Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
One of the Epistles of the greatest of all the apostles, Apostle Paul, written for the edification, exhortation, correction and instruction to the Church as a whole is the Epistle to the Philippians.
The Epistle to the Ephesian Church is followed by two Epistles, one of which is:
- Epistle to the Philippians
The Epistle to the Philippians in its contents deals with PRACTICAL FAILURE. In this Epistle the Apostle presents a clear proof or demonstration of the failure of these saints, and the demonstration of Ephesian truths practically exhibited.
The great doctrinal teaching of Ephesians is that Christ is the Head of the Body of which His people on earth are members. This wondrous calling implies a corresponding responsibility on the part of the members to walk worthy of it; not only with respect to Christ the Head, in glory, but with respect to fellow-members of that body here on earth.
Ephesians 4:1 -16 stresses a more consequent practical part of the Ephesians. It opens with an exhortation: “I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called”.
And what is the worthiness that is to be shown:
With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, fore bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace. Reason was that, there is one Body and one Spirit, even as we have been called also into one hope of our calling.
Now it is in the practical exhibition of this precept that the Philippian Saints failed. The truth of “One body” involves the recognition of it in the walk of the members; and these Saints failed in this particular precept. This is not written specifically to the saints at Philippi, but to the entire Church or Body of Christ.
The Epistle to the Philippian Church was written like the other Epistles (Ephesians and Colossians) from the prison. Yet this epistle was characterised and pervaded by joy.
His (Apostle Paul) whole position was one of suspense. He was now a prisoner, awaiting the day fixed for the hearing of his case and the decision of the higher tribunal. One thing occupied his mind and caused his concern for the Saints – his imprisonment had turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, and not as they and he had feared, to the hindrance of it. Many of the brethren had waxed confident and Christ was preached without fear.
If his imprisonment and the contention were such a gain to the cause of Christ, his death might prove still greater gain. Therefore, he was willing to live or die, for Christ would be magnified through his body in either case. It was not his own gain, of which he was selfishly thinking but the furtherance of the gospel for which he was prepared with perfect unselfishness either to live on in prison, or to die.
To the Church today, one thing is of paramount importance and that is, the Apostle expresses and instructs that having the MIND of Christ is or should be our ultimate goal. Having the MIND of Christ would enable US think like Him and have a different perspective or viewpoint towards this evil and dark world.
The Question we should then ask is: What is the MIND of Christ?
What is the MIND of Christ? The following list constitutes what the MIND of CHRIST is:
- He did not esteem being equal with God a thing to be grasped by an active effort in order to obtain the promise.
- He emptied Himself.
- He took a servants form.
- Having become or taken his place in men’s likeness.
- And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself.
- He was obedient unto death
- He died on the cross.
Then God exalted Him:
- God highly exalted him
- And granted to Him the name that is above every name.
- In order that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.
- Of beings in Heaven
- And beings on earth
- And beings under the earth
- And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
In summary, we could say that the mind of Christ can be categorised into these sentences:
- Though he was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, and is bringing many sons to glory.
- He did nothing through vain glory/strife.
- He did not look at his own advantages but on those of others.
Knowing the mind of Christ therefore, the Apostle proceeded to give examples of other saints who showed the same example of having the mind of Christ before he finally comes to himself as an example.
The second example he used was that of Timothy. Phil 2: 19 – 24
- Timothy did not act through strife or vain glory
- He was of a lowly mind and esteemed others better than him.
- He did not look on his own things, but on the things of others.
The third example used again was that of Epaphroditus who was sick even to the point of death, but God had mercy on him. He could have easily used his sickness as an excuse not to serve the people, but he did not put himself first. Phil 2: 26
- He was more concerned about other saints than himself
- Because like his master, he made himself of no reputation.
The fourth example used was his own life (Apostle Paul).
We now come to the fourth example which like Christ, is preceded and followed by exhortation as to real gains and losses. He enumerates his gains: at least, the things which he esteemed as such, but which he thankfully gave up for something of far greater value.
Christ’s glory which he gave up was real, Paul’s gains which he gave up were unreal: they were no gains at all. He thought they were, but he found that they were only losses, and counted them as dung (SKUBALA in the Greek which meant that which is handed over to dogs or excreta) compared to the glory of Christ.
What were his supposed gains?
- Circumcised on the eighth Day
- Of the stock of Israel
- Of the tribe of Benjamin
- A Hebrew of Hebrews
- As to law, a Pharisee
- As to zeal, persecuting the Church
- As to righteousness, such as is by law (the deeds of the law), found blameless.
He is speaking here not of his sins, but of his supposed gains, of his standing in the flesh as a man; but he had so imbibed Christ that he could say “What things are gain to me, the same I counted, for Christ’s sake LOSS”.
He thankfully gave them up, because he had found something better.
What did Paul gain after his loss?
- He was found in God, he had confidence in his flesh but now confidence in God.
- That I may know Him, the knowledge of Christ was now the one object of his life.
- The power of his resurrection.
- The fellowship of his sufferings.
- To know Him in his death i.e. by reckoning myself to have died with him.
- Having a hope in Him
- Our conversation (POLITEUMA: a conducting of one’s self according to the seat of government to which one belongs as citizens) is in heaven. The hope of never dying again.
All the Apostle’s gains were all Christ and that he might
- Be found in Him
- Know Him, as his object
- Be like Him, as his hope
Jesus concluded His statement when he was asked what the greatest commandment was:
- Love God with all your heart, mind and soul.
- The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbour before ourselves.
This is the MIND of Christ. This is what He expects of us and this is what we should endeavour to have as the saints of God.