HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Theme: Pattern for Christian living; mind of Christ; mind of God; exaltation of Christ; mind of Paul; things of Christ; mind of Timothy; like-minded with Paul; mind of Epaphroditus; the work of Christ
In the first chapter we saw the viewpoint of Christian living summed up in one verse: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Christ was the very center of Paul's life. In this chapter we have the pattern for Christian living, which is the mind of Christ, which CANNOT be by imitation. IF your life does not conform to what you are saying, you are NOT trying to imitate Jesus! When Paul says that Christ is the pattern for Christian living, he means that the mind of Christ should be in us, and it can be there only by the power of the Spirit of God.
In this chapter, we are given further counsels to our Christian duties, that being to be like-minded and lowly-minded, according to the example of the Lord Jesus. Loving kindness is the law of Christ's Kingdom, and the lesson we must learn from His school. If you expect to experience the benefit of God's compassions, you must be compassionate to others. Christ was meek, humble and He came to humble us! There should NOT be pride or arrogance in TRUE children of God! We must be harsh on our faults, quick to observe our failings, but ready to make favorable allowances to others. We must kindly care for others, and never be busy-bodies in other people’s business. Neither inward or outward peace can be enjoyed, without lowliness of mind. Christ Jesus, meek, humble: (Ps.22:1-21; Isa.52:13; 53:1-12; Zec9:9; Mat.11:29; 21:5,7; Lk.22:27; Jn.6:38; 13:3-12; 2 Cor.8:9; Phil.2:5-8).
In this chapter is one of the greatest doctrinal statements made in Scripture concerning the Person of Christ. Down through the centuries one of the most controversial issues has come out of that theological statement. The idea promoted was the kenosis theory, which is that at Christ's incarnation He emptied Himself of His deity. This chapter will make it clear that He did not empty Himself of His deity. Kenosis means 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive. The kenosis was a self-renunciation, a self-denial as the Son of Man, NOT an emptying Himself of deity or exchanging deity for humanity.
Pattern for Christian Living (Philippians 2:1-4)
The "if" which begins this verse is not the if of condition . . . this is NOT a conditional clause.
The apostle, reassuming his urging in the former chapter to agreement (Phil.1:27), does here, by way of suggestion from what went immediately before, presses them in a very loving manner, in a kind of verbal way, and commands them.
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (KJV)
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ . . . if, does not express any doubt here, but the opposite, and is to be considered as a strong statement . . . that there IS consolation in Christ, just as there is comfort in love. If you are in Christ, you have consolation (comfort) against your afflictions.
If any comfort of love . . . the followers of Christ, give proofs of their ardent love to each other in cases of distress, and ease the sufferings of the persecuted.
If any fellowship of the Spirit . . . TRUE Christians have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as they stand fast in one spirit (Phil.1:27), and would show that you do persevere in the same Spirit (1 Cor.12:4-5), which acts in all the members of the spiritual body of Christ, and that do in Him their Head, partake of it.
If any bowels and mercies . . .if you feel sympathetic tenderness for me now . . .
Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (KJV)
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind . . . you should complete my joy, who has suffered to bring you the possession of these blessings, by being like-minded with myself, having the same love to God, His cause, and me, as I have to Him, His cause, and you. Being of one accord . . . unity, being in perfect agreement in laboring to promote the honor of your Master; being of one mind, being persistently intent upon this.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (KJV)
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory . . . never be opposed to each other; never act in separate interests; you are all brethren, and of one body. Every member should feel and labor for the welfare of the whole. As you exercise your different gifts, do nothing to promote your own reputation, but consider the comfort, honor and advantage of all.
But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves . . . always have a humble view of yourselves, for this will lead you to prefer others over yourselves.
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (KJV)
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others . . . do nothing through self-interest in the things of God; nor claim to yourselves gifts, graces, and fruits, which belong to others. You are all called to promote God's glory and the salvation of men. Let each rejoice to see another, whom God may be pleased to use in a special way, by the successful use of his talents to the great work.
