Philippians 2:1-4 NASB
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.
Of The Same Mind
For those of us who trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, who follow him in obedience, there is much encouragement for us in Christ. There is plentiful consolation of his love towards us in whatever it is we are going through. And, there is enormous fellowship of the Spirit of God in our lives. For, he pours out his affection and his compassion on us regularly.
Therefore, because our Lord loves us so much, and he demonstrates his love for us in so many tangible ways, we ought to love others in like manner. We should treat others with the same love and thoughtfulness and consideration as what our Lord does for us.
And, for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should endeavor to be of the same mind with one another, which is the mind of Christ, not that of man. For, you will hear much about unity and like-mindedness within the church, but be on your guard, for much of it is not true unity with Christ, but with humanistic teaching and philosophy, and with business marketing schemes.
Like-mindedness (unity) with Christ is uniting ourselves with his holiness, purity, truth, honesty, morality, uprightness, and integrity, and with walking in obedience to him in surrender to his will for our lives. It is loving what he loves and hating what he hates, standing up for what is right, and rejecting what is evil. And, it is no longer living according to our fleshly ways.
It is also uniting ourselves with his selflessness, and with his willingness to lay his life down for us so that we can go free from our slavery to sin and walk in his love and righteousness. It, as well, is putting what is for the benefit and wellbeing of others above ourselves, being willing to be thought crazy, radical, or whatever in order to help others to freedom in Christ.
And, when we are, in this way, likeminded with Christ, we will also be of one mind with one another, because we will have our minds set on Christ and on what is from above, rather than having our minds set on this world and all that is a part of this world of sin.
Philippians 2:5-11 NASB
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.
Have This Attitude
We, as followers of Christ, are to have the same attitude as he had about life, death, sin, righteousness, and evil and good, which a lot of today’s modern teachers have distorted.
Jesus Christ was not just someone who went around doing good deeds and who blessed everyone by being nice to them, and whom everyone liked. We often have this wrong idea that to be like Jesus means to be someone everyone likes because we don’t “rock the boat,” and we don’t say things to upset people, and we don’t get preachy or negative or judgmental.
I mean, I hear this regularly: “She was such a good Christian. Everyone loved her. She had no enemies. She was always positive and encouraging. And, she made everyone feel good about themselves,” etc.
But, is this what scripture teaches about Jesus? No! He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with suffering. He was like one from whom men hid their faces. He was oppressed and he was afflicted. He was hated, persecuted, hounded, accused falsely and called of the devil, and a liar, crazy, and a blasphemer.
And, so they arrested him, gave him a mock trial, then beat him and put him to death on a cross, because they hated who he was, and what he stood for, and the things which he taught and did. And, yet this is not usually the model we are told about when someone describes who they believe is a “good Christian,” is it? And, why do you suppose that is?
Even in many Christian circles, if you truly follow the model of Jesus Christ, and you have the same attitude he has about sin, impurity, purity, evil, and good, etc., you are not usually well loved or admired. You are not invited over to people’s houses or included in their gatherings. They will feel about you, perhaps, much the same way Jesus’ fellow Jews felt about him. For, many of them are looking for people who blend in, not those who stand out.
But, we are to be those who stand out, not that we should purposefully try to be obnoxious or obtrusive. That isn’t who Jesus was or is. We should be kind and respectful and show consideration for others, and care about people and their needs, and show them love. But, we should also be those who put others’ salvation above our own desire to be liked, for that is what Jesus did, which is what got him hung on a cross to die.
Philippians 2:12-13 NASB
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.
Work Out Your Salvation
This is not teaching works-based salvation. I just want to say that upfront. For, we can do nothing in and of ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. It is still only by God’s grace, through faith, which is a gift of God, and not of our own human efforts, that we are saved from our sins.
But, where a lot of people get messed up is in understanding what the “gift” is. Yes, it is our salvation, but it is not just an escape from hell so that we can go to heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). This is the essence of the gospel message, and it is the gift of our salvation, too.
The “gift” is that, because Jesus died to sin on that cross, we can, too. And, because he lives to God, we can, too (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). For, in his death he delivered us out of our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now walk in freedom from the power of sin over our lives and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Amen!
Also, we need to understand that scripture does not teach our salvation as a one-time event at which we “get saved” and then we live our lives however we choose and one day we get to spend eternity with God in heaven.
We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for us, his bride, and our salvation is complete. So, we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. We must put our old lives of living for sin and self behind us, and we must now walk in obedience to Christ and his Word (see Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
For, we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the sinful nature, from that flesh we will reap corruption. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. Although we don’t work to get salvation, we are saved to do the works of our Father in heaven, which he prepared in advance that we should do (Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:14).
Philippians 2:14-18 NASB
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.
Lights in the World
We are not supposed to be like the world. We are not supposed to do the things that the ungodly do. As followers of Jesus, God has called us to come out from the world and to be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin. This does not mean we don’t intermingle (associate) with those who do not know Jesus, for how else can we show them love and kindness and share with them the gospel of our salvation?
But, we are not to blend in with the world, talk like the ungodly, and think and act like those who have not been cleansed from their sins. We should be like a light shining in a dark room which gives light to the people of the world, not that blends in so they won’t think we are strange, and so they will think we are “nice.” Jesus wasn’t nice! He was kind, though. But, he spoke the truth in love, and he said what got him hated and killed.
If you truly want to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then you need to lay down your life, too, for the Lord, and in order to shine the light of the gospel of our salvation in a dark world where people need the Savior. It won’t get you voted most popular, but it will get you peace with God and a fruit of righteousness in the lives of the people who are touched by your life.
I’ll Walk with God
Nikolaus Brodszky / Paul Francis Webster
I’ll walk with God
From this day on
His helping hand I’ll lean upon
This is my prayer my humble plea
May the Lord be ever with me…
Friday, September 14, 2018 – We need to be those who walk with our Lord, and not just talk our faith.