Our Example – Jesus Christ

Instead, he [Jesus] lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion (Philippians 2:8 The Message).

The Message: Philippians 2:1-13
In Your Bible: Philippians 2:1-13

Some commentators say there are few times when Paul mentions guidance for church leaders – this letter is one. Paul writes this letter not only to believers in Philippi, but also to pastors and ministers there.

Humility

Paul describes in great depth how believers should interact. He uses the term “in the community of the Spirit” to reflect care, concern, and love for one another. These characteristics show you indeed do care, yet defer to each other in humility.

Obedience

Jesus taught and lived a life of obedience to the Father. He came to earth in the form of a man, gave up equal status with the Father. And… Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him… (Philippians 2:9 The Message). He didn’t do it for a reward – it was his nature. What a model for all believers!

We who know what God asks of us must obey. Then we … will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father (Philippians 2:11 The Message).

Paul encourages the Philippians to be energetic, reverent and sensitive before God. He continues, saying it’s actually God’s energy within you. Wow!

Prayer: Father, I hear you loud and clear. Help me share your love, be caring, and be humble – to honor you. Help me put others first. I need your guidance to obey you.

Questions: As you read these attributes of Jesus, how or where do you begin your journey of change? How do you listen to what is said with new ears.

The Mind Of Christ

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along (1 Corinthians 2:10 The Message).

The Message: 1 Corinthians 2 :1-16
In Your Bible: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Paul wrote his letters to the first century churches, he wanted to “keeps it simple” (though you wondered at his wordiness). He preached Christ and Him crucified. Paul breaks it down for the new and mature believer to learn and grow in Christ.

A New Creation With a Purpose

When the believer receives Christ he is a new creation of God! This believer has the Spirit of God, The Spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit living inside him. This is powerful! This is with a purpose—to gain God’s wisdom!

“No one has ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much has imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love Him”

(Isaiah 64:4 The Message).

The Spirit is the Key

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by His Spirit has brought it all out into the open for you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along (1 Corinthians 2:9,10 The Message).

God’s spirit in communion with the believer’s spirit propels them into what God intends. It answers Isaiah’s question, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we [believers] have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV).

There you have it: All believers in Christ can seek and know what God has in mind via the Spirit.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are. Ancients of old and scholars of present time marvel at your concern for man and desire to seek what you want for them.

Question: How does this fit with your concept of God’s interest in you. Do you too wonder at our Gracious God seeking to communicate with us?

Clothed In Christ

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you… (Colossians 3:12 The Message).

The Message: Colossians 3:12-14
In Your Bible: Colossians 3:12-14

Paul tells the Colossians that specific attitudes are needed to live a life clothed with Jesus’ love. Some are fruit of the Holy Spirit and some character attributes Jesus Christ exhibits. It is list for them and us!

The Wardrobe

Paul gets straight to the point. Believers already have these nine attributes in Christ Jesus. Clothe yourself in them and use them!

In Christ, believers are to dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: [a heart of] compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you (Colossians 3:12,13 The Message).

Paul continues … regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it (Colossians 3:14 The Message). Some translations say love is the bond of unity – rightly so. It fulfills the new commandment Jesus gave.

John the Apostle comments, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:34-35 The Message).

Now we know for sure what we wear and in all that, the garment of LOVE shows we are in Christ. As John 13 says, believers will be known for their love (from Christ Jesus).

Prayer: Father, what an amazing thing to be clothed with your Son. I want to praise you living this out daily in words, actions and all I do.

Questions: How did you feel when you read this long list of attributes a believer already has? How is it a “work in progress” in your life?

Amazing Love

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on as as the focus of his love to be made whole and holy by his love (Ephesians 1:4 The Message).

The Message: Ephesians 1
In Your Bible: Ephesians 1

God had all mankind in mind before he created the world. John 3:16 shows the Creator’s intention for all mankind to come to Him, then be with Him forever.

Some Bible scholars believe the letter to the Ephesians was a circular letter sent to several churches to benefit all believers (then and now). Imagine God’s grace, love, and promises touching hearts spanning 2,000+ years. His intention from the beginning.

Made Whole and Holy

Paul affirms that in Jesus Christ, believers have obtained an inheritance into God’s family according to God’s will for mankind.

God freely extends his love. However, we often run the opposite direction – in fear or lack of understanding. God provides the solution to our mistakes. It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for (Ephesians 1:11 The Message). YES. Because of Jesus, God sees believers as whole and holy (made perfect). That’s powerful.

The Seal

God extended this same blessing on the Gentiles – He poured it out at Pentecost! There is so much more of the believer.

It’a in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free – signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us in praising and glorious life (Ephesians 1:13,14 The Message).

For a glorious life in God, we are:

  • Signed
  • Sealed
  • Delivered

Prayer: Father, thank you. Before the foundation of the world, you showered your love on all who would believe. You see me as wholly in Christ.

Question: How does the idea that God actually sought after mankind as part of his creation and now extends his love to all of us. How does this idea resonate with your concept of God? What do you think about this act of love for all mankind?