This is the sermon for Wednesday, August 18th, 2010.

Philippians part 6

Carmen Christi (Latin, Hymn of Christ)

Philippians 2:1-11 ESV – (1)  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, (2)  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (3)  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4)  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (5)  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (6)  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7)  but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (8)  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (9)  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (10)  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11)  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

INTRODUCTION: Paul had just ended in Chapter one talking about suffering for Christ’s sake and how suffering for Him as well as believing in Him are both gifts from God.

Philippians 1:29 ESV – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…

Paul is now going to give some edifying words and commands as well as a hymn of praise.  More than likely, this hymn of praise to Jesus is probably not of the authorship of Paul, but he quotes it, to both declare the gospel and to lift up and praise the Lord.

Sometimes our minds may not remember things from yesterday, or even a few minutes ago, but we can remember words to songs from many years back.  Songs have a way of moving us.  I believe this song that Paul uses was probably known by the Philippian believers.  He is using this hymn to explain the example of the humility of Christ.  Let’s begin to unpack our text.

The importance of unity in Christ.

Philippians 1:1-2 ESV – (1)  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, (2)  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Unpacking verses 1-2:

  • Encouragement in Christ: Paul is wanting their unity to be in Christ, that the church stands against the wiles of the devil and humbly, “strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (chapter 1:27);” and also, “not to be frightened in anything by your opponents (chapter 1:28).” They are to strive and not fear by finding encouragement in Christ.
  • Comfort from love: They (and we) should find our comfort in God’s love for us and the love shed abroad amongst the saints.
  • Participation in the Spirit: “Participation” in Greek is koinonia, which means, “fellowship.”  Our fellowship is by and through the Holy Spirit.  This passage could also be translated, “the Spirit has brought you into fellowship with one another.”
  • Any affection and sympathy: This is the feelings Christians should have toward other Christians.  As we are encouraged in Christ, comforted by His love, and fellowshipping with/in the Holy Spirit – affection and sympathy for one another is produced.
  • Complete my joy by being of the same mind: This means that all Christians should arrive at this same attitude.
  • Having the same love: Loving one another in Christ equally.

This I believe defines for us what true Christianity looks like.

How we should think and act toward other Christians.

Philippians 2:3-4 ESV – (3)  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4)  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

  • Do nothing out of rivalry and conceit: The NRSV translates “rivalry” as “selfish ambition”.  “Do nothing” in Greek can also mean, “Think nothing.”  We all know this to be true – however you think is the way you will act.  So when it comes to other believers, don’t think or act out of selfish ambition and conceit – we are all on equal ground before a Holy God.  Remember that.
  • But in humility count others more significant than yourselves: Selfish ambition and conceit can ruin unity; humility can build it.
  • In verse 4 we are told to care for not only our own interests, but the interests of other believers as well.

The singing attitude.

Philippians 2:5-11 ISV – (5)  Have the same attitude among yourselves that was also in Christ Jesus: (6)  In God’s own form existed he, And shared with God equality, Deemed nothing needed grasping. (7)  Instead, poured out in emptiness, A servant’s form did he possess, A mortal man becoming. In human form he chose to be, (8)  And lived in all humility, Death on a cross obeying. (9)  Now lifted up by God to heaven, A name above all others given, This matchless name possessing. (10)  And so, when Jesus’ name is called, The knees of everyone should fall Where’er they are residing. (11)  Then every tongue in one accord, Will say that Jesus Christ is Lord, While God the Father praising.

Paul describes this attitude with a hymn or song, most likely not authored by him, but known amongst the Philippian believers.  Notice the ISV’s poetic wording.

The message of this song had to lift up the Philippians believers as Paul quoted it.

CONCLUSION: It is my hope and prayer that this ancient hymn quoted by Paul moves you to lift up Jesus Christ and remember His humble life and sacrifice for our sins.

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