Philippians 2

Welcome to week two of this month’s leisurely exploration of Philippians.

Here is chapter 2, NASB-Updated.  Please read and reflect on Sunday, then share observations and insights in comments through the week and after. Each chapter’s comments will remain open even after we move to the next chapter.  Thanks for taking part. P—

Philippians 2
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, [2] make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. [3] Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; [4] do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. [5] Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [8] Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

[12] So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [13] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
[14] Do all things without grumbling or disputing; [15] so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, [16] holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. [17] But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. [18] You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

[19] But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. [20] For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. [21] For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. [22] But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. [23] Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; [24] and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly. [25] But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; [26] because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. [27] For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. [28] Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. [29] Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; [30] because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.


6 Replies to “Philippians 2”

  1. Phil

    Monday –

    It’s God.

    [13] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

    I should probably come back and consider the broader context as the week progresses but this morning I’m impressed with the fact that it’s God who works within me so I want (will) to do His good pleasure and then to do it.
    He started the work (1.6) and He’ll complete it.
    Mine is to live in compliance with what I know from His Word; to create and maintain an environment within so His work in me thrives.

    It’s like my garden. Right now it’s still under several inches of (melting) snow. But as the sun warms the soil I’ll start turning it, shape the edges of the flower beds, fertilize and watch for waking perennials. I hope they’re as eager as I am this year. I’ll ready the mower, string the trellis, find the pump for the fountain. When the danger of frost is past, lookout, we’ll bring on those annuals! I will and I work in my flower gardens, God wills and works in my heart. Mine is to cooperate with Him.

    Lord, keep fostering in me that intense desire, the will, to do what brings you pleasure. Then help me do the right thing at the right time with the right motive as You and I set out to do it.

    I love you, Lord.
    Phil—

  2. Phil

    Tuesday –

    It seems so easy on paper. God worked the salvation in (took Him but a moment when we believed) and we spend the rest of our days fleshing it out.

    …work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [13] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
    [14] Do all things without grumbling or disputing; [15] so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, [16] holding fast the word of life,

    “Work it out!” Not in the sense of salvation, naturally, these readers are already believers (see 1.1). This is in the same sense as working a mine, a field, I like to think of working it out in the sense of a musician – it’s in there, gotta bring it to the surface. Or a dancer, choreographer or one who brings sign language to a song in performance. It’s in there – work it out, make it beautiful! Bring the greatest possible harvest! Be yourself, naturally, and be like Christ. God works it in, we bring it to the surface where it is visible to all!

    When we know that’s what’s happening inside and it’s radiating right through to all who happen to notice. The grumbling and whining kind of evaporates. The quarrels go away. We find we’re living like God wants us to, which means we’re blameless and guilt-free (innocent) adhering to the word of life smack-dab in the middle of a world that’s perverse and crooked. (Anyone care to contest that’s the world we live in? Just watch the evening news.) What an adventure!

    For me the hard part is remembering to yield to the Master quickly and quietly first time every time. When I remember to do that, it’s amazing even to me what He does in and through me. It’s what I want most, so brings a huge smile to my face every time I do. I want to go for long periods of time between His glances of disapproval.

    God worked it in – I’m working His life in me to the surface through ongoing obedience. Luvvit!

    Phil—

  3. Phil

    Wednesday –

    Verses 5 – 8 are frequently cited, often memorized, and I appreciate the context set by verses 3 & 4.

    I’ve been boiling it down today, instead of expanding on things. President Kennedy was allegedly able to read the newspaper without even seeing all the modifying prepositional phrases. (Wouldn’t that be a wonderful ability to have?) When I treat this paragraph similarly it gets pretty simple, though no easier to do in its simplicity.

    No self-centeredness. Regard others highly.
    Use Christ’s attitude:
    * not grasping
    * emptied Himself
    * was obedient (to the death!)

    No wonder we need divine help to realize the same ideal!
    I’m sure thankful He’s willing and able!

    Phil—

  4. Phil

    Thursday –

    In many respects, followers hold the key to their leaders’ joy and happiness. (That’s an original, I think, mark it down if you’ve not heard it before.) 😀

    When the people you’ve been charged to lead pitch in and participate, identify the goal and move toward it together, treat each other with respect and deference, miraculously manage to get along, you’re ready to re-up when you get back to camp at the end of the tour! But let the opposite be true – it’s frustration, heartache and agony.

