December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022

Author: Pastor Bernard Ibrahim
December 07, 2022

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort, from love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:1-11

This passage struck me. I was looking at verse seven thinking about Christmas, Christ coming down in human form, the eternal God, the creator of the universe and the earth and us; coming down and emptying Himself by taking the form of a servant by being born in the likeness of men. Then when you look at the passage here of why is the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians and bringing this up? Why is he bringing up the incarnation here, what is his purpose?

There's many purposes. We see the servanthood of Christ, the humility of Christ. But if you look above, to chapter one, and then the first few verses of chapter 2, what he wants to instill in them is a desire to love one another, and to be at peace with one another. You see it in the verses there, “Complete my joy, by being of the same mind.” V. 2, having the same love, being in full accord. Another way to translate that is being of a united spirit and of one mind, or agreed together, cherish the same views, be harmonious, have a common intent and purpose. There's a variety of interpretations in these words. But the concept, (and it's not only here to be of one mind), really means not that we all are thinking the same thoughts, that's, not the concept here. The concept is that we have a common purpose, that we are harmonious in our relationship with one another, that we have peace in the family of God, the local church.

Remember the Philippians who were written to in the church in Philippi, an actual church with brothers and sisters living together. He brings up Christ, humbling himself, and coming down to earth as an example of how we’re going to be able to fight the thing that prevents us from getting along, having one mind, living at peace with one another, being united, being of full accord. And that's pride. That really is the issue, the core issue that prevents us from loving one another, getting along with one another, serving one another, and thinking along one mind, being of a common purpose, the unity of the body.

You see it expressed much more abruptly there in Romans 12:16. The command in Romans, 12, “Live in harmony with one another, that's the command to the church, live in harmony with one another. Notice the next phrase, “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

The pride that is in us is constantly fighting with the peace that we desire in our church. The peace and love and being able to serve one another in the church as a body. You see the same concept of division and unity in that passage in 1 Corinthians 12. It’s one of those passages, like Romans 12 that talks about spiritual gifts given to each one of us in the body for the edification of the rest of the church. And you see it there in 1 Corinthians, 12:25, “That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one suffers, all suffer; if one member is honored all rejoice together.”

Pride in us individually, us thinking more highly of ourselves then we should, is clearly us not being disciples of Christ. We're not mimicking, we're not students following Christ, because He came to serve, He came to humble Himself with all the prophecies in the Old Testament. I was thinking about the one in Zechariah, “Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation is He, humbled and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

You think about Christmas time, and all the Old Testament prophecies that we read about Christ coming down. He came down as a human baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, and made lower than the angels, Hebrews tells us. It's a mystery. God, incarnate, as a child, a baby, an infant, and the apostle Paul is using this and Christ uses this in the upper room. You may remember the passage we most recently read from John 13, “You call me teacher and lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then your lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” Christ's humility is an example for us, so that we can mimic Christ, love one another, serve one another, and here we're shown the added benefit of, we maintain the peace and unity of the body. We maintain the one-mindedness of the church.

We often pray for peace and unity in the church, in the body amongst ourselves as we interact with one another, that we would love one another, that we would serve one another. And here is an example of Christ. To be able to enable that we need to take on the mind of Christ and humble ourselves, so that we can maintain and preserve the love and serve one another in humility, in the church.