The Affection of Christ

Philippians 1:1-6 ESV

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

All those who are in Christ Jesus, by God-given faith in him, are called to be saints. And, the word “saint” means “set apart by (or for) God, holy, unlike (different from) the world,” and “likeness of nature with the Lord” (1).

This means that we shouldn’t blend in with the world. We shouldn’t talk and act just like the world does, doing the same stuff they do, listening to the same music, and watching the same TV shows, movies, and videos, too. We should stand out as different. They should consider us odd, even peculiar, because we aren’t like them. And, in fact, we should be hated and persecuted for being different, too, and for standing on the Word of God.

But, this isn’t just about not thinking and acting like the world does, but it is about being likeminded with Christ Jesus, our Lord, and it is about thinking and acting like him, doing the kinds of things he did, and taking on his heart, his mind, and his character. But, this is not done in our flesh. This can only take place via faith in Jesus Christ and in his power and strength at work within us, as we cooperate with that work and submit to him.

And, as believers in Jesus Christ, and as saints of God, we should also be partners in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, that gospel teaches us to forsake our idols and our former lives of sin, and to follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his commands. As partners with this gospel, we participate and we partake of this gospel in death to sin and in living to righteousness through our faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25).

And, we also share this gospel of our salvation with others so that they, too, can be saved from their sins and have eternal life with God. And, it is God who works in us who gives us all that we need to live holy lives for him, too. He is the one who strengthens and who empowers us to live for our Lord and to forsake our former lives of sin, but we have to surrender to him.

Philippians 1:7-8 ESV

It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

There is a spiritual and an emotional bond among those who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, and who are living holy lives, separate from the world and unto God. And, that comes from the Spirit of God who is living within us. When we are partakers of the gospel of our salvation with other believers in Jesus Christ, we sense that bond in our spirits of the Holy Spirit of God.

For, we are likeminded with Christ and with his Word, and so we are also likeminded with other believers who are also likeminded with Christ. And, I find it often to be true that when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us that he will often speak similarly to several of us all at the same time, and that just encourages our hearts to share together in what the Lord is teaching us.

And, I want to note here that not everyone who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ has that kind of fellowship in the Spirit with other believers in Jesus Christ. Many who call themselves Christians are really not much different from the world, and they don’t hear from the Spirit of God, and they don’t really share in the gospel of our salvation, for their minds are set on worldly things, and that is what they mainly think about.

Thus, it is not unusual at all, at least here in America, to gather together with others who say they are Christians, and the name of Jesus isn’t even mentioned except in a prayer of thanksgiving for food. All the conversations are the same as conversations you would hear among those who profess no faith in Jesus Christ. It is all worldly, so there is no spiritual fellowship.

But, to be in fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ who also are following Jesus Christ with their lives, and who desire to share with one another from the Word of God and from what the Holy Spirit is teaching them is awesome! There just isn’t anything like it! We can minister to one another through prayer, through sharing God’s Word, and through encouraging one another in our walks of faith to maturity in Christ.

Philippians 1:9-11 ESV

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The love that we have for one another in the body of Christ should not be just human love. For, many who call themselves Christians like to get together with others who call themselves Christians, but Christ is not what binds them together. It is usually some common interest or fun or entertainment or food that brings them together, but not Jesus.

True fellowship within the body of Christ should love one another as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and live for him and to his righteousness. Thus, our love and concern for one another should also be like Jesus’ love and concern for us. We should care about one another spiritually and not just physically.

We should, thus, desire to encourage one another, as the scripture says, by speaking to one another in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” We should desire, too, to speak to one another the truth of God’s Word, in love, for the strengthening and spiritual maturity of our fellow Christians. We should use the gifts God has given us, and fulfill the parts in the body he assigned us, and for the spiritual growth and encouragement of one another.

Yet, this just doesn’t seem to be happening much in today’s modern church, at least here in America. For, we are told often to “stay in your own lane,” and to not saying anything that might offend anyone, and to just go around “blessing” everyone via “good deeds” and via blending in with the world, too.

So, if our love for one another is going to “abound more and more” in the way this describes for us here, then we need to love each other as Jesus loved and still loves us, by caring about one another, not just physically, but spiritually, too. And, we need to take off those masks and break down those barriers and be honest, and speak the truth in love to one another, and talk about Jesus and what his will is for each one of our lives, and help one another to walk in holiness and to forsake lifestyles of sin, too.

For, to love one another as Christ loves us is to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, upright, honest, and moral. And, it is to help one another, too, to walk in that love.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

*copyright status is public domain

Monday, September 30, 2019

(1) https://biblehub.com/greek/40.htm

4 thoughts on “The Affection of Christ

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