When the church has the “mind of Christ,” it will foster similar attitudes and actions among the members.
Paul made this clear to the church in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 1.10 – Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you but that you be knit together in the same mind and the same purpose.
He told the church that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2.16).
Paul asked, “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Corinthians 1.13) and the implied answer is “Definitely not.”
When we are united around the “mind of Christ,” our attitudes and actions will serve to advance the good news of God’s love.
Unity Among the Philippians
The church in Philippi was less problematic than the one in Corinth. However, unity of heart and purpose was still needed.
Philippians 1.1-5 – If, then, there is any comfort in Christ, any consolation from love, any partnership in the Spirit, any tender affection and sympathy,
Make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
Three attitudes need to be avoided if the church is to live in unity.
(1) Selfish ambition – Strong’s Concordance defines the Greek word as: “The seeking of followers and adherents by means of gifts, hence ambition, rivalry, self-seeking; a feud, faction.”
When two people use their God-given abilities to gain personal followers, the result will be factions or worse.
(2) Empty conceit – This person has a groundless opinion of their self-worth. Their self-importance is without merit.
Some of the rulers in the ancient world were so successful that they were called gods. They may have been important in Greece or Rome, but their glory was completely without merit when standing in the presence of God.
Empty conceit is a cheap substitute for the mind of Christ and must be avoided.
(3) Selfish interest – The Corinthian church is a perfect example of the destructive nature of self-interest.
— 1 Corinthians 1.12 – What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
In the Greek text, the “I” is emphasized and reads, “I even I belong to Paul,” etc.
The problems in Corinth, including the lack of unity, stemmed from their overwhelming self-interest.
Three Attitudes and Actions
There are three attitudes and actions that will promote a unified church.
(1) Humility – This trait is best defined by pointing to the life of Christ than by providing a dictionary definition.
As we live a Jesus-kind-of-life, we will find ourselves exhibiting humility. We will also “regard others as better than [ourselves]” (verse 3) and promote the unity of God’s purposes for the church.
(2) Look out for the interests of others – Paul wrote, “Love is patient; love is kind . . . rejoices in the truth . . . bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13.4-6).
This kind of love will unite God’s people around God’s mission.
(3) Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus – Tomorrow’s blog article will examine the “mind of Christ” through the eyes of Paul’s great hymn.
If we strive to live a Jesus-kind-of-life, we will fulfill everything in this passage. We will have attitudes and actions that promote the unity of God’s people and God’s mission.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross connects this passage in Philippians to the Book of Isaiah. He believes that Paul had Isaiah in mind when he wrote these words. You will benefit from his thoughts today. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
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