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Words from GOD – Words to GOD

Spurgeon: Commentary on Philippeans, part II.1 – Uwe Rosenkranz, Archbishop, MA,DD

Philippians 2
Philippians 2:1–11
Exposition

1 if there is Paul did not mean to doubt that there is “any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,” for no one knew better than he did how those blessings abound to those who are in Christ Jesus. He put it by way of argument. If there is consolation in Christ, since there is consolation in Christ, since there is comfort of love, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, be one in Christ. Do not be divided; love one another. How urgently he pleads! How he multiplies expressions! Love among Christians is so precious that he begs for it as if for his life.

consolation Consolation is the dropping of a gentle dew from heaven on desert hearts beneath. True consolation, such as can reach the heart, must be one of the choicest gifts of divine mercy; and surely we are not erring from sacred Scripture when we avow that in its full meaning, consolation can be found nowhere save in Christ, who has come down from heaven, and who has again ascended to heaven, to provide strong and everlasting consolation for those whom He has bought with His blood.

2 in agreement Paul would have all God’s people to be unanimous; he would have them think alike—that is the precise interpretation of the Greek—he would have them hold the same views, receive the same truth, contend for the same faith. He would have them as much alike in heart as in head. They are to be all found in the same love, not some loving the rest, but each loving all, and not even a single person exempted—every soul flaming with the sacred fire. He would have them knit together in every sacred enterprise, being of one accord, or as the Greek has it, of one soul; as though instead of a hundred souls enshrined in a hundred persons, they had but one soul incarnate in a hundred bodies. He would have all the people of God to be fused into one race, made to love each other, in fact, with a pure heart fervently. Now by this may we tell whether we are becoming like our Lord.
Dogs Fighting Each Other Instead of the Wolves
Preaching Themes: Church Fellowship and Unity, Conflict
Philipp Melancthon mourned in his day the divisions among Protestants, and sought to bring the Protestants together by a parable of the war between the wolves and the dogs: The wolves were somewhat afraid, for the dogs were many and strong, and therefore they sent out a spy to observe them. On his return, the scout said, “It is true the dogs are many, but there are not many mastiffs among them. There are dogs of so many sorts one can hardly count them. As for the most of them,” said he, “they are little dogs, which bark loudly but cannot bite. However, this did not cheer me so much,” said the wolf, “as this, that as they came marching on, I observed they were all snapping right and left at one another, and I could see clearly that though they all hate the wolf, yet each dog hates every other dog with all his heart.”
I fear it is true still, for there are many who snap right and left, followers of Jesus too, when they had better save their teeth for the wolves. If our enemies are to be put to confusion, it must be by the united efforts of all the people of God—unity is strength.
having the same love He knew that these saints at Philippi loved him. They had sent once and again to relieve his necessities, so he pleaded with them, by their love to him, to love each other. He does as much as say, “If you really do love me, if it is not a sham, if you have any sympathy with me, and with my labors and sufferings, if you really have the same spirit that burns in my breast, make my heart full of joy by clinging to one another, by being likeminded, ‘having the same love, united in spirit, having one purpose.’ ”

3 do nothing according to selfish ambition Nothing is to be done through strife. But how much of religious service is from top to bottom carried out in strife? Sometimes one sect will seek to increase itself merely for the sake of becoming larger and more influential than another. Do Sunday school teachers never try to get good classes and to obtain conversions that they may be more honored than others? Does that never enter the classroom? Do street preachers never wish to preach better than others, and in order that they may win more applause? I know this from experience, that the spirit of strife may easily enough come into the pulpit, and that the minister may be seeking to outrun his neighbor when he thinks he is filled with zeal for God. The devil has had a finger in the building of many places of worship. The people have striven with one another, and then they have separated and built a new chapel, fancying that it has been all for the glory of God. Meanwhile, the devil has felt that it has been for his glory, and he has rejoiced in it. Whenever I serve God out of any motive of emulation or strife, I prove to myself that I have not worked out my salvation from one evil passion at least, and I have need to fear and tremble, to begin again and labor diligently till the spirit of pride shall be driven out of my soul.
How much is done out of vainglory! How many people dress themselves out of vainglory! The thought is uppermost, “How do I look in this?” How many give to God’s cause out of vainglory, that they may seem to be generous! How often does a preacher polish his sentences and pick his words that he may be thought to be an able orator and an eloquent preacher! Vainglory! It is a wonder that God accepts us in any of our works at all—in fact, He never could if He did not see them washed in the precious blood of Jesus, for in almost everything, from the lowest member up to the most useful minister of Christ, this vainglory will thrust itself in.

considering one another better than yourselves The apostle knew that, to create concord, you need first to beget lowliness of mind. Men do not quarrel when their ambitions have come to an end. When each one is willing to be least, when everyone desires to place his fellows higher than himself, there is an end to party spirit; schisms and divisions are all passed away.
Seeing Others’ Loveliness Makes a Person Lovely
Preaching Themes: Beauty, Complaining, Encouragement, Humility, Love, Speech
John Bunyan beautifully portrays Christiana and Mercy coming up out of the bath of the interpreter’s house. They have had jewels put upon them, and when they are both washed, Mercy says to Christiana, “How comely and beautiful you look!” “No,” Christiana said, “My sister, I see no beauty in myself, but how lovely you look! I think I never saw such loveliness.” They were both lovely because they could see other people’s loveliness.
Your own spiritual beauty may be very much measured by what you can see in other people. When you say, “There are no saints now,” it is to be feared that you are not one. When you complain that love is dead in the Christian church, it must be dead in your heart, or you would not say so. As you think of others, that you are. Out of your own mouth shall you be condemned.
4 not looking out for your own interests Do not obey the world’s maxim, “Take care of Number One.” Have a large heart, so that, though you care for yourself in spiritual things, and desire your own soul-prosperity, you may have the same desire for every other Christian man or woman.

the interests of others Consider how you can help others, and in what way you can prosper them both in temporal things and in spiritual. You are members of a body, so one member is not to think for itself alone; the unity of the whole body requires that every separate and distinct part of it should be in harmony with the whole.

5 think this in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus What an example we have set before us in the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is the divine example of love and self-denial, and as we hope to be saved by Him we must diligently copy Him. He is now exalted to the highest glory as the reward of His voluntary humiliation, and by the same means must His disciples rise to honor. We must stoop to conquer. He who is willing to be nothing shall be possessor of all things.

6 being equal with God You and I can have no idea of how high an honor it is to be equal with God. How can we, therefore, measure the descent of Christ, when our highest thoughts cannot comprehend the height from which He came? The depth to which He descended is immeasurably below any point we have ever reached, and the height from which He came is inconceivably above our loftiest thought. Do not, however, forget the glory that Jesus laid aside for a while. Remember that He is very God of very God, and that He dwelt in the highest heaven with His Father. Yet, though He was thus infinitely rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be rich.

