Scripture records that we are to "worship God in spirit and truth." But, what does that actually mean? Knowledge of God's ways and how we express them in a personal manner can be two different worlds, but God's desire is that they be one! The Epistle of Philippians shares a vital key towards fulfilling God's desire by focusing on "the mind of Christ" (Chapter 2:5) that empowers our personal example and collective approach to having the "fellowship of the Gospel" and experiencing the "fellowship of the Spirit." This is part one of a two part series.
[Robin Webber] And I’m looking forward to bringing this message to you, perhaps as much as any message I’ve given in some time. As I mentioned during the announcement period, that I do hope to build upon the great foundation that the Mr. Jonathan Garnett laid. And you’ll actually see where this goes in the course of time. I like to give you the title of the message upfront, that’s always good so that you don’t go away and wonder what I was talking about for the next three hours. That was just to get a rise out of you. But I’d like to give you the title of the message. And it’s simply this pure and simple, right action. It’s this “Exploring and Expressing the Mind of Christ.” If you missed the first time, I’ll mention it again. Exploring, and that’s what we’re going to do, “Exploring and Expressing the Mind of Christ.”
Why do I say that? And why do we need to consider that as members of the Body of Christ? If you’ll join me, please, let’s anchor on this thought in the Scripture in Isaiah 55 and beginning in verse 8. In Isaiah 55 and beginning of verse 8, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Eternal. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” How many of you heard that verse before in the course of your time in church? Can I see a show hands? Am I talking to the right audience? I guess the rest of you that didn’t raise your hands were just shipped in, okay, to fill the seats. I think all of us have heard that one time or another. I’ve been hearing that verse from the pulpit, oh, my, my, my, for about 56 years.
I know it, I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve read it, and I’ve read it again, I preached on it, I bought it, and yet I am still not in full comprehension. In my daily walk in this pilgrimage, and in my daily life in this pilgrimage, and every so often, there’s an old farm term. I grew up even in San Diego by a dairy but we had an expression. Every day, I tend to step into it. For those of you that are from Wisconsin or other parts where you have dairy, you will understand that phrase, just when I think I am walking and following the Master, I get off track and I step into it, and I go, “Oh, my ways are not really Your ways quite yet.” And I learned about Him. And I learned about myself. And I try to reinvent again my walk in this pilgrimage.
When Christ came to this world as Messiah, He came with an announcement. And that is how the Gospel of Mark begins in a very Roman sense. There is heraldry, and He says that He was coming through Galilee. And he made an announcement. He said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.” So it’s twofold, to repent, which means to change, but you can’t just paralyze yourself and stay in place. You can’t just stay put, God expected something to happen, that was to believe the gospel, to turn around and go a completely different way, a different direction, a different mindset a different… let’s go deeper because that’s what the book of Philippians is about. A different kind of heartset, a different kind of engine that is now propelling us, a different kind of motor that projects us. Jesus says, “Follow Me,” and you follow Him.
The Expositor’s Commentary puts it this way, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and it says, “and get a mind that fits it.” Well, that’s what I want to talk about today, the mind that fits the Kingdom of God. And what that is about. When we have that, perhaps not the heraldry of Mark or the heraldry of a Roman herald announcing Caesar or general coming by, but when God began to call you and speak to you for as many as are led by that Spirit, that Spirit begins working with us, we began to follow. And when we began to understand that there was a calling, and we began to follow God.
Here’s what I’d like you to do. I’d like you to put down three words, if you’re taking notes or try to lodge them in your mind, it’s simply this, was our coming into this way of life and becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, was that merely, number one, an the event? Number two, was that an experience? Or number three, getting a mind that fits, is it an existence, is it ongoing until the day that we die or the day that we are called up by the trumpet of God? Event, experience, every other day, once a week, on the Sabbath when we’re wearing our best, or is it a moment by moment heart decision, heart decision of an existence?
The book of Philippians offers fertile soil to make our hearts grow in this regard to make that difference. That’s exactly what I like to share with you, kind of stick it in there and get a mind picture going here. The book of Philippians gives us fertile soil to be able to explore, to be able to understand the opportunity to internalize what that mind of Christ was like, explore it, internalize it, and to express it. So this is going to be a keynote today because then, we’re going to have our other elders and some of our other communicators, we’re going to be going through this over the next couple of months. And I hope that as many of you as possible be there.
If you really want to have change in your life and not just show up for church and do your godly duty, “Well, I came to church today. I came, I sat, I tried to listen, tried to stay awake, and now, I go and have my donuts, and I have my coffee, and I go home, and I will start all over again next week.” Not that any of you are in that vein. But we’re not just here to put in time. We are here to be transformed into the mind and into the heart of none other than God’s greatest gift to us, and that’s His son, Jesus Christ. And as you know, before we get there, the great soundwave comes out of chapter 2, “Let this mind be in you,” not the guy next to you, but in you. “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus.”
