May 10th, 2023 – Wednesday Evening
“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.” ~Philippians 2:1-2
Paul (with Timothy as a co-signer) appealed to the Philippian church to live in love and unity on the basis of the realities they had come to know in Christ and because of their love for Paul. Their response to him, however, was ultimately a response to the love, mercy, and grace of God since it was God who had rescued first Paul, then the Philippians, from sin and death through Christ Jesus.
The revelation of God’s love, mercy, and grace is seen in four different aspects in the passage above: 1. The encouragement (exhortation, consolation) in Christ; such joy awaits those who receive this encouragement with a tender heart! 2. The consolation (comfort, persuasive address) of love (agape – affection, good-will, love, benevolence); the Philippians had been won over to the love of God and it was this same persuasive, comforting love in which they were continuing. 3. The fellowship (the share which one has in anything, participation) of the Spirit; remember how God has put His Spirit of adoption – the seal of salvation, the Comforter, the Helper – into His children? 4. The affection (heart, tender mercies) and compassion (emotions, longing, manifestations of pity); we have been loved by an affectionate and emotional Father, not a cold, heartless dictator!
In calling these four aspects of their relationship with God to mind and then putting himself in the mix, Paul was making the greatest appeal possible – both spiritually and personally – to the Philippian believers. So what was the appeal? Interestingly enough, Paul’s exhortation was also fourfold: 1. Be of the same mind; this means “to agree together, cherish the same views, be harmonious”. 2. Maintain (to have) the same love (agape again); love each other with the same kind of love with which we have been loved by God. 3. United in spirit; this is just one word in the Greek – sympsychos – which translates in the context to being of one mind or of one accord. 4. Intent on one purpose; this harkens back to the first exhortation, but heightens the importance and preeminence of having that single-mindedness.
Do we get the point? God’s love has been poured out in our hearts and we have become the joyful recipients of His grace and Spirit. Since that is true, it is also true that His love, grace, and Spirit must now reign supreme in our hearts, binding us together as one Body with one mind in the love of Christ. That is God’s desire and purpose for His Church, and it ought to be ours as well.