May 1, 2022
May 1, 2022
8 Marks Of The Church
The Son Confessing Church
There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst
You can believe what you want about Jesus and be a healthy church
This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:
It can cause people to think they know Jesus when they really know “another Jesus” that’s not really Him
It can cause a church to be schizophrenic at best and apostate at worst when it comes to Jesus.
We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who confess correct things about His nature and character
MARK: The Son Confessing Church
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 10:37-39)
Jesus has been teaching at the Temple area during the Feast of Dedication
The Jews gather around Jesus and ask Him a question and make a statement
“How long will you keep us in suspense?”
“If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus’ response is that He had already told them, but they didn’t believe
The miracles He does in His Father’s name speak for Him
They did not believe Him, because they were not His sheep
Jesus then makes His confession and pleads with the Jews to believe
Just believe (vv. 37-39)
I wish we could have heard Jesus’ tone of voice at this point, because my guess is that His tone was one of pleading with the Jews to believe
Don’t believe me
If I don’t do what my Father does, then don’t believe in Me
This would certainly be an indication that Jesus was not from God
He would have been a false prophet or teacher trying to direct them away from God
So, they obviously shouldn’t believe in Him or follow Him
Believe the miracles
While Jesus doesn’t say it directly here, He is saying to them, “Even though you don’t believe my words, believe the works (miracles) from the Father
“Jesus’ works were the window into his words.” [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 344]
PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s people recognize His Son through His miracles.
If you believe the miracles from the Father, you will understand that the Father is in me, and I’m in the Father
“Interestingly, coming to understand is presented as the result, rather than condition, of believing.” [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 317]
Sometimes we have to take the step of faith without having all of our questions answered and then we will be able to understand that Jesus’ works prove His words
PRINCIPLE #2– Jesus and God are One!
Even though Jesus is pleading with the Jews to believe in Him, they aren’t quite ready to take that step yet
Reaction of the Jews
They try to seize Jesus, either to stone Him or to arrest Him
Jesus escapes their grasp, because it’s still not God’s timing for Him to be put on trial and killed
Jesus was confessing that He is the Son of God that the Father is in Him, and He is in the Father – Jesus and God are One!
Jesus confessed His deity and exclusive claims about Himself
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:24-36)
We saw last that Acts 2 retells the events that happened during Pentecost in Jerusalem
We know that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power and enabled them to share the Gospel in the various languages of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks
Peter explains Jesus’ resurrection (vv. 24-32)
Peter is confessing Jesus’ resurrection, to the people gathered in Jerusalem
Jesus is alive!
He is the only person who died, was buried, came alive again, and is still alive today
The fact that He is still alive today sets Him apart from every other prophet, teacher, human being, or god
Peter explains that David, as a prophet, has died and was buried and his tomb is still there to this day
Peter and the other Apostles were witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection
Peter explains Jesus’ ascension and current position (vv. 33-36)
He is exalted to the right hand of God.
Footstool – this was a practice in the Orient where the conqueror would put his foot on the neck of the conquered.
God made Jesus both Lord, kü-rē-os, meaning he to whom a person or thing belongs; and Christ, khrē-sto’s, meaning anointed.
Peter is confessing the deity of Jesus Christ
The teaching of the early church is that Jesus was resurrected by the power of God and is still alive today and that God has made Him Lord and Christ (deity)
The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (1 John 4:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11)
Teaching of the Apostle John (1 John 4:2-3)
John is helping believers everywhere to know how to discern whether a spirit is from God or not
Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is from God
Here we see that the confession or acknowledgement is that Jesus came in the flesh
This speaks of Jesus’ humanity
John mentions it again in his second letter, Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7)
Teaching of the Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:5-11)
Paul teaches us that Jesus is God (deity)
Being in very nature God (v. 6)
Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11)
He also teaches us that Jesus was human (vv. 7-8)
We also learn about Jesus’ substitutionary death (v. 8)
The Apostles’ confession is that Jesus is both God and man and that He died on a cross to take our punishment for sin
We have the teachings of Jesus, the early church, and the Apostles about this mark, but we also have a picture found in Revelation
METAPHOR: The Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:6-10)
This is the end of human history – the hope of every believer
Jesus is the Lamb, the Bridegroom
His disciples are His bride
The hope of every follower of Jesus Christ is to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!
