Friday, August 19, 2011

Christ Our Example

The Search for Joy
Christ Our Example
Philippians 2:5-11
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul, in writing to the Philippians, begins chapter 2 and verse 5 by exhorting Christians to think like Christ in their hearts and minds. The believer’s thoughts, actions, and attitudes, should be of the same mind as Christ when He faced His most severe act of humiliation and death. When we are tempted to promote ourselves or defend our rights before man, remember Christ, being God, didn’t use His divine attributes, which was His rightful claim, but put them aside to become a servant in the form of a man. He made Himself of no reputation and emptied Himself of any privileges that He had with the Father completely submitting to the Father’s will. (Matthew 26:39) And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (John 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (Hebrews 5:8) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Christ submitted Himself fully to divine direction. Jesus became obedient to the death of the cross and died as a criminal subjecting Himself to humiliation and the excruciating torture of death by crucifixion––the cruelest of all deaths and the most degrading form of death ever devised. 
Wherefore God also, or, for this reason, Christ’s humiliation and death, God highly exalted Him. God exalted Him with a new identity––the God-Man and with that new identity, came new privileges as the interceding High-Priest. His name would be above every name as “Lord,”  the New Testament equivalent for the Old Testament description of God, ADONAI, as supreme Ruler. (Isaiah 45:21-23) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Romans 14:11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 
All creation will bow the knee to Jesus, whoever or wherever they are. It will not matter whether or not man believes God to be sovereign while on this earth, because, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, “to declare or confess openly with praise and thanksgiving,” that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Revelation 5:13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 

Thought: The test of a Christ-like mind is not how much you are willing to suffer for Christ alone but how much you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of others as well. This kind of mind leads to a heart of joy because it is submissive like Christ’s. Sometimes we are willing to serve others, if it doesn’t cost us anything, but when there is a price to pay, suddenly we are not interested. Christ willingly laid down His life for us, not in death as a martyr but in death as a Saviour.  Christ is and always will be our example, in His humility, sacrifice, service and a mind submissive to the will of His Father. For this reason, we will bow the knee before Him in praise and honor for who He is, for what He has done, for all eternity, because––He is LORD!

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