Sunday, December 18, 2016

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 5: Imitating Christ’s Humility

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 5:
Imitating Christ’s Humility
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 2:1-11
 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

Today we look at Paul’s explanation of how to obtain a life worthy of the gospel by living a humble life like Jesus Christ.

a. IF you have
                                                                                                               i. Encouragement (consolation) from being united with Christ
1. We have forgiveness of sins
2. We have regeneration (works toward perfection)
3. We have Spiritual Fruit (naturally produced through submission to Spirit)
4. We have Spiritual Gifts (given so we may serve)
5. We have the whole armor of God
6. There is much that consoles us when we are united with Christ!

                                                                                                            ii. Comfort from His love (been comforted)

                                                                                                         iii. Sharing in the Spirit (received Holy Spirit)

                                                                                                           iv. Received tenderness and compassion

1. All who are united to Christ have these things…and Paul “knows” this, this statement is rhetorical

2. He wants to bring to their attention the things they have

b. THEN make my joy complete by
                                                                                                               i. Being like-minded (united in teaching, thought and purpose)

                                                                                                            ii. Having the same love (as Christ has shown you)

                                                                                                         iii. Be in one Spirit and one mind (Stop divisions!)

                                                                                                               i. DO NOTHING out of
1. Selfish Ambition
2. Or vain conceit
                                                                                                            ii. Why?  These things CAUSE division!

a. Have the same mind (thinking) as Christ Jesus

b. He, being in the nature of God
                                                                                                               i. Did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage

c. RATHER, He made Himself nothing
                                                                                                               i. By taking the nature of a servant by being made in human likeness

                                                                                                            ii. Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but take the nature of a servant like Christ, thinking of others before yourself.

a. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross
                                                                                                               i. If He can humble Himself and become obedient to death, even as terrible as the cross, we are able to humble ourselves and be obedient to Him!

b. THEREFORE, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above all names
                                                                                                               i. Matthew 23:12 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

c. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (bend) in heaven and on earth and under earth

                                                                                                               i. Heaven – epouranios “Above the Sky” or Celestial meaning all of space beyond our sky.

                                                                                                            ii. On earth – epigeios “Worldly, both physical and moral”

                                                                                                         iii. Under earth – katachthonios (Thanos = death) (achthon = ground) so Katachthonios = Ground of Dead

1. Subterranean place belonging to the world of departed spirits, under the earth, or Sheol in Hebrew

CONCLUSION – and every tongue confess that jesus christ is lord

Confess (exomologeō = agree fully)

Lord (kuros = supreme in authority, controller, as a title God, Lord, Master)

To the Glory (Honor) of God (Theos – supreme divinity) the Father

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