Sermon Notes for Philippians 2 1 and 4

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Sermon Notes for Philippians 2:1-4 reasons for the exhortation

"Therefore draws back to what Paul has built on in Php1:27-30, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against external conflicts.  Now he tells them how to act against internal conflicts in the body of Christ."

·        Basis for Christian unity-
the benefits of being in Christ


Why is Christian unity so important? In John 17, Jesus prayed for unity four times for His disciples clearly emphasizing the importance our Lord Jesus placed on unity. Jesus asked His Father to

Jn17:11 ¶  "I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You,

22  "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity,

1.     Encouragement from being with Christ

"Encouragement" (3874) (paraklesis from parakaléo = beseech <> pará = side of + kaléo = call) refers to calling to one's side and means solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation. Webster says that encouragement is the act of raising of one’s confidence especially by an external agency.

Robertson writes that "If one's own life in Christ does not stimulate the soul to the noblest effort, it is useless to go on with the appeal."

Two of the paraphrases pick up this same thought -- "If the fact that you are in Christ has any power to influence you" (Barclay) "If then your experiences in Christ appeal to you with any force.." (Lightfoot) adds that Paul's appeal for unity is grounded in "the Philippians' common experience of being in Christ."

Is there encouragement in Christ?

Of course there is. Godly Simeon called  Jesus the "the CONSOLATION (paraklesis) of Israel" (Lu2:25)

Paul taught that "just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our COMFORT (paraklesis) is abundant through Christ." (2Co1:5)

Every believer has received encouragement, exhortation, and comfort from Christ Who is like an artesian well that effortlessly, endlessly flows through us as we surrender our will to His will

and in the context as the saints at Philippi enter into the reality of Christ Who is now their life,

the result of this common experience will serve to draw them together and unite them.

Zodhiates reminds us that "All of Scripture is actually a paráklesis (Ro15:4) 4  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. an exhortation, admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith"

2.     Consolation from Christ’s love

 "Consolation" (paramuthion) means  primarily a speaking closely and "indicates a greater degree of tenderness than" the preceding word "encouragement" (paraklesis).

Consolation is the attribute of agape love of God that alleviates grief, the sense of loss, trouble, etc.

MacArthur adds that paramuthion     "portrays the Lord coming close and whispering words of gentle cheer or tender counsel in a believer’s ear."

ROM 5:5  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Wuest has an excellent note

"We have here the subjective genitive construction, in which the noun in the genitive case, “love,” produces the action in the noun of action, “consolation.” That is, the tender persuasion and encouragement which exhorts to unity among the Philippians, comes from God’s love for them. Their realization of divine love which reached down and saved them, should urge them to live in a spirit of unity with one another. In addition to that, this divine love produced in the hearts of the Philippian saints by the Holy Spirit (cf Ro5:5, Gal5:16), should cause them to so love each other with a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the one loved, that their little differences will be ironed out, and they will live in unity with one another.

God’s love comes to us and therefore we should have a like love for our brothers and sisters

3.     Fellowship with the Spirit

"Fellowship"  (2842) (koinonia from koinos = common, shared by all) means a close association involving mutual interests and sharing (communion, fellowship, partnership).

Koinonia is an intimate partnership (It is intimate because we are the temple of the HS 1Cor 6:19), a common eternal life or joint participation with common interests and mutual, active participation. This dynamic is effected by Holy Spirit’s working in and through individual saints in the body to produce unity One translation has "If communion with the Spirit of love is not a mere idle name, but a real thing" 

Robertson says that        "If we have any partnership in the life and blessings of the Holy Spirit, then we are ready to listen to Paul's plea for unity."

Remember he is building an argument for the unity of the body

J Vernon McGee adds this note on "fellowship" in Php 1:5, writing that...

"We do not want to pass over this word fellowship. This word is used widely in the church and outside the church. I don’t think that most people really know what the word means, and therefore they don’t use it properly. Years ago I was invited down to Huntington Beach about once a year to give a message at a Rotary Club luncheon. A Christian doctor was chairman of the program committee down there, and he would invite me to come at Christmas time or Easter time and give them the gospel—both barrels, which is what I always tried to do. Over the speaker’s table they had a slogan: “Food, Fun, Fellowship.” Those three things belonged to the early church, and I didn’t feel that the Rotary Club should have bragged about having any one of the three. For food there would be embalmed chicken with peas as hard as bullets. For fun they had corny jokes. The fellowship consisted of patting someone on the back and saying, “Hello, Bill. How’s business?”


Now that is not fellowship in the biblical sense of the word...Well, the Christian idea of fellowship is not much different. When you hear an announcement of a church banquet, it is almost certain that you will be urged to come for food and fellowship. What do they mean by fellowship? They mean meeting around the table and talking to each other about everything under the sun except the one thing that would give them true fellowship, the person of Christ...koinōnia...means that which believers can share of the things of Christ.