    This isn’t to say all leaders are the greatest – we know better – but even a good leader is at the mercy of his or her followers in many ways. It seems Paul knew that.

    “Make my joy complete”, he said in verse two. They had the ability to bring it about, and they had the ability to withhold it. The choice was theirs.

    His “here’s how” follows. How many of the committees you’re on fit this description?
    1) Like-minded
    2) Well-maintained love (great concept – could make camp right there!)
    3) Of one spirit (sensing the Lord’s leading over and above compromising human leanings to the lowest common denominator)
    4) One purpose (focused and intentional)

    Coaches smile from ear to ear when they see this, managers and parents too. I tend to think Spiritual leaders cherish it more than the rest: Pastors, teachers, elders, deacons…

    Want to make your leaders happy?
    Memorize verse two. Then do.

    Phil—

  5. Phil

    Friday –

    I smiled when I read these words this morning:

    I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

    In the NIV it reads, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

    This? From Paul? The apostle?
    * The frustrated gentleman who agonized his way through writing Romans 7? Yes.
    * The man beaten to the maximum extent of the law (39 lashes) for his faith, five times?!! Three times beaten with rods! Survived three ship-wrecks (we don’t know much about those anymore). A long list of dangers and hazards in 2 Corinthians 11 – THAT Paul? Yes.
    * The Paul who laid it all out there for masters and slaves, empoyers and employees, husbands and wives, parents and children in his letter to the church at Ephesus? Yes.
    * The same Paul who dared to spell out God’s Sovereignty in his letter to the church in Rome? (chapter 9) yes.
    * The Paul who had the guts to talk to the wisest of the wise on Mars Hill (Acts 17) and introduce brilliant philosphers to a god they hadn’t thought of yet – THE God we need to know? Yes.

    I’m rejoicing. And I want you to rejoice with me.

    That doesn’t sound like an ogre to me! That sounds like someone who knows and loves God with everything he has, trusts him and wants these readers and friends of his to ENJOY living selfless like he’s described a few paragraphs back!
    [goosebumps]
    He knows how well it works! He knows the joy it brings. He knows joy springs from within and outlasts external happiness; that it’s obtainable and enjoyable, not elusive at all.

    There’s an old saw that goes like this.
    You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    I want my life to be like that. I want to be one of the most winsome people you’ll ever meet. I want to be gentle, kind and compassionate, inviting people to come get to know the God who’s forgiven my wrongs, written my name in His roll-book and has a crew working on my place where I’ll spend forever with Him.

    Yep, rejoicing as a result of the things he penned at the top of chapter two is the way to go. Count me in!

    Phil—

  6. Jonell

    Since we’re at the end of the week, can I post my 3 observations in one entry? Hope so, cuz I’m gonna. 🙂

    Observation #1:
    [3] Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; [4] do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

    I often get frustrated with a girl I know who seems to only talk about herself. I try to make conversation and have a little give and take back and forth. I might mention something about life. As soon as I am done talking, she takes the conversation right back to life in her world. This verse has been good for me this week to remember that I am to regard her more important than myself, and I am to look out for her interests. Is it easy? NO!! Is it scriptural? YES!! Is it important? Yes!!

    Observation #2:
    [14] Do all things without grumbling or disputing; [15] so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, [16] holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

    I’ve heard verse 14 all my life, but just this week I was able to connect it with the verses that follow. And important verses they are, because they give the reason for not grumbling. According to Webster, blameless means “of irreproachable character” or “an unimpeachable reputation.” If we are blameless then we are lights for Christ in the world around us.

    Observation #3:
    [25] But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus … [26] because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. [27] For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him … [30] because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

    This talks about Epaphroditus being sick to the point of death … and … he came close to death for the work of Christ. In my mind I am curious if this was just a sickness, or if it was a beating of persecution for Christ that caused him to be close to death for the work of Christ. However, some items of curiosity, we won’t know until heaven. Either we will automatically know the answers to all our questions once we get to heaven, or we will have a chance to sit at the feet of Jesus and ask Him! Can’t wait for that day!

    – Jonell

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