7 emptied himself Emptied Himself of all His honor, of all His glory, of all His majesty, and of all the reverence paid to Him by the holy spirits around the throne.

in appearance like a man A great marvel is that Incarnation, that the eternal God should take into union with Himself our human nature, and should be born at Bethlehem, and live at Nazareth, and die at Calvary on our behalf. He was the Creator, and we see Him here on earth as a creature; the Creator, who made heaven and earth, without whom was not anything made that was made, and yet He lies in the virgin’s womb. He is born, and He is cradled where the horned oxen feed. The Creator is also a creature. The Son of God is the Son of man. Strange combination! Could condescension go farther than for the Infinite to be joined to the infant, and the Omnipotent to the feebleness of a newborn babe? Yet this is not all.

8 he humbled himself Our text does not speak so much of the humiliation of Christ in becoming man, as of His humiliation after He took upon Himself our nature. He had not descended low enough yet, though He had come down all the way from the Godhead to our manhood.
What will not Christ do for us who have been given to Him by His Father? There is no measure to His love; you cannot comprehend His grace. Oh, how we ought to love Him, and serve Him! The lower He stoops to save us, the higher we ought to lift Him in our adoring reverence. Blessed be His name, He stoops, and stoops, and stoops, and, when He reaches our level, and becomes man, He still stoops, and stoops, and stoops lower and deeper yet.
Jesus Humbled Himself by Waiting
Preaching Themes: Humility, Humanity of Jesus, Patience
I cannot pass over the thirty years of His silence without feeling that here was a marvelous instance of how He humbled Himself. I know young men who think that two or three years’ education is far too long for them. They want to be preaching at once—running away, as I sometimes tell them, like chickens with the shell on their heads. They want to go forth to fight before they have buckled on their armor.
But it was not so with Christ; thirty long years passed over His head, and still there was no Sermon on the Mount. When He did show Himself to the world, see how He humbled Himself. He did not knock at the door of the high priests, or seek out the eminent rabbis and the learned scribes. He took for His companions fishermen from the lake, infinitely His inferiors, even if we regarded Him merely as a man. He was full of manly freshness and vigor of mind, and they were scarcely able to follow Him, even though He moderated His footsteps out of pity for their weakness. He preferred to associate with lowly men, for He humbled Himself.
by becoming obedient Our Lord’s way of humbling Himself was by obedience. He invented no method of making Himself ridiculous; He put upon Himself no singular garb, which would attract attention to His poverty. He simply obeyed His Father, and, mark you, there is no humility like obedience: “To obey is better than sacrifice; to give heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam 15:22).
In what way, then, did the Lord Jesus Christ in His life obey? There was always about Him the spirit of obedience to His Father. He could say, “Look, I come. In the scroll of the book it is written concerning me: ‘I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is deep within me’ ” (Psa 40:7). He was always, while here, subservient to His Father’s great purpose in sending Him to earth; He came to do the will of Him that sent Him, and to finish His work. He learned what that will was partly from Holy Scripture. You constantly find Him acting in a certain way “that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” He shaped His life upon the prophecies that had been given concerning Him. Thus He did the will of the Father.
Also, there was within Him the Spirit of God, who led and guided Him, so that He could say, “I do always those things that please the Father.” Then, He waited upon God continually in prayer. Though infinitely better able to do without prayer than we are, yet He prayed much more than we do. With less need than we have, He had a greater delight in prayer than we have; thus He learned the will of God as man, and did it, without once omitting or once transgressing in a single point.
He did the will of God also, obediently, by following out what He knew to be the Father’s great design in sending Him. He was sent to save, and He went about saving, seeking and saving that which was lost. Oh, dear friends, when we get into unison with God, when we wish what He wishes, when we live for the great object that fills God’s heart, when we lay aside our wishes and whims, and even our lawful desires, that we may do only the will of God, and live only for His glory, then we shall be truly humbling ourselves!
“Obedience Is the Best Humility”
Preaching Themes: Humility, Obedience and Disobedience, Pride
I have known persons try to humble themselves by will-worship. I have stood in the cell of a monk, when he has been out of it, and I have seen the whip with which he flagellated himself every night before he went to bed. I thought that it was quite possible that the man deserved all he suffered, and so I shed no tears over it. That was his way of humbling himself, by administering a certain number of lashes. I have known persons practice voluntary humility. They have talked in very humble language, and have decried themselves in words, though they have been as proud as Lucifer all the while.
To obey is better than to wear a special dress, or to clip your words in some peculiar form of supposed humility. Obedience is the best humility, laying yourself at the feet of Jesus, and making your will active only when you know what it is God’s will for you to do. This is to be truly humble.
to the point of death Was He not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honor, and then another, till, naked, He was fastened to the cross? And there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His lifeblood, giving up for all of us? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! Lower than the cross Christ could not go; His death was one of such extreme ignominy that He could not have been more disgraced and degraded.
Our Lord died willingly. You and I, unless the Lord should come quickly, will die, whether we are willing or not: “It is destined for people to die once” (Heb 9:27). He did not need to die, yet He was willing to surrender His life. He said, “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take possession of it again. This commandment I received from my Father” (John 10:18). He died willingly, but at the same time, He did not die by His own hand. He did not take His own life as a suicide; He died obediently. He waited till His hour had come, when He was able to say, “It is finished,” then He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. He humbled Himself, so as willingly to die.
He proved the obedience of His death, also, by the meekness of it, as Isaiah said, “Like a sheep is dumb before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth” (Isa 53:7). He never spoke a bitter word to priest or scribe, Jewish governor or Roman soldier. When the women wept and bewailed, He said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). He was all gentleness; He had not a hard word even for His murderers. He gave Himself up to be the Sin-bearer, without murmuring at His Father’s will, or at the cruelty of His adversaries. How patient He was! If He says, “I thirst,” it is not the petulant cry of a sick man in his fever; there is a royal dignity about Christ’s utterance of the words. Even the “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,” with the unutterable gall and bitterness it contains, has not even a trace of impatience mingled with it. Oh, what a death Christ’s was! He was obedient in it, obedient not only till He came to die, but obedient in that last dread act. His obedient life embraced the hour of His departure.

on a cross That was the worst kind of death. It was a violent death. Jesus did not fall asleep gently, as good men often do, whose end is peace. No, He died by murderous hands. Jews and Gentiles combined, and with cruel hands took Him, and crucified and slew Him. It was, also, an extremely painful death of lingering agony. Those parts of the body in which the nerves were most numerous were pierced with rough iron nails. The weight of the body was made to hang upon the tenderest part of the frame. No doubt the nails tore their cruel way through His flesh while He was hanging on the tree. A cut in the hand has often resulted in lockjaw and death; yet Christ’s hands were nailed to the cross. He died in pain most exquisite of body and of soul.
It was, also, a death most shameful. Thieves were crucified with Him; His adversaries stood and mocked Him. The death of the cross was one reserved for slaves and the basest of felons; no Roman citizen could be put to death in such a way as that, hung up between earth and heaven, as if neither would have Him, rejected of men and despised of God.
It was, also, a penal death. He died, not like a hero in battle, nor as one who perishes while rescuing his fellow men from fire or flood; He died as a criminal. Upon the cross of Calvary He was hung up. It was an accursed death, too. God Himself had called it so: “Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree” (Deut 21:23). He was made a curse for us. His death was penal in the highest sense. He “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet 2:24).

