Encouragement in Christ

Same Mind, Same Love
Philippians 2:1-2 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.”

There is a lot of talk these days about unity, both within the gatherings of the church and within the nations. But most of those conversations are not referring to unity with Christ, but unity with the philosophies, business plans, and teachings of man (of the flesh).

So, we need to be those who discern the difference. For, the unity being spoken of here is unity with the love, heart, mind, and attitude of Christ. And, it is unity with other brothers and sisters in Christ who also are united with the love, heart, mind, and attitude of Jesus Christ.

We are NOT to be united with one another with the same love, and the same mind, in full accord with one another, if it is not first and foremost unity with the mind, love, heart and attitude of Christ who humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross.

Our unity must be IN CHRIST. Therefore, it needs to be OF CHRIST, and not of humans. For, it stems from the encouragement we have in Christ, and from the comfort of his love, and from our participation in the Spirit of God, not from marketing 101 books.

But in Humility
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

“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.”

There can be many different ways of looking at this, well really two: We can view this from the thinking of our flesh and/or of the world, or we can view this from the mind of Christ, which is revealed to us in the teachings of the Word of God and via the Holy Spirit.

The worldly mind would translate this as making compromises of our beliefs and morals to show others that we don’t think we are better than them, or so that they will feel at home with us and not feel uncomfortable. So, it will involve joining in with the ungodly in doing worldly things so that we show that we are interested in the things that they are interested in.

But that isn’t what this is talking about. This is talking about not just thinking of ourselves and what we have going on in our own lives, but thinking of others and their needs and what is best for them, for their welfare (for their good), and for their spiritual wholeness in Christ.

This is about showing love and concern to others, showing them sympathy and mercy, although mercy is never to compromise or appease sin. So, this is not about coddling people in their sin nor is this a rebuke against speaking the truth in love to others for their wholeness.

Have this Mind
Philippians 2:5-8 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.”

We are not to be proud people. And, we are not to think too highly of ourselves or too lowly, but we are to think of ourselves with sober (serious) judgment, in accordance with the faith God has given to us (Rom 12:3).

We are also not to be selfish people who think solely of ourselves and of what we want, and of what we want to do, on our own timetable, and in accord only with what suits our own purposes and plans. But we need to be those who empty ourselves of ourselves so that we can reach out and meet others’ needs.

But let me say this here. Being unselfish doesn’t mean we compromise with the world. It doesn’t mean we back down on sharing the gospel so that we don’t offend people. Having a servant’s heart towards others doesn’t mean we serve them in ways which are worldly.

Jesus laid down his life for us on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. But he died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we can now, in his power, live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God.

When Jesus walked the face of this earth, he didn’t go around saying “nice” things to everyone to make them feel good about themselves in their sin so that they would like him and so that they would think he was a “nice guy.”

He never compromised truth or morals or beliefs or his messages so that people would think he was loving and kind, and so that they would see him as someone who was unselfish. He taught the hard truths of Scripture, which is why so many deserted him, and why they put him to death.

So, humility is not refusing to say things to people which might offend them. Humility is being willing to have people think evil of you and to hate and reject and persecute you because you stand on the Word of God, and you teach the hard truths Jesus’ taught, so that others might be delivered from their bondage to sin and find true freedom in Christ, their Savior.

And, what are those hard truths Jesus taught? They are that we must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness if we want to be delivered from our bondage to sin and to have the hope of eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

Every Knee Should Bow
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV

“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.”

Jesus died for us that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and that we might be resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

He said if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our old lives for the sake of Jesus, we will have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; cf Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

Faith in Jesus Christ is submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, it is dying with him to sin, and it is living to him and to his righteousness for the glory of God (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