“As the Bridegroom, Jesus has confessed His love for us and union with us, and as the Bride, we likewise confess our love for Him and union with Him. He has intimate knowledge of us – who we really are, and we have intimate knowledge of Him – who He really is.” [Matt Kyser]
How does this apply to us?
APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we will confess that Jesus is fully God
He is not just another prophet, teacher, or good human being – He is God!
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the humanity of Jesus (John 1:14)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
While it may be difficult for our finite human minds to comprehend, Jesus is also fully man
He is fully God (100%) and fully man (100%) and yet He is one person
Colossians 2:9, For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
Luke 24:39, Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.
As human beings, we do not have to understand how Jesus can be fully God and fully man at the same time, we just have to believe
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the sinless life of Jesus (Hebrews 4:15)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus was the only One who could take our punishment on the cross, because He was perfect, without sin
We are human and fallible, Jesus is both God and man and perfect
We will have intimate knowledge of and will confess the substitutionary death of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28)
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Jesus’ resurrection is what sets Him apart from everyone else – He is still alive today, interceding for us before the Father
We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the exclusive claims of Jesus (John 14:6)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Hebrews 4:15)
There are those in our culture today, that want everyone to believe that there are multiple ways to heaven and since God is loving, He will let everyone in to heaven
The old saying is, “all roads lead to heaven.”
That saying is false
I would modify the saying to say, “all roads lead to God.”
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
During the final judgment, all the nations will appear before Jesus and He will separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
Jesus is the only way to heaven and the Father
We have to confess the exclusive claims of Jesus
Our desire is to have a church filled with people who confess correct things about Jesus’ nature and character
Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries
Four of the five questions from The Son-Confessing Church section of the survey were in the top ten of the least difficult for us as a church
That is encouraging, because it means that these are things we readily believe and embrace
“The people in our church believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God, fully God and fully man, and the way, the truth, and the life – no one coming into a relationship with the Father but through Him.” (1 of 10)
“I hear the name of Jesus consistently in sermons, teaching content, small groups and interpersonal conversations in our church.” (2 of 10)
“Our church consistently teaches on the Person and work of Jesus on the cross, connecting the truth of the Gospel with any particular passage or theme.” (3 of 10)
“The leaders in our church consistently and publicly point to Jesus as the Head and primary Leader of our church.” (6 of 10)
“It is obvious that love for and obedience to Jesus is the reason our church exists.” (12 of 12)
Encouragement and Challenge
If you believe and it is a settled fact in your heart and mind that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to encourage you to continue in that faith
These are the truths of Jesus that the world needs to hear
We have been called and commissioned to confess these truths where we live, work, learn, and play
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Commit to confessing the truths about Jesus to my family, friends, fellow students, and coworkers.
If you are struggling in your heart and mind about any of these truths, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to challenge you to do a couple of things
Pray and seek the Lord’s face concerning the truth(s) that you are struggling with
Spend time reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and ask the Lord to make these truths evident to you through His Word
Reach out to Pastor Marc, myself, or another fellow believer, so we can walk alongside you as you pray and read God’s Word – accountability is so important
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Commit to praying, reading God’s Word, and reaching out to other believers concerning the truths of who Jesus is and what He came to earth to accomplish.
“We are a church that reaches out, spreading God's Word, God's glory, and God's promises to those that do not know Him.”
“Our leadership strives to be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, so we can lead more to Jesus.”
We are committed as a church and as leaders to confessing Jesus to those we live, work, learn, and play with
One of our annual goals for 2022 is to have a 10% increase in the number of people attending Sunday school and/or discipleship groups
Another annual goal is to have 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability
“The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That's why Jesus' question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: ‘Who do you say that I am?’
The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …
There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).
There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’
There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.
There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on ‘the system.’
There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
And then there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.
This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father's Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.”
Used by Permission
Source: Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)
EASTER SUNDAY 2018
“Millionaires are booming in the U.S.
Since 2008, the country has added 1.1 million millionaires to its roster – a growth rate of 28.6 percent.
What do they know that the 99% don’t?
There’s one key investing concept millionaires have mastered, according to Brent Fykes, a senior investment partner at GenSpring:
They know when to stop being greedy.
‘[Most average investors] tend to want to dabble in the stock market and buy the latest hot stock like Facebook or Apple,’ he told Bankrate.com.
On the other hand, wealthy investors ‘by nature are less risky because they’ve created a nest egg and don’t need it to grow at incredible rates . . . They just want to stay rich. On the whole, the 99 percent is in the get rich mode.’