9 Therefore That is, because of His previous humiliation. There is a marvelous connection between that shame, and spitting, and the bending of the knee of seraphs; there is a strange yet mystic link that unites the calumny and the slander with the choral sympathies of adoring angels. The one was, as it were, the seed of the other. Strange that it should be, but the black, the bitter seed brought forth a sweet and glorious flower, which blooms forever. He suffered and He reigned; He stooped to conquer, and He conquered for He stooped, and was exalted for He conquered.
O Christian! Sit down and consider that your Master did not mount from earth’s mountains into heaven, but from her valleys. It was not from heights of bliss on earth that He strode to bliss eternal, but from depths of woe He mounted up to glory. What a stride was that, when, at one mighty step from the grave to the throne of the Highest, the man Christ, the God, did gloriously ascend. And yet reflect! He in some way, mysterious yet true, was exalted because He suffered.

God exalted him Pause over this thought—that Christ did not crown Himself, but that His Father crowned Him. He did not elevate Himself to the throne of majesty, but His Father lifted Him there, and placed Him on His throne. Reflect that man never highly exalted Christ. Put this then in opposition to it—“God exalted him.” Man hissed Him, mocked Him, hooted Him. Words were not hard enough—they would use stones: “They took up stones again to stone him” (John 10:31). And stones failed; nails must be used, and He must be crucified. And then there comes the taunt, the jeer, the mockery, while He hangs languishing on His death-cross. Man did not exalt Him. Set the black picture there. Now put this, with this glorious, this bright scene, side by side with it, and one shall be a foil to the other: man dishonored Him; “God exalted him.”

name above every name He threw away His name; He emptied Himself of His reputation. How high is His reputation now! How glorious is the name that God has given Him as the reward of His redemptive work!
How the Christian Shares in Christ’s Exaltation
Preaching Themes: Glory
The Christian feels that when Christ is exalted, it is himself exalted in some degree, seeing he has sympathy with his desire of promoting the great cause and honor of God in the world. I have no doubt that every common soldier who stood by the side of the Duke of Wellington felt honored when the commander was applauded for the victory; for said he, “I helped him, I assisted him. It was but a mean part that I played; I did but maintain my rank; I did but sustain the enemy’s fire; but now the victory is gained. I feel an honor in it, for I helped, in some degree, to gain it.”
So the Christian, when he sees his Lord exalted, says, “It is the Captain that is exalted, and in his exaltation all his soldiers share. Have I not stood by his side? Little was the work I did, and poor the strength that I possessed to serve him, but still I aided in the labor.” The commonest soldier in the spiritual ranks feels that he himself is in some degree exalted when he reads this: “Therefore also God exalted him, and graciously granted him the name above every name”—a renown above every name—“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”
10 every knee should bow Look at Him! Can your imagination picture Him? Behold His transcendent glory! The majesty of kings is swallowed up; the pomp of empires dissolves like the white mist of the morning before the sun; the brightness of assembled armies is eclipsed. He in Himself is brighter than the sun, more terrible than armies with banners. In heaven, in earth, in hell, all knees bend before Him, and every tongue confesses that He is God. If not now, yet in the time that is to come this shall be carried out, that every creature of God’s making shall acknowledge His Son to be “God over all, blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 9:5). My soul anticipates that blessed day, when this whole earth shall bend its knee before its God willingly! I do believe there is a happy era coming, when there shall not be one knee unbent before my Lord and Master.

11 every tongue confess Now is He higher than the highest. Now everyone must confess His divinity. With shame and terror, His adversaries shall bow before Him; with delight and humble adoration, His friends shall own Him Lord of all.

Jesus Christ is Lord What we are taught here is the great truth that Jesus Christ, though once He stooped to the lowest shame, is now exalted to the very highest glory, and even the devils in hell are compelled to own the might of His power. We are also to learn from this passage that the way to ascend is to descend. He who would be chief must be willing to be the servant of all. The King of kings was the Servant of servants; and if you would be crowned with honor by-and-by you must be willing to be despised and rejected of men now. The Lord give us this gracious humbleness of mind, for Jesus Christ’s sake!

glory of God the Father See how the greatest glory of Christ is the glory of the Father. He never desired any other glory but that. The highest honor you can ever have, O child of God, is to bring honor to your Father who is in heaven.
Application
The Consolation of Christ’s Presence

If ever your minds dwell with sadness upon the fact that we are at this day absent from the Lord, because we are present in the body, think of the great truth that Jesus Christ of old had delights with the sons of men, and He delights to commune and have fellowship with His people now.
Remember that your Lord and Master appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre under the disguise of a pilgrim. Abraham was a pilgrim, and Christ to show His sympathy with His servant, became a pilgrim too. Did He not appear also to Jacob at the brook Jabbok? Jacob was a wrestler, and Jesus appears there as a wrestler too. Did He not stand before Moses under the guise and figure of a flame in the midst of a bush? Was not Moses at the very time the representative of a people who were like a bush burning with fire and yet not consumed? Did He not stand before Joshua—Joshua the leader of Israel’s troops—and did He not appear to him as the captain of the Lord’s host? And do you not well remember that when the three holy children walked in the midst of the fiery furnace, He was in the midst of the fire too, not as a king, but as one in the fire with them?
Cheer then your heart with this consoling inference. If Christ appeared to His servants in the olden time, and manifested Himself to them as bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh, in all their trials and their troubles, He will do no less to you today. He will be with you in passing through the fire; He will be your rock, your shield, and your high tower; He will be your song, your banner, and your crown of rejoicing. Fear not; He who visited His saints of old will surely not be long absent from His children today. His delights are still with His people, and still will He walk with us through this weary wilderness. Surely this makes Christ a most blessed consolation for His Israel.
Five Lessons to Learn from Christ’s Humiliation