The Mind of Christ is Humble (Philippians 2:5-8)
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (KJV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus . . . Christ never labored to promote His own interest. Christ as Man He wanted only to promote the glory of God, and the welfare and salvation of the human race. Paul wanted the Philippians (and us) to have the same nature that was in Jesus. He was always humble, loving, patient and hard-working. His meat (Jn.4:34) was to do the will of His Father, and to finish His work.
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (KJV)
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God . . . this verse has been the subject of much criticism and controversy. Although He was from eternity in the form of God (Jn.1:1-2), and possessed the same glory, yet He thought it right to veil this glory as the Son of Man, and not to appear with that glory among the children of men; and therefore He was made in the likeness of men (Jn.1:14), and took upon Him the form or appearance of a servant (verse 7): and, had Jesus retained the appearance of this indescribable glory, it would, in many respects, have prevented Him from accomplishing the work which God gave Him to do. His humiliation, which was necessary to the salvation of mankind, could not have been complete. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross! In the ultimate act of humility, the God of the Universe became a human being and died for His Creation. Christ took on a human nature with all of its limitations, except with NO sin. Christ Jesus, sinless: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23-24; Jn.8:46; Lk.23:41,47; 2 Cor.5:21;Heb.4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Pet.2;22; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:5).
Jesus IS God: http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
Seven Steps in Jesus’ Humiliation:
1. Christ was sanctified to humble Himself (verse 5).
2. Christ laid aside His divine Form (verse 6).
3. Christ made Himself of no reputation (verse 7).
4. Christ took the form of a servant (verse 7).
5. Christ was made in the likeness of human beings (verse 7).
6. Christ humbled Himself (verse 8).
7. Christ became obedient unto death (verse 8).
Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (KJV)
But made himself of no reputation,and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men . . . there are those who say Jesus emptied Himself of His deity. They are WRONG! All of the Gnostics in the early church put forward the first heresy that Jesus emptied Himself of His deity. Jesus emptied Himself of something, but it was NOT His deity. He was 100 percent God when He was a baby laying helplessly on the bosom of Mary. Even at that time He could have spoken this universe out of existence because He was God. There was never a moment when He was not God. The apostle John writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things ere made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." (Jn.1:1-3,14).
SO, of WHAT did the Lord Jesus empty Himself when He came to this Earth? I believe that He emptied Himself of the privileges of deity. He lived on this Earth with certain limitations (as do all men), but they were self-limitations. There was never a moment when He wasn't God. And He was NOT less God because He was Man, yet He emptied Himself of His privileges, His rights of deity.
Of What Did Christ Empty Himself?
It was certainly NOT His divine nature, for He was God not only from all eternity (Mic.5:1-2; Jn.1:1-2; Heb.1:8; Rev.1:8-11). BUT God manifest Himself in flesh during His life on Earth (Isa.7:14; 9:6-7; Mat.1:18-25; Jn.1:1-2,14; 1 Tim.3:16).
Christ emptied Himself of:
1. Equality with God (Phil.2:6-7; Jn.14:28; 1 Cor.11:3).
2. God-form or His God-body, the spirit body in which He lived in from eternity, to take human-form (Zec.13:6; Phil.2:6-8; 3:21; Mat.1:18-25; Lk.1:35; 24:37-40; Jn.1:14; Gal.4:4; Rom.8:3).
3. Immortality of body (Ps.16:10; 1 Cor.15:3; 1 Pet.2:24; 3:18).
4. The glory that He had with the Father before the world was (Mat.16:27; Jn.12:23; 17:5; Phil.2:5-11).
5. His authority in heaven and in earth, which was given back to Him after He was resurrected (Mat.28:18; Eph.1:20-23; Phil.2:9-11; 1 Pet.3:22).
