(1-11) Does Paul start with a guilt trip? Since the church knows Jesus they have experienced encouragement, comfort, fellowship, affection and mercy. That should result in them being loving and unified as a congregation. They will only be unified if they put aside selfishness and embrace humility. The best example of humility is Jesus Christ. What follows in 2:6-11 is one of the greatest Christological passages in the Bible. Paul explains that Jesus is God, but He didn’t cling to the glory and adoration. Instead, he came to this earth, became a human, and obeyed the Father, even to death on a cross. As a result, God has given Him even more glory and honor, since all will now acknowledge Him. The lesson for us is that humility is the path to exaltation, not pride.
(12-18) Paul calls on them to continue to make their salvation real by living it out day by day. They need to make sure they continue to obey, and they need to obey cheerfully! That way they will show their faith to others and shine like lights in the midst of a perverse society. What a reminder for us! Their continued service will cause Paul to boast about them when Jesus returns. But even now it makes him rejoice, even during his imprisonment, and they should rejoice with him.
(19-30) Paul’s hopes to send Timothy, who is like a son to him, to them soon. Timothy will let them know the result of Paul’s trial, and will be able to return to Paul with a report about the church. Until then he will send Epaphroditus back to them. He had been sent by the church to minister to Paul (probably by bringing financial help), and had almost died as a result. Paul recognizes their anxiety about him and wants to alleviate their concern. The care and concern expressed by all parties here should be examples to us!