Have you ever been a part of a team? A team where all the members were focused on the same thing, and they worked together to accomplish the task? Being a part of a team like that, with deep unity and oneness is so energizing and exciting.
Let’s look at an example of that. One of the things I love to do is go kayaking and with my love for kayaking I’ve taken interest in the sport of competitive rowing. I love watching the Olympics and seeing them glide across the water so fast and smooth. I also can’t help but notice how in rhythm they are rowing all together.
It’s amazing to see 8 people come together, on the same page, for the same purpose to form one unit. One of my really good friends was on a rowing team in college and he was telling me all about his experience.
He told me about how 5 days a week they would have practice at 5:00 a.m. and how everyone would show up ready to practice. He said even though it was hard it made it easier knowing that you had a team that was doing it with you and was there for you.
He was sharing that as the season went on the bond he had with his teammates was so strong because they have done so much together as they were trying to reach the same goal.
Now just like in rowing, we the Body of Christ, the Church, community of Believers must be coming together to be one.
Now we are going to look to scripture as we try to become Together as One.
Please turn to Philippians Chapter 2 Verses 1 through 11. I’m going to read this and I want you to read along with me silently.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here Paul is writing to the Philippian church wanting to address some issues that have been going on among them. The church in Philippi has a special place in Paul’s heart, for is the first church that Paul started in Europe.
So far in Paul’s letter he has been letting them know of the circumstances of his imprisonment and then to exhort on how to live and that’s where he continues in chapter 2.
In chapter 2 he starts off with a therefore which connects to verse 27 in chapter 1.
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
So chapter 2 verse one relates to the plea in verse 27 to be in one spirit and one mind for the Gospel.
Verse 1: Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
Now Chapter 2:1 starts off with THE MOTIVES
Paul starts off with the motives to encourage them to fulfill the plea he’s about to give.
Now he gives these motives with four “If” clauses. Paul uses these if clauses to communicate that there is no “if’s” about these motives at all, they’re all true.
The First motive is “if there is any encouragement in Christ.”
Now as believers in Christ we have open fellowship and relationship with Jesus Christ. With that relationship Jesus meets with us and comes along side of us.
He helps us, He counsels us, He reminds us that he is here with us and will never leave us. The encouragement we have in Christ should move us toward coming together.
The Second motive is “if there is any consolation of love”
The love in this verse is referring to God’s love for us.
The comfort and encouragement that we receive from God through his love should be pushing us to join together in a common action.
With God’s love for us comes our Love for God and people. With our love for God and others we should be avoiding divisiveness so to stay connected.
The third motive is “if there is any fellowship of the spirit”
The fellowship refers to the partnership, the common eternal life that is found as the spirit enters in our life. Since, as believers we have the same fellowship with the spirit it should be stimulating unity among us.
The fourth motive is “if any affection and compassion”
As a believer God bestows his deep affection and compassion upon us. With the reality and presence of that in our lives it should be moving us to unite with one another.
The problem is we sometimes don’t realize the affection and compassion God gives us and therefore we don’t give that same affection and compassion to others. We need to remember that we are experiencing his affection and compassion always.
These four motives Paul gives are things that each one of us as believers have but so often forget.
We need to remember these things and as we ponder these things in our heart a change will happen. Paul understood that when believers are motivated by things four things good things will happen.
Now that paul has laid down a foundation of motives he now moves to verse 2 which hits on the purpose of why he is writing.
Lets read verses 1 and 2: Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
The purpose of Paul writing is THE UNIFICATION
Paul exhorts them to make his joy complete. Now Paul already has been receiving joy by his associations with the church but to make his joy complete he pleads with them to be of same mind.
Now to be in the same mind it means to be on the same page, following and believing the same things. It is not saying to have the same mind with the expense of truth, but the same mind in the right things which is the Truth.
It is so important to be connected on the basis of the Truth, which is found in Jesus, because once we decided to commonly ignore truth the opportunity for growth stops.
With being in the same mind we must also have the same love. This same love comes by being indwelt by the spirit, which all believers are.
Love is a part of the fruits of the spirit. We should be loving each other equally and showing love continually. We all, through the spirit, have the same ability to love others.
Paul as he writes he continually reminds us on how important it is to love. In chapter 1:9 Paul tells them that he is praying that there love would abound more and more.
Now as Christians we are to love others in the body of Christ equally not based their attractiveness in appearance or social status but to be giving the same sacrificial, selfless and serving love that we have all been shown through Christ.
Now I think there is problem with love in our society and even among us Christians. This love that we have been shown by Christ is our model to how we should be loving others. When it comes to loving other Christians, it should be automatic no matter the circumstance.
With this love we should be reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, seeking to build them up and encouraging them, but so often we stay in our own circles, surrounded by the same people never going outside of that to love the ones who truly need it the most.
We need to have the mentality that We are all in this together.
Paul goes deeper as he exhorts us to be unified. He says be unified in Mind, be unified in love, and then to be unified In spirit.
Now this isn’t referring to the Holy spirit but its referring to our spirit, and it can be literally translated to mean “One-souled”.
