Bible: Philippians 2-3
Christian Unity and Christ’s Humility
2:1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, 1 any affection or mercy, 2 2:2 complete my joy and be of the same mind, 3 by having the same love, being united in spirit, 4 and having one purpose. 2:3 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition 5 or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. 2:4 Each of you should be concerned 6 not only 7 about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. 8 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 92:6 10
who though he existed in the form of God 11
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
2:7 but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave, 12
by looking like other men, 13
and by sharing in human nature. 14
2:8 He humbled himself,
by becoming obedient to the point of death
– even death on a cross!
2:9 As a result God exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
2:10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
– in heaven and on earth and under the earth –
2:11 and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
Lights in the World
2:12 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, 15 2:13 for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God. 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 2:15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world 16 2:16 by holding on to 17 the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain. 2:17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice together with all of you. 2:18 And in the same way you also should be glad and rejoice together with me.
Models for Ministry
2:19 Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be encouraged by hearing news about you. 2:20 For there is no one here like him who will readily demonstrate his deep concern for you. 18 2:21 Others are busy with their own concerns, not those of Jesus Christ. 2:22 But you know his qualifications, that like a son working with his father, he served with me in advancing the gospel. 2:23 So I hope to send him as soon as I know more about my situation, 2:24 though I am confident in the Lord that I too will be coming to see you 19 soon.
2:25 But for now 20 I have considered it necessary to send Epaphroditus to you. For he is my brother, 21 coworker and fellow soldier, and your messenger 22 and minister 23 to me in my need. 24 2:26 Indeed, he greatly missed all of you and was distressed because you heard that he had been ill. 2:27 In fact he became so ill that he nearly died. 25 But God showed mercy to him – and not to him only, but also to me – so that I would not have grief on top of grief. 2:28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, 26 so that when you see him again you can rejoice 27 and I can be free from anxiety. 2:29 So welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 2:30 since it was because of the work of Christ that he almost died. He risked his life so that he could make up for your inability to serve me. 28
True and False Righteousness
3:1 Finally, my brothers and sisters, 29 rejoice in the Lord! To write this again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
3:2 Beware of the dogs, 30 beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! 31 3:3 For we are the circumcision, 32 the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, 33 exult in Christ Jesus, and do not rely on human credentials 34 3:4 – though mine too are significant. 35 If someone thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials, 36 I have more: 3:5 I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee. 37 3:6 In my zeal for God I persecuted the church. According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless. 3:7 But these assets I have come to regard as liabilities because of Christ. 3:8 More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! 38 – that I may gain Christ, 3:9 and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness 39 – a righteousness from God that is in fact 40 based on Christ’s 41 faithfulness. 42 3:10 My aim is to know him, 43 to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, 44 and to be like him in his death, 3:11 and so, somehow, 45 to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Keep Going Forward
3:12 Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 46 3:13 Brothers and sisters, 47 I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: 48 Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 3:14 with this goal in mind, 49 I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God 50 in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. 51 If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 52 3:16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard 53 that we have already attained. 54
3:17 Be imitators of me, 55 brothers and sisters, 56 and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example. 3:18 For many live, about whom I have often told you, and now, with tears, I tell you that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, they exult in their shame, and they think about earthly things. 57 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 3:21 who will transform these humble bodies of ours 58 into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.