In the last passage we studied Paul gave his first command of the letter to the Philippians, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul purposefully used a political phrase to teach the Philippians that being found in Christ was being found out of everything else. When the Bible calls Jesus the King of Kings, it doesn’t mean that there are many kings but Jesus happens to measure above all the rest, it means that Jesus is the King to end all kings, there is no one like Him, He is far above all others, now that He has appeared there is no need for any other. Paul was writing to a people that was proud of its nationality and proud of its citizenship and telling them that to be in Christ was to let go of being in Rome. He was not telling them to reject or leave behind their Roman citizenship, He was telling them that their physical citizenship was now secondary to their eternal one, he was commanding them to live out the gospel in their community—don’t withdraw, don’t rebel; shine! He then began to teach them that living worthy of the gospel was fully defined by living in unity with each other and living without fear of their enemies. Paul was honest with them, he acknowledged that they had adversaries, that they were dealing with conflicts and that they were currently and would continue in the future to suffer for the cause of Christ. In all this what Paul begins to reveal in tonight’s text is that their biggest battle was not the conflict from enemies that were attacking them from the outside it was with the attitudes, ideas and mindsets within their own community of faith that would if not dealt with destroy their unity. Paul is confronting his friends because true friendship, especially true Christian friendship requires confrontation. I believe with all my heart that God desires to heal us not only of our diseases but of our offenses, of our wounds, of our brokenness. Brokenness is not only where someone has hurt us it is also where we have learned, thought and believed wrong about God, about ourselves and about others. Nothing gets healed unless it gets exposed and in relationship exposure happens through confrontation. Here is the good news, God only exposes what He desires and intends to heal. So as Paul confronted his friends in Philippi it was not out of anger, frustration or judgment it was out of and for the purpose of love. In tonight’s text, we will begin to see that if walking worthy of the gospel is accomplished largely through unity then unity is achieved only through humility. In our few verses Paul will define unity and then prepare us for the next verses which will show us the ultimate example of humility through the life of Jesus the King.

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