This passage from Investopedia drives the point home:
Perhaps the No. 1 killer of investment return is your emotions. The axiom that fear and greed rule the market is true. Do not let fear or greed overtake you. Focus on the bigger picture. Stock market returns may deviate wildly over a shorter time frame, but over the long term, historical returns for large cap stocks can average 10 to 11%. Realize that, over a long time horizon, your portfolio’s returns should not deviate much from those averages. In fact, you may benefit from the irrational decisions of other investors.”
Mandi Woodruff, “Consider Greed The First Deadly Sin Of Investing,” http://www.businessinsider.com/greed-is-the-deadly-sin-of-investing-2013-3
Envy is easy to fall into, especially in this age of technology
It’s not hard to do in the pastorate, because I see what other churches are doing and wish that we were able to do those same things here
If I allowed envy to have full reign in my life, it wouldn’t be long and I would become discontent here and begin looking for another church where I could serve
Envy can drive us to do things we wouldn’t normally do
Judy and I were on vacation one year and because of that we let our guard down
The sales representative played on our desire to have a nice place to stay when we went on vacation – something better than a hotel or motel room – something with multiple bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, and living room
We were cautious, but still invested in something that we probably shouldn’t have
These deals are not easy to get out of – they’ve designed it that way on purpose
We were really envying how other people take vacations instead of being content with what we normally do
Those desires of envy boil down to the fact that I want to feed my own pride
Perhaps you struggle with envy in the position that you hold at work
It doesn’t make any sense how or why that other person got the promotion when you should have gotten it
You’re better at what you do than anyone else
When you allow envy to control you, you struggle with contentment at work
It affects your relationships with others
You can become paranoid of why people are doing and saying certain things
You can incorrectly read something into a statement or action that is said or done
As a young person your envy is primarily directed toward those at school
You wish your hair, eyes, body, teeth, etc. were like someone else’s
You wish that learning came as easy to you as it does to that really smart guy or girl in your class who always gets an “A” on the tests and throws off the grading curve
If you’re on a sports team, perhaps you envy the person who seems to be able to excel at the sport without trying very hard
Greed is defined as, “Excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” [dictionary.com]
Maybe this form of selfishness is the one you’re struggling with
Everything you do is centered around making money so you can purchase things
The show Clean House highlighted those who had an excessive desire for possessions
The show helped families get their house in order
It also helped the family overcome some emotional issues that had led to the “mayhem and foolishness” as the host of the show always says
Envy can lead to greed
Perhaps you’ve done some things that you would not normally do in order to achieve greater wealth
You work out a business deal that will make you a bigger profit, but jeopardize the safety of your product – you just hope that most of them will be fine
Many times you will compromise your value system in order to achieve greater wealth or possessions
Maybe you work out a deal with your friends at school to help you fund a project or event that will benefit you the most – you use your influence and persuasive abilities to convince them that it will benefit them more than it actually will
You know that trading a certain toy with another boy or girl at school is not an equal trade, but will benefit you more than them, because you’ll receive the more valuable toy
This is a reflection of the sin of selfishness in your life
Perhaps the driving force in your life is status or prestige
Greed many times accompanies ambition or prestige
Your desire to maintain the status you have may drive you to not do what’s right
You may begin to listen to the voices of those around you who’ve made you what you are today instead of listening to the truth of God’s Word or being confident in what you know is right
Your beliefs become skewed and tainted by what others think
You are no longer your own
There were two individuals and one group who struggled with these sins of selfishness as it pertained to the life of Jesus and the final days before His death, burial, and resurrection
Judas Iscariot – Greed (John 12:4-6; Matthew 26:14-16)
Judas struggled with the sin of greed
John 12:4-6, But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
When Mary anointed Jesus feet with perfume (pure nard), we see in John 12:4-6 that he was indignant and scolded Mary for being wasteful
He tried to sound spiritual by saying that the perfume could be sold and the proceeds used to help the poor
He knew the value of the perfume and how much money could be added to the disciples coffer
He was the one who took care of the money bag for the disciples and routinely helped himself to what was in there
His intentions were not pure, but rather greedy
Jesus scolds Judas for bothering Mary
No one really enjoys being corrected, but this is what happened to Judas in public
We then see in Matthew 26:14-16 that Judas meets with the chief priests and asks them what they are willing to give him in exchange for handing over Jesus
The chief priests count out 30 silver coins and gave them to him
From that point on he watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over
It was selfishness expressed through greed and perhaps pride that caused Judas to reject Jesus and follow Satan
Chief Priests – Envy/Pride (Matthew 26:59-68; 27:18)
Imagine being a chief priest in the Jewish tradition during this time
You were highly respected and rarely questioned if at all
Achieving this level of prestige was something that perhaps many Jewish priests aspired to
Everyone looked up to you and would listen to every word you had to say
You would teach, and people would take it as law
You had the power to influence people in any direction you desired
Jesus arrives on the scene
He begins to draw large crowds and people begin to follow Him and listen to every word He says
They are no longer listening to you
In fact, Jesus scolds you on multiple occasions in public, making you look foolish instead of intelligent
Even when you finally are able to arrest Jesus because of a traitor in his inner circle of 12, you can’t make any of the false accusations stick
You finally have to claim blasphemy as your reason for condemning Him to death, but your Jewish law doesn’t allow you to put anyone to death
You take Jesus before the Roman governor because the Roman law allows for death
The Roman governor tries to protect Jesus because he knows why the chief priests have handed Him over
Matthew 27:18, For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.