It’s interesting that you think about at times when we meet people, and we say, “Well, when did you come into the truth?” It’s a very common phrase in our jargonisms in the Church of God culture, “Well, when did you come into the truth?” Now before you even know the person… saying sometimes, “Well, when did you come into the truth?” But you see, rather than the thing that we need to understand is that God is not only called us to come into the truth, He’s called us to come into the Spirit and truth. Jesus Himself, when He had that discussion with that woman of Samaria at the well, said, “There is going to to come a time,” there is indeed, “that when there are going to be those that are going to worship God, neither on your mountain or in Jerusalem, but they are going to come to worship God in the Spirit and in the truth.”
Now, let me define that. I could say the truth is that, well, God’s ways are not my ways. He says, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.” I get that. I run into that all the time. That’s the truth. But the Spirit is to do something about it. Christianity is not just about tickling your brain but changing your heart, changing your lifestyle, changing the way that was Jonathan brought out and it’s very fine message of how we interact with people, rather than getting up in our own little individual soapbox. We all tend to bring soapboxes with us. You know, we say, “Okay. Ode is now ready to speak. I now have my soapbox. And now, I will get up on soapbox,” whether it’s a dining room table, or whether it’s at Starbucks at a table, or whether it’s a conversation in a car with your mate in the car. Yeah, there’s soapboxes there too. “I will now…” and, you know, you kind of lift yourself up above everybody. “This is the latest Word of God speaking through me, the soapbox.”
So what we want to do here, friends is simply this, explore and express the mind of Christ, how essential is that quest. As one Christian speaking to other Christians, family, we’ve all known one another so long, there is nothing more important than this quest. That’s how essential it is to have that mind of Christ. It is everything, it is everything. As we say in Southern California, it’s the whole enchilada. And it’s the divine key to the fellowship of the Spirit, which is mentioned in the book of Philippians. You might want to jot that line down because that’s where we’re going to be moving to. The fellowship of the Spirit, not just the fellowship of the truth. The Sabbath is about truth. The Holy Days and their observance is about truth. Giving a tithe to God is about truth. But you can do all of that and not be in the Spirit of fellowship, either with God or with your fellowmen. And that’s what we want to talk about. And that’s what’s so neat about the book of Philippians.
Can we talk about Philippians for a moment? I’m going to kind of just paraphrase for sake of time for a moment. Remember what I said that God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. Have you ever thought that you were doing the work of God? You really thought you’re trying to please God? And it’s like there is just a blockade in front of you or this door closed, or that door closed. The book of Philippians really does not begin at Philippians 1:1 Philippians 1:1Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
American King James Version×it actually begins back in the book of Acts. And I’m just going to kind of paraphrase here for a moment to speed it up in the aspect of… I think all of us remember the missionary journey of Paul. He had now parted from Barnabas. Barnabas and Mark his family member one way. And Paul and Silvanus, otherwise known as Silas, decided to go another way. Because whatever happened there between Barnabas and Paul, Paul is going to go forward, so he’s moving up in the Asia Minor.
And in Acts 16, you can jot that down and read it yourself because it’s going to be a part of the assignment. In Acts 16, Paul kind of goes up there and he says, “Well, I think I’m going to go to Asia.” Now, Asia was one of the five great cities of the Roman Empire. It was kind of where East meets West. It would have been a logical terminus to sit, and be at, and be able to spread the gospel. So certainly, “Because it’s a large city and because I’m going that direction, wow, that’s where I should be.” But what happens is it says that “the Spirit forbade Paul to go to Asia” of which Ephesus is the major city. “Wow, God, what do you want me to do? I’m doing your work. Hello, is there anybody up there? So he said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll go the other direction then. I’ll go up to Bethania.” And actually, there’s a lot of Jewish synagogues up there. And it’ll be a great diving board to spread the Gospel. I’ll go to Bethania.”
What happens? He gets blockaded. It says again, “the Spirit came to him and forbade him to go up to Bethania.” Okay. “So I can’t go southwest, I can’t go to the north. What’s going on?” Have you ever had that kind of happened in your life where you think that you’re trying to obey God, you’re trying to do the work of God in your life, or some of you that are actually involved in the Church work? You’re trying to do this and it seems, like, there’s a wall here, there’s a wall here, there’s a ditch there, there’s a moat here. “God, what do you want me to do?” And then, of course, the great lesson of Act 16 is that Paul is slowly being pushed towards going to Troy on the coast, the Troy of Iliad thing. And it is at Troy that he gets that Macedonian call. Are you with me so far? For you don’t know the Macedonian call, it’s the message comes, “Come on over.”
