Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #61
Posted: September 29, 2005

IN CHRIST
A Study of Positional Truths

Our IN CHRIST truth for this week is found in Philippians 2:1 where Paul says, If there be therefore any consolation IN CHRIST,  if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.”

Paul closed out Chapter One and verse 27 exhorting the church to unity when he said, ‘Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

Paul begins Chapter Two with four statements that he prefaces with the word ‘if’.  The word ‘if’ means in view of or in light of these facts.  Paul tells the church that if these facts are obeyed it will bring about unity. 

He mentioned the first with these words, ‘if there be any consolation IN CHRIST…,’  Let us refer to this as the POSITION OF CHRIST.  The word ‘consolation’ is our word for exhortation or encouragement.  Paul says for them to make their focus, the encouraging of themselves, the fact that they are IN CHRIST.  There is no greater place of oneness and unity as being IN CHRIST.  The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the highest degree of oneness there is.  It is beyond our human explanation to describe the oneness that exists in the Trinity.  There can be no unity when our focus is us and not Him.

Paul mentions not only our Position of Christ should bring unity among the brethren but the PERSUASION FROM CHRIST.  He speaks of this Persuasion in verse one when He says, ‘…if there be any comfort of love…’.  The word ‘comfort’ means to come along side for the purpose to stimulate or persuade.  When our focus is upon the love of Christ that reached down and saved us from our sins, oh how this will compel us to live in a spirit of unity with others.  The word ‘love’ is defined as a love that impels one to sacrifice ones self for the one loved.  My, how our little differences will become as nothing at the foot of Calvary the highest display of love. 

The next fact that Paul mentions that will bring unity when obeyed was ‘…if there be any fellowship of the Spirit…’  Let us call this not our POSITION OF CHRIST, or PERSUASION FROM CHRIST, but OUR POWER IN CHRIST.  The word ‘fellowship’ means a common interest and mutual active yieldedness of the believer to the Spirit of God.  We are joint-participants in what the Spirit is doing.  How could we not be in unity if we are yielded to and controlled by the Holy Spirit?  Disunity only comes when one or both parties are not yielded to the Spirit and their desire is for their own agenda.  The yielding to the Spirit will bring about the power of like-mindedness with Christ. 

The fourth fact to bring unity to the church is in the statement, ‘…if there be any bowels and mercies…’  Let us call this the PASSION THROUGH CHRIST.  The word ‘bowels’ is our word tender hearted.  The word ‘mercies’ means to withhold what one deserves.  Both words are in the plural multiple tense.  If tenderhearted mercy is operating in the Church differences will be resolved quickly.  Divisions will be healed and murmurings will cease. 

Paul said before Christ returned for the Church and the Tribulation would begin the ‘Spirit would withdraw himself’. (II Thess. 2:7)  As I look at the division and fighting of the church of our day I wonder if the withdrawal of His Spirit has not already begun.

 

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