The chief priests were jealous and envious of the power that Jesus exhibited not only in His teaching, but in His ability to heal people
They were envious of the fact that Jesus was doing things on the Sabbath that they, had been falsely taught for years, was wrong
It was selfish envy that caused the chief priests to reject Jesus as the Messiah and turn Him over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified
Pontius Pilate – Ambition/Peer Pressure (Matthew 27:15-26)
Questioning of Jesus
After talking with Jesus, Pilate knew that the trumped up charges of causing riots, claiming to be a king, and encouraging people not to pay taxes, were false
He wasn’t dull and was able to see through the smoke screen to the real reason the Jews brought Jewish to him – it was envy
That’s why Pilate stated multiple times that he found no basis to charge Jesus with any crime
Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus that caused her great suffering
She encouraged Pilate not to have anything to do with an innocent man
Pilate tried desperately not to be a part of salvation history
He sent Jesus to Herod, so he wouldn’t have to make a decision
He tried offering to release Jesus or a real criminal and the Jews chose the real criminal, Barabbas, over Jesus
He tried washing his hands of the situation, so he would not be held accountable
Pilate’s final decision was made because of his selfish desire to remain as the governor instead of doing what he knew was right
Matthew 27:24-26, When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
John 19:12, From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
Pilate had already been in trouble with Tiberius Caesar on at least two other occasions and he could not afford to be in trouble with him again
Caesar only allowed men to remain in positions of power who were able to maintain control of the people
So Pilate gave in to the will of the people
It was Pilate’s selfish desire to preserve himself and his status that caused him to reject Jesus and hand Him over to be crucified
Selflessness (Philippians 2:5-11)
Philippians 2:5-6, Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, . . .
Jesus is the Son of God
He was there when the world was created
He knows about the riches of Heaven
He owns everything
He has unlimited power
Jesus sacrificed all of that for you
He set aside the right to his glory and power
Even as He suffered a horrible beating at the hands of Roman soldiers, He did not use His power to avoid it
As He suffered the brutal death of crucifixion on a cross, He could have called down angels from heaven to minister to Him but He chose not to
He showed no signs of an excessive desire for wealth or possessions
He was selfless
Philippians 2:7, . . . but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Jesus made Himself nothing
He took on the very nature of a servant
Jesus was selfless when it came to ambition or status
He did not allow what others thought about Him to affect what He came to do
Mark 8:31-33, He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
John 11:7-8, Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
He knew what was right and He followed through with it even though the Roman soldiers mocked Him and beat Him
Philippians 2:8, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Jesus showed humility as He went to the cross
He didn’t let His deity stop Him from accomplishing His mission and goal
He wasn’t prideful about His position as the Son of God, but was willing to take on the essence of man in order to save you and me
Perhaps the chief priests wouldn’t have envied Jesus if they had understood who He was and why He had come to earth
Jesus selflessly became obedient to death on the cross
Jesus’ Exaltation (2:9-11)
Jesus death brought you victory, because His death destroyed the devil who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]
Jesus’ resurrection vindicated Him and declared with power that He is the Son of God and that His death was effective for the forgiveness of sins [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]
Philippians 2:9-11, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We have a responsibility as Christ followers to share this transformational Gospel with those in our sphere of influence
After Jesus’ resurrection, he stayed on the earth for 40 days, teaching His disciples
They were the ones who were going to carry the Gospel to the known world
Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
These are our marching orders – Jesus is alive! The world needs to know
“In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contrasts the humility that characterized Jesus’ royal visit to planet earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today:
In London, looking toward the auditorium’s royal box where the queen and her family sat, I caught glimpses of the…way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, and a trumpet fanfare and a flourish of bright clothes and flashing jewelry.
Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost twenty million dollars.
In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.”
Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 1995)
I AM A CHURCH MEMBER
Serving Church Members
Notice the restaurants shown on the screen (Burger King, Chili’s, Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A, Hoss’s, McDonalds, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, Panda Express, and Buffalo Wild Wings). We’re going to find out which one of these is your favorite this morning.
[Go through each logo and ask for a show of hands when the logo is large]
Did you see that not everyone has the same favorite restaurant? Some of you would never set foot in one of those restaurants, because the food style is repulsive to you. Your gag reflex is working right now as you think about that kind of food. It just turns your stomach. It’s fine for you to feel that way. Other people love that kind of food and are repulsed by other kinds of foods.
I love food
I’ve always been willing to try just about any kind of food
As long as it won’t hurt me or kill me
I’ve eaten grasshoppers from Mexico
Cubes of fat in Romania
I’ve tried menudo from a can (a spicy Mexican soup made with tripe, onions, tomatoes, chilies, and hominy)
I’m sure that none of you have ever had to deal with this in your family
When our family eats out it’s difficult to decide where to go, because everyone has their favorite kind of food
The boys would be content to go to McDonalds every time
Judy and Seth would be fine with pizza every time
Wade, Levi, and I would willingly eat at a Chinese restaurant
There are no arguments about dessert, because everyone likes Rita’s and Sweet Frog
While we don’t eat at McDonalds every time, Judy and I will sacrifice our preferences and eat there
There are times when Judy and Seth sacrifice their preferences and we eat at a Chinese restaurant
There are times when the boys sacrifice their preferences and eat at a restaurant that Judy and I enjoy
Why do we sacrifice our preferences?
It’s because we love each other and we want to encourage and express our love through allowing the other members of our family to enjoy the kind of food they like
Leader always chose same place to eat
I heard a story about a leader who when he met with his team once a month would always choose the same restaurant to eat lunch at
The reason he did this was because he liked the restaurant and only came to the area once a month
The other team members didn’t mind, because they didn’t want to be the leader
Within the church
You and I are guilty of acting this way in the church
Thom Rainer’s team of researchers conducted a survey of churches who were inwardly focused – that means they were not serving past their own walls and their own members – the churches were largely self-serving
They found ten dominant behavior patterns of members in these churches:
Worship wars – one or more factions in the church want the music just the way they like it. Any deviation is met with anger and demands for change.
Prolonged minutia meetings – The church spends an inordinate amount of time in different meetings. Most of the meetings deal with the most inconsequential items, while the Great Commission and Great Commandment are rarely the topics of discussion.
Facility focus – The church facilities develop iconic status. One of the highest priorities in the church is the protection and preservation of rooms, furniture, and other visible parts of the church’s buildings and grounds.
Program driven – this isn’t bad unless the program becomes an end instead of a means to greater ministry.
Inwardly focused budget – a disproportionate share of the budget is used to meet the needs and comforts of the members instead of reaching beyond the walls of the church.
Inordinate demands for pastoral care – care and concern is important in times of need and crisis. Problems occur when church members have unreasonable expectations for even minor matters.
Attitudes of entitlement – the overarching attitude is one of demanding and having a sense of deserving special treatment.
Greater concern about change than the gospel – Almost any noticeable changes in the church evoke the ire of many; but those same passions are not evident about participating in the work of the gospel to change lives.
Anger and hostility – members are consistently angry. They regularly express hostility toward the church staff and other members.
Evangelistic apathy – very few members share their faith on a regular basis. More are concerned about their own needs rather than the greatest eternal needs of the world and community in which they live.
I can tell you today that I’ve been, and am guilty of some of these behavior patterns
I’m also confident that most of you have been or are guilty of some of these behavior patterns too
I don’t want you to be discouraged today
These things need to be discussed and the biblical solution needs to be shared
In good company
Jesus spent three years developing twelve disciples and they struggled and had a tendency to fight with one another
Mark 9:33-37, They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Read Mark 10:35-45 [Bible marker #1]
Jesus mentioned it twice to His disciples
The way to become great is to humble yourself
The way to become great is to be a servant to all
To become a servant meant to sacrifice your preferences and desires in order to allow someone else to be honored
Jesus modeled this for His disciples right before His death, when he wrapped a towel around His waist and washed their feet at the Last Supper
But the greatest way Jesus modeled this for His disciples and for you and me is what we find in Philippians 2:1-11
BIG IDEA – Serving others means sacrificing self.