6. His divine attributes and outward powers that He had with the Father from eternity. He had no power to do miracles until He received the Holy Spirit in all fullness (Isa.11:1-2; 42:1-7; 61:1-32; Mat.12:28; Jn.2:11; 3:34; Lk.3:21-22; Acts 10:38). He could do nothing of Himself in all His earthly life. He attributed all His works, doctrines and powers to the Father through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Jn.8:28). This is proved by the following facts in Scripture:
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (KJV)
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross . . . or existing as a man (Jn.1:14). Here it is the same as state, or condition. When Jesus was reduced to this condition, He humbled Himself, and obeyed even unto death. He took upon Himself all the qualities of a man. He assumed all the innocent infirmities of our nature. He appeared as other men do, and He was subjected to the necessity of food and raiment, and was made liable to suffering, as other men are. BUT . . . it was still Jesus who had been in the "form of God" (verse 6), who thus appeared; and although His Divine glory had been for a time laid aside, it was NEVER switched off or lost. It is important to remember, in all our thoughts of the Saviour, that He was the exact SAME Being who had been invested with so much glory in Heaven that appeared on Earth in the form of a man.
He humbled himself:
1. In emptying himself; laying aside the brilliance of His glory.
2. In being incarnate; taking upon Himself the human form.
3. In becoming a servant; assuming the lowest character, that of being the servant of all.
4. In condescending to die, to which he was not naturally liable, as having never sinned, and therefore had a right in his human nature to immortality, without passing under the realm of death.
5. In condescending, not only to death, but to the lowest and most disgraceful kind of death, the death of the cross; the punishment of the meanest of slaves and worst of felons.
Have you ever considered what Almighty God thinks of sin? Have you ever considered the degradation, humility, agonizing pain which came from the unrelenting flogging and scourging which Jesus endured? (Ps.22:17; Isa.52:14).
I do not think that any of us truly realize what kind of love Jesus has for us sinners! (Jn.15:13).
Do you really appreciate what He has done for you? Have you thanked Him?
The Mind of God the Father Exalts Christ (Philippians 2:9-11)
The mind of God the Father is to glorify Christ. We have seen the seven steps downward; now we will see the seven steps upward. The mind of God is the exaltation of Christ.
Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (KJV)
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him . . . this is the first step up. The highest 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 rebels continually against God.
Now the second step:
And given him a name which is above every name . . . my dear friend, before the next time you take His name in vain, I suggest you think of this. God intends to elevate that Name that you blaspheme and use as a curse word, dragging it in the mud. The Name of Jesus Christ will be exalted above ALL the names of ALL the great men of this world and above the names of ALL the lofty angels in glory.
In this verse we find the next three steps of Christ's exaltation.
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (KJV)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . .the third step: Jesus means Saviour. Before His birth in Bethlehem, the angel said, "...thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Mat.1:21). Now notice the reference to prophecy: Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV) . . . This is one of the most wonderful fulfillments of prophecy you can imagine. The angel said, "Call Him Jesus because He'll save His people from their sins." All of us are in the same ship today. The human family is on a sinking ship, and it's going down. We need a Saviour. "You shall call His name Jesus because He is going to save His people from their sins." How can He save His people from their sins? Because He IS Emmanuel, God with us. That little Baby who came to Bethlehem is God with us. NO one else, anywhere, at any time can be called Jesus.
Now notice the fourth step of His exaltation: Of things in heaven.
And the fifth step: And things in earth.
And the sixth step: And things under the earth. This verse is used by the False teachers of Universalism to support their theory that eventually everybody will be saved. That is a damnable heresy! (2 Pet.2:1). http://hisservants.org/f_pluralism_universalism.htm
Three Worlds That Are Inhabited:
1. Heaven (Job 1:6; Dan.4:35; Phil.2:10; Col.1:15-18; Rev.12:12; 13:6).
2. Earth (Phil.2:10; Col.1:16; Rev.12:12).
3. Under the earth; underground; world of the dead; hell (Ps.16:10; Mat.12:40; Eph.4:8-10; Phil.2:10; 1 pet.3:19). This includes the angelic inhabitants in tartarus, a compartment of Hades (2 Pet.2:4; Jude 1:6-7); the demons that inhabit the abyss (Lk.8:31; Rev.9:1-21; 20:3,7); the spirits in Sheol/Hades (Ps.9:17; 16:10; 71:20; Pro.9:18; 15:24; Isa.14:9; Rev.20:11-15).
In the next verse, is the seventh and final step of Christ's exaltation.
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father . . . that ALL those before mentioned (everything in Heaven, in Earth and under the Earth) should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, or absolute Ruler, and thus glorify God the Father, who has exalted His human nature to this state of indescribable glory, because of His passion, death, resurrection, and the atonement which He has made, by which so many attributes of the Divine nature have become illustrated, the Divine law magnified and made honorable, and an eternal glory provided for man. The worship thus offered is to the glory of God; for it is to the honor of the Divine Being. I might add, that the tongue which does NOT confess that Jesus Christ is Lord is a tongue that dishonors Almighty God.
Every tongue shall "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" does NOT mean that every tongue will confess Him as Saviour. It is very interesting that even in Hell they SHALL recognize the Lordship of Jesus, and I think that will increase their agony.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV) . . . I would warn you to be careful about calling Jesus your Lord IF He is NOT your Lord. You had better know Him as your Saviour before you say He is your Lord. If He is your Saviour, then you can become obedient to Him as your Lord and Master. You do NOT want to hear: I never knew you.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (KJV) . . . Do you obey Him? He is NOT your Lord unless you obey Him.
Seven Steps to His Exaltation:
1. God highly exalted Him (Phil.2:9; Eph.1:21).
2. God gave Him a name above every name (Phil.2:9).
3. At the very mention of His Name, every knee would bow (Phil.2:10).
4. Everything in heaven must bow (Phil.2:10).
5. Everything in earth must bow (Phil.2:10).
6. Everything under the earth must bow (Phil.2:10).
7. Every tongue confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father (Phil.2:11).
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, 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. (KJV)
Wherefore, 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 . . . this Passage is often misused to instill fear into people, warning them that it means that they can lose their salvation. IF a person is truly saved, they CANNOT lose their salvation. I believe Once Saved, Always Saved! And I firmly believe that is what the Holy Word of God teaches.
Just WHAT does it mean to work out your salvation with fear and trembling? Paul certainly is not encouraging believers to live in a continuous condition of anxiety. That would oppose his many other appeals and encouragements to peace of mind, courage, and confidence in the God who is the Author of our salvation (Heb.5:9; 12:2). I think that "fear" in this context can mean "reverence" or "respect", the same as it means to fear God. To fear God is to reverence, respect and worship Him (Rom.3:18; Cor.7:1; Eph.5:21; Col.3:22).
Work out your own salvation . . . work out means to carry out to completion what is begun (Eph.6:13). We are to be lights in this world of darkness. God is the “beginner and perfecter” of every “good work” (Phil.1:6). We must keep going, walking by the same rule, and minding the Gospel, until our salvation is completed and we go home to Heaven. We must obey God, filled with love to God and man, walking without blame in the Gospel, having fruit unto holiness, which leads to everlasting life (Jn.14:15; Rom.2:13; 6:16; Jam.1:25; 1 Pet.1:22; 1 Jn.2:5; 3:22,24).
With fear and trembling . . . we must consider the difficulty of our walk with Christ, and the danger of quenching the Spirit (1 Thes.4:19), when He so graciously tries to lead us on right paths. If we do not watch, pray and continually depend on God, our many enemies will surprise us. We must keep in mind what we shall say to Judge Jesus on Judgment Day.
Mind of Paul . . . Things of Christ (Philippians 2:12-18)
We have seen that the mind of Christ CANNOT be imitated. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" this can happen ONLY by impartation, which is a work of the Spirit of God within us (Rom.8:9), which will produce the fruit of meekness (Gal.5:23) in our lives.
Now we are going to see the mind of Paul as he walked down those Roman roads. We will see it lived in Roman homes and in a Roman jail. We will see three examples given to us: the mind of Paul, the mind of Timothy, and the mind of Epaphroditus (pastor of the church at Philippi). In this heathen empire there were these three men who demonstrated the mind of Christ. There may have been many more, but these three are the ones who are presented to us in this Letter.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (KJV)
For it is God which worketh in you . . . every holy purpose, pious resolution, good word, and good work, must come from Him; we must work together with Him in unity and agreement, that we do not receive His grace in vain; because He works IN US, therefore we work WITH Him, and work out your own salvation.
