The Midst of a Twisted Generation

For His Good Pleasure
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.”

What this is saying is not that we work for our salvation but that we live out in our daily lives the salvation from sin that we have been given. But we don’t and we can’t do this in our own power and strength. We do this through yielding control of our lives over to our Lord and by obeying, in his power, what he calls and leads us to do.

For, Jesus did not die on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that we could go to heaven when we die. He died to set us free from our slavery to sin so we would be slaves of his righteousness. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.

So, to live out our salvation means we die with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, that we deny self, and that we follow him in obedience. For this is what he said we must do if we are to come after him. For, if we hold on to our lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity. But if we die daily with Christ to sin, for his sake, we will have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26).

For, if the Spirit of God is living within us, God is working in us, both to work and to will for his good pleasure. For, Jesus saved us, not just to forgive us our sins, but that our lives would now be for the glory and praise of God. We are saved so that we can live for our Lord and for his righteousness, to do his will, and to do the works he prepared for us that we should walk in them.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14]

You Shine as Lights
Philippians 2:14-16 ESV

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to be like the world. We aren’t to live as the world lives or think what they think or follow the same philosophies they follow. We are to be likeminded with Jesus Christ, not with the world, because Jesus called us out of the world to live holy lives, pleasing to him.

We live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, but we are not to be part of that generation. We are not to blend in with the world to be acceptable to the world. We are not to immerse ourselves in our culture so that the world will love us as its own, either.

But the opposite of this is what is largely being taught in the institutional church today. They are teaching that we are to immerse ourselves in our culture so that we identify with the people of the world. And this is why you see pastors flashing their tattoos and their Nirvana t-shirts and why they talk like the world, because they want the world to accept them.

But we are to stand out as different. We are to be odd to the people of the world and even to worldly “Christians.” There should be a distinction between the church and the world, but today that distinction is hardly there, for the church has embraced the world and its philosophies.

But we are to shine as lights (truth, righteousness) in the world, holding fast (firm) the word of life (the gospel, the whole counsel of God). And the world will not love us as its own, but it will largely reject, disassociate from, and persecute us for our faith in Jesus and for our stand on the truth of his word.

But instead so much of the church is blending in with the world, doing the same stuff, watching the same movies, posting the same memes on social media, cracking the same jokes, telling the same stories, and not many are talking about Jesus or sharing the truth of the gospel, because they want to be accepted, not rejected.

As a Drink Offering
Philippians 2:17-18 ESV

“Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”

This should be the norm, not the exception to the rule of what a follower of Jesus should look like and talk like and act like. Our lives are to be fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, committed to him and to his service, willing and ready to obey his every command. And we should be willing to be rejected and even killed because we are sharing Jesus and his full gospel message.

Everyone should not like us. Everyone should not want to be with us and to be our friend. Everyone is not going to flock to our posts on social media, either, or in the blogging world, or on Christian discussion sites if we are living the kind of life that Paul lived.

We should be laying our lives down on the line daily to shine the truth and the righteousness of Jesus Christ with the world around us. And this doesn’t mean just sharing the “feel good” verses in the Bible, but it means teaching the Scriptures throughout the word of God, in context, so that we rightly handle the word of truth.

But we aren’t here to have people like us. We are here to please our Lord and to have people believe in Jesus Christ and to follow him in obedience to his will for their lives, even if it means being hated and persecuted for the sake of the truth of the gospel and for the sake of righteousness.

So, the truth of the gospel, in a nutshell, is this: Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. Jesus said if we would come after him that we must deny self, die daily to sin and self (take up our cross daily) and follow (obey) him. But if we continue to live to the flesh, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God.

[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]

Here I Am, Lord

By Daniel L. Schutte

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them –
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart

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