GOD (Philippians 2:1-11)
Paul is writing to the Philippian church because of a dispute that is happening there
It’s a dispute between Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2)
He is helping them to understand how to deal correctly with it
Blessings (v. 1)
Paul reminds the Philippian believers of the blessings of being in a Christian community
The Greek word translated in English as “If” also has the meaning in Greek of “since”
Paul is not questioning whether the believers have experienced these blessings or not
He is saying to them, “Since you have experienced these blessings from Christ, then this is what I want you to do.”
As followers of Jesus Christ we have been united with him
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus offers for us to be yoked together with Him, so we can learn from Him
This promise from Jesus should bring encouragement to you today, especially if you feeling weary and have a heavy burden you’re carrying (financial, work, relational, health)
Jesus is there to help carry that burden, just yoke yourself to Him
Don’t keep trying to carry the burden alone
This is referring to Christ’s love for His people
We know how He demonstrated that – it involved a rugged cross and mistreatment by those who were blind to the truth
Jesus willingly died on the cross for you and me – taking our punishment and paying our sin debt
It literally means “participation”
It is referring to participation with the Holy Spirit
Tenderness and compassion
The Greek word for tenderness literally means bowels, intestines
The bowels were considered as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections)
“The meaning of the verse seems clear: If there is any divine strength or support available ‘to those who are in Christ Jesus as you are (and there is); if there is any consolation or incentive which springs from your love (and Paul is confident there is); if participation in the Holy Spirit means anything (and it does); if there be in you any affectionate tenderness (and Paul is sure there is),’ then,” make my joy complete by being like-minded. [BBC, 316]
Unity (vv. 2-4)
Paul lists three characteristics that express the unity of the church
First, the same outlook
To be like-minded does not mean that you and I agree on everything or like all the same things
From a spiritual perspective it does mean that you and I have the same love as Christ did; having the same mind; cherishing the same views, valuing the same thing
Every evangelical denomination will agree on the tenets of the Gospel (who Jesus is and what He did)
“. . . internal unity is necessary for holding back the destructive forces that would hinder the progress of the gospel.” [Thielman, 96]
Every believer in Jesus Christ should be like-minded when it comes to the Gospel
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
“In literature prior to the New Testament, the term appears only in Aristotle’s Politica, where, in the course of discussing the various causes of political revolutions, the philosopher identifies one cause as the greedy grasp for public office through unjust means.” [Thielman, 97]
Vain conceit means empty pride – don’t do something just to build yourself up, which will lead to emptiness
In humility consider others better than yourselves
“Before the New Testament era, the word “humility” had a negative connotation. The adjective related to it “was frequently employed, and especially so, to describe the mentality of a slave. It conveyed the ideas of being base, unfit, shabby, mean, of no account.” [Melick, 94]
Notice that it was used of the mentality of a slave
Jesus had told His disciples that they needed to become slaves of all
Paul is urging you and me to have the mentality of a slave when it comes to fellow believers; “count others as excelling over us.”
Paul is not saying that you neglect yourself or your own interests
None of us has a problem taking care of ourselves
It’s a part of our American culture and psyche
One of our unalienable Rights is the pursuit of happiness – making ourselves happy
We pursue our own happiness more vigorously than perhaps anything else – it’s our right!
“Much modern social and psychological theory is indebted to the notion that members of the human species, like all other animals, are involved in a relentless quest to dominate others in order to survive. So we not only enter the church with the belief that we deserve to be made happy but often with the notion that our pursuit of happiness at the expense of others is inevitable.” [Thielman, 106]
“[Paul] sees [the church] as a group of individuals who, despite their differences, are willing to show love for one another through putting the well-being of others first.” [Thielman, 103]
Serving others means sacrificing self.
Jesus example (vv. 5-8)
Being Christ-like (v. 5)
How many of you would say that you want to be Christ-like
Isn’t it what every follower of Jesus Christ should desire?
