there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort
of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and
mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others
in this section of the letter to the church at Philippi Paul
describes some of the characteristics that a disciple and
church should have to be good servants of the Lord Jesus
Christ. He sets forth the foundation for these qualities or
characteristics on the things that we have experienced as
children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ:
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies…
As born-again children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ
we have experienced the "consolation in Christ." The gospel
of Jesus Christ told us that we had been redeemed from our
sins by the finished work of Jesus Christ. The gospel also
comforted us by teaching us that we do not have to do
anything to be born of the Spirit or to be saved from our
sins, but God through his grace has already done this for
us. Furthermore, we are comforted in our personal lives by
the scriptures and the leadership of the Holy Ghost. The
gospel also comforts us from trying to get right with God by
telling us that God has already made us right with him.
The love of God shed abroad in our heart is a great comfort
to us. It comforts us in the midst of trials, troubles,
tribulations and persecutions. It comforts us when we lose
love ones. It comforts us when we face the valley of the
shadow of death.
The fellowship of the Spirit
is a great blessing to each of us. We experience this
fellowship of the Spirit in the preaching of the true gospel
of Jesus Christ. We experience it also when we are studying
the word of God and meditating on the word and the things of
God. In addition, we experience this fellowship of the
Spirit when we are at a throne of grace. When we have godly
conversations with fellow disciples or with sincere seekers
of the truth, we have the fellowship of the Spirit.
The word, "bowels," comes from a Greek word meaning "inward
affections." The inward affections we have towards God and
his people stems from the love, grace, and mercy of God
towards us. Further, there are many scriptures that speak of
God's tender mercies towards his children. Psalms 69:16
seems to sum up the thought of God's mercies towards his
children: "Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good:
turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be
likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of
This sentence contains at
least three characteristics or qualities that the disciples
of Christ should possess under the umbrella of being
"likeminded." The three characteristics are:
1. having the same love
2. being of one accord
3. of one mind.
The Greek word for "love" in
this verse is "agape" and means the love of God in action.
Thus, for us to have the same love, we must have already
been born of the Spirit (love is a part of the fruit of the
Spirit), and we must be actively engaging that love one to
another. The Lord said in John 15:13, "Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends." We manifest this godly characteristic or attribute
when all the congregation is actively laying down their
lives for one another.
Next, we are to be of one accord. The Greek word for accord
is "sumsuchos" meaning co-spirited or similar in sentiment.
This assumes that all parties are motivated by the Spirit of
God dwelling within them. Sometimes peoples motives are
impure. Some people are motivated by gain. Some are
motivated by jealousy. Some are motivated by popular
opinion. There are a lot of things that motivate people. We
should all be on our knees asking God to direct our motives
and our minds. It is necessary that we be of one accord if
we are to be likeminded.
Finally, we must be of one mind. If I am of one mind and you
are of another mind, then we obviously are not of one mind.
Amos asked the question in Amos 3:3 "Can two walk together,
except they be agreed?" Agreement is necessary to walk
together. However, if you believe in something that is wrong
and I agree in something that is wrong, we may walk
together, but we are both wrong. To be of one mind in the
above scripture is teaching us that we are agreed together
in the truth. To be agreed together in the truth, then we
must know and believe the truth. When we both know and
believe the truth, then we are of one mind in the truth. To
be likeminded, we all must know and believe the truth and
desire to manifest the truth in our lives.
Let nothing be done through strife or
Strife and vainglory or
negative characteristics that we are to avoid as the
disciples of Jesus Christ. Paul said "let nothing be done…"
The key word is "nothing." It excludes everything. Thus, we
are not to do anything through strife or vainglory. There
are no exceptions because of the use of the word, "nothing."
Whatever we do either as a church body or as a disciple of
Christ is to be done without strife or vainglory. The Greek
word for strife used here is "eritheia" and means
"fractioning by being contentious." We are to speak the
truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Also, 2 Tim. 2:24-26 tells us
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle
unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing
those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give
them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that
they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil,
who are taken captive by him at his will."
The Greek word for vainglory is "kenodoxia" and means "empty
glory or self-conceit." If what I do is done to puff myself
up or to promote myself or to further my own ambition, then
I am doing it for vainglory. What we do in the church is to
be done out of humility and not of selfishness.
"But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves." "Lowliness of mean" indicates that we are to be
humble-minded. That is we are not to be exalted in our own
opinion of ourselves. The following verses of scripture
reinforce this principle:
1. Acts 20:19 "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind,
and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the
lying in wait of the Jews:"
12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every
man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly
than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as
God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
3:12 "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind,
4. 1 Pet.
5:5 "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed
with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace
to the humble."
In humility of mind we are to "esteem" or value others more
highly than we value ourselves. Paul illustrated that to us
in his personal valuation of himself:
1. 1 Tim. 1:15 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners; of whom I am chief."
2. 1 Cor.
15:9 "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet
to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of
3. Eph. 3:8
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this
grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ;"
Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others.
When it comes to the service
of God, each of us has our own service to perform before God
in serving our brothers and sisters. One thing helped me
discover the meaning of this verse of scripture. This thing
was the word, "also." This verse is not telling not to give
attention to and effort to our service, but it is telling us
that each member of the congregation has a service to
perform. By looking also on the service that others have to
perform, praying that the Lord will bless their service as
well as ours, and assisting them in their service as we have
opportunity, we are unselfishly working for the benefit of
the service of the entire congregation.