Scripture: Philippians 2:1-4
I. Look out to God for joy.
A. In verse 1 Paul lists the facts about what every Christian has experienced. Where do all of these blessings listed in verse 1 come from? God! These blessings of verse 1 come from the three persons in the one God. Notice how similar verse 1 is to what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
B. Look at God, and you will find your joy again. This is why Paul says in both Philippians 3:1 and Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord.” The means that God often uses, however, for us to experience His blessings is other Christians. By receiving these blessings from other Christians, you have experienced something of God’s goodness in your life. We have been called to not only enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. We have also been called to pass those blessings on to others.
II. Look out to the church and seek its unity for joy.
A. Paul had begun to discuss the topic of church unity in Phil. 1:27. Then in Phil. 2:2 Paul says, “Make my joy complete by doing the same to other Christians as they have done to you. We owe love and encouragement to other Christians because we have received so much from them.” When we love as we have been loved, that produces both unity and joy. If you want joy, the key to joy is shifting your attention away from yourself and on to the needs of other people.
B. Unity does not come naturally. It’s division that comes naturally between people. Make the effort to live in unity with the people you disagree with in our church. Unity brings joy. Our unity according to verse 2 is unity of mind and heart and will. We are of the same mind about Jesus doctrinally. We love with the same love as Jesus loves. And we are in full accord in our will that Jesus be glorified in our community and around the world.
III. Look out to the church with humility for joy.
A. Joy comes from looking out to other people and caring for their needs. Paul says in vs. 3-4, “Don’t do this. Do that!” Don’t be selfish. Be humble. Look first to Jesus and remember that He is Lord of all – including you. And then do what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:24: “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well. In the church there are many people who have chosen to play the second fiddle. They do not say, “I must be the star.” Instead, they look out to serve others.
If you have lost your joy, look outside yourself to God and to others in your church.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by J.A. Motyer, Moises Silva, D.A. Carson and Steven Lawson