In Philippians 2 Paul tells the church to be of one mind. While I am no philosopher I believe that the key to understanding this passage is in understanding Paul’s philosophy of ministry. Paul’s philosophy of ministry can be seen as centered around three main strongholds; the gospel, the glory of God, the good of all men.
Paul would be an extremely unpopular fellow in most of our churches. I say this because Paul was a radical. He believed in and vocally affirmed the need for and the power of the Gospel to totally transform a person’s life. Paul was not just talking about external changes, and behavioral modifications. He was talking about night and day differences, what I like to call “double take Christianity.” Changes so dramatic they would be reminiscent of the demoniac of Gadara from whom Jesus had cast out a legion of demons. When people saw this man after his encounter with Jesus they had to look again because they could not believe their eyes!
Paul was driven by this. It is what made him tick! He would see a need in someone’s life and think, “they need Jesus!” How does this have to do with philosophy of ministry? Philosophy of ministry is not what you do but why you do what you do. Paul said that the love of Christ constrained him to preach the Gospel. Some have said that it was the need of others that made Paul desire to share the message. Others have said that once Paul experienced the love of Jesus for himself he could not keep it quiet. I believe that a composite of the two views (with a little addendum) is more likely. Paul was moved to preach Jesus because of love for Jesus, and that because Jesus loves souls in need Paul could not keep quiet. He preached the Gospel because he loved what Jesus loved!
Paul also pursued the glory of God above his own comfort. Paul tells us of his many trials and hardships but unlike I would do, he does not do so to complain or elicit pity. Paul tells of what he has endured not as a testament to his own strength or as a means of gaining stature but as proof that God can do all things even by weak and lowly vessels. Paul always points back to God and says, “Worship HIM!” Paul would say, I have been able to endure so that I may encourage those who are about to give up!
Paul also taught in many places that it is up to us to pursue peace. That we must live in humility and love. Why? Because peace love and humility are things God grants to His children. Gifts God gives to us so that we may share with others that they can be found, in Jesus! There is nothing but good that God desires for man but His goodness is only poured out on those who believe. And here we come full circle. Those who believe will be blessed by God with life eternal and peace beyond comprehension.
Paul’s ministry was about preaching the Gospel for the Glory of God and the good of all men. But why? Because he had come to understand what he was trying to tell the Philippians, Jesus did it! Be of one mind. Be willing to endure hardship even unto death. Because when we do this for the Gospel, one day we will be able to kneel before God and present to Him those who believe in Jesus, not because of us but because God used us. One day every knee will bow, where will your neighbors be? One day every knee will bow, where will your family be? Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost. What are you doing? God grant us the mind of Christ, and the radical commitment of Paul. Make us take on the form of servants for the Gospel, the good of all men and to the Glory of God the Father.