And so rather than being a defeat, going to Bethania or not going, or a defeat going to Asia, what God is actually going to be doing is you’re going to be opening up a whole new door that for the first time, one of the missionaries, one of the ministers, one of the apostles are going to go over the pond, and they’re going to go into Europe. Could not be better. So God kind of does that sometimes. He says, “No here. No there,” so that we will ultimately come to understand what His yes is. Now, at that point, are you still with me on this one? We’re all together at about the same place on the map? Now, he goes over to Macedonia. That’s above Greece proper. He’s in Macedonia. And this is the big opportunity to really get it going, to found a church, to establish a base. And he is in the Philippi. What happens in Philippi?
Now, you look around right here. A lot of you have known or wondered a lot of years, but you just think about this. How did the church at Philippi begin? Well, there was no synagogue. There was not even a quorum, which Mr. Garnett, I think there needs to be 10 men to be in a quorum, there needs to be 10 men in a quorum. There is no quorum of Jewish men in Philippi. So they had to go down by, like, the old song, down by the riverside. And he met with the women that were reading the Scripture and being together. And that’s where it started. Started on the banks of a river with a bunch of ladies. And the first convert was a lady named Lydia, Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple, long story in that. So with the first person was, well, not even from around there, it was from Asia Minor.
The second person that came along to start the church was a young lady who was, at minimal, psychotic. And as the Bible says, “Had the spirit in her.” You know, the the gal that was in the middle of town square, and was yelling and jumping, and she was going around saying, “These are the men of God. These are the men of God. These are the men of God,” you know, Paul sometimes had a short fuse he used at times. And he just turned around and it says that he spoke to the spirit that was just in the girl and said, “You stop right now.” So number one we have… so that was the start of Philippi. And then thirdly, he was put into prison. He was put into prison because he had broken down that business of those people. So they came up against him, and he and Silas were thrown into prison. I’d like you to join me if you would for a moment in Acts 16, back in Acts 16.
In Acts 16, we notice here and it’s over here, he is in prison. And it says here in the verse 24, “Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” Imagine not being able to move and you’re down there, it’s dark, it’s dank, it’s probably wet, fleas, rats, and he and Silas are in stocks. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. And then there was a great earthquake.” Here in Los Angeles throughout Southern California, why do we have hymn sings? Because Christians always sing. They’d only just learn to sing in church. We can all do that.
But at times, we have to sing alone. We have to offer up songs to God. We need to worship God and remind ourselves that we’re not alone. And here is the prime example of why I love to do hymn sings in Southern California to remember whether with Miriam on the banks of the Red Sea as it closes on Egypt, or whether it’s Paul and Silas in a prison that we express our thanksgiving and our joy to God Almighty. No matter what the situation is you say, “Well, I wouldn’t have done that.” You might not have done that. I might not have done that. But God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. And I would suggest this, if I can make a comment, Silas and Paul had the mind of Christ, because they recognized that the Christian experience, this pilgrimage that we’re on the way is not just about following God when things are nice, and when things are happy, and when things are all rolling your way, you know? Like, in over Las Vegas, cherry, cherry, cherry on the old slot, boom, boom, boom. Just so you know, being the pastor of Las Vegas, I do not inhabit those places, just thought I’d let you know. Anyway, we look at that.
Out of all of this, and the next person that is mentioned in Philippi is the Roman jailer in Acts 16. And once there’s that earthquake, Paul and Silas leave until the last thing that can be done is the Roman jailer is going to kill himself. Better to kill yourself rather than be killed by your superiors. Paul says, “Stop.” And that jailer becomes a member of the Body of Christ by Paul’s interaction, just like Jonathan brought out. Didn’t condemn the men, he said, “Salvation is at hand. And you can have a role and you can have a part.”
So now, here we go. What do we have so far? What’s on the front row of the church in Philippi? We have a foreigner. Number two, we have the young lady that have the spirit. And number three, we have the Romans jailer. Is this any way to start a church? Is that what you would wish upon yourselves? But God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. And through that suffering, and through everything that Paul went through that church, they became very, very, very special to Him. It’s very interesting that a church that basically was born in prison now receives this epistle from Paul, this letter from Paul, that again, he is in prison. Philippians is a prison epistle. That’s what I want to get across to you. And no matter how small Paul’s world became physically, he never lost the large yes of the purpose and the plan of God. Now, here’s something else I want to share with you as we’re just kind of going through Philippians.
The city of Philippi is named after, you guessed it, it’s named after Philip. Philip was one of the great conquerors of the fourth century BC. He was a man that was devoted, first of all, to conquer Greece. And then ultimately, he wanted to go over to conquer the Persian Empire. He never got there. He was assassinated. Isn’t it interesting that here, this book, is written or the title comes off of a man that wanted to conquer the world but could not conquer himself, but was written to people that have the biggest challenge of all, and that is to conquer ourselves and come into the submission, and into the expression of none other than Jesus Christ.
