Friday, September 1, 2017, 5:49 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “What Blessed Communion.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Philippians 2 (Select vv. NASB).
Fellowship of the Spirit (vv. 1-4)
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within us, we enter into a personal and intimate relationship with our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. We now have a closeness of relationship with him much like a bride with her husband, or like a very close friendship. The Holy Spirit now speaks to our hearts the words of Jesus, and he gives us guidance, direction, and counsel. He teaches us all things about Jesus, and he makes known to us the will of God for our lives.
Since God now lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, we can talk with God – with Jesus – about our innermost thoughts and feelings, and we can take our needs and requests to him. We also listen to him speak his words to our hearts, at which time we sense his compassion, friendship, love, and affection towards us. During these times of fellowship with him we get to know him better, we understand more of his will for us, and he shows us the way he would have us go. Our desire is now for him, to do his will, and so we respond to his words to us with obedience and submission.
Since we now have this close relationship with our Lord, and we are daily being encouraged by his words, and by his love, tenderness and compassion towards us, we should be sharing the love Jesus has for us with those around us, but particularly with our fellow Christians. If we are united with Christ in this way, we should be united with one another in Christ in spirit, mind and heart. And, we should be likeminded with the mind of Christ, and intent on one purpose, which is the will of God for our lives. Also, we should be looking out for others, for what is in their best interest, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and what is God’s best for them.
The Same Attitude (vv. 5-11)
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
If we want to be effective in our Christian walks in doing the things we have just talked about, it begins with having the correct attitude (mindset), and that is the humility of Christ. We will not have genuine fellowship with Christ or unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ if we are selfish or if we have an entitlement mindset.
So many people these days are teaching a gospel of entitlement rather than a gospel which puts sin to death in our lives so that we might live for God and his righteousness. They teach a “me-focused” gospel rather than a Christ-centered gospel message of salvation. They think that we are saved merely to escape hell (punishment) and so we have the reward of heaven one day, but they leave out the truth that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Many of these same people are teaching that God requires nothing of us other than some non-descript “faith” in Christ, i.e. that he demands no obedience, no repentance and no submission to himself and to the cross. But, God’s Word teaches that coming to faith in Christ means death to sin (our old lives), and resurrection with Christ to new lives in him, to be lived to his righteousness. If we continue living sinful lifestyles, we will die in our sins, no matter if we have professed faith in Christ or not. If we don’t obey Christ, we don’t love him, and we don’t know him, God’s Word says.
Obey Always (vv. 12-13)
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Some people, who are teaching this “entitlement gospel,” would have you believe that if you repent of your sins and walk in obedience to Christ that it is works-based salvation. But, that is nonsense! We don’t work for God to earn or to deserve our salvation. And, it isn’t us doing things for God out of our own flesh, but it is God working in and through us for his glory, as we cooperate fully with that work of grace in our lives. If we don’t turn from our sins, and we don’t walk in obedience to him, we don’t have eternal life with God! It is that plain and simple.
What they fail to realize is that we are not saved just so we escape punishment for sin and just so we go to heaven when we die. Jesus died to deliver us out of slavery (addiction) to sin, not just to forgive us our sins. And, he delivered us from the control of Satan so that we might come under the control of his righteousness. Jesus didn’t save us just to pardon our sins, but he died to transform us and to conform us to his likeness. Being in Christ, by faith in him, means we walk in the fear (honor, respect, and reverence) of God, we take him and his word seriously, and we don’t take his grace to us for granted.
Above Reproach (vv. 14-18)
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
If we are to live such godly lives in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation to where we prove ourselves to be “above reproach,” what would that entail? Scripturally speaking, I believe it means we are walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and we are daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24). It doesn’t mean we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but it does mean we consistently walk in obedience to our Lord, and that we are not living in sinful addiction.
It also means that we are walking in holiness, separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being made into Christ’s likeness. We don’t think, talk or act like the ungodly, in lifestyle, nor do we take on the world’s attitudes, philosophies or culture and make them our own. So, if we want to live lives above reproach, and we want to be holy, then we need to do some serious soul searching concerning our lifestyles and the kinds of things we do, think, say and participate in on a daily basis. In other words, if we are daily consuming the trash the world is offering us, and we don’t even blink an eye at it, with all of its immorality, then something is terribly wrong!
Instead of immersing ourselves in our culture, we need to be standing out like lights in a dark world. Yes, it will mean people will hate us, reject us, accuse us falsely, persecute us and want nothing to do with us, but in that we should rejoice, because we are sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Instead of trying to fit in with the world, so that we talk its language, and so we talk about the latest movies, music, sports, etc., we should be holding forth the Word of Life to people. Why is it so many people who call themselves Christians shy away from talking about Jesus, but they are full of conversation about everything this world has to offer us? If we love Jesus, and we are in fellowship with him, it should show.
What Blessed Communion
An Original Work / July 11, 2011
Oh, what sweet and blessed communion
With our Lord is ours to share
When we sit at Jesus’ table,
Share His cup and eat the bread.
Sit at His feet, hear what He says,
Listen to each word He speaks;
Harken to obey His teachings;
Meet with Him throughout the week.
Oh, what grace he gives unto us
When we come to Him in faith;
Believe in His precious promise;
Free from our sins; saved by grace.
Turn from our sins; turn to our God;
Commit all our ways to Him.
Choose to live for Him each moment;
Daily cleansing us from sin.
Oh, what love He has for us that
He would die a cruel death,
So that we could be forgiven
Of our sins and live instead.
Walk with Jesus; serve Him only
As our Lord, God, priest and King.
Abide with Him; His word in us;
Bearing fruit, our offering.