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1So by whatever appeal there is in our relation to Christ, by whatever incentive there is in love, by whatever participation there is in the Spirit, whatever affection and sympathy, 2make me perfectly happy by living in harmony, with the same attitude of love, with the same feeling and purpose. 3Do not act for selfish ends or from vanity, but modestly treat one another as your superiors. 4Do not take account of your own interests, but of the interests of others as well. 5Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he possessed the nature of God, he did not grasp at equality with God, 7but laid it aside to take on the nature of a slave and become like other men. 8When he had assumed human form, he still further humbled himself and carried his obedience so far as to die, and to die upon the cross. 9That is why God has so greatly exalted him, and given him the name above all others, 10so that in the name of Jesus everyone should kneel, in heaven and on earth and in the underworld, 11and everyone should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and thus glorify God the Father.
12So, my dear friends, as you have always been obedient, with reverence and awe make every effort to insure your salvation, not simply as though I were with you, but all the more because I am away. 13For it is God who in his good will is at work in your hearts, inspiring your will and your action. 14Do everything without any grumbling or disputing, 15so that you will be blameless and honest, faultless children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverted age, in which you appear like stars in a dark world, 16offering men the message of life. Then I will have reason to boast of you on the Day of Christ, because my exertion and labor have not been wasted. 17Even if my life is to be poured out as a libation as you offer your faith in a service of sacrifice to God, I am glad to have it so, and I congratulate you upon it, 18just as you must be glad and congratulate me.
19I hope, with the help of the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you soon, so that I, too, may be cheered by having news about you. 20For I have no one like him who would take such a real interest in you. 21For they are all looking out for their own interests, not for those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know his character, and how like a son helping his father he has worked like a slave with me in preaching the good news. 23So I hope to send him to you just as soon as I can see how my case is going to turn out. 24I trust the Lord to enable me to come to you myself before long. 25But I feel that I must send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-laborer, and fellow-soldier, whom you sent to look after my needs.
26For he has been longing to see you all, and has been greatly distressed because you heard that he was sick. 27For he was sick, and nearly died, but God took pity on him, and not only on him, but on me, to save me from having one sorrow after another. 28So I am all the more eager to send him, so that you may have the pleasure of seeing him again, and I may feel more relieved. 29So give him a hearty Christian welcome, and value men like him very highly, 30for he came near dying for the Lord’s work, and risked his life to make up for what was lacking in the service you have done me.
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