1Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,2fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or self-glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others as surpassing himself.4Let each of you not look out for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6who, being in the form of God, did not consider clinging, to be equal with God,7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.8And being found comprised as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name,10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, cultivate your salvation with fear and trembling;13for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.14Do all things without murmuring and disputing,15that you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,16holding fast the Word of Life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.17Yes, and if I am being poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.18For the same cause you also be glad and rejoice with me.19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.20For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.21For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.22But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.25Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, and your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;26since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.27For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, that I should not have sorrow upon sorrow.28Therefore I send him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.29Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in honor;30because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
Matthew Henry - Concise Commentary 1
Here are further exhortations to Christian duties; to like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness, according to the example of the Lord Jesus. Kindness is the law of Christ's kingdom, the lesson of his school, the livery of his family. Several motives to brotherly love are mentioned. If you expect or experience the benefit of God's compassions to yourselves, be compassionate one to another. It is the joy of ministers to see people like-minded. Christ came to humble us, let there not be among us a spirit of pride. We must be severe upon our own faults, and quick in observing our own defects, but ready to make favourable allowances for others. We must kindly care for others, but not be busy-bodies in other men's matters. Neither inward nor outward peace can be enjoyed, without lowliness of mind. 5
The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, John 1:1
, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, John 5:23
. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God? 12
We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God's grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God's good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us. Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence. The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Running, denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward; labouring, denotes constancy, and close application. It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them. 19
It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.