To will and to do . . . the power to will (want) and the power to act must come from God, who is the Creator both of the soul and body, and of all their powers and energies . . . but the act of decision or desire and the act of working come from the man. God gives power to will, man wills through that power; God gives power to act, and man acts through that power. Without the power to will from God, man can will nothing; without the power of God to work, man can do nothing. God neither wills for man, nor works in man's place, but He does furnish him with power to do both . . . so, man is therefore accountable to God for these powers.
Because God works in them the power to will and the power to do, therefore the apostle urges them to work out their own salvation; most clearly showing that the use of the powers of choice and action belongs to them.
No case can be plainer than that which the apostle Paul lays down here: the power to will and do comes from God; the use of that power belongs to man. He that has not received this power can neither will nor work; but he that has this power can do both.
So God works out that which He had started in you. If God has saved you, He has saved you by faith . . . plus NOTHING! God is not accepting any kind of good works for salvation. But after you are saved, God talks to you about your works. The salvation that He worked in by faith is a salvation He will work out also.
A great saying: "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone." James states it like this: "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Only God can see the heart; He knows our true condition. He knows if I have saving faith; He knows if you have saving faith. But your neighbor cannot see your faith. The only thing he can see is the works of faith. True faith will work itself out so that the people around us will be able to tell that we are different, that we are Christians. The way we live should identify us as Christians.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (KJV)
Do all things without murmurings and disputings . . . without belly-aching, grumblings and altercations. We must be patient and content with our work.
Philippians 2:15 That 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; (KJV)
That ye may be blameless and harmless . . . blameless in yourselves, and harmless to others.
The sons of God . . . showing by your holy conduct that ye are partakers of the Divine nature.
Without rebuke . . . persons against whom no charge of transgression can justly be laid.
In a crooked and perverse nation . . . most likely referring to the Jews, who were the chief opponents and the most dangerous enemies which the Christian Church had.
Among whom ye shine as lights in the world . . . TRUE Christians should be like the sun and moon; blessing even the most stubborn and disobedient by their light and brilliance. We must let our light shine before men (Mat.5:16). We must walk in the light of Jesus (Jn.8:12; 11:9; 12:36), for only by its shining through us will God be glorified. Just as the sun, moon and stars are up there, we are to be down here.
Philippians 2:16 Holding 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. (KJV)
Holding forth the word of life . . . some think that Paul had in mind the towers at the entrance of harbors (lighthouses), on which fires were kept during the night to direct ships into the port. TRUE Christians, by their righteous lives direct others, not only how to escape those dangers to which they are exposed on the stormy ocean of human life, but also of leading them into the haven of eternal safety and rest. Eternal life: (Jn.3:15-18; 5:39’ 6:68).
That I may rejoice in the day of Christ . . . Paul considers the glorious joy he would have in their salvation at the day of Christ (Phil.1:6), when he and they would, because of God's free grace, receive an incorruptible reward (1 Cor.9:25; 1 Pet.1:4).
That I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain . . . if we live so that we glorify God and do good to men, it shall appear that we have not run and labored in vain for our salvation. Life and light are related. A TRUE Christian cannot live in darkness (sin). When we hold forth the Word of Life, we are lights in the world. Paul rejoices when he hears that the Philippian believers are revealing their faith by their good works (Jam.2:18). These believers were very close to the heart of Paul because they were his converts. He was their spiritual father.
Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. (KJV)
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all . . . the image of the lighthouse appears to be still carried on. It seems that it was customary for the weather-beaten mariner, when he had reached his port safely, to offer a sacrifice to God.
This pictures what the Christian life should be. Paul is referring to one of the earliest offerings in the Old Testament. Gen. 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. (KJV)
In the books of Leviticus and Numbers the sacrifices are described. We learned that there was a drink offering which was to be added to the burnt offering and the meal offering. It was never added to the sin offering or the trespass offering. It was a most unusual offering in that it had nothing to do with redemption; it had nothing to do with the person of Christ. They would bring in a skin of wine and just pour it on the sacrifice which was being consumed by fire. What happened to it? It would go up in steam and disappear.
