Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« "When I Drink It New With You" -- Matthew 26:17-30 (A Sermon for Maundy Thursday) | Main | Audio from Easter Week at Christ Reformed Church »

"The Name Above Every Name" -- Philippians 2:1-11

The Fourth in a Series of Sermons on the Philippians

One of the most famous and well-known passages in all the Bible is the famous hymn to Christ (the Carmen Christi) of verses 6-11 of Philippians 2.  Martin Luther writes in his famous essay The Freedom of the Christian, that this passage is a prescribed rule of life which is set forth by the Apostle Paul, who exhorts us to devote our good works to the welfare of our neighbor out of the abundant riches of faith.  John Calvin tells us that anyone who reads this passage but fails to see the deity of Jesus and the majesty of God as seen in his saving works, is blind to the things of God.  The passage contains a very rich Christology, but is included in this letter not to settle any debate over the person and work of Jesus, but rather, to instruct Christians how to imitate Jesus in a profound and significant way.  The Carmen Christi also speaks directly to modern Americans by reminding us that the self-centered narcism of American culture is not a virtue, but runs completely contrary to the example set for us to follow by Jesus in his incarnation.

As we continue our series on Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi (the Epistle to the Philippians) we come to the second chapter and will work our way through this beautiful and powerful passage.  I need to say from the outset that as many of you know, our system of chapters and verses are not in the original biblical text and were first introduced in the 16th century.  While they are very helpful in allowing us to find “chapter and verse,” there are times when the chapter breaks seriously disrupt the flow of thought of the original author–they do so in the transition from the opening chapter of Philippians as we move into chapter two.  As we go through our passage, we will see that Paul’s exhortation which opens the second chapter is really an expansion of his desire for the Philippians to stand firm (vv. 12-30) and is the basis for his introduction of the Christ hymn (which we will cover momentarily).

In expressing his candid thoughts to the Philippians, the apostle is reflecting upon the persecution which he himself had faced, particularly in the light of the news which just reached him from Philippi that the Philippians were still facing significant persecution.  When Paul was first in the city of Philippi, he was arrested and thrown into jail.  Paul was miraculously delivered, the jailer and his household came to faith in Jesus, and as recounted in Acts 17, shortly thereafter, Paul left the city to continue his missionary journey to the Greek cities of Thessalonica and Berea, before finally making his way to Athens.  When Paul writes this letter to the Philippians about ten years later, he is in jail again–this time under house arrest in Rome.  Paul knew something about persecution.  He knows that the Philippian Christians are facing persecution also.  The Philippians may not be not in chains, but they are finding that their fellow Greco-Romans are not accepting, nor tolerant of their faith in Jesus.  And then there are the Judaizers who have arrived on the scene and are now disrupting church life in Philippi.

After reflecting upon these things, in the concluding verses of chapter 1, (vv 27–30) Paul exhorts the Philippians, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.  This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.  For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”  The Philippians are to do several things.  The first is to live their lives in a manner worthy of the gospel which Paul had preached to them.  Their conduct in the face of persecution should grow out of their understanding of the person and work of Jesus.  The second thing they are to do is to stand firm in one spirit and in one mind in the face of those persecuting them.  The third is not to be frightened by anything their opponents–the Judaizers and Greco-Roman pagans–may throw at them.  Jesus is more powerful than all and he will protect his church.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.