Addresses on Philippians: Philippians 2

Philippians 2:1‑8  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Now we turn to the second chapter, and find Christ brought before us as the pattern; and as a pattern He must be in contrast to the first Adam. He says: “If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercies,” etc. Why does he say that? If we bear in mind what we have been considering—there is suffering. They were sharing in his sorrow; now he says: “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye may be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
Is it possible after getting Christ before us that there would be anything else but one mind? Yes. In connection with the saints who were looked down upon in the world, despised and persecuted on every side, could they be having such a thing before them as vain glory? In being gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus, there isn’t the first thing to boast about. It is so surprising, in such a company as that, anyone would seek to be great. The very character of the company is nothing. The fact of being gathered around the Lord Jesus—everything in connection with the position and the manner, is making nothing of man, and yet there, in such a position, one finds the natural heart showing itself, and what does it show? What you get exhorted not to be done here. “Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves.”
Lowliness of mind is one of the most difficult lessons for us. I believe the only way we can ever manifest this in any measure, as I said before, is to get a blessed view of the new life and power of the Spirit, standing in contrast to what human nature is, in the first chapter. “Esteeming others better than ourselves” can only be by living Christ. When I find what a contrast there is between my own heart and Christ, and I find I am to put myself down in the lowest place, then it is easy to think of others as better than ourselves. Your failure isn’t my failure, and mine isn’t yours, although failure is failure. I mean we each have our own particular weak points.
Getting into the presence of the Lord is what brings about humility, and that is what enables us to esteem others better than ourselves. So he says, “Look not every man on his own things (qualities), but every man also on the things (qualities) of others.” The moment I see Christ, if I look at myself at all, I see a contrast, and when I look at what there might be to praise myself for, then it is easy to think of one’s self above others. Each one has his place to fill, and it is a blessed thing, dear friends, to be able to see in each one that the Lord is using and filling a place by that one, and I will never see this by looking at the person, but by remembering the Lord has put that one there. One may be there simply to manifest a lowly spirit, and one to try us and test us. One once said there was a brother in the assembly who was a real trial. I told him it might be what the Lord sees you need. To get this side, is a real joy. If everything were going on smoothly, how soon we would forget to look up. We get occupied with a company of nice people. If one were to say, “We have such a nice company of Christians,” I would say, “Hold on, there is none of them good.” The fact of the matter is, man is man, no matter where you find him, and one is going to be badly deceived in looking for a company that is all right. There is none such. Is the apostle giving these exhortations when there was no need of them? We need them today, and I am sure of this—when the heart is in some measure in the presence of God, it will be made to feel how much we need these exhortations—to be down low, for that is our place.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He is not going to say, “I have certain people to bring you as an example.”
Christ is his object in the first chapter; now he says, “I want you to be like Christ. I will give Him as a pattern for you.”
Now notice, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He was God, but made Himself of no reputation.
My dear friends, I know I am speaking to those who are the Lord’s, and those who feel that every word in this book is a revelation from God. What man could ever have penned such words as these? At the beginning, we see Adam seeking to be lifted up from man to be God; and when this One comes upon the scene—He was God, equal with God—He empties Himself of His glory, and comes down here to be a man. Now, here is One changing positions. It was wrong for a creature to seek to change his place, but the Son of God had a right, if He saw fit, to take a low place. He came down here and became a man. Is not this a contrast? Is it not precious to our souls to meditate upon that Person, giving up all His glory and corning down into the midst of sinners!
“Who made Himself of no reputation.” Is it not sad to find the opposite in man’s heart? It will show itself, and very likely in a way that makes one ashamed afterward. Christendom is so full of this. Some fine speaker is hired to go to a certain place, and great efforts are put forth to get a crowd together; or they say, We will hire an evangelist to come and get up a revival. Think of these words, “Who made Himself of no reputation.” Perhaps we needn’t throw stones at the outside, but come closer to one’s self, and take the truth home to his own soul. He sought no reputation. Are we willing to be nothing? It is needful for Him to withhold from us, or there would be the seeking of a high place. He makes no mistake as to what He does with us, so if He has seen fit to make nothing of us, rather let us rejoice. The blessed Lord who had a right to be everything, is the only man who has glorified God, and He makes Himself of no reputation in doing so, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. Would we like to be a servant? The blessed Lord has seen fit to be a servant, doing that which was needed for others. Where He saw need, He was ready to go, and the more we are occupied with the Lord, the more we shall be seeking to meet the need of this one and that one. We might be in a position that we could not meet all the need. It might call for strength of body, or a big pocketbook, or ability in the gospel, and so on, but if we have Christ before us, it will be our desire to serve others, and it will be wonderful to see how the Lord will enable us to, as we feel the need. He became a servant. That was a low place.
(To be Continued)