JOY FROM PEACE WITH OTHERS
In today’s society, it is an “all about me” world. Everywhere you turn, from TV commercials to t-shirt messages to Facebook, the sentiment is the same to “do whatever you want” or “look at me” or just “pamper yourself-you deserve it.” The world tells you to promote yourself and your desires. There is no focus to help others or strive together with others. Despite all of this self-gratification, many people, including some Christians, are surprisingly unhappy and depressed. The reason for their unhappiness is that they are searching for joy in all the wrong places. In the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the Philippians about the joy they can have when trusting Christ in life’s circumstances. There are many ways that a person can experience true joy. One of the simple principles for true joy, found in Philippians 2:1-4, is being at peace with others. It is impossible to have peace with others if we are not of one mind and we are focusing on ourselves. We must be united, following the example of Christ in humility and caring for others. II. The Basis and Purpose of Unity- 2:1
Paul wanted the Philippians to live together in unity. He begins chapter two by asking rhetorical questions to give the basis of his exhortation to the Philippians. These give the bonds of unity in the Gospel. Why should they be united in Christ? There are several results from being united in Christ. The first thing that he tells them is that there is encouragement in being united in Christ, saying “if any consolation in Christ.” When Paul was writing this letter, he was in a rough, dirty prison. Despite these awful circumstances, he had found consolation in Christ and was able to be joyful regardless of his surroundings. If he can find consolation in that situation, we can find consolation in any circumstance too, knowing that God is always there for us. Paul also stated that there is personal comfort in Christ’s love. Once we are in the family of Christ, we are recipients of His love that is unconditional and unfailing. Not only does His love never fail, we can never be severed from Christ’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Paul reminded them that they were of one body after salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13). When we are united, we have fellowship with the Spirit. The Spirit dwells in all believers and helps to unify them (John 14:16-17). He gives man a fellowship and presence of God no matter where he may go. We also have “bowels and mercies”, or tenderness and compassion. The bowels were “the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart [tender mercies, affections, etc.]” (Waite, 35). Paul was reminding them of God’s affection towards them. Paul’s purpose in this was to prepare them for his following exhortations to show them how they should live together and how they could have unity. We can apply these to ourselves to understand the importance of unity and how we can be unified. Without unity, there would be no joy, but rather discord and contentions. III. Oneness of Mind- 2:2
Despite Paul’s circumstances being in prison, he still had joy. He wanted the Philippians to have that same joy, to “fulfill ye my joy”, by being unified in both their love and mind, or spirit and purpose. The driving thought behind unity is to do unto others what Christ did for us. Christ was motivated by His great love for us to sacrifice himself. There cannot be unity without love, and without love, there can be no joy. The only way for the Philippians to have Paul’s joy was to “be ye likeminded.” Likeminded means “to be of the same mind, to be agreed together, and to be harmonious” (Waite, 36). They needed to have the same love, both brotherly love and love for Christ. They also needed to think alike, and to have the same mindset with the same goals and purposes to avoid divisions. Paul commanded them to be “of one accord”, meaning “together with the affections and desires,...
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