I think maybe what Paul is saying here is: "I want my life to be poured out like a drink offering on the offering of Christ." Paul knows that the Lord Jesus Christ made the Supreme Sacrifice, and he wanted his life to be a drink offering . . . just poured out . . . to go up in steam. He wanted to be so consumed and concealed that all that is seen is just Jesus Christ. Paul wanted Christ to receive ALL the honor and the glory. This was the mind of Paul. I do not think there is any better or higher wish for the Christian life than this.
The apostle had guided the Philippians safely into port; their faith in the atoning death of Christ was their sacrifice; and Paul was very willing that his blood would be poured out as a drink offering upon that sacrificial offering.
Philippians 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. (KJV)
For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me . . . Paul did not know the outcome of his trial, but he is ready and willing to be made such an offering. A TRUE Christian life is a walk in humility. Only a person with the mind of Christ could be so willing to be poured out as a drink offering. Paul ends on a note of joy. Today, people often rejoice over the wrong things. We need to be like Paul and rejoice over the fact that Jesus died for us and that we can serve Him. If we are walking in humility, we will rejoice at the success of others. We have too much strife and vainglory (verse 3). That was hurting the cause of Christ in Paul's day, and it is hurting the cause of Christ today. The mind of Christ in the TRUE believer will bring joy in your life, and will bring glory to God.
Philippians 2:19 But 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. (KJV)
But 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 . . . the Lord Jesus is governor and disposer of all events, being above all principality and power (Eph.1:21). Paul has faith in the Lord's power and goodness that he would be spared a little longer, so as to visit them again (verse 24), and to be able to send Timothy shortly to them. Timothy was Paul's spiritual son. Paul had great confidence in him. He could trust Timothy to care for the state of the Philippian believers.
Mind of Timothy . . . Like-minded With Paul (Philippians 2:19-24)
Philippians 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. (KJV)
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state . . . none of Paul’s fellow helpers in the Gospel had the same passion and affectionate concern for their prosperity as Timothy has. Timothy was faithful to Paul, and he was sending him to the Philippian believers because he could trust him.
Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. (KJV)
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's . . . Paul must be referring to the persons who preached Christ even of envy and strife (Phil.1:15). Preachers like this are very careless whether souls were saved or not. There were many others who were seeking their own glory. They wanted to make a name for themselves. Because they were seeking their own glory, they were willing to belittle Paul.
Philippians 2:22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. (KJV)
But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel . . . Timothy had served with Paul. The Philippians had proof of the loving attachment of Timothy to Paul, for he had labored with him there (Acts 16:1-3; 17:14). We also find from what is said here that Timothy was not a servant to the apostle, but that he had served with him. They both worked together in the Word and doctrine; for apostles and Christian bishops, in those times, worked as hard as their deacons. There were no easy rides; everyone was a laborer, every laborer had his work, and every workman had his wages.
There can be no more togetherness than for two people to have the mind of Christ. They are together even though they may be miles apart. That is why there is such a bond between fellow Christians who have the mind of Christ. And when a husband and wife have the mind of Christ, they are really together. There is no human ceremony that can bring two people together in that way. It is a glorious, wonderful relationship.
Philippians 2:23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. (KJV)
Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me . . . the apostle was now in captivity; his trial appears to be approaching, and of its issue he was doubtful; although he seems to have had a general idea that he would be spared (verses 19,24).
Philippians 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. (KJV)
But I trust in the Lord . . . Paul expresses his strong feeling, he might see them soon.
That I also myself shall come shortly . . . before he had suggested his idea of abiding with them (Phil.1:25), and here, that he might content them he had not changed his mind, he adds for their comfort, that they might not be discouraged in their sufferings.
Philippians 2:25 Yet 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. (KJV)
Epaphroditus . . . Paul’s spiritual brother, a very high character of this minister of Christ; he was,
1. A brother . . . one of the Christian family; a sincere convert to God, without which he could not have been a preacher of the Gospel.
