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1Now if you have known anything of Christ's encouragement and of his reassuring love; if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and of compassion and deep sympathy,

2do make my joy completelive together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you.

3Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves.

4None of you should think only of his own affairs, but consider other people's interests also.

5Let your attitude to life be that of Christ Jesus himself.

6For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God's equal,

7but stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born a man.

8And, plainly seen as a human being, he humbled himself by living" "a life of utter obedience, to the point of death, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal.

9That is why God has now lifted him to the heights, and has given him the name beyond all names,

10so that at the name of Jesus "every knee shall bow'"whether in Heaven or earth or under the earth.

11And that is why "every tongue shall confess" that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12So then, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed meand that not only when I was with younow, even more in my absence, complete the salvation that God has given you with a proper sense of awe and responsibility.

13For it is God who is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose.

14Do all you have to do without grumbling or arguing,

15so that, you may be blameless and harmless, faultless children of God, living in a warped and diseased age, and shining like lights in a dark world.

16For you hold up in your hands the very word of life. Thus can you give me something to be proud of in the day of Christ, for I shall know then that I did not spend my energy in vain.

17Yes, and if it should happen that my lifeblood is, so to speak, poured out upon the sacrifice and Offering which your faith means to God, then I can still be very happy, and I can share my happiness with you all.

18You should be glad about this too, and share this happiness with me.

19But I hope in the Lord Jesus that it will not be long before I send Timothy to you, and then I shall be cheered by news of you and your doings.

20I have nobody else here who shares my genuine concern for you.

21They are all wrapped up in their own affairs and do not really care for the cause of Jesus Christ.

22But you know Timothy's worth, how he has worked with me for the gospel like a son with his father.

23This is the man I hope to send to you as soon as I can tell how things will work out for me,

24but God gives me hope that it will not be long before I am able to come myself.

25I have considered it desirable, however, to send you Epaphroditus. He has been to me brother, fellowworker and comradeinarms, as well as being the messenger you sent to see to my wants.

26He has been homesick for you all, and was worried because he knew that you had heard that he was ill.

27Indeed he was ill, dangerously in, but God had mercy on himand incidentally on me as well, so that I did not have the sorrow of losing him to add to my sufferings.

28I am particularly anxious, therefore, to send him to you so that when you see him again you may be glad, and this will lighten my own sorrows.

29Welcome him in the Lord with great joy! You should hold men like him in highest honour,

30for his loyalty to Christ brought him very near deathbe risked his life to do for me in person what distance prevented you from doing.

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