As we continue to work our way through Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, the tone of Paul’s language shifts in chapter 2. He turns his attention away from his situation (his imprisonment) and toward the calling of the Philippians. His instructions are familiar. Most of us have read these verses many times. Yet to properly understand the challenge of these verses, we need to explore the concept of humility in the first century. While these are difficult words in 2020, they were overwhelming counter-cultural in the first century.
Join us on Sunday as we explore our calling toward humility. We will discuss how this would have been in contrast to everyday life in the first century, and how it continues to be opposed to the cultural norms of our day. Let me encourage you to read the verses as you prepare for worship. I will include the below in the NTE translation.
(Philippians 2:1-11 NTE) So if our shared life in the king brings you any comfort; if love still has the power to make you cheerful; if we really do have a partnership in the spirit; if your hearts are at all moved with affection and sympathy – then make my joy complete! Bring your thinking into line with one another. Here’s how to do it. Hold on to the same love; bring your innermost lives into harmony; fix your minds on the same object. Never act out of selfish ambition or vanity; instead, regard everybody else as your superior. Look after each other’s best interests, not your own. This is how you should think among yourselves – with the mind that you have because you belong to the Messiah, Jesus: Who, though in God’s form, did not regard his equality with God as something he ought to exploit. Instead, he emptied himself, and received the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of humans. And then, having human appearance, he humbled himself, and became obedient even to death, yes, even the death of the cross. And so God has greatly exalted him, and to him in his favour has given the name which is over all names: That now at the name of Jesus every knee within heaven shall bow – on earth, too, and under the earth; And every tongue shall confess that Jesus, Messiah, is Lord, to the glory of God, the father.