Bible Lesson:  Philippians 2:1-13

Glen Dawursk, Jr.

 

The Lesson:                                       The example of Christ’s humility applied to the Christians life.

 

The Central Truth:                       In order to be “worthy of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27), and keep a proper representation of Christ, we must:

                                                      A.  Keep unified in our spirit.

                                                      B.  Live in humility and self-effacement

                                                      C.  Have an attitude of a servant of God.

 

General Purpose:                         To point to the example of Christ’s humility, and to apply it to our daily life.

 

Desired Outcome:                        That we may confidently represent Christ as “Humble Servants” of the Gospel; that we may live in spiritual unity and concord with the body of Christ; and that our attitude toward God will be of constant praise and toward our fellow man, of love, and Christian fellowship.  Basically – “Practice what we preach.”

 

Background of Text:                    St. Paul wrote Philippians from prison in Rome around 59-61 AD.  The letter indicates that Paul’s long-deferred trial is at last in progress (Phil. 1:7), that it has proceeded so far, that Paul can with some confidence hope for an early release from imprisonment (Phil. 1:25; 2:24), though there is still real danger of an adverse verdict and death.  The letter was delivered to Philippi by Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-30).

 

Lesson Outline:

 

A. Admonition                    1:27-2:18

“Let your manner of life, be worthy of the Gospel” (1:27).  If they are partners in the Gospel, their life must correspond to that Gospel; this will show itself:

                                                     

B.  In Unity of Spirit            1:27-2:2

Especially in the face of the persecution which is their privilege to endure for Christ.  No enemies from without can destroy them; God will destroy their enemies.  But they can destroy themselves by disunity.

 

C.  In the Humility and Self-effacement which makes true unity possible,

2:3-11

This self-effacing and self-giving humility is theirs in Jesus Christ, who went a way that was the divine way because it was opposite of the will of Satan (to be like God), the servant-Messiah’s way of self-giving, the way that took Him to the cross, and thus to universal Lordship – to the glory of God the Father.  (These words of Paul concerning Christ are poetry, both in form and content perhaps he is quoting an early hymn, which both he and the Philippians knew and sang.)

 

C.     In their Attitude as servants of God,

2:12-18. 

The servant of God, eager to please and fearful of failure.  He works with “Fear and trembling” at the work of salvation which God does in and through him and thus shows himself as the light of the world. (By his glad acceptance of his hard lot, by the innocence of his life as a child of God, in the midst of a world in revolt against God, by his unbroken hold upon the Word of God.)  Paul will rejoice in them on the day of Christ and he is now ready to be sacrificed for their sake; he rejoices, and calls on them to share his joy.

 

                                                                                   

DISCUSS:

 

1.  How can we have the “mind of Christ”? (Vs.5)

 

2.  How could this phrase “Jesus, what would you have me to do? – And then do it,” serve as an example of having “the mind of Christ”?

 

3.  What is meant by “work for your salvation” in vs. 12; does this refer to the scholastic theology?  Why, or why not?

 

4. Does our church, “practice what we preach” as outlined in vs. 1-5, or can we learn something from this passage?

 

5.  Why didn’t Jesus “cling to His power of God” in vs.6, and in turn, what was His reward?  Relate this to us, and our reward.