The first lesson to learn from Christ’s humiliation is to have firmness of faith in the atoning sacrifice. If my Lord could stoop to become man, and if, when He had come as low as that, He went still lower, and lower, and lower, until He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, I feel that there must be a potency about that death which is all that I can require. Jesus by dying has vindicated law and justice. If God can punish sin upon His own dear Son, it means far more than the sending of us to hell. Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin—but His blood was shed, so there is remission. His wounds let out His lifeblood; one great gash opened the way to His heart. Before that, His whole body had become a mass of dripping gore, when, in the garden, His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. My Lord, when I study your sacrifice, I see how God can be “just, and the one who justifies the person by faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). Faith is born at the cross of Christ. We not only bring faith to the cross, but we find it there. I cannot think of my God bearing all this grief in a human body, even to the death on the cross, and then doubt. Why, doubt becomes harder than faith when the cross is visible! When Christ is set forth evidently crucified among us, each one of us should cry, “Lord, I believe, for your death has killed my unbelief.”
The next lesson I would have you learn from Christ’s humiliation is this: cultivate a great hatred of sin. Sin killed Christ; let Christ kill sin. Sin made Him go down, down, down; then pull sin down, let it have no throne in your heart. If it will live in your heart, make it live in holes and corners, and never rest till it is utterly driven out. Seek to put your foot upon its neck, and utterly kill it. Christ was crucified; let your lusts be crucified. Let every wrong desire be nailed up, with Christ, upon the felon’s tree. If, with Paul, you can say, “May it never be that I boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14), with him you will also be able to exclaim, “Let no one cause me trouble, for I carry on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17). Christ’s branded slave is the Lord’s freeman.
Learn another lesson, and that is obedience. If Christ humbled Himself, and became obedient, how obedient ought you and I to be! We ought to stop at nothing when we once know that it is the Lord’s will. I marvel that you and I should ever raise a question or ask a moment’s delay in our obedience to Christ. If it be the Lord’s will, let it be done, and done at once. Should it rend some fond connection, should it cause a flood of tears, let it be done. He humbled Himself, and became obedient. Would obedience humble me? Would it lower me in man’s esteem? Would it make me the subject of ridicule? Would it bring contempt upon my honorable name? Should I be elbowed out of the society wherein I have been admired, if I were obedient to Christ? Lord, this is a question not worth asking! I take up your cross right joyfully, asking grace to be perfectly obedient, by the power of your Spirit.
Learn next another lesson, and that is self-denial. Did Christ humble Himself? Let us practice the same holy art. Have I not heard of some saying, “I have been insulted; I am not treated with proper respect. I go in and out, and I am not noticed. I have done eminent service, and there is not a paragraph in the newspaper about me.” Your Master humbled Himself, and it seems to me that you are trying to exalt yourself! Truly, you are on the wrong track. If Christ went down, down, down, it ill becomes us to be always seeking to go up, up, up. Wait till God exalts you, which He will do in His own good time. Meanwhile, it behooves you, while you are here, to humble yourself. If you are already in a humble position, should you not be contented with it; for He humbled Himself? If you are now in a place where you are not noticed, where there is little thought of you, be quite satisfied with it. Jesus came just where you are. You may well stop where you are, where God has put you. Jesus had to bring Himself down, and to make an effort to come down to where you are. Is not the Valley of Humiliation one of the sweetest spots in all the world? Does not the great geographer of the heavenly country, John Bunyan, tell us that the Valley of Humiliation is as fruitful a place as any the crow flies over, and that our Lord formerly had His country house there, and that He loved to walk those meadows, for He found the air was pleasant? “I should like to be known,” says one. “I should like to have my name before the public.” Well, if you ever had that lot, if you felt as I do, you would pray to be unknown, and to let your name drop out of notice; there is no pleasure in it. The only happy way, if God would only let us choose, is to be known to nobody, but just to glide through this world as pilgrims and strangers, to the land where our true kindred dwell, and to be known there as having been followers of the Lord.
I think that we should also learn from our Lord’s humiliation to have contempt for human glory. Suppose they come to you and say, “We will crown you king!” You may well say, “Will you? All the crown you had for my Master was a crown of thorns; I will not accept a diadem from you.” “We will praise you.” “What, will you praise me, you who spat in His dear face? I want none of your praises.” It is a greater honor to a Christian man to be maligned than to be applauded. I do not care where it comes from, I will say this: if he be slandered and abused for Christ’s sake, no odes in his honor, no articles in his praise, can do him one-tenth the honor. This is to be a true knight of the cross, to have been wounded in the fray, to have come back adorned with scars for His dear sake. Look upon human glory as a thing that is tarnished, no longer golden, but corroded, because it came not to your Lord.
Lastly, let us be inflamed with a strong desire to honor Christ. If He humbled Himself, let us honor Him. Every time that He seems to put away the crown, let us put it on His head. Every time we hear Him slandered—and men continue to slander Him still—let us speak up for Him right manfully. Do you not grow indignant, sometimes, when you see how Christ’s professed Church is treating Him, and His truth? They are shutting Him out still, till His head is wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Proclaim Him King in the face of His false friends. Proclaim Him, and say that His Word is infallibly true, and that His precious blood alone can cleanse from sin. Stand out the braver because so many Judases seem to have leaped up from the bottomless pit to betray Christ again. Be firm and steadfast, like granite walls, in the day when others turn their backs and fly, like cowards.
The Lord help you to honor Him who humbled Himself, who became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross! May He accept these humble words of mine, and bless them to His people, and make them to be the means of leading some poor sinner to come and trust in Him!
We Are, Like Christ, Exalted through Degradation

If Christ was exalted through His degradation, so will you be. Do not count your steps to triumph by your steps upward, but by those that are seemingly downward. The way to heaven is downhill. He who would be honored forever must sink in his own esteem, and often in that of his fellow men. Think not of the fool, who is mounting to heaven by his own light opinions of himself and by the flatteries of his fellows, that he shall safely reach Paradise. No, that shall burst on which he rests, and he shall fall and be broken in pieces. But he who descends into the mines of suffering shall find unbounded riches there, and he who dives into the depths of grief shall find the pearl of everlasting life within its caverns. Be willing to take the lowest place in the church of God, and to render the humblest service; count it an honor to be allowed to wash the saints’ feet. Be humble in mind; nothing is lost by cherishing this spirit, for see how Jesus Christ was honored in the end.
Recollect that you are exalted when you are disgraced. Read the slanders of your enemies as the plaudits of the just. Consider the scoff and jeer of wicked men as equal to the praise and honor of the godly; their blame is censure, and their censure praise. Reckon too, if your body should ever be exposed to persecution, that it is no shame to you, but the reverse. And if you should be privileged (and you may) to wear the blood-red crown of martyrdom, count it no disgrace to die. Remember, the most honorable in the church are “the noble army of martyrs.” Reckon that the greater the sufferings they endured, so much the greater is their “eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:17). So you, if you stand in the brunt and thick of the fight, remember that you will stand in the midst of glory. If you have the hardest to bear, you will have the sweetest to enjoy. On with you, then—through floods, through fire, through death, through hell, if it should lie in your path. Fear not. He who glorified Christ because He stooped shall glorify you; for after He has caused you to endure awhile, He will give you “the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4).
Sources
September 16 Daily Help
Philippians 2:1–16 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible
Consolation in Christ (Phil 2:1) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 7
Working Out What Is Worked In (Phil 2:12–13) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 14
Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Philippians 2:1–18 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 38
Our Lord in the Valley of Humiliation (Phil 2:8) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 38
Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Philippians 1:12–30; 2:1–13 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 47
Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Philippians 1:21–30; 2:1–11 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 55
The Exaltation of Christ (Phil 2:9–11) The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 2
Philippians 2:12–18
Exposition

