Paul wrote from a prison in Rome to a church of friends in Philippi. They had sent a leader from their congregation to visit him and he wrote back thanking them for their friendship and urging them to be unified as a church. Like any church, there were strong personalities and the temptation of false but attractive teaching.
Paul based his appeal on four supernatural facts on which they all would agree:
there was encouragement from being united with Christ
there was comforting love in the Christian community
there was participation with God’s indwelling Spirit
and, there were affection and sympathy in the Christian life. (Philippians 2:1)
Then he asks them to make him happy by agreeing, abandoning selfish pursuits, and humbly seeking each other’s interests. (Philippians 2:2-4)
He then gave them the ultimate example of what he wanted. Jesus, truly God, came to earth and died a humiliating death for them. Because he did this, he was raised to rule the heavens and earth. (Philippians 2:5-11)
There are two ways to seek unity among Christians. One is for each of us to focus on Christ and his example and live in the Christian community in humble, sacrificial service.
The second way sounds good but is doomed to failure. We focus on each other and move to where we think the other Christian would like us to be. But in this search we are self-serving, moving targets and as we move in self-coordinated ways we get no closer than when we started.
We best serve the cause of Christian unity when we deal with the evil in our own lives and developing our spiritual gifts in humble service in the Christian community.
What have you and I done to further the cause of Christian unity in the last week?
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The post first appeared on Bob Krupp’s blog