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.


According to J. Vernon McGee’s commentary, Epaprhoditus was the pastor of the church there in Philippi.  I searched in all my other commentaries and found no one mentioning this, so I am not sure if this is factual.  What I do know about the man was that he was a real soldier for the Lord, and had stood by and been a real friend and encourager to Paul.

 It is great when we work together in the work of the Lord and have the same mind.


Title:   Barnes Notes on the New Testament

Author:   Barnes, Albert


And hold such in reputation—Margin, honor such. This is a high commendation of Epaphroditus, and, at the same time, it enjoins an important duty in regard to the proper treatment of those who sustain such a character. It is
a Christian duty to honor those who ought to be honored, to respect the virtuous and the pious, and especially to honor those who evince fidelity in the work of the Lord.


Note some of the things mentioned in Malachi about God’s messengers. 

Malachi 2:1And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.    4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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