Transcribed from Live Conference in Bungoma, Kenya
As we proceed in chapter 2, Paul is going to give three examples in chapter 2 and 1 example in chapter 3 of this mind of Christ. In Philippians 2:6, Paul begins with the example of Christ himself. After showing the self-denying love of Christ, he will show this same servitude in the example of Timothy in chapter 2. After Timothy, Paul will show this same example of self denying love and esteeming others better than themselves in the example of Epaphroditus starting in verse 25. And then finally in chapter 3, Paul uses his own example of denying himself so that he may win Christ.
Philippians 2:5 and 7:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation….
Jesus Christ in the form of God, being equal with God, he decided to make himself of no reputation. He made the decision himself to empty himself of this form and this equality. And he took on him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
Do you remember Philippians 1:1? The emphasis is on being servants of Jesus Christ to the church and for the bishops and deacons. And Paul does not mention his apostleship nor Timothy’s apostleship. The point here again is being made that Jesus Christ emptied himself. Jesus was not seeking vainglory. He took upon himself the form of a servant. Paul here is explaining in detail what this mind of Christ is that he mentioned in verse 5. This is also the mind that we are to have. The privileges and the prestige that Christ had, he emptied himself of so that he could be a servant. This can also be clearly seen in chapter 3 when Paul begins to speak concerning his own life.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Here we see that Jesus humbled himself. This is the same as in verse 3 that we saw that we are to have lowliness of mind and esteem the other better than ourselves. We are told in verse 5 that this was the mind that was in Christ and this is the mind that we are to have within ourselves. We are then shown in verse 8 how this was truly Christ’s mind, how he humbled himself and esteemed others better than himself in being obedient unto death, even the most cruel and painful death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
Because of this humility he was given a name above every name. He was highly exalted of God because he humbled himself, God exalted Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
In this one verse, Philippians 2:9, and in this parable, it is the entire opposite of what Paul is trying to communicate in the book of Philippians. You see how the vainglory and the strife work together and feed off of each other? The Pharisee said, “I have all of this good in my life, I am a great spiritual man, I fast twice a week and give tithes of all.” He said, “Because I do all of these great things, because of this vainglory, I am not like this publican.” He thought he was better and he did not esteem the other better than himself. He had set himself against this publican. Because this vainglory was present, there was strife.
Now the same can be said for the opposite. Vainglory is when you say, “I have all of these things and this other person doesn’t, therefore, we are set in opposition to each other.” And envy says, “This other person has all of these things that I do not have, therefore I set myself in opposition to them.”
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
We read from this record in Acts 17 earlier this week, and here we saw how envy produced strife. This envy and strife is found many times in the Scripture working as a pair.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
You see envy and strife listed together in verse 14 and verse 16. Envying and strife is so powerful and so rotten and nasty, it is this envy that caused the religious leaders to kill Jesus Christ.
And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.
But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.
It is not only vainglory that produces strife, but it is envy also that produces strife.
1 Corinthians 3:3:
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
This envy caused strife and the strife caused division. This was all very carnal thinking. Paul says you are not walking in the spirit but you are walking as men.
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will.
Envy and strife continue to occur in tandem with one another and as a grouping.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
We see in Philippians 2 that we are to do nothing through strife or vainglory. We are not to be fighting among ourselves as carnal men of the flesh but we are to be unified in one mind in Christ Jesus as spiritual men and women. The Pharisee from the gospel of Luke had vainglory. He had a sense of self-worth that was false, and this sense of self worth set him against the Publican. The vainglory is identified because he felt that he had something that he believed the other man did not have. This produced strife. And yet, even the opposite of vainglory is true when it comes to strife from envy. Vainglory says, “I have something you do not.” But envy says, “You have something that I do not.” Both produce strife. The mind that we are to have within ourselves is the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. And the mind that was in Christ Jesus looks not on his own things but on the things of others. We esteem the other better than ourselves. Envy looks on the things of others because one wants to take them for himself.
The love of God and the mind of Christ looks on the things of others because we want them to keep those things, we want those things to flourish, and we want the lives of others to be blessed because we perceive them as better than ourselves. Jesus followed this same pattern of humility, being humble even unto the death of the cross. And because he humbled himself he was highly exalted and given a name above all names.
The Word of God commands us that we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Because He has a mighty hand, He is able to exalt us in due time. We remain humble in this day and time. And our exaltation and our glorification will be participated in the day of Christ.
Philippians 3:20 and 21:
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Our humility now will be reflected in the glorification in the future in the day of Christ.