Preaching through Philippians
TOPIC:“Paul - The Respectful Theologian”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the
form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (2:6, 7)
There was a present problem which existed in the church at Philippi. Two prominent women in the church, Euodias and Syntyche, had threatened the harmony of the church because of their serious differences. Realizing that such action could divide the work of Christ and destroy the progress of the Gospel, Paul sets forth a beautiful pattern that these Christian women should follow.
Listen again to Paul's words in verse 5 as I read it from the way Phillips renders it: “Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be.” Here in the verses before us, Paul the theologian, presents us with a portrait of the highest example of a self-forgetful spirit - that of Christ Himself.
Let's begin with this: Think of Paul's EXHORTATION to UNITY. Paul states in verse 2: “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (v. 2). Though Paul is joyful, he prays that the Philippians will bring his joy to the brim by exhibiting a spirit of unity among themselves. Paul was old enough as a Christian to realize that unless a unity prevailed that was deeper than their differences, they were doomed to fail in their witness for Christ. How right he was! They had to be one-team for Christ.
Paul now sets forth four POWERFUL REASONS why these believers should be united in spirit and live in harmony with one another. The word “if” as found in verse 1 which introduces each clause could be translated “since.” We should live in Christian unity because:
1) There is CONSOLATION in Christ. Paul writes: “If there be, therefore, any
consolation in Christ” or as Phillips and Berkeley translates the word to mean “encouragement.” Paul's reasoning is this. The wonderful life that Christ lived in unity with His heavenly Father should be an encouragement to us to live in harmony with others believers.
Neither Paul nor Christ would teach that . . .