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Friday, October 11, 2013

Who We Really Are


Philippians 2
His Mind in Us
 
 
 "He who began a good work in you will be able to complete it"

 The second chapter of Philippians is one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible. About who we are to be in Christ, but also a clear explanation of who HE is.
What applies to us as Christian women?.

·         Who am I in Christ?
·         Why is humility the key to selflessness in Christ?
·         How am I showing that I'm the genuine article for the Lord and for others?
·         What does it mean to be in obedience to God's will?

I.                   Consolation, Comfort, Relationship
Philippians 2:1-4
 
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
These scriptures say it all when it comes to us showing The Marks of a Christian. We touched on this in the first chapter. Now we go into more detail. These words of encouragement from Paul in just four verses can be added to what we strive for.
He doesn’t leave anything out. J
  • Our consolation and comfort should always be in Christ
  • It is His love that will sustain us
  • It is His Spirit that gives us the proper fellowship we need to have for one another
  • Our affection and mercy instilled from Him makes it possible for us to have affection and mercy for others.
  • Being Like Minded with other believers shows we are like minded with God's will for us
  • Having the same love one for another. That love being God's love in action
  • Living with One Accord and of One Mind in Christ with others
  • Not living for self-reward and conceit which comes from putting ourselves before considering others (esteeming others better than ourselves) (looking to the needs and spiritual interests of others)
  • Living in Humility (lowliness of mind)  
Where are you in your relationship with Christ? Where am I? When you rise in the morning and start your day do you make a decision to please yourselves, your families, your friends, or God, first? I ask myself the same question.
In this chapter of Philippians, we will again talk about the joy we can receive by serving others and by living our lives for the glory of God and not simply for self-gratification. In this chapter Paul will bring emphasis to all these things through Consolation, Comfort, and Relationships.  
"FULFILL YE MY JOY"

A.    What the Lord Exhorts.

God's focus through the writings of Paul remain continuously on God THEN others.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ first,
  • others second,
  • Paul put himself last. 

Looking on the interest of others:    2 Thessalonians 3:11  1 Timothy 5:13

B.     What Paul Encourages.

He sets the example for us. "Let each of you look not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others"

To live with the fellowship of spirit, affection and mercy and to have the comfort of God's love is shown by our being LIKE-MINDED, IN ONE ACCORD, OF ONE MIND, AND WITH HUMILITY WHILE BEING FOCUSED ON GOD'S LOVE LIVING IN US
 
Barnes (from Barnes' Notes) wrote, “Our happiness is almost all centered in love. It is when we love a parent, a wife, a child, a sister, a neighbor, that we have the highest earthly enjoyment. It is in the love of God, of Christ, of Christians, of the souls of men, that the redeemed find their highest happiness.”

Our Attitudes of Heart. That we might express love…that we might stay in unity…that we might show humility…
Do our actions tie us together in and for each other and IN CHRIST.  With HIS help, we can walk in HIS steps, and be all that He wants us to be as we lay our lives at His feet and allow the beatitudes of life rule and reign in our hearts each day.

For your reflection: With reference to unity with humility what then is that which causes disunity and pride?  _____________________________________________________________________

In today's church and world, the dangers of disunity are usually derived from

ü  Self-ambition
ü  Personal Prestige
ü  Destructive Purpose  

Any self-ambition can eventually ruin a unified church body. 

Having true perspective

For your reflection: How does humility build a church? ______________________________

II.                Christ, the Humbled One; Christ, the Exalted One
                Philippians 2: 5-11

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Chuck Smith said it so well. He called it from the Highest to the Lowest. "You can't get any higher than equality with God, being God Himself. And you can't get any lower than a death on the cross. But Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father and took these steps down, making Himself of 'no reputation.'"
Why did He do it? Because that was the only way WE could be saved. Jesus' love for us drove Him to this voluntary and obedient descent from the highest high to the lowest low.

"HE LOVES YOU AND ME THAT MUCH"

You cannot describe humility and exaltation in any way more simply or effective. These verses show us the importance of acknowledging who Christ is.

