Sermon: Have This Mind (Philippians 2:1–11)
In Philippians 2:1–11, we come to one of the most important passages in the entire New Testament. The Christ hymn that takes up the second half of this passage has, for good reason, demanded an incredible amount of attention within this book. In only a few verses, Paul’s writing takes us from the incomprehensible depths of eternity when the Son existed in the form of God to the point where he willingly takes on the form of a servant through his incarnation, and then down to the depths of his death on the cross, only to soar back up into the cosmos with Jesus exalted as Lord over all creation. What a magnificent Savior we worship!
But, despite our inclinations to examine the Christ hymn on its own, we must come to grips with the context in which Paul includes it in his letter to the Philippians. This is not a pure doxology, where Paul bursts into praise of the exalted, glorious, suffering servant. Instead, Paul gives us this written portrait of Christ’s humility as the picture of humility to which we ought to be conformed. Paul has written of his own rejoicing in the midst of suffering (Phil. 1:12–18), and of the confidence he has on the basis of his suffering (Phil. 1:19–30), and now he reveals the secret of how to rejoice and take confidence in suffering: humility. Through humility, we discover that unity, likemindedness, and even Christ-likeness all become possible.