Obedient to the Point of Death

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.”

Our Mindset

As followers of Jesus Christ this is the way we are to think and to judge. Our minds are to be directed in this way. This is to be our inner perspective, our insight, which then reveals itself with corresponding behavior. This is to be our mindset – our attitude, outlook, belief, and conviction.

We are to humble ourselves and to become servants of the Lord and to serve our fellow humans, too. But this word servant literally means “slave,” i.e., someone who belongs to another without any ownership rights of his own. For, when we believe in Jesus he now owns us. We are his.

We willingly submit to Jesus Christ as our Lord (owner-master), and we willingly live under His authority as His devoted followers. This is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, for when Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross it was to buy us back for God so that we’d now honor him.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we give up ownership rights over our own lives. We deny self, and we die daily with Christ to sin, by the Spirit. And we follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives. We are no longer enslaved to sin, but we are now to be slaves of his righteousness.

But how many people are teaching this today? Not many, it seems. Too many people are teaching a faith in Jesus Christ which is all about what Jesus did and can do for us with little to no regard for what we are to do now in surrender of our lives over to him. It is way “me” focused.

So, if we are thinking of our salvation from sin only in terms of what Jesus did for us on that cross, and in terms of what he now can do for us, and in terms of what he will do for us in the future, then we have the wrong mindset. Yes, Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross, but…

Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of his righteousness.

Our lives are to be for the glory and praise of God. We have no ownership rights. We are to be the Lord’s bond-slaves, his servants, and we are to obey him in being who he wants us to be, in doing what he has called us to do, in going where he sends us, and in saying what he says for us to say.

Obedient to Death

When we truly have this attitude, this mindset about our relationship with Jesus Christ and our salvation from sin, and we are living as though he is our Lord (owner-master), and we are his bond-slaves, and we do the kinds of things he did, and say the things he said, we will also be hated as he was.

If you are not being hated because of your faith in Jesus Christ, then something is wrong. For Jesus said that if we are following him that the world should not love us as its own, but they should hate us and persecute us, and say all manner of evil against us, and oppose us strongly.

They may love us as the crowds “loved” Jesus when he fed the hungry, and he healed the sick and afflicted, and he raised the dead, and he delivered people from demons, and he performed many miracles. But if we teach what Jesus taught, with the same conviction and passion, we will be hated.

We also must consider here who “they” were who hated Jesus. They were the religious rulers and teachers of the law in the temple of God. So, they will be pastors and elders or deacons or other leaders within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely called church).

Some of them were his family members, too, who thought he was crazy, and who wanted to put him away. Isn’t it amazing how we can read the Scriptures and admire the things Jesus did and said, and that the prophets and the apostles did and said, but if one of us does the same, we are considered odd, strange, crazy, too religious, or self-righteous.

It is like, as long as it is on the pages of the Bible, that is fine, but if we live what those pages teach, then it isn’t fine. If we live the example of the saints of old, then it isn’t acceptable to today’s modern “Christians” who are more concerned with not offending anyone with the gospel.

But we are to belong to Jesus. He is to be our Lord. We are to do what he says, and if we do, we will be hated and persecuted as he was. But glory to God, we are blessed who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Great will be our reward in heaven. So, we must endure and keep pressing on.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]

Living by Faith

Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918

I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.

Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.

I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.

Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.

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