The Philippians Series
14 April 2020
"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
Adapted from Exalting Jesus in Philippians by Tony Merida and Francis Chan
In this amazing passage, Paul magnifies the humility and exaltation of Jesus, which should lead us to emulate Jesus’ example and adore Him as Lord of all. Constantly claiming our source of Joy in Christ, we are to have His mind so that we are aligned to His truth and will. Jesus tells us Himself that He is God in the flesh and the human authors tell us over and over again of the Deity of Jesus Christ. That is the absolute foundational truth of the Christian faith Jesus Christ was, is and ever will be very God of very God.
Four keys for living joyful Christian lives. First, we are to have a single mind. Our focus is to be on Jesus Christ. He is to be at the very center of everything we do. Everything in our lives must proceed from the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Second, we are to have a submissive mind. God first, others second. Thirdly, we are to have a spiritual mind, focused on eternity and not the very temporary things of this world. Last, we are to have a secure mind, which will be ours if the preceding three are active in our lives. And we will have joy, the Joy of the Lord.
Put on the Humility of Christ
This opening verse is translated in various ways:
Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus. (HCSB)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (NLT)
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. (MSG)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Whether translated “this mind,” “mind-set,” “frame of mind,” or “attitude,” it’s essentially saying the same thing. The main exegetical question is which verb should be supplied after this first phrase: “Have this mind among yourselves” (ESV). We are left with varying renderings of the latter clause, literally translated, “which also in Christ Jesus.” The ESV translates it, “which is yours in Christ Jesus,” but provides a footnote: “Or which was also in Christ Jesus.” But there’s a difference in “is yours” and “was in Christ.” One gives an interpretation, emphasizing our position in Christ (“is yours in Christ”), and the other gives an ethical interpretation, emphasizing emulation of Jesus’ example (“was also in Christ”). Paul exhorts the Philippians to pursue the attitude and actions of Jesus. Later in the chapter, Paul holds Timothy and Epaphroditus up as examples worthy of honor and emulation (2:19-30, esp. 20-21,30). In chapter 3, Paul tells the church to follow his example and to “observe those who live according to the example you have in us” (3:17).
While we may emulate many role models in life, we must remember that Jesus is the example par excellence. Let’s consider the humility of Christ in three parts:
humble incarnation, and
Allow these truths to lead you to adoration and emulation.
Verses 5-11 show us how that is to be done by describing a servant from the example Jesus set. It is consistent with your new nature in Christ. You cannot allow Christ to live through you and not be a servant. Only through servanthood can you be obedient to God's call on your life. Verse 5 sets the stage for verses 6-11, it sets the tone, gives insight into and makes their application clear. The clear and unmistakable application is this. Verse 5 tells us to do what Jesus did, to think what He thought, to have the same attitude toward servanthood that he had. Verses 6-11 spell out in very descriptive terms not only what that attitude was, but how it was lived out in His life. Remember, an attitude remains abstract, and intangible, until it is physically expressed, it is an unknown until it is exercised in actions. Attitude should always determine actions, because actions always demonstrate true attitudes. What you are is what you will do.
Verse 5, coming on the heels of verses 1-4, tells us that we are to be servants, just as Jesus was a servant. How was He a servant? Look at verses 6-11. You say, "I can't have the same ministry Jesus had, He was God, and I am not." True, but you can have the same attitude towards ministry, the same attitude toward servanthood, and that attitude will drive your actions. Verse five sets the stage for verses 6-11, it sets the tone, gives insight into and makes their application clear. The clear and unmistakable application is this. Verse 5 tells us to do what Jesus did, to think what He thought, to have the same attitude toward servanthood that he had. Verses 6-11 spell out in very descriptive terms not only what that attitude was, but how it was lived out in His life. Remember, an attitude remains abstract, and intangible, until it is physically expressed, it is an unknown until it is exercised in actions. Attitude should always determine actions, because actions always demonstrate true attitudes. What you are is what you will do.
