Ep. 3: Living Worthy of the Gospel in Uncertain Times
March 18, 2020 Speaker: Jeff Brewer
Topic: Encouragement Passage: Philippians 2:1–2:8
Hello, Hope Fellowship! Welcome to our podcast “Full of Hope: Encouraging One Another with the Word of God,” where we seek to regularly equip the people of Hope Fellowship with truth from Scripture.
I’m Jeff Brewer, one of the pastors here at Hope. And on behalf of the elders we want to make sure that everyone is being cared for in the church with the variety of needs that you might have. Please contact your mission group leader or if you are not yet connected with a mission group, you can reach us by emailing email@example.com.
Over the last couple of podcasts we’ve considered the main commands that Paul wrote at the end of Philippians 1 and the beginning of chapter 2.
In 1:27 Paul says, “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel.”
In 2:2, he say, “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
The unified, worthy life that is consistent with the gospel is shown when we all look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. Verse 5 gives the other key command, “Have this mind.”
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
The attitude, or mind, that we are to have is found not simply in imitating another Christian, but that we are imitating Christ. To be sure, Paul is going to later call believers to imitate him and others who walk according to his example, but both of these calls are to imitate him as he is imitating Christ. The mind that we are to have is the same as how Christ lived. We are to think of ourselves as Jesus thought of himself.
Listen to how Paul continues:
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.
The reason we can count others as more significant is because of the self-sacrificing, humble example of our Savior.
Jesus humbled himself. Jesus emptied himself by taking the form of a servant.
As Matt Tully helpfully pointed us to when he preached from this passage, this is pointing to a deep theological truth. I’d encourage you to listen again to his message if you have time.
The argument that Paul is making is an argument from the greater to the lesser. If it was true for the master, how much more for the student. This was certainly true in Paul’s own life as he endured the hardships that he lists in 2 Corinithians 11.
But what I’d like us to think about today is that this humility that Jesus showed is nothing short of astounding precisely because of who he is. If Jesus, who is supreme and the second member of the Godhead, emptied himself and took on the form of a servant, even dying on the cross—if he had this attitude of a humble servant—then we certainly should have this mind because any humility that we display will be far less than what his example shows to us.
A few years back I traveled to Uganda and straddled the equator in February. The day after I returned, I traveled to Minneapolis and noted that the temperature differential was over 80 degrees in the span of 36 hours!
When we think about the riches of Christ, and that he became poor for us, the differential is no mere extreme temperature change—it is far greater. In fact, if someone was plotting the differences on a graph to show how great his humiliation was, no numbering system would have enough positive numbers or negative numbers to show just how much taking on flesh was a condensation to accomplish our salvation.
The One who is above all took on the form of a servant.
Look at 2 Corinthians 8:9:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Jesus became poor and humbled himself for the sake of you and me. He did it for others. He had the mind of a servant because he wanted others to thrive and live in the freedom he would provide at the cross when he died and rose for our salvation.
We now can have this same mind—we want others to thrive and grow and experience, in the way we talk to them and treat them, the humility of Christ. We want others to see Jesus in how we think of them first.
See you next time. Remember, we have hope in Christ. Let’s make this hope known in a struggling world through our humble service of others.
Music by Joseph McDade. https://josephmcdade.com. Used with permission.