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
One of the ways to be Christ-like is with your attitude
Paul says that our attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus
What was Christ’s attitude? (vv. 6-8)
First, we have to understand that He was fully God and fully man
He didn’t give up His deity to become a man
He set aside the right to His glory and power
In submission to God’s will, Christ limited His power and knowledge – He didn’t try to hold on to it
What made His humanity unique was His freedom from sin
Jesus willingly sacrificed heaven in order to come to earth to redeem the world
Second, He took the form of a servant
When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t come into earthly royalty
He wasn’t born in a palace
He didn’t grow up to reign over the Roman Empire or even a portion of the Roman Empire
As a human being, He was born into a family where His earthly father was a carpenter – not a particularly high social position
“By taking the form of a servant He revealed the true meaning of service.” [BBC, 320]
His death on a cross was reserved for individuals who were from the lower classes
The only reason a Roman citizen would have ever been considered to be crucified would have been for high treason
Death by crucifixion was below the social status of the rich and privileged
Even though Jesus was God the Son and had more power and authority than all the Roman rulers, He sacrificed all of that in order to die a servants death
He obediently followed the will of His Father
His attitude was one of humility and love
In His humility, He sacrificed everything so you could enjoy life
It’s through His death, burial, and resurrection that you can truly enjoy your life here on earth
It’s through His death, burial, and resurrection that you can enjoy eternal life when He returns
John 3:14-15, Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Perhaps you’ve hesitated to believe in Jesus Christ, because you’re unwilling to sacrifice something in your life
Maybe you’re afraid that believing in Jesus will mean that you can no longer have any fun
When you believe in Jesus and repent and turn from your sin, Jesus transforms you
You now have the power of the Holy Spirit living in you to give you the strength to sacrifice old habits, old friends, and old attitudes
You will find joy in serving Jesus!
My Next Step Today Is To: Believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life.
As followers of Jesus Christ, you and I should be striving each day to have the same attitude of humility and servant hood that Jesus did
As biblical church members, you and I should be giving, serving, putting others first
We should be doing whatever it takes to keep the unity in our church
You should always ask first what you can do for your church
Maybe you’ve been doing this, but you’re frustrated by those whose attitude is not Christ-like
These individuals are the ones that God has asked you to serve
When you’re tired of sacrificing for others in the church, remember the cross
You can’t do it in your own strength – it’s you and God together
My Next Step Today Is To: Pray for God’s strength and wisdom as I strive to have the attitude of Christ while serving those within Idaville Church
Perhaps you’ve been struggling with having a Christ-like attitude and you’re more characterized by what the leader did in insisting on eating at the same restaurant every time
You’ve been struggling with sacrificing your own personal preferences within the church
God’s desire is that everyone be brought to salvation and that none are lost
Being obedient to the Great Commission and Great Commandment sometimes requires changes in order to reach the next generation for Christ
It requires that you and I sacrifice our preferences in music, programs, our buildings and grounds, and many other areas
“. . . no sacrifice of our own comparatively paltry rights as human beings seems too great to make in order that the gospel might be advanced.” [Thielman, 128]
Allow yourself to be “overwhelmed by Jesus’ undeserved love for you that caused Him to sacrifice everything – including His preferences . . .” [Rainer, 40]
Keeping that in mind will enable you to do that for others
You can’t do this on your own – it has to be you and God
My Next Step Today Is To: Ask God to help me see where I need to sacrifice my preferences so the Great Commission can be accomplished through Idaville Church
As you and I obediently follow the will of God by having the same attitude as Christ by serving those within our church and sacrificing our preferences, then several incredible things will happen
We will experience joy and unity here at church
On the final day, God will respond to the lives of his obedient servants with commendation, just as he responded to Christ’s obedient life (Phil. 2:9-11) [Thielman, 128]
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis provides a helpful description of how the fallible believer can be more like Christ amid the give and take of everyday life.
“It helps . . . to pretend to be Jesus, just as a child might pretend to be a soldier or a shopkeeper. Just as the child’s imaginary games help the child to develop skills that will later be useful as a real soldier or shopkeeper, so the ‘game’ of pretending to be Christ inevitably reveals to the believer places for improvement and guides the believer toward spiritual maturity. . . .The minute we realize we are dressing up like Christ, we will discover ways in which our pretense could become reality. We will be embarrassed to discover thoughts that Christ would not have had and unfulfilled duties that Christ would not have neglected. Those realizations . . . should in turn prompt us to more complete obedience.” [Thielman, 130].
The Third Pledge
I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am a member in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that just aren’t my preference or style.