  • The anointed One,
  • Jesus the human man,
  • The pre-existent Glory of God.
Hebrews 1:3 says: Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by himself purged our sin, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

JESUS IS EXACTLY GOD
John 1:1, Colossians 1:15-19

In this section we see Jesus' main characteristics as humility, obedience, and self-renunciation.

§  Not domineering -- but a servant,
§  Not self-seeking, but God-seeking
§  Not self-exalted, but He renounced His glory for man

Only man who humbles himself is later exalted. Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, Luke 18:14

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6
Some in the Philippian church wanted to focus men's eyes on THEM. Paul's instruction was so different. He brings out that Jesus wanted the Christians to focus only on GOD. How do we focus only on God?
  • By bowing before His name, literally from our hearts,
  • By remembering the importance of keeping Christ Jesus more than just our SAVIOR but also our LORD.
III.              The Genuine Article
Philippians 2:12-18

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now 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 do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the mid sot a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, hold fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.”

Was Paul's work in vain? In no way. He was the genuine article. He wanted the Philippian Christians not to be overly dependent on him (which can be such a tendency for any Christian who hangs onto the coattails of others) but to learn from the letters he wrote them to live their lives dependent on God.
It was not Paul who worked in the Philippians to live for his pleasure but for the pleasure of God.

  • Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
  • Seek to do God's will for HIS pleasure
  • Don't complain or dispute the purpose of God in your life
  • Live above reproach (being blameless and harmless) [without guile]
  • Shine as lights in the world
  • Hold fast the word of life
WITHOUT BLAME - WITHOUT HARM  - WITH LOVE  - WITH INFLUENCE

When we work out our own salvation, it is the same as learning to walk alone with the Lord, relying on Him to see us through our days, not relying on someone else. It is God who wants to work in us to HIS pleasure. 1 John 4:18, 1 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 7:15, Ephesians 6:5


You and I won't always have each other but we will ALWAYS have Jesus.

IV.             Proven Character
Philippians 2:19-24

"But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly"

Paul sends Timothy whose mother was Eunice, a Jewess, His grandmother who was Lois, and his father was a Greek sent him in his place to Philippi, because he could not be there. Paul, because he trusted in Timothy's proven character, could use him to get info and updates about the church. He also sent him to rebuke or encourage as necessary. He trusted Timothy also because he was like-minded, Paul knew he didn’t seek his own glory, he was a loyal friend and faithful to the Lord.
Timothy was valuable to Paul because he was always willing.

For personal reflection: How willing am I to be a servant to others when I know what I would be doing is for the glory to God?
_________________________________________________________________

  1. Timothy a Faithful (a REAL) Friend

·         He could be trusted
·         He had no desire for personal ambition
·         His desire was to serve
·         He was content to be where the Lord placed him as long as he could serve

V.                Faithful in Service
Philippians 2:25-30

"Yet, I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellow soldier, but your message, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all and was full of heaviness, because ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death. But God had mercy on him and not on him only but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefor the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation; because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me."

Another man who made a difference in Paul's life was his friend Epaphroditis. Who was Epaphroditis? Also a man who lived a like-minded life, and sought to the needs of someone else, above himself, he delivered money from Philippi to Paul then returned with thank you letter to Philippi. Paul also trusted him, considering Epaphroditis a brave man, a personal attendant of man awaiting trial, a friend who risked his life to serve, a friend, who though he fell ill to the point of death, God graciously spared his life  Epaphroditis was the genuine article just as Timothy was.
Epaphroditis: "A Christian with reckless courage which makes him
ready to gamble with his life to serve Christ and men" William Barclay

Two different men entirely and with different missions, Paul valued and esteemed these brothers highly. He saw their loyalty, their faithfulness, their availability, their trustworthiness, and their evidence of being men who expressed true brotherly love.

WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE THE GENUINE ARTICLE TODAY AND A WOMAN OF PROVEN CHARACTER? HOW DO YOU KNOW?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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