Philippians 2:1–4 (NKJV) 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1 (NKJV) 1 Therefore if there is any consolation [“Consolation” can also be translated “encouragement,” and is from the Gr. word that means “to come alongside and help, counsel, exhort”] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
- “If” is not doubt; it is argument.
- Four great considerations which should draw believers together in harmony and cooperation.
- Paul is saying: “Since there is so much encouragement in Christ, since His love has such a tremendous persuasiveness, since the Holy Spirit brings us all together in such a wonderful fellowship, and since there is so much tender affection and mercy in Christianity, we should all be able to get along in happy harmony with one another.”
Philippians 2:2 (NKJV) 2 fulfill my joy [“make my joy complete, overflowing”] by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
- If this consolation, this love, this fellowship carries any weight Paul says his joy would be overflowing if the result was their unity.
- Are all Christians expected to think and act alike?
- Of course not, nothing in Scripture indicates that except with regard to ridding ourselves of sin and being like Christ.
- To the contrary, there is much in Scripture about our liberty.
- Unity means we all agree with God as measured by the truth He has revealed, exercised in love;
- THREE NECESSITIES: Truth, Love, Unity (all three must be present for the fullness of the Christian life to exist)
- To be like-minded means to have the mind of Christ, to see things as He would see them, and to respond as He would respond.
- To have the same love means to show the same love to others that the Lord has shown to us.
- To be of one accord means to work together in harmony toward a common goal.
- To be of one mind means to act so unitedly as to show that Christ’s mind is directing our activities.
Phil. 2:3-4 – Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit [“strife”, factionalism, rivalry, partisanship; speaks of the pride that prompts people to push for their own way. conceit. Lit. “empty glory,”], but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
By recommending “lowliness of mind”, Paul directly indicted Philippian culture… and ours.
- Americans, Greeks and Romans exalted the lifestyles of the rich and famous!
- Sports has become “look at me”, “love me”, “it’s about me”
- Me first is the rule of the day in our culture from our leaders, to our entertainment to “therapy”
Lowliness of mind… HUMILITY
- a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5–7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11–13).
- It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4);
- it preserves the soul in tranquility (Ps. 69:32, 33),
- and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).
- Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6–8).
- We should be humbled by an honest admission of our sins (Lam. 3:39),
- the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5).
- Humility NOW or humility – all will be humbled, you get to choose WHEN
It is a “great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory.” (first will be last, humble yourself to be exalted, give up to attain)
Who wants humility?
A “lowly” (or humble) person today carries all sorts of negative implications and was much worse in Pauls day:
- “lowly” meant a slave—a servile, groveling, wretched individual.
- For Paul to associate the word “lowly” with “mind” was a laughable contradiction: everyone assumed that lowly people had no intelligence, and everyone honored higher thinking and self-conceit.
The idea of humility seemed especially out of place in Philippi.
- The town hosted a Roman military colony by the pretentious-sounding name of Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis.
- Unlike other conquered towns, it enjoyed the jus Italicum (law of Italy), which made it a sort of small, self-governing version of the empire.
- Pride and self-importance were part of the fabric of life in Paul’s (has there ever been a “day” in human history where humility was a virtue the “world” valued? Even religious “humility” [self-sacrifice to merit the favor of a deity] is not actually humility, it’s pride [my way].
Our culture today:
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. (NKJV)
- Agur is the writer of Proverbs 30, nothing further about him is known other than his words in Proverbs.
- In verses 11-15 of chapter 30 Agur speaks of a generation of people that aren’t exactly model citizens and paragons of holiness.
- During King Solomon’s reign the nation of Israel was at its peak of power, prosperity and peace. Solomon was also known for his oppressive tax system and massive government.
- I’m starting to see some parallels here… Americans, Europeans and other “developed” countries.
Proverbs 30:11 There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. [LACK OF HUMILITY]
- Lack of respect for immediate authority (parents) is going to lead to a disrespect for authority in general (teachers, employers, law enforcement, etc). Do we see this today? LACK OF HUMILITY
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes [LACK OF HUMILITY], Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
- The vast majority of the world considers itself “good” and to question that is to be “judgmental”.
Proverbs 30:13 There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. [LACK OF HUMILITY]
- In so many words, these people really think they are just hot stuff. Go-getters, movers and shakers… they do it their way!
- How much do we see this today in entertainment, media, politicians, and especially sports… we see young kids doing the “look at me” when they make a play in sports…
Proverbs 30:14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men. [LACK OF HUMILITY]
- I have often told my children about the good old days when cartoons were innocent comedy, and sitcoms were generally harmless humor. Have you noticed the trend in entertainment today?
- Watch a few new cartoons or sitcoms. Besides off-color sexual innuendo, the most common humor is that of “cutting down” or “dissing” someone.
- In other words insults, rudeness, belittling and name calling… “getting the best of someone”. A LACK OF HUMILITY
We don’t even hear much teaching about HUMILITY in Churches (go look the Christian Top Seller book list… ) because its doesn’t sell, its not popular… teaching about “me”, “what’s in it for ME” is what draws people….
True Humility Required
Paul insisted that Christians cultivate TRUE humility—not a groveling, abject demeanor (false, pride based humility). (a televangelist: “I HAVE ALWAYS PRIDED MYSELF ON MY HUMILITY.”)
- Biblical humility means not thinking of oneself more highly than is true
Romans 12:3 (NKJV) 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith
- Rather it is acknowledging what we truly are according to God—with all of our strengths and weaknesses, pluses and minuses, successes and failures.
Real humility is not self-loathing or self-deprecation to create an image.
- True humility is simply the truth about who we are, as God reveals it – the good, the bad and the ugly.
- It is not a weak man’s surrender, but a strong man’s rejection of selfishness and determination to be actively concerned with the needs and interests of others
Obtaining True Humility
- True humility comes from seeing yourself in relation to God.
- That’s why it runs counter to any “worldly” evaluation.
- Every other religion or concept of god outside of the Bible, has a god with human quality (idolatry), a god of their own making… those god’s cannot result in a people of true humility, and are often full of human faults (scheming, greed, lust for power, manipulation, capriciousness…)
Jesus praised the humble, “the poor in spirit,”
- Matthew 5:3 (NKJV) 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- “Poor in spirit” is admitting and understanding that we are totally destitute, lost and unable to do ANYTHING to help ourselves
- “Poor in spirit” is understanding that we at the bottom and if someone else doesn’t come along and enable us, we are doomed
- In short, it is the honest and correct assessment of our true reality
What would a “humble” attitude look like?
- Psalm 39:4–6 (NKJV) 4 “LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah (STOP AND THINK is what “selah” means) 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.?
Humility is not an option for us as believers—it’s an essential if we want to walk with God. Over and again, Scripture insists that we either walk humbly with Him, or not at all.
- God not only dislikes a lack of humility, He puts distance between it and Himself:
Psalm 138:6 (NKJV) 6 Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.
- God dwells with the humble AND lifts them up
Isaiah 57:15 (NKJV) 15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
- We should be teaching the new generations humility, instead we are teaching them “SELF” in every way possible
There is a commercial on right now that shows kids playing sports and pausing to say things like, “You will respect me.” “I will be great.”
1 Peter 5:5–7 (NKJV) 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
A truly humble, Godly lifestyle knows nothing of “looking out for number one” as chosen way of life. We don’t have to be told to consider “me”, it’s an assumed reality:
- Mark 12:31 (NKJV) 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Just the opposite. With John the Baptist we need to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Believers are to love others in the body of Christ equally…
- Not because they are all equally attractive, but by showing the same kind of sacrificial, loving service to all that was shown to them by
- Because we are “in one accord”, not only for the purpose of unity but because we realize we are all in this together; same journey, same purpose.
- “one-souled”; “Intent on one purpose”; knit together in harmony, having the same desires, passions, and ambitions. one mind.
- 1 Corinthians 12:12–14 (NKJV) 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Humility affects four crucial areas of our Christian life:
(1) our view of ourselves.
- Hebrews 2:6–8 (NKJV) 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
- We accept God’s declaration of who we are not deceiving ourselves
(2) our attitude toward controlling our circumstances
- James 4:13–16 (NKJV) 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
- Humility accepts our lack of control over things
- Humility has an eternal perspective, understanding how temporary this life is
(3) how good or bad we think we are.
- Romans 7:21 (NKJV) 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
- Humility accepts the “real me” according to God
- There are four of you: 1) who you think you are; 2) who you think people think you are; 3) who people really think you are (only they know); 4) they real you God only knows
(4) our perspective on status and power.
- Luke 22:24–27 (NKJV) 24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
- Look at politicians, entertainment, any worldly gathering, and power and status dictates everything… sadly, even in Churches we see this.
- Celebrities or politicians in pulpits who have no business being there
- Somebody “different” walks in a church, and we automatically react accordingly (human nature, yes, but not Godly)