What did that church in Philippi faced? That church in Philippi as Paul ministered to them, and again, would write to them, he was speaking to a church and giving them advance notice of a Kingdom that was coming, you know, that had a sovereign, and that it was good news. We have to understand the play of history at that time to recognize that Paul was speaking about another Lord, and another Master, and another King. But Caesar was then the king and the ruler of the world around the Mediterranean. He was lord. He was Soter as it spoken in the biblical language. He was ruler and he had good news, he had good news, Pax Romana .
And whenever a general or whenever a Caesar came, he was sent out a heraldry and saying, “There is good news. I am now on the throne. The peace will either come where the peace will be extended. All you have to do is give me your allegiance.” And so early Christianity came smack dab up against Caesar and his evangely, his evangelism, his good news, that the kingdom is here, that Rome that conquered the world has now been itself conquered by me. And you will have peace. You are blessed. I am Caesar. Our ancestor spiritually speaking accepted another king in lieu of that.
Join me now in the Book of Philippians. And that sets the stage of Philippians. I’m just going to read some scriptures to you right now and get kind of through this. And just want to kind of set the tone. Like I said, there’s going to be so much for others and for you to contribute. Just let’s pick it up in the Philippians 1:1 Philippians 1:1Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
American King James Version×, “Paul and Timothy, the bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and the deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, let’s just take and look at that and unpack it a little bit, these set of verses. How does Paul introduce himself? Is he in a soapbox? No, not at all. He says, “I am a bondservant. I am a slave of Jesus Christ.” And I want you to think this through for a moment, “I only have allegiance towards One individual that is who gets the call. And that is none other than Jesus Christ. I am His bondservant. I am bought and I am paid for,” as we can read through the book of Romans. “This is who I report to. This is who I represent. This is what I’m about. This is what I want to be like, I want to please my Master.” He says then “to all the saints.”
So right there, when you say the word saints, it’s a Greek word, you might want to jot it down. That’s the Hagos , H-A-G-O-S. He says to all the saints, so he’s immediately getting into the realm of that, which is holy, those that are sanctified, those that are set apart, those that God is dealing with, “to all the saints notice in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and the deacons.” The most important thing that we’re going to want to do, remember to tell messages exploring and expressing the mind of Christ. If you look at that one word right there is going to be very important “to the all the saints in ,” sometimes little words have the biggest meaning, “ in Christ Jesus.” In, not outside, not hovering around, not a drone flying over, not on the opposite side of town, not on the opposite side of life, but in this example, in this one who came, “ in Christ Jesus.”
If you want to do something that is going to be neat in your homework, is simply this, look for how often that word “ in Christ Jesus” is in the book of Philippians because you can’t have it halfway. Can’t be like our hamburgers here in Southern California, In-N-Out. If you are going to please our Heavenly Father above by following the example of the gift that He’s given us and be in that gift, otherwise close is just not going to do. Verse 2, “Grace to and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. And I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making requests for you” notice, “all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He was begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Now, we’ve all heard those verses before. They’re familiar to us. Let’s unpack them now, as we say today. Let’s unpack them. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,” memories, memories in the marketplace with a psychotic little girl, memories of down on the riverbank, hoping that maybe there was a big Jewish synagogue with lots of people and he’s down on the riverside with a bunch of ladies, and thank God that they were there to start something. “I thank every memory” as he was with that Roman jailer trying to help him from committing suicide there in the jail cell, and then going to his house. He had a bond. He had memories with these people.
Fellowship in the gospel. We’re going to go through three fellowships before this sermon is over. This is the first one that’s going to be important. I’d like you to jot it down either in your heart, mind or in a book. Fellowship in the gospel. This bond, this fellowship, as in the Greek with a “k” kainos , this communion, this intersectionality, this knitting that God is doing, this fellowship, this special union of spirit and truth coming together, it talks about the fellowship of the gospel, the fellowship of this good news. Good news. Good news. And not only good news of a Kingdom to come, but that we can experience that Kingdom of God today in our lives. “Oh yes, it’s going to come in its fullness. Oh, yes. There’s going to be the trumpet sound. Oh yes, Jesus Christ is going to come to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. And yes, His celestial toes are going to touch the Mount of Olives. But that’s future.
For those that believe in God the Father and what He did through Jesus Christ, we can experience that Kingdom now, it is at hand, it is near, and it is dear. One of the great challenges that we’ve had to learn and grow in is that the Kingdom of God is not just something on a postponement track. It is not just something in the future. It’s not just something to anticipate even as we do. The Kingdom of God is not just simply a destination, it is a way of traveling. And that is what the message of Philippians is about. It’s about the here and the now. It’s not postponