Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered Paul’s appeal to the Philippian saints to make his joy full. This appeal is not confined to the first four verses of chapter two, but includes all of 2:1-16. It concludes with Paul’s word about holding forth the word of life so that in the day of Christ he could boast that he had not run in vain nor labored in vain.
Making the apostle’s joy full involves more than just having a proper attitude. Suppose the Philippian believers had a very positive attitude toward Paul, respected him, and loved him to the uttermost, but did not take his charge concerning the experience of Christ. The apostle still would not have been happy, even though the saints had such an excellent attitude toward him personally. The only thing that could make the apostle’s joy full was for the saints to take his word to experience Christ adequately and normally.
In 2:2 Paul tells the saints to think the same thing and the one thing. To think the same thing is to have our minds occupied with Christ and saturated with Him. Our mind should be occupied by Christ not merely in an objective, doctrinal way, but in a subjective, experiential way, in the way of allowing Christ to spread from our spirit into our mind and to take full possession of our mind, even to saturate our mind with His. If our mind is saturated with the mind of Christ, our mind will be wholly set on the spirit. Then we shall be those who have been occupied, permeated, and saturated by Christ and with Christ. If this had been the condition of the believers in Philippi, Paul would have been extremely happy. His joy concerning them would have been full.
I repeat, Paul would not have been happy simply if the Philippians had a positive attitude toward him. He wanted them to allow Christ to possess them, and he was eager for them to grow in life. If the believers did not allow Christ to saturate them with Himself, Paul would have been troubled no matter how proper their attitude was toward him. Paul’s desire was that all the saints would be occupied with Christ and thereby think the same thing.
It is not possible for us to think the same thing unless Christ saturates our mind and occupies our thinking. Then we shall spontaneously think the same thing, even the one thing. Apart from being saturated with Christ in this way, no two people, not even a husband and wife, will be able to think the same thing. Nevertheless, it was Paul’s appeal and expectation that the whole church in Philippi would think the same thing. He begged the Philippians that, if they had encouragement, consolation, love, tenderheartedness, and compassion toward him, they make his joy full by thinking the same thing. But how can a large group of people think one thing? Once again we point out that this is possible only when the believers are occupied by Christ and allow Him to saturate their whole being. Then, and only then, shall we be able to think the same thing.
Christ is unique, central, and universal. When in an experiential way, not just in a doctrinal way, Christ becomes our centrality and universality, we shall automatically think the same thing.
We can test whether or not we truly think the same thing by checking if we have the same love, are joined in soul, are free from rivalry and vainglory, count others more excellent than ourselves, and regard the virtues and qualities of others. These matters will always test to what extent we have actually been occupied by Christ, taken over by Christ, and saturated with Christ. If Christ truly possesses us inwardly, our love for all the saints will be on the same level. Furthermore, we shall be joined in soul, and our mind will be occupied with knowing Christ, experiencing Christ, pursuing Christ, and gaining Christ. As a result, we shall not do anything in the way of rivalry or vainglory, but instead we shall count others more excellent than ourselves and regard their virtues and qualities.
In this message we shall consider 2:5-8. These verses are very familiar, and messages have been given on them again and again. Even when I was a child, I heard, from Philippians 2:5-8, how Christ emptied Himself and humbled Himself, coming down from heaven to earth. Most of the messages given on these verses deal with them in an ordinary way. This makes it rather difficult for us to get into these verses in a thorough way.
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