the congregation has harmony, we are “…having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind….in lowliness of mind…esteem[ing] other better than
themselves. Look[ing] not every man on his own
things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:2-4. We are
to have this same mind-set because it was
the mind-set of Jesus Christ. Philippians
2:5. We see the first century Christians as they prayed with great faith, Acts
4:31, preached the Gospel of Christ with great power, Acts 4:7, 13, 29, enjoyed
great fellowship, Acts 2:21-46, and they experienced daily growth, Acts 2:47.
Philippians 2:1-8 Paul challenges the Philippian congregation to be of one
accord. How were they to accomplish this? Their consolation [comfort,
encouragement] comes from their being in Christ. They are consoled by love, which has a persuasive power to move them to harmony.
We as Christians are to be like-minded, have the same love, and be of one
accord and one mind by having the mind
(disposition – mind-set) that Christ had.
To have the mind-set of God is to be holy
and to have the mind-set of the Christ is
to be obedient to God. How can we have
harmony in the congregation?
“Let nothing be done through strife or
vainglory.” (Verse 3). What is “strife”? The Greek word eriQeia means “selfish
ambition” (BAGD, p. 309). What is “vainglory”? The Greek word κενοδοξία means
“excessive ambition.” (BAGD, p. 427).
When strife is ended, it gives new life. Strife keeps bad company because it is joined with envy, divisions, carnality. 1
Corinthians 3:3. It is also named among
the “works of the flesh.” Galatians 5:19-21. James puts it bluntly in James
3:14-16 as being “earthly, sensual, devilish [Greek -demonic].” Service to
glorify the servant is worthless. The Word of God says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not
unto men…” Colossians 3:23.
“Let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Verse 3). This is a different dimension to self-esteem.
In our world, there is a great push for
self-esteem. Webster’s defines self-esteem as “a
confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” Here we are called to have a higher esteem for
others. How may we accomplish this? Esteem for others grows out of Biblical
love. Love enables us to forget the faults and shortcomings of others. When one
builds on a fault, expect an earthquake!
Biblical love enables us to look for the
best in others. This esteem causes us to
“look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others.” (Verse 4). Our concerns for others
should be greater than for ourselves. We should want to protect them and that
which is dear to them. This same word, ἡγέομαι, is used in Hebrews 13, 17, 24
and is translated “have the rule over.” This
word is used in 1 Timothy 6:1, “Let as
many servants as are under the yoke count [ἡγέομαι] their own
masters worthy of all honour, that the
name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Verse 5). Here is
the key! Here is how to put away strife and vainglory. Here is how to esteem
others better than ourselves. Here is how to care more for the things of others
than for our own. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps…” 1
Peter 2:21. Jesus is our example! The mind [disposition or mind-set] of Christ
conquers carnality. It makes us humble instead of hateful. It makes us giving
instead of greedy. It makes us selfless instead of selfish. We learn about the
mind of Christ at the Cross. He laid aside His glory; how can we seek glory? He
humbled Himself; how can we be proud? He became a servant; how can we covet high positions? He was obedient to death;
how can we do less?