12 Therefore Note how the apostle, after writing on this high theme, again seeks the practical good of his friends at Philippi.

work out I have frequently heard these words addressed to an indiscriminate audience, and it has always struck me that they have thereby been twisted from their right meaning. These words, as they stand in the New Testament, contain no exhortation to all men, but are directed to the people of God. They are not intended as an exhortation to the unconverted. They are, as we find them in the epistle, beyond all question addressed to those who are already saved through a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No proof can be needed of this assertion, for the whole epistle is directed to the saints. It begins, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons” (Phil 1:1). The verse before us contains within itself conclusive evidence that Paul was not speaking to unbelievers, for he calls the persons addressed “my dear friends,” and he says of them, “As you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence,” he was therefore writing to persons who had been obedient to the gospel. All true obedience springs from saving faith, and he was therefore addressing those who, through faith in Christ, had been rendered obedient to the gospel commands.
Chipping Away at Sin Like a Sculptor Chipping Away at Marble
Preaching Themes: Holiness, Sin
I have heard it said that the good sculptor, whenever he sees a suitable block of marble, firmly believes that there is a statue concealed within it. His business is but to take away the superfluous material, and so unveil the “thing of beauty” which shall be “a joy forever.”
Believer, you are that block of marble; you have been quarried by divine grace, and set apart for the Master’s service, but we cannot see the image of Christ in you yet as we could wish. True, there are some traces of it, some dim outlines of what is to be; it is for you, with the chisel and the mallet, with constant endeavor and holy dependence upon God, to work out that image of Christ in yourself, till you shall be discovered to be by all men like unto your Lord and Master. God has sketched the image of his Son in you; in the as-yet-but-slightly-carved marble He has fairly outlined it, and you have but to go on chipping away these sins, infirmities, and corruptions, till the fair likeness of the incarnate God shall be seen by all.
your own salvation In a certain sense, the salvation of every person who believes in Christ is complete, and complete without any working out on his part, seeing that “it is finished,” and we are complete in Jesus. Observe that there are two parts of our salvation, the one complete, the other as yet incomplete, though guaranteed to be brought to perfection. The first part of our salvation consists of a work for us; the second, of a work in us. The work for us is perfect—none can add thereunto. Jesus Christ our Lord has offered a complete atonement for all the offenses of His people. He took His people into union with Himself, and by that union they became entitled to all the merit of His righteousness; they became partakers of His everlasting life, and inheritors of His glory. Saints are therefore saved completely so far as substitutionary work is concerned. Such was the meaning of those majestic death-words of our Lord, “It is finished.” He had finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and thus perfected forever those who are set apart. Now with the work of Christ we cannot intermeddle; we are never told to work that out, but to receive it by faith. The blessing comes “to the one who does not work, but who believes in the one who justifies the ungodly” (Rom 4:5). Justification is not at all by human effort, but by the free gift of God.
The second part of salvation consists of a work in us—this is the operation of God the Holy Ghost. As many as were redeemed by the blood of Jesus, are also in due time renewed in the spirit of their minds. The Holy Ghost in regeneration descends into a man, and creates in him a new nature. He does not destroy the old; that remains still to be battled with, and to be overcome. God has broken the yoke of sin in our hearts. It lives, and struggles, and contends, but it is dethroned, and our life is to be the continual overthrow and dethronement of sin in our members.
Though the nature which the Spirit implants is perfect in its kind and in its degree, yet it is not perfect in its development. It is a seed which needs to work itself out into a tree; it is an infant which requires to grow into the stature of a perfect man. The new nature has in it all the elements of entire perfection, but it needs to be expanded, brought out, to use the words of the text, wrought out with fear and trembling. God having first worked it in, it becomes the business of the Christian life to work out the secret inner principle till it permeates the entire system, till it overcomes the old nature, till it, in fact, utterly destroys inbred corruption and reigns supreme in the man’s every part, as it shall do when the Lord takes us to dwell with Himself forever. Understand then, it is not at all to the mediatorial work of Christ, it is not at all with regard to the pardon of our sins or the justification of our persons that Paul speaks, but only with regard to our inner spiritual life.
Looking to Our Own Salvation Before Worrying About Others
Preaching Themes: Evangelism, Salvation
A part of salvation is to be delivered from selfishness, and I am selfish enough to desire to be delivered from selfishness. How can you be of any service to others if you are not saved yourself?
A man is drowning. I am on London Bridge. If I spring from the parapet and can swim, I can save him. But suppose I cannot swim; can I render any service by leaping into sudden and certain death with the sinking man? I am disqualified from helping him till I have the ability to do so.
There is a school over yonder. The first inquiry of him who is to be the master must be, “Do I know myself that which I profess to teach?” Do you call that inquiry selfish? Surely it a most unselfish selfishness, grounded upon common sense. Indeed, the man who is not so selfish as to ask himself, “Am I qualified to act as a teacher?” would be guilty of gross selfishness in putting himself into an office that he was not qualified to fill. Suppose an illiterate person goes into the school and says, “I will be master here, and take the pay,” and yet he cannot teach the children to read or write. Would he not be very selfish in not seeing to his own fitness? Surely it is not selfishness that would make a man stand back and say, “No, I must first go to school myself; otherwise it is but a mockery of the children for me to attempt to teach them anything.”
This is no selfishness, then, when looked at aright, which makes us see to our own salvation, for it is the basis from which we operate for the good of others.
with fear The fear of the text is that which makes a fear to offend so good a God—a hallowed, childlike fear, of which we read, “Blessed is the man that fears always.” A reverential awe of the Most High, a pious dread of offending—this is the fear that is to be cultivated by us. It is not the fear that is the enemy of full assurance, but it is the fear that is opposed to carnal security or recklessness.

and trembling Is that the slave’s trembling? No, this belongs not to heirs of grace. They have a trembling which is akin to joy, for they “rejoice with trembling” (Psa 2:11). Before the Lord we do not tremble with fright, but we are moved even to quaking with a holy awe. Under a sense of the presence of God, we tremble lest we should sin, we tremble lest that presence should remove, lest we should grieve the Spirit and vex the Holy One of Israel. We know what it is to tremble with the exceeding joy and glory of the love of God shed abroad in our souls by the Holy Ghost.