2. A companion in labor; he labored, and labored together with the apostle in this great work.
3. A fellow soldier; the work was difficult and dangerous, they were forced to keep up a continual warfare, fighting against the world, the devil, and the flesh.
4. A man whom God had honored with gifts, graces and fruits; and,
5. An affectionate friend to the apostle, who knew his soul in hardship, acknowledged him in prison, and contributed to his comfort and support.
Mind of Ephaphroditus . . . The Work of Christ (Philippians 2:25-30)
Epaphroditus was another who had the mind of Christ. He, Paul and Timothy were together, brethren in the Lord, serving the Lord. He is the pastor of the church in Philippi.
Philippians 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. (KJV)
For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick . . . no hint is given that the recovery of Epaphroditus was miraculous, it is plainly spoken of as a natural event. This instance, together with that in the Second Epistle to Timothy, Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick (2 Tim.4:20), gives a proof that the power of performing cures, and of working other miracles, was a power which only visited the apostles occasionally, and did not at all depend upon their own will. Paul certainly would have healed Epaphroditus if he could; nor would he have left Trophimus at Miletum sick, IF he had the power of working cures awaited his disposal. Paul professes great anxiety for the safety of his friend, yet admits he is unable to help him, which he does clearly in the case of Trophimus, Him have I left sick.
Epaphroditus got sick, and word was sent back to the church at Philippi that their own pastor was sick. He longed for them . . . he probably was a little homesick also. Then when he heard that the church back there was mourning for him because he was sick, he had a relapse because it hurt him that they were hurt because he was sick! There was sort of a vicious circle set in motion here. But it was good because it revealed the marvelous relationship between the church at Philippi and their pastor.
Philippians 2:27 For 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. (KJV)
For 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 . . . Epaphroditus was very sick, it seems very close to death.
A comment: Many sincere believers say that Christians should not be sick, that they should trust God to heal them. I have never gone along with this. I do NOT believe that God heals everyone.
2 Cor. 12:8-10 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV)
Whatever Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, Jesus did NOT heal him! Paul repeatedly asked for healing, but healing did NOT come for him.
Why didn't Paul heal Epaphroditus? He was so sick he almost died! Paul did not have the power to heal him. Only the Lord Jesus is the Great Physician in today’s world. Do NOT fall for these so-called faith healers! They are just out to get your hard earned money! Both my husband and I have serious health issues that cannot be helped. We simply take Jesus’ Words seriously! My grace is sufficient for thee! He has seen us both through so far, and whatever He has in mind for our futures, we shall simply continue to trust Him.
Consider this: Paul the apostle toward the end of his ministry is putting NO emphasis on healing whatsoever. He has a sick preacher with him, but he does not exercise the gift of healing that he had. Why? Because Paul is shifting the emphasis where it should be, upon the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippians.
Philippians 2:28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. (KJV)
I sent him therefore the more carefully . . . after his recovery, without delay, denying myself the comfort of his company, I have sent him to you.
That, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice . . . he whom you thought as dead might appear among you in person, and cheer you up in your troubles for him and me.
And that I may be the less sorrowful . . . because of their kindness to Paul, his safe return to them had somewhat lessened Paul’s grief (2 Cor.6:10).
Philippians 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: (KJV)
Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness . . . Paul charged them all, officers and people, to look upon him as a servant of the Lord, as Christ would have them receive His servants (Mat.10:40-41), with all spiritual joy, as sometimes the Galatians had received him (Gal.4:14).
And hold such in reputation . . . as it becometh saints (Rom.16:2), to have such in esteem very highly for their work's sake (1 Thes.5:13). A man like Epaphroditus should be respected and loved, as we should respect those who are teaching the Truth of the Word of God; but our main attention should be focused upon the Word of God.
Philippians 2:30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. (KJV)
Because for the work of Christ . . . preaching the Gospel, and ministering to the distressed.
He was nigh unto death . . . Epaphroditus labored far beyond his strength.
Not regarding his life . . . risking his life. His frequent and intense preaching, and laboring to supply the apostle Paul's wants, appear to have brought him close to death.
The humiliation and exaltation of Christ are subjects which we cannot consider too often, and in which we can never be fully instructed.
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