11 thoughts on “Encouragement in Christ

  1. I hope you don’t get annoyed at me Sue but I do want to point something out. You are correct in your quotes on everything that Jesus said. And all of those statements that Jesus said were and are obviously true, but which of those statements did Jesus actually say to the Samaritan woman at the well and how did He state the truths that He did mention? The Jews looked down on the Samaritans but Jesus looked beyond that and spoke to her and them, of their need for Him. Jesus knew that the woman was living in adultery but looked beyond that, to her real need, faith and trust in Him, while she was still living in sin. All those check boxes that are hard truths don’t all have to be checked off immediately or at the same time. Some of those Samaritans became believers and later received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Did Jesus make her initially admit she was living in sin? No, He acknowledged that what she had told him was true, that the man she was currently living with was not her husband. Jesus could have told her that her current living situation was sinful but He didn’t. Did Jesus compromise His truths by staying with the Samaritans for two days? I wonder if they felt comfortable in His presence? I’m thinking they did. Hard truths don’t always have to be put forward immediately as hard truths because in this particular case, clearly Jesus did not immediately nail her for living in the sinful state of adultery. It is not always black and white, it is not always unfaltering abandonment of sin, it is not always unquestioned obedience. That does come in time, but that is in God’s time, not necessarily the time that we determine for another weak or strong brother or sister. Those hard truths you quote are all true but not all hard truths must be immediately recognized as such in order to be accepted by God. Peter and John conducted a special mission to Samaria to confirm Samaritans who had already been baptized by Philip (Acts 8:14-17) and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. I guess what I am saying is hard truths don’t always have to be immediately put out as hard truths. If we truly believe, they will come to each of us, in their own time, as God makes us holy through the sanctifying work of His Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:14). Blessings.

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    • What was the “hard truth” that Jesus taught? It is that those eating (feeding on) his flesh and those drinking his blood have eternal life with him. So, what does that mean? It means we must be participating with him in his death and resurrection, that daily we must deny self, take up our cross, and follow (obey) him. And, Jesus taught this all the time, just not always with the same exact wording. And, this is the essence of the gospel message.

      We need to understand this message upfront, not later on. Too many people are sugar-coating the gospel message to make people feel good even in their sin, but they are lying to them, and they are sending them straight to hell while they are promising them heaven. People need to know up front that faith in Jesus Christ means death to our old lives and living now to Christ and his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit. They need to know upfront that if we continue living in sin, we will die in our sins.

      So, what was Jesus’ message to the Samaritan woman? Same thing, just different wording. He let her know there was a water that he could give her which would change her life so that she would not thirst again for the things of this world. When she asked him how she could get this water, he immediately directed her to talk about her sinful lifestyle. And, then he did confront her with her sin gently.

      That led the woman to want to know more, and Jesus talked with her about her faith, and that what she worshiped she knew not, i.e. she didn’t really know God, for her worship was a mixture of idolatry and worship of God which was not true worship. And, then he let her know that true faith in God was of the Jews, which really was of Jesus Christ, and that is where she could find salvation.

      Then Jesus explained what true worship of God was, that it was of the Spirit and of truth – the truth that the Jews had concerning the Christ, the Messiah. And, when the woman responded to Jesus’ words by stating that she knew about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus let her know that he was the Messiah, the one who came to save the people from their sins.

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      • I know the account Sue but as you observed, He gently made it easy for her to be truthful with Him. I just love the way that Jesus dealt with her and there is a lesson there for all of us. And no, I am sure Jesus did not sugar coat the truths that He gave them during the two days He spent with them. It’s not always what you say but how you say it that can make a world of difference. When we judge others it must be tempered with compassion, as we remember how and where we also were. Blessings.

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    • We don’t have recorded for us everything that Jesus said to everyone, so there could have been more to the conversation with the Samaritan woman, and he could have taught her more when she returned with people from her town who then believed in Jesus. But Jesus continually gave the message of the cost of following him. There was no question as to what it meant to believe in Jesus, that it meant death to our old lives and surrender to Christ and to the life he has for us. But too many people today are soft pedaling the gospel and they are leading many astray and are filling them with false hopes, and so we need to be telling people the truth which will set them free.

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      • And feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong but when it comes to speaking the truth in love, I don’t think that either one of us has that all down pat yet. I could be wrong about you but I know for sure that to have the mind of Christ in me when I respond and minister to others, is a work in progress. And from my perspective, that is indeed what it is all about. Having the mind of Christ functioning in me, especially when it comes to being gentle and humble in heart (Matt 11:29). Blessings.

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