13 one at work in you The matter to be worked out is something the text tells us is at the same time worked in. God, we are told, works in us, therefore it is that we are to work the inward toward the outward. We work out, bring out, educe from within ourselves to our exterior life, that which God constantly works in us in the interior secret recesses of our spiritual being. If He does not work it in, you will never work it out. But while He works within your spirit both to will and to do, you may safely go on to will and to do, for your willing and your doing will produce lowliness of spirit and unity of heart with your brothers.

to will Observe what God works in us: He works in us to will—the desire after holiness, the resolution to put down sin, the pang of grief because we have sinned, the stern resolve that we will not fall into that sin again. All, all is of God, and He who gave the desire will surely fulfill it.

to work He that gave you the will does not leave you there; He works in you the power to do. The power to achieve the victory, the power to smite down the loftiest plume of pride shall come from Him. God is equal to all emergencies, therefore fear not. Though your inner life shall be subject to ten thousand dangers, He will give you power to do the right, the just, the lovely, and the true, for He works gloriously in you.
Destroying Sin Is Like Taking the Land of Canaan
Preaching Themes: Holiness, Sin
You are this day, Christian, like the seed of Israel in Canaan. You have not to escape from Egypt; you are already free. With a high hand and with an outstretched arm God has set you free from the Pharaoh of your sin; you have already passed through the wilderness of your convictions. The fiery serpents and howling wilderness are all over now. You have crossed the river; you are a saved man. Jesus the Joshua is in command; He reigns and rules in your spirit. You have not to fight your way towards the land—you are in it—for we that have believed do enter into rest. But what have you now to do? Why, you have to extend the kingdom within yourself by routing one nation of sins after another. You have, in the power of the Spirit, to hang up your corruptions before the light of the sun—to destroy them utterly. Do not let one escape, for Canaan will never be a place of rest to you till you have driven away the Canaanites, and shall live in the land without association with sin. This is the matter then to which you are earnestly invited to attend. May the Holy Spirit grant you grace never to forget it so long as you live.
for his good pleasure It gives God pleasure to see you holy; it is His delight to see you self-denying. If you conquer yourself it will give Him pleasure.

14 without grumbling Do not say, “You give me too much to do. You always give me the hard work. You put me in the obscure corner.” No, no; “do all things without grumbling.” And do not begin fighting over a holy work, for if you do, you spoil it in the very beginning. How can you then hope for a blessing upon it? “Do all things without grumbling and disputing.”

and disputing Do not dispute with God; let Him do what seems good to Him. Do not dispute with your fellow Christians; do not raise railing accusations against them. When Calvin was told that Luther had spoken ill of him, he said, “Let Luther call me devil if he please; I will never say of him but that he is a most dear and valiant servant of the Lord.” Do not raise intricate and knotty points by way of controversy. Remember, you have adversaries upon whom to use your swords, and therefore there is little need that you should turn their edges by dashing at the armor of your fellows. Do not dispute even with the world. The heathen philosophers always sought occasions for debate; let it be yours to testify what God has told you, but do not court controversy. Do not be ashamed to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, but never do it in a spirit of mere debating, never because you wish to gain a victory, but only because you would tell out what God has bidden you reveal.

15 blameless Men will blame you, but you must seek as Christians to lead lives that give no occasion for blame. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We will not find any pretext against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (Dan 6:5). Erasmus writes of his great adversary Luther, “Even Luther’s enemies cannot deny but that he is a good man.” Force this encomium from an unwilling world. Live so that as in Tertullian’s age, men may say as they did in his time, “Such-and-such a man is a good man, even though he is a Christian.” The heathens thought the Christians the worst of men, but were compelled to confess them to be the best, even though they were Christians.
We cannot be blameless if we murmur and dispute, for such things naturally lead to sin. Our lights cannot shine if instead of trimming them we occupy ourselves with blowing out the lamps of others.

innocent The Greek word might be translated “hornless,” as if you were to be creatures not only that do no harm, but could not do any. Be like sheep that not only will not devour, but cannot devour, for it is contrary to their nature—for they have no teeth with which to bite, no fangs with which to sting, no poison with which to slay. If you carry arrows let them be dipped in love; if you bear a sword let it be the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Otherwise, be everywhere, even among those that would harm you, “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners” (Heb 7:26).

children of God As “the children of God,” remember that the eyes of all are upon you. More is expected from you than from other men because you have a higher pedigree, for you are descended from the very Highest Himself, and therefore should be the highest and best in the world. Do not soil the fingers that are soon to sweep celestial strings; do not let those eyes become the windows of lust which are soon to see the King in His beauty. Do not let those feet be defiled in miry places which are soon to walk the golden streets. Do not let those hearts be filled with pride and bitterness which are soon to be filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy.

without fault Men whom the world cannot rebuke. Men who can stand right straight up, and defy their enemies to find any real fault in them, who can say without any Pharisaism, as Job did, “You know that I am not wicked” (Job 10:7). I would you were such that men must lie before they can revile you. I would have you men upon whose snow-white garments filth will not stick—who may be and must be slandered, but cannot be really rebuked.

shine as stars You cannot straighten them, but you can shine. They could destroy you if they could; but all you have to do is to shine. If Christian men would give more attention to their shining, and pay less attention to the crooked and perverse generation, much more would come of it. But now we are advised to “keep abreast of the times” and to “catch the spirit of the age.” If I could ever catch that spirit, I would hurl it into the bottomless abyss, for it is a spirit that is antagonistic to Christ in all respects. We are just to keep clear of all that, and “shine as stars in the world.”
The Brighter Christians Shine, the Less They Are Looked At
Preaching Themes: Glory, Humility
You have noticed at night a star. It is only a little spark comparatively, but still it is very bright, and everybody says, “Do you see that star?” Yes, but there is a moon; why does not everybody say, “Look what a beautiful moon?” They notice the star first, because it is not usual to see stars so brilliant. By-and-by, on a moonlit night, you will hear people say, “What a lovely moon!” Now, in the daylight people do not say, “What a lovely sun!” No. “What a lovely landscape! What a beautiful view! Look at the tints of those trees now the sun is shining!”
Just so the little Christian is like a star, bright in his little sphere. Others are like the moon: they excite admiration and attention to themselves. But a full-grown Christian, who should be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ, though giving more light than either the moon or the star, would not be half so much looked at, for men would be looking at what he shed light upon rather than upon him. They would look to the doctrine that he taught rather than to how he taught it; they would be looking rather at the lesson of his life than at the life itself. If I should urge you to more and more publicity, it will not be for your sake, but that you may be more and more forgotten, while the truth is the more clearly seen.
in the world Where does the text say they are to shine?—in their house? No, “in the world.” True, they are to be lights in their own family, but moreover if they come up to the full standard of what they should be, they are to be lights in the world.
Christians are Soldiers and Runners
Preaching Themes: Commitment, Courage
Christians are soldiers. If our soldiers were to take it into their heads that they ought never to be seen, a pretty pass things would come to. What are soldiers worth when they shun parade and dread battle? We do not want men who must always be skulking behind a bush, and dare not show themselves to friend or foe.
Christians are runners too, and what sort of runners are men who run in the dark? What? A running match and no spectators? What do you think of Christians who must have the stadium cleared before they can enter the course? Rather, O sons of God, defy all onlookers. Crowd the seats and look on, you angels, and men, and devils too, and see what you will. What does it matter to the Christian? For he is looking unto Jesus. He does not run for you but for the reward, and whether you look or not, his zeal and earnestness are still the same, for Christ is in him. Run he must, look on who will.
16 holding fast to the word of life You are to hold forth the Word of life as men hold forth a torch. Your shining is largely to consist in holding forth the Word of life.