Being a servant means becoming less so others can become more
Emptied himself - Literally poured Himself out, made Himself nothing, He emptied Himself of significance. How did He do it? By taking on the form of a slave, the very nature of a servant. Christ came as a servant, not as the Lord, even though He was and is the Lord. He gave Himself for others, even though all of creation should give to Him. He was God, living out a truly human life.
Jesus became a servant. He willingly left the splendor of heaven for the smell of a stable. He left the company of angles for the company of men. He who was omnipresent took upon Himself the limitations of humanity. This is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ. It means to lose our life to save it, it means to be emptied of self in order to be able to be filled with Him and His passion for others.
Servanthood means being obedient whatever the cost
He humbled Himself - It is impossible for us to grasp the depth of this statement, to understand the intensity of what God is telling us here. He who made all men, who knew the hearts of all men, who had all authority over men, humbled Himself and allowed Himself to be executed by men. But not just any execution, this was the cross.
There is nothing He will ever ask of us that will cost us as much as going to the cross cost Him. We can never give up as much as He gave up. We can never humble ourselves as much as He humbled Himself. We must, however, be willing to do whatever He asks, whenever He asks, wherever He asks.
For many of us, we have already predetermined the things God wants us to do. We have set the parameters of service. We will only serve in such and such a place, in this or that way, on this or that day. We have convinced ourselves that God would never ask us to do anything outside of that box. In reality we have simply decided we are not going to listen to Him when He asks us to go outside that box. We have selective obedience, and that is not real obedience.
Genuine discipleship involves being obedient to Christ, whatever the cost, whenever the call, wherever and however. There are no part time, partial disciples. With Jesus it is either all or nothing. Servanthood means being obedient, whatever the cost.
Servanthood will be rewarded
Look at verses 9-11 ;
The Principle here is this: God rewards our humble, obedient service.
Proverbs 22:4: "The result of humility is the fear of the LORD along with wealth, honor, and life."
Matthew 23:11: "The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
James 4:10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Not all of God's rewards are for this life, some are for the life to come (living with heaven in mind rather than with this earth in view).
Luke 14:11-14: "'For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.' He also said to the one who had invited Him. 'When you give a lunch or a dinner, don't invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back and you would be repaid. One the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'"
Being a servant is more about being than it is about doing
There is no genuine life in Christ that is not at the same time, by the power of the Holy Spirit, being transformed into the likeness of Christ. (Fee, Pg 101-102) Any religion that puts self above others is not and cannot be true Christianity. If Christ, being God, humbled Himself to become a servant for others, then how can we as His followers, who are not God, in any way exalt ourselves? If He died for others, how can we fail to live for others?
We tend to look for that one BIG experience where we can demonstrate our faithfulness to God, demonstrate our servanthood by giving of ourselves in some heroic fashion. But in reality that is not usually how it happens. In reality, it happens in the small, everyday, somewhat uneventful occurrences of our lives.
This attitude, this mindset of serving others instead of being served, of giving rather than getting of obeying rather than dominating is lived out in the myriad interpersonal exchanges we encounter every day. How we treat the checkout person at the grocery store, how we talk to the man collecting our garbage. It is, most often, not seen in how we treat those who are socially above us, but how we treat those who are socially beneath us.
Follow the lifestyle presented in this passage. This is the attitude and the lifestyle that we should pursue. Our mission is to tell the world that Jesus is Lord, and if they will confess and believe in Him as such, they will be saved (Rom 10:9,13). Let us adore Him. Let our minds be on Him. Are you here to serve or are you here to be served? Is your attitude like the world's or is it like Christ's? Are you going through the motions of service or are you becoming a servant? The example has been set; the call is clear. All that remains today is your response, your decision, your commitment. Will you be like Jesus today or not?
Let our attitude be like His. Let our actions reflect Him—all of this is to the glory of God the Father. In aligning ourself the mind of Christ you will find how to tap in the Joy of the Lord in our everyday lifestyle.
Let our attitude be like His. Let our actions reflect Him, all of this is to the glory of God the Father. In aligning ourselves to the mind of Christ, you will find how to tap onto the joy of the Lord in our everyday lifestyle.