This describes people who are knit together in harmony, have the same desires, the same passions and who working towards the same thing. Now this goes with the next part of part of verse 2 when it says “Intent on one Purpose.”
I believe this is the crucial part of being unified. If we, the church want to see change happen its going to happen when we are all are committed and focused on one purpose.
Now the problem is that there is an outside source that is telling us that our purpose should be about something else, such as gaining more money, or to live to make sure were always happy.
What I mean by that is that we buy things and do things just to pass the time from day to day. We need to unite under Christ.
Unite with our passions and desires to be Loving God and Loving people. And through that reach this city and this world with Christ. That Is the purpose that God has given to us and we now need to rise up and come together to do that.
With a purpose and desire for something, we need to be actively striving to accomplish that purpose. Working hard together to reach the lost, and having a bond in that.
Now if a rowing team doesn’t have the same passion and desire among themselves then the team isn’t going to do very well.
With the team not having the same passion and desire it’s going to impact how much they practice and even if they practice.
So when it comes to race day they won’t succeed and they’ll be sitting ducks. And that’s what we look like if we don’t have that same unified Spirit and purpose.
So far we have looked at the reasons why we should unite, what it means to unite and now we are going to look at How we are going to unite.
Verses 3-5: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
So how are we going to be united together?
It’s Going to be IN HUMILITY
Now what is humility? Humility is not thinking low of yourself or negative of yourself but humility is not thinking of yourself at all. as we seek to love people.
Now first Paul instructs us to do nothing from selfishness. When we do things solely for ourselves we are building the Kingdom of ME and not the kingdom of God.
Then he goes to say with humility make others more important than yourself. And then don’t look at your own interests but the look at the interests of others.
All of this can be summed up as the ME MENTALITY.
The me mentality is when everything is about ME and about my own thoughts and wants.
When we get stuck in the me mentality, we lose sight of the purpose, we lose sight of what really matters. When we have been in the Me mentality for to long it is so noticeable to the people around us, and it tells people that “its all about me so there is not room for you!”
It is easy for us to get caught in this mentality because the world around us is saying that “it should be all about me” and it caters to that life style.
Lets walk through the process of what happens in our life when it comes to Me mentality.
Picture 1 of throne - self on throne / Christ outside of circle of my life: Before we know Christ self is on the throne and Christ is outside of life, and it is the Me mentality.
Picture 2 of Christ on throne - self inside of circle of life: After receiving Christ in your life is putting Christ on throne and self at the feet, Giving Jesus Control.
Now what usually happens over time is that we let self take control of our lives and not Jesus and then our life looks like this PICTURE 3 of THRONE - Self on throne / Christ inside circle of life: So now self is on the throne, at the drivers seat, and again it goes back to being all about me. Christ is still in our lives but he isn’t in control. Now its The ME Mentality!
Maybe some of you are here right now, You have put yourself back on the throne and are controlling yourself, also in turn only caring about yourself. If you have yourself on throne right now, I plea that you surrender your lives again and put Christ back on the throne.
The only way we are going to battle and get rid of this Me mentality is to Surrender all that we are to Christ. Letting Christ have all of your life. So that we can put people more important then ourselves.
As we do this, surrendering ourselves to Christ, verse 5 says we need to have the attitude which was in Christ Jesus.
Since we are in Christ, we don’t do this alone. So as we look at verses 6-11 we see that OUR EXAMPLE IS CHRIST.
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Now this passage is one of the most important when it comes to the doctrine of Christ. But we are going to look at examples this passage gives of how we can live and move closer to unity.
Verse 6 says that Christ didn’t regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.
Christ had all the rights, privileges, and honors of deity which he was worthy of and was never disqualified from, but on earth he did not cling to them but gave them up for a season. So verse 6 clearly shows Christ humility.
Verse 7 says he took the form of a bond servant.
Jesus Christ, worthy of all worship and praise, made himself a servant and served us who didn’t deserve anything. He continues to serve ever when we don’t acknowledge him. We see Christ servant heart come out here.
And in Verse 8 that Christ was obedient to death even death on a Cross.
Jesus went to the extremes to complete his purpose and to obey God. He suffered persecution and that led to death, and not just any death but death on a cross. Death on a cross was the worst pain, the cruelest way to die and the most humiliating. He did all that for us. This shows Christ obedience to God.
Now verses 10 and 11: so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Verses 10 and 11 state Jesus’ Purpose. His purpose was to bring glory to God and bring people in a relationship with Himself, so that all will confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Just as that was Jesus purpose on earth, it is also our purpose on earth.
Now we aren’t just going to all of a sudden start being unified, it has to start individually before it can happen corporately.
Before a rowing team can be successful it starts with the individual person. Each person must have the same purpose and desire and then on there own they are practicing and giving it there all. They do this not just for themselves but they do it with there team mates in mind.
We must individually be seeking God and connecting with him. We must decide to take up our purpose and take the steps to fulfill it.
In Order for us to be united As one For Jesus Christ, we individually be own with Christ.
Are you one with Christ?
To be Together as One we must understand the motives, be unified but being humble and look to Christ as our example.