JOY FROM PEACE WITH OTHERS l. Introduction In todays society, it is an “all about me” world. Everywhere you turn, from TV commercials to t-shirt messages to Facebook, the sentiment is the same to “do whatever you want” or “look at me” or Just “pamper yourself-you deserve it. ” The world tells you to promote yourself and your desires. There is no focus to help others or strive together with others. Despite all of this self-gratification, many people, including some Christians, are surprisingly unhappy and depressed. The reason for their unhappiness is that they are searching for Joy in all the wrong places.
In the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the Philippians about the Joy they can have when trusting Christ in life’s circumstances. There are many ways that a person can experience true Joy. One of the simple principles for true Joy, found in Philippians 2:1-4, is being at peace with others. It is impossible to have peace with others if we are not of one mind and we are focusing on ourselves. We must be united, following the example of Christ in humility and caring for others. II. The Basis and Purpose of unit-y- 2M Paul wanted the Philippians to live together in unity.
He begins chapter two by sking rhetorical questions to give the basis of his exhortation to the Philippians. These give the bonds of unity in the Gospel. Why should they be united in Christ? There are several results from being united in Christ. The first thing that he tells them is that there is encouragement in being united in Christ, saying “if any consolation in Christ. ” When Paul was writing this letter, he was in a rough, dirty prison. Despite these awful circumstances, he had found consolation in Christ and was able to be Joyful regardless of his surroundings.
If he can find consolation in that ituation, we can find consolation in any circumstance too, knowing that God is always there for us. Paul also stated that there is personal comfort in Christ’s love. Once we are in the family of Christ, we are recipients of His love that is unconditional and unfailing. Not only does His love never fail, we can never be severed from Christ’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Paul reminded them that they were of one body after salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13). When we are united, we have fellowship with the Spirit.
The Spirit dwells in all believers and helps to unify them Oohn 14:16-17). He gives man a ellowship and presence of God no matter where he may go. We also have “bowels and mercies”, or tenderness and compassion. The bowels were “the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart [tender mercies, affections, etc. ]” (Waite, 35). Paul was reminding them of God’s affection towards them. Paul’s purpose in this was to prepare them for his following exhortations to show them how they should live together and how they could have unity.
We can apply these to ourselves to understand the importance of unity and how we can be unified. Without unity, there would be no Joy, but rather discord and contentions. Ill. Oneness of Mind- 2:2 Despite Paul’s clrcumstances Delng In prlson, ne still naa Joy. He wanted t Philippians to have that same Joy, to “fulfill ye my JOY’, by being unified in both their love and mind, or spirit and purpose. The driving thought behind unity is to do unto others what Christ did for us. Christ was motivated by His great love for us to sacrifice himself.
There cannot be unity without love, and without love, there can be no Joy. The only way for the Philippians to have Paul’s Joy was to “be ye likeminded. ” Likeminded means “to be of the same mind, to be agreed together, and to be harmonious” (Waite, 36). They needed to have the same love, both brotherly love and love for Christ. They also needed to think alike, and to have the same mindset with the same goals and purposes to avoid divisions. Paul commanded them to be “of one accord”, meaning “together with the affections and desires, united in spirit and harmonious” (Waite, 36).
Paul was not telling the Philippians that they needed to think the same about every little thing, but that they should be like-minded about the things of Christ in order to have unity. For example, one person in a church may believe that nobody should ever wear red. Does that mean that in order to have unity, no one should ever wear red again? No, because that is not a thing concerning Christ. However, if half of the church believes that the NIV is the correct version, while the other half believes that the KJV is correct, that is a lack of like-mindedness that needs to be corrected or else there will be divisions in the church.
A church that is divided will not be edifying or glorifying to God. As Christians, we need to strive for unity in the church through like-mindedness, following the principles in the Bible. IV. Humility Among Others- 2:3 Paul emphasizes that the motive for their actions should not be for their own self- promotion, neither should they be rooted in selfishness. He did not want them to act through which is simply empty glory or empty pride. He wanted them to “esteem others better than themselves” in lowliness of mind, not feeling superior or always assuming that our way of doing things is the best way.
Christ was our ultimate example of humility. He, as God, put Himself so low as to become a man and then even died for man. Putting others first is going against the flesh, and completely gainst what the world promotes. This particular principle can be a difficult struggle for many Christians. It is so easy to promote ourselves as being spiritual or godly, with the heart intent of building ourselves up, while trying to appear to be a good Christian. If this is our motive, we are not following the example of Christ, and we will not have true Joy that comes from esteeming others.
For example, say a more experienced pastor has a younger pastor friend who is newly out of college. Instead of boasting to his young friend how great his preaching style is, or how much the Lord uses him, or even his higher experience, the older pastor could demonstrate this principle by thinking about or saying how much God is using his younger friend and his preaching style for His service and glory. The more experienced pastor would then have the Joy from esteeming his friend higher than himself and not boasting to him. V.
Looking to the Interests of Others- 2:4 Paul warned the Philippians to not only focus on themselves and their needs, but to “look to the interests of others. ” The Philippians were struggling with this issue. The idea conveyed in the wording of this verse is that this was not a warning to not ” ook only on their own interests,” but an admonition to stop doing it. The Philippians naa already Tallen Into tne I “ts all aoout me attltuae” W 36). I ne verses ao not say to completely neglect your personal interests but to “also” look on the interests of others.
As we put away our selfish ambitions, our conceit, and our tendencies to be high-minded and self-absorbed, we will naturally have a greater concern for the interests and needs of others. If someone has a need, we should not be so self- focused that we neither recognize that need, nor step in to help. Looking to the nterests of others could be something as simple as recognizing that they need help and praying for them or giving advice, or perhaps helping out with a financial need. For example, let’s suppose that I am tired of my old van and I want a new car.
I found a car at a dealership that I really like, and I am very concerned with this car and getting it. I don’t necessarily need this car, but I can easily afford it. While I am trying to acquire this new car, my neighbor next door (who has little money) has her car break down. If I were looking out for her interests, I could easily give her my old car, ut since I am so concerned with my own interests that I miss the opportunity to help her and be a blessing to her. Sometimes we as Christians get so wrapped up in the thinking that we need this or that, and we neglect what has eternal value.
We forget that we need to appreciate what God has blessed us with, and we get robbed of the joy of serving others because we neglect to lift up our heads and look at those around us. There is great Joy in ministering to others and receiving blessing from God; we Just have to be alert to it. VI. Conclusion/Application One of the best ways to have true Joy like Paul is to be at peace with others. As a Christian, this teaches me to help promote unity among God’s people, but not at the expense of compromising God’s standards.
We need to get out of the rut that the world has deeply worn, and go against the flow. It is hard to go against the “me first” outlook, but if we crucify our flesh daily and strive to become more Christ-like in our treatment of others, we will experience the blessings and true Joy that comes with it (Galatians 5:24). We need to change the “all about me” to “all about others”, and the “do whatever you want” to “What does God want me to do? ” You may ask how you would possibly do that. First, we need to be right with God. He cannot use us if we are not obeying him and yielding to Him.
Second, we need to be daily in the Word, studying it so that we have like-mindedness with our brethren in the principles found within. We need to pray daily for God’s help and guidance. Third, we need to make sure that we are humbling ourselves and not puffing ourselves up with pride. Last, we need to help others anywhere we can, not being selfish to only satisfy our own wants. We cannot accomplish these on our own merit alone, but with God’s help, we can become more like Him every day and experience the Joy from peace with others.