- Pastor John Conover
God's Spirit inspired the writing of five questions with obvious "yes" answers. This form of grammar draws the readers to conclude that "SINCE" all five questions ARE eternally "yes," true, and really in existence, then we can pull together instead of being pulled apart. For example, if birds really fly, then "fulfill ye my joy by being of the same mind, of one accord," and so on in verses 1-5. Or, if chocolate, with almonds, caramel, and sea salt on top is a great attitude adjustment pill, (and it is for many people, eh), then have the same attitudes as Jesus Christ (vs. 5-11).
What were some of the temporal realities that Paul and Philippian believers faced that can tend to pull people apart from each other, the Lord, and their firm beliefs? You can find clues from all four chapters of Philippians. What can divide us still today? Even believers can lose the mind of Christ when faced with the fears of a super virus. What else can you think of?
So verse one uses questions to help us conclude that eternal realities can carry believers through the temporal realities that discourage or divide us. Ask God to help you to apply these five realities, inner results, and obedient responses to your decisions, discouragements, attitudes, and words.
1. In Christ is eternal (v. 1). The real inner result in us is Comfort, paraklesis that exhorts us to have the same mind (thinking & attitudes) as Christ (vs. 2, 5).
2. Agape Love of God is eternal (v. 1b). The inner result is Consolation, paramuthion that encourages us to have the same love (v. 2b).
3. The Holy Spirit is eternal (v. 1c). The living reality in us is Communion, koinonia that unites us in a partnership & fellowship with one spirit and purpose for the gospel (v. 2c).
4. The Affections of Christ are eternal. The inner reality in us is Care, splagkna (literally is bowels, v. 1d) for others over self. This care is an emotional, passionate feeling that sees the significance of others. It gives you power over selfish ambitions, strife, or self-glory (v.3) . We are not a door mat with less value. We value our high calling in Christ, our talents, and our spiritual gifts. We then in each situation use all that we are to show our affections for God and God's people. Christ did this, and does this, to meet our needs; yet, He is not under us as a door mat, nor is He less important. Actually, the opposite is true.
5. The Mercies of God are eternal. The inner result in us is Compassion, oiktermoi, causes us to humbly look out for the needs and interests of others (v. 4). We take care of our own needs in order to serve God and others effectively. We do not view ourselves as the center of the universe.
What is the one imperative for the Philippians from their mentor and church planter? "Fulfill my joy" since all of these realities are true and eternal by becoming more like Jesus Christ. Make me even more happy than I am already (1:3-4; 4:10) since God has placed in you these five inner results. Respond in these five ways to pull your church together, so that the devil, discouragement, diseases, and doubts don't pull you apart.