a source of pride to me Paul cared much about God’s work, but he did not trouble about himself.

did not run or labor in vain The apostle was the founder of the church at Philippi; he had watched over them with all the anxiety of one who had planted and watered, and who looked for the increase. He therefore appealed to the affection that he knew they had for him. “I have run,” argues the apostle, “with all men looking on and gazing, many of them hating and scoffing. I have run with all my might; would you have me run in vain? I have labored more than they all,” the apostle could say, “would you have me labor for nothing?” He knew the answer they would give him would be, “No, beloved Paul, we would see you win the prize for which you ran, and reap the fruit for which you labored.” “Well,” argues the apostle “but I cannot, except you shine as lights in the world; you disappoint my hopes, you snatch the prize from my grasp, you fill me with anguish, if you are not holy, heavenly minded witnesses for Christ.”
God’s ministers cannot bear the thought of having labored in vain. And yet if some of us were to die, what would remain of all we have done? We do not wish to rob faithful ministers of the result of their labors, and yet we shall do so unless we join heartily with our brothers in spreading the gospel, and do our best to live in holiness and Christian love.

17 poured out as a drink offering If he might be poured forth as a drink offering on their behalf, or offered up as a whole burnt offering in the service of the Savior, he would be glad. He could not bear to have lived in vain, but to spend his life for the glory of his Lord would be ever a joy to him.

18 you rejoice and rejoice with me To live and to die for Jesus Christ, with the blessing of the Father resting upon us, is a matter for us to joy in unitedly and continually. God help us so to do!
Application
Working Out Salvation Means Being Unselfish

In temporal matters do not think it to be enough if your own business prospers: have a desire to see your brothers obtaining a sufficiency. Do not be so greedy as to scrape everything to your own dish, but let other men have some share in your concerns. If they be poor and you wealthy, help them. If they are in straits and you possess abundance, minister to their necessities. Do not let Christ be naked and you able but unwilling to clothe him. Do not let Christ be sick and you do not visit Him. But if one member suffers, you, as another member, suffer with him. In spiritual things think it not enough yourself to live near to God: take the cases of others who may have backslidden and lay them before the throne of grace, and seek by loving rebuke or gentle admonition to restore such as are fallen, remembering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Be anxious for the good of all the members of the church to which you belong. In fact, so far as you can, seek the soul prosperity of all the people of God.
Observe then, the drift of the apostle is this: if we are to work out our own salvation, it must be by putting self down in the dust and becoming unselfish. In proportion as we are selfish we are sold under sin, but in proportion as we are unselfish and live for others for Christ’s sake, in proportion as we value others and set a low estimate upon ourselves, in that proportion we are advancing in grace, and are working out our own salvation from sin. As I said before, here is the work, here is the difficulty. The descent into the Avernus of sin is easy enough. How many slide into sin as swiftly as travelers glissading down the snowy side of an Alp! But to toil upward, to climb the hill of God, this is the work, this is the difficulty. Blessed is that man who, leaning on the eternal arm, works out his own salvation, and is permitted to ascend the hill of the Lord, and to stand in his holy place.
God Works, but Requires Our Work

God works, says the text; therefore we must work out because God works in. The assistance of divine grace is not given to us to put aside our own efforts, but to excite them. God comes to us to work in us—what? To work in us to be indifferent? No! To work in us to will with resolution and firmness. Does He work in us, having willed, to sit still? No! He works in us to do.
The direct effect of the influence of grace upon the heart is to make a man active, and the more grace he has the more energetic he becomes. A man will never overcome sin except by energy. You cannot get your pride down, I am sure, by merely resolving to do it. You will have to watch that old enemy, and keep your eye on him as a detective watches a thief. For when you think, “At last I have really overcome him,” you will discover him at work under another shape, and your conflict will commence anew. So with a hot temper. How some brothers have had to struggle with it, and when they have thought, “Now I really have mastered it by the grace of God,” then some accident has occurred in which the temptation has assailed him from another corner, and the old man has set the tongue on fire again. Yes, our life must be spent in constant watching, and, as we find ourselves tripping, we must add constant repentance, perpetually praying to be upheld for the future, unceasingly struggling to attain something yet beyond, pressing forward evermore. Evermore, I say, for to pause is to retreat; to halt is to be driven back.
What It Means to Shine as a Christian

A Christian must have some degree of publicity, and it is hardly possible for him to carry out his true character if he lives in such retirement and secrecy as never to be known to be a Christian. Pharisees of old courted publicity. They could not give away one halfpenny in the street but they must sound a trumpet that everybody might see their splendid charity. They could not pray in their closet, but they must seek some corner of the street that every passerby might hold up his hands in amazement at the man who was so good that he prayed even in the street. While we must be warned against the pride of the Pharisee, we must take care that we do not run into another extreme.
Your own conscience will be your guide in that matter. If you detect in yourself any desire to glorify yourself, then you are wrong in making your religion public at all. Plainly, if you discover that you are keeping back in order to get an easier path for yourself, then you are grievously wrong in seeking to hide your religion. If it be for God’s honor for you to publish on the housetops what He has told you in the closet, do it, and if it be for Christ’s honor to do only in the closet that which another man would do in the street, do it. Your conscience will always teach you, if it be an enlightened conscience, when you might act ostentatiously, and when on the other hand you would be cowardly. But do not, I pray you, make the Pharisee’s pride an excuse for your cowardice.
How much of publicity then, do we really think is necessary in a Christian? It is becoming that he should make a public avowal of his faith. He should come out from among the world and declare himself to be on the Lord’s side. There is an ordinance that God has Himself ordained, which is the proper way in which to make this profession—to be baptized in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, thus openly being buried in water to show our death to the world, and rising out of the water to show that we hope to live a new life as the result of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
You should also be associated constantly with Christian people. The one act of profession is not enough; it should be continued by union with some visible church of Christ. Christianity requires you to unite yourselves with those who are united to Christ. If the Church of Christ be the spouse of Jesus, you should seek to be a member of her visibly as well as invisibly—especially you that are lately converted, for your presence in the church is for your good, and much for the church’s comfort.
Beside this association with Christians, there should be a daily carrying out of your Christianity in your life. It is not all that we say that shines. That may be only a flash, a sparkle, a display of fireworks, but it is our daily acting which is the true shining out of Christ within.
But to shine as lights, we must add the open testimony of our words. I will not give a rusty nail for your religion if you can be quiet about it; I do not believe you have any. That which is nearest to the heart is generally most on the tongue. You must be constantly bearing your witness by the word of your mouth for Christ, seeking to teach the ignorant, to warn the careless, to reclaim the backsliding, and to bring the wanderers to the cross.
The Uses Christians Have as Lights

