Christ Our Pattern: Joy is a Result of Humility
Philippians 2

Unity in the Assembly Stems from Individual Humility (2:1-11)

Paul's Desire for Humility, Unity, & the Bond of Love Among them (vv.1-4)

If then there be any comfort in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and compassions, 2 fulfil my joy, that ye may think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking one thing; 3 let nothing be in the spirit of strife or vain glory, but, in lowliness of mind, each esteeming the other as more excellent than themselves; v.3 These things ("spirit of strife or vainglory") are the "little foxes that spoil the vines" (Song. 2:15). There is so much potential for blessing ("joy") in the local assembly, but the spirit of competition can ruin what would otherwise be happy golden years.

4 regarding not each his own qualities, but each those of others also. v.4 The "things" or "qualities" that we are to be noticing and appreciating in our brethren are those things listed in Phil. 4:8, called "these things".

The Example of Christ’s Humility (vv.5-11)

vv.5-11 The apostle presents a pattern for us to follow. It is the path of humility. It led Jesus to leave a place of glory, to suffer humiliation on earth, and they to be taken up in glory again!

5 For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; 6 who, subsisting in the form of God, did not esteem it an object of rapine to be on an equality with God; v.6 The expression "an object of rapine" refers to something to be tenaciously clung to. It isn't that the Son gave up His deity, but that He didn't insist on His rights as God. He "subsisted in the form of God" in that He was Divine in His essential Being. He was homoousia; of the same essential substance as God.

7 but emptied himself, taking a bondman’s form, taking his place in the likeness of men; v.7 Some would erroneously teach that Christ divested Himself of His deity in the incarnation. Col. 2:9 will quickly prove that to be a false interpretation. When it says He "emptied Himself" it refers to the veiling of His Godhead glory when He took on flesh. As God He emptied Himself, as man He humbled Himself (v.8).

8 and having been found in figure as a man, humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of the cross. v.8 The "death of the cross" here cannot refer to the atoning sufferings, because the apostle is laying out the Lord's path for us to follow. We cannot follow Him in the atoning sufferings.

9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and granted him a name, that which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal beings11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father’s glory. vv.9-11 God gave His Son the name of "Jesus" after He was exalted to the Father's right hand? I thought He was given the name of Jesus at His birth? Notice that Jehovah says to Joseph, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus", but we never hear the Father's voice refer to Christ in His pathway as anything by "my beloved Son". At the end of the path, the Lord was hung on a cross of ignominy, shame, and reproach, and a title was written over His head, "this is Jesus", 'Jesus the rejected man'. God reserved His naming of His Son now a man until His glorification, and then He gives Him the same name "the name of Jesus", a new title over His head with the same words; not 'Jesus the rejected man' but 'Jesus the glorified man'.

The Exhortation to Work Out the Assembly's Salvation (2:12-16)

What the Philippians were to do in Paul's Absence (vv.12-16)

12 So that, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and reasonings, 15 that ye may be harmless and simple, irreproachable children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation; among whom ye appear as lights in the world, 16 holding forth the word of life, so as to be a boast for me in Christ’s day, that I have not run in vain nor laboured in vain. 

Three Examples of Love and Devotion (vv.17-30)

The Example of Paul (vv.17-18)

17 But if also I am poured out as a libation on the sacrifice and ministration of your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice in common with you all. 18 In like manner do *ye* also rejoice, and rejoice with me. 

The Example of Timothy (vv.19-24)

19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus to you shortly, that *I* also may be refreshed, knowing how ye get on. 20 For I have no one like-minded who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on. 21 For all seek their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child a father, he has served with me in the work of the glad tidings. 23 Him therefore I hope to send immediately, as soon as I shall see how it goes with me: 24 but I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall soon come; 

The Example of Epaphroditus (vv.25-30)

25 but I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-workman and fellow-soldier, but your messenger and minister to my need, 26 since he had a longing desire after you all, and was distressed because ye had heard that he was sick; 27 for he was also sick close to death, but God had mercy on him, and not indeed on him alone, but also on me, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that seeing him ye might again rejoice, and that *I* might be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such in honour; 30 because for the sake of the work he drew near even to death, venturing his life that he might fill up what lacked in your ministration toward me.