Victory Over the Flesh

Philippians 2:1-4 ESV

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

“Unity” is a buzz word these days. You hear it in the news, from political leaders, in the workplace, in the church, from the Pope, and from other religious leaders. But, the unity that most of them are talking about is not that of having the same mind as Christ, but it is unity with business marketing schemes and plans, and with global political tyrannical agendas.

So, when we hear people talking about how we all need to be united, and how we all need to be of the same mind and heart and voice, then we need to be discerning with regard to what exactly we are uniting with. For, there are even preachers who will use scripture to guilt people into uniting with them in their business goals and objectives, but that is not the unity of scripture. I want to make that abundantly clear.

If we, as followers of Christ, are to be united in mind, one with the other, it needs to be the mind of Christ. So many leaders in our nations and in our churches are pushing a unity that is not of the mind of Christ at all, but is of the mind of man, of the flesh. It has as its goal that we all come together as one, that is all the people of the world, and that we throw off all which divides us as a people so that we can all live in harmony with one another.

It sounds good, but it isn’t necessarily good. For, what this means is that we have to give up the mind of Christ, and we have to find common ground with all people of all walks of life, and of all religions or beliefs, to where we can all come together as one.

So, we have to give up our faith in Jesus Christ, at least the part that says that he is the only way to God the Father and to heaven, and the part that says we have to die with Christ to sin that we might live with him to righteousness, because those beliefs are not compatible with the people of the world.

So, the unity we want to pursue is that of being likeminded with Christ first, and then we will be likeminded with those who are also likeminded with Christ. This is not saying we will agree on everything, but that we should have the same goals and objectives, which are to forsake our sinful practices to follow Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, it should be, too, to share the gospel of our salvation with others, so that they can be one in mind and heart with the Lord Jesus, too, in fellowship with him.

For, the “same love” we are to have with one another is not the kind of love the world talks about, but it is spiritual, and it prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, moral, just, honest, faithful and trustworthy. So, this kind of love is not about our emotions (feelings), nor is it selfish, and that is why it puts others’ true needs above our own, and it won’t take advantage of others, or willfully do what we know is going to harm them.

Philippians 2:5-11 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If we are to be likeminded with Jesus Christ, we need to humble ourselves, die with him to sin and live to his righteousness in his power at work within us. And, this is daily that we must deny self and take up our cross and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience, too. Daily we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and daily we must be conducting our lives according to the Spirit of God, and according to God’s will for our lives.

We are not perfect people, although we believe in Jesus, because we still live in flesh bodies, so this is why we have to empty ourselves of ourselves on a regular basis, because that flesh likes to roar its ugly head, and because Satan wants us back for his kingdom. So, he will pull out all the stops to try to trip us up in one way or another. And, this is why we must also daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off his schemes against us.

Not only this, but we must humble ourselves even to the point of death for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of the gospel of his salvation. We must obey our Lord even if it costs us our reputations, our possessions, friendships, family relations, jobs, comfort, or literally our lives in death. We must be willing to have people think badly of us, call us names, accuse us falsely of things we did not do, and reject us and persecute us, too.

But, this is for the salvation of human lives that we do this, that we willingly suffer in order to see others go free from their sinful addictions, and in order that they might have eternal life with God.

So, this is why it is so important that we have the mind of Christ, and not the mind of the flesh or of the world. For, we have to be willing to tell people the truth about their sins, and about judgment, and about salvation, and about repentance and obedience, too.

If we truly want to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ, then we can’t water down the message to make them feel good, or so they won’t feel judged, or so they won’t feel uncomfortable. The message of the cross is supposed to be an offense to those who are dying in their sins. But, it is the message which will rescue them out of their slavery to sin so that they can walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in victory over the flesh.

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives. We die with him to sin and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. We no longer are under the control of Satan and sin but we are now under the ownership and Lordship of Christ, our new master.

The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, and he leads us in all righteousness. He teaches us all things about Christ and he counsels, instructs, encourages and guides us in the way we are to go. He comforts and helps us, too, and he empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. But, we have to do our part. We have to surrender to the Lord daily, walk in obedience to his commands, and die to sin and self.

For, Jesus did not die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven as our eternal home. He died to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we can walk in his holiness.

But, this is not works-based salvation. We are not trying to earn our salvation by good works. This is the Holy Spirit of God working in us, giving us wisdom, counsel, strength, encouragement and empowerment to forsake our flesh and to walk by the Spirit.

But, we have to cooperate with that work by surrendering to the Lord and following his lead. And, this is what it is to fear the Lord, i.e. to honor, value, respect and obey him. And, this is continuous throughout our Christian lives until the day we go home to be with him forever. And, oh, what a glorious day that will be!

But, if we do not forsake our lives of sin and our idols, and if we do not follow our Lord in obedience, but we choose to hold on to our old lives, instead, because we don’t want to give up our sins, then we must know that scripture teaches us that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 5:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

Much Too High A Price

Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson

You paid much too high a price for me, Your tears, Your blood, the pain –
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore your sacrifice
Because You paid much too high a price.

Sunday, April 28, 2019, 4:44 a.m.

6 thoughts on “Victory Over the Flesh

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