What is the use of Christians as lights? The answer is manifold. We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that those who come near him can see their own character in his life, can see their sins, can see their lost estate. He should so live that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should perfectly understand the way to heaven. Things that men will not see, and cannot see without him, should be very clear wherever he is.
The next use of a light is for guidance. Every Christian should light some part of the voyage of life, and there should not be a channel without its light. I hope that you have often, when men have scarcely known it, pointed them the way to Christ, by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a lighthouse is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are plenty of false lights shown everywhere in the world. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure. They hoist the wrong light; be it yours and mine to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, so that we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.
Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A light really does give great comfort. If you think it does not, sit in the dark an hour or two. A Christian ought to be a comforter. With kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart, he should have a cheering word for the sons of sorrow.
Light, too, also has its use in rebuking sin. I think our streetlamps are the best police we have. If those lamps were out we would need ten times the number of watchers, and there would be far more crimes. Why is it that thieves do not like the light? Because their dark deeds can only be done in darkness. And how is it ungodly men do not like Christians? Why, because they rebuke them. Just as lights tend to make a city safe and stop robberies and crime, so Christian men, when they are in sufficient numbers to act upon the commonwealth, will make crime less common. Certainly they will compel it to hide its deformity under the shadows of night, whereas before it might have walked in the blaze of day with approbation.
What is the good of a Christian who is not thus useful to the world? He has a treasure, but he hoards it. Vile is the wretch who hoards gold, but what is he who hoards bread? The world is starving, and they hoard the bread of life. They are hoarding water, the living water; they are damming up the stream to keep enough for themselves. They are more foolish still: they are trying to hoard up the light, as if they would have any less if they let others have it—hoard up light as if there were only a scant supply. If they loved Christ they must love sinners. If they loved Jesus they must seek to extend His kingdom, and to let Him see of the travail of His soul (Isa 53:11).
Sources
Philippians 2:1–16 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible
Believers—Lights in the World (Phil 2:14–16) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 8
Working Out What Is Worked In (Phil 2:12–13) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 14
“Your Own Salvation” (Phil 2:12) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 17
Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Philippians 2:1–18 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 38
Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Philippians 1:12–30; 2:1–13 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 47
Philippians 2:19–30
Exposition

19–24 no one like-minded Paul himself had this natural care, but he could not just then put his hand upon another of like mind to himself, except Timothy. The man of God, who feels the force of holy fatherhood, would do anything and everything, possible and impossible, for the sake of his spiritual children; he gladly spends and is spent for them. Though the more he loves the less he may be loved, yet by the force of inward prompting he is impelled to self-denying labor.
Some Are Naturally Safe Harbors and Nurses for the Soul
Preaching Themes: Church Leadership, Counseling, Gifts of the Spirit
Along the coast, in certain places, there are no harbors. But in other spots, there are bays into which vessels run at once in the time of storm. Some men present an open natural harborage for people in distress. You love them instinctively, and trust them unreservedly. They, on their part, welcome your confidence, and lay themselves out for your benefit. They were fashioned by nature with warm human sympathies, and these have been sanctified by grace, so that it is their vocation to instruct, to comfort, to succor, and in all ways to help spirits of a feebler order. These are the kingly men who become nursing fathers of the church.
Or whoever heard of a nurse more fit for her work than Florence Nightingale? She seems as if she could do nothing else, and as if God had sent her into the world on purpose, not only that she might be a nurse herself, but that she might also teach others to nurse. Well, it is just the same in spiritual things.
25 Epaphroditus Paul was in prison at Rome. These Philippians had made a contribution, and they had sent Epaphroditus with it to relieve the apostle in his poverty.

26 distressed In Matthew 26:37, you find it recorded that Jesus was “troubled,” and that expression is full of meaning—of more meaning, indeed, than it would be easy to explain. The word in the original is a very difficult one to translate. It may signify the abstraction of the mind, and its complete occupation by sorrow, to the exclusion of every thought which might have alleviated the distress. One burning thought consumed His whole soul, and burned up all that might have yielded comfort. For awhile His mind refused to dwell upon the result of His death, the consequent joy which was set before Him. The learned Thomas Goodwin says, “The word denotes a failing, deficiency, and sinking of spirit, such as happens to men in sickness and swounding.” Epaphroditus’ sickness, whereby he was brought near to death, is called by the same word.

27 God had mercy on him Lazarus of Bethany, Dorcas, Epaphroditus, and Trophimus are a few of that great host of sick folk whom the Lord loves in their sicknesses, for whom the promise was written that the Lord “sustains him on his sick bed. In his illness, you restore to health” (Psa 41:3).
Application
Why Christians Are Permitted to Get Sick

Why are diseases and pains left in the bodies of God’s people? Our bodies are redeemed, for Christ has redeemed our entire manhood, but if Christ be in us the body is still dead because of sin, even though the spirit is alive because of righteousness. It is not till the resurrection that we shall enjoy the full result of the redemption of the body. Resurrection will accomplish for our bodies what regeneration has done for our souls. We were born again, but that divine work was exercised only upon our spiritual nature. Our bodies were not born again; hence they still abide under the liability of disease, decay, and death, though even these evils have been turned into blessings. This frail, sensitive, and earthly frame, which Paul calls “our humble body” (Phil 3:21), grows weary and worn, and by-and-by it will fade away and die, unless the Lord shall come. And even if He should come, this feeble fabric must be totally changed, for flesh and blood as they now are cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption dwell with incorruption. Even unto this day the body is under death because of sin, and is left so on purpose to remind us of the effects of sin, that we may feel within ourselves what sin has done, and may the better guess at what sin would have done if we had remained under it, for the pains of hell would have been ours forever. These griefs of body are meant to make us recollect what we owe to the redemption of our Lord Jesus, and so to keep us humble and grateful. Aches and pains are also sent to keep us on the wing for heaven, even as thorns in the nest drive the bird from its sloth. They make us long for the land where the inhabitant shall no more say, “I am sick” (Isa 33:24).
Note this, that in every healing of which we are the subjects we have a pledge of the resurrection. Every time a man who is near the gates of death rises up again he enjoys a kind of rehearsal of that grand rising when from beds of dust and silent clay the perfect saints shall rise at the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. We ought to gather from our restorations from serious and perilous sickness a proof that the God who brings us back from the gates of the grave can also bring us back from the grave itself whenever it shall be His time to do so.
Sources
What We Would Be: Fathers An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students
Helps (1 Cor 12:28) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 13
The Agony in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 20
The Sick Man Left Behind (2 Tim 4:20) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 25
“Jehovah-Rophi” (Exod 15:26) The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 28
Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: Philippians. (E. Ritzema, Hrsg.) (S. 47–86). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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