There are three elements that must enter into it: spiritual communication, sympathetic cooperation, and sweet communion. (1) Spiritual communication is sharing the things of Christ. This would be sharing the great truths concerning Christ. (2) Sympathetic cooperation means working together for Christ. That is why, when Paul used the word fellowship, he could be talking about Bible reading or Bible study together or prayer or celebrating the Lord’s Supper or taking up an offering. Paul called all of these koinōnia—fellowship. The result would be (3) sweet communion. It makes us partners with Christ. This is true koinōnia. Paul wrote that this church was having fellowship with him. He had communicated to them the gospel. They had shared with Paul in a sympathetic cooperation. They had sent a gift to him and had ministered to his physical needs again and again. Then when they were together, they had sweet communion." McGee adds in a separate note "The only place you can have real Christian fellowship (koinōnia) is around the Word of God. It is the Word of God which brings you to the person of Christ and enables you to see Him in all His glory. It is then that you will have fellowship and a good time with other believers. Our Lord is wonderful, my friend—it is terrible to pass Him by."

(Thru the Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

1 John 1:3  what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship <2842> with us; and indeed our fellowship <2842> is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship <2842> with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

1 John 1:7  but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship <2842> with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Eph4:3  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Do we really have fellowship?

Or are we at times guilty of the same things the rotary club is guilty of. Maybe not the food and fun but the fellowship. Is it seen by us as only casual conversation or are we really interested in how God has worked in our lives this week.

4.     Tenderness and compassion

God has extended His deep affection (see 1:8) and compassion to every believer and that reality should stimulate and empower saints toward unity

"Affection" (4698) (splagchnon) is used 11 times in the NT in the NASB

Splagchnon is the strongest Greek word for expressing  compassionate love or tender mercy and involves one’s entire being. It describes the compassion which moves a man to the deepest depths of his being. In the gospels, apart from its use in some of the parables, it is used only of Jesus

"Compassion"  (3628) (oiktirmos is used 5 times in the NT in the NASB (Ro; 2 Co; Ph; Col; Heb)

Oiktirmos is derived from oiktos = pity or mercy) means compassionate desires that develop in response to a situation and that stimulate a person to meet recognized needs in that situation

2 Corinthians 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies <3628> and God of all comfort,

Mt 9:36 - [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Greek]

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Mt 14:14 - [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Greek]

When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.

Mt 15:32 - [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Greek]

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; andI do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way ."

Mt 18:27 - [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Greek]

"And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

Mt 20:34 - [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Greek]

Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

5.     For Paul’s joy

"Make...complete" (pleroo) means "fill full" to the point that nothing is wanting to complete it. The aorist tense, active voice (calls for a volitional choice of one's will) and imperative mood (a command) taken together are a military like command to fill full Paul's joy and do so immediately and without delay. Aorist imperative can also express a sense of urgency.

Williams' translation pictures the thrust of Paul's desire -- "Fill up my cup of joy!" Paul was already experiencing joy because of his association with this these saints (cf 1:3-5; 4:10), but one thing was yet needed to make his joy "complete". Paul's cup of joy would be filled to the brim if the saints maintained their unity. The four statements in (v1) form the foundation stones for Paul’s appeal to the Philippians to make his joy complete.

Now Paul goes on to specify the 4 attitudes/actions that the Philippians are to manifest in order that his joy would be filled full

·        The Steps to Christian Unity

1.     Be like-minded

"Being of the same mind" (phroneo) is literally "thinking (present tense = continuously) the same thing". 

Zodhiates notes that "the activity represented by this word involves the will, affections, and conscience." We can be of the same mind because of the truths in (v1). Paul is calling for unity but not at the expense of truth but because of the truth. In other words, "the same thing" must also be "the right thing." Paul is calling for unity not uniformity in thought. He desires the saints to have a common disposition to work together and serve one another, which is ultimately the humble servant heart "attitude" of Christ  which Paul discusses in the next section.

1Cor2:16  "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

At the conclusion of his second epistle to the Corinthians Paul gives the saints a similar charge: "Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, (be thinking the same thing, be of one mind) live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." (2Cor13:11)

It is notable that each of the following expressions is in the present tense calling for continuous action (lifestyle) and by habitually complying with these instructions, the readers would create a climate wherein true unity would flourish.

2.     Have the same love

Paul calls on the saints to continually (present tense) keep holding to a mutual love. Though the opinions of the saints might differ on certain points, they are to continually be united in love which "endures all things" (1Cor13:7) .

Remember this is God’s love poured into us

Jesus taught

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love (agape) for one another." (Jn13:35)

This love is not sentimental or emotional but is obedient, being a manifestation of the act of one's will that desires another's highest good. It is unconditional so that if given and not returned then the "giver" doesn't stop giving.

Agape gives & gives & gives. Agape takes "slaps in the face" and still gives with the attitude of Jesus Who said "Father forgive them".

3.     Be one in spirit and purpose

"United in spirit" is "sumpsuchos" means joined together in soul, harmonious (musically concordant, marked by accord in sentiment or action) in soul, being of one spirit.

It means a union of soul; or an acting together as if but one soul actuated them. Each saint should be  the other's "consummate soul mate"! This harmony is to pervade their mind and their emotions.

By definition it excludes personal ambition, selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and the countless other evils that are the fruit of self-love.

If this is so the minor things are inconsequential and will not break down unity

4.     Be unselfish and humble

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