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Have This Mind Among Yourselves
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Introduction: Paul urges the Philippians to live out their partnership in the gospel by “being in full accord and of one mind.” His request for unity in the church never comes at the expense of theological truth, but rather in light of the nature of Christian love. He calls upon the Philippians to look out for the interests of one another, and he uses the example of Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, and exaltation as the perfect model. Their grace-based obedience in this matter is not merely personal—it has implications for their local church, the world around them, and those who minister to them in the name of Christ.
01. Unity in the church is a reality because of Christ’s work on our behalf; yet it does not come natural to us and must be continually pursued for His glory.
02. Unity in the church requires that we think of others more than ourselves; serve others more than ourselves; and find our identity in Christ rather than ourselves.
03. Unity in the church reflects our view of salvation; reminds us to value the lost; and restores our vitality for future ministry.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. Jesus prayed that his followers “may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). What value do you place on unity in the church? In light of your experiences in church life, what value do Christians in general place on church unity? How can the church be unified when some members don’t get their way?
2. Philippians 2:6-7 is a famously contested passage regarding the divinity of Christ, as some have falsely believed that Jesus was not divine (verse 6) or that he ceased to be divine when he became human (verse 7). Why is it important to know that Jesus has always been fully God and that he became fully human? See John 1:1-14; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:11-14; and Hebrews 1:1-14 for further insight.
3. What are the evangelistic implications of Philippians 2:9-11? If you were to share this passage with a non-Christian, how might this exclusive claim to salvation through Christ alone be received? Can you envision yourself lovingly yet firmly standing by this claim? Would you be able to explain, from this passage or others, why Jesus is the only way of salvation?
4. Even though we are saved by grace through faith, Paul instructs believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (2:12). Do you fear the thought of offending God by a lack of obedience? Why is it equally significant to affirm that our ability to obey the Lord is a work of grace, such that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (2:13)?
5. Consider the work that Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus did or attempted to do for the Philippians (2:19-30). Do you agree that their sacrificial service was made more joyful because of their love for the church at Philippi? How can your efforts at Northpoint add to the unity of the body and thus bring joy to those who serve?
For Further Reading: Timothy George and John Woodbridge, The Mark of Jesus: Loving in a Way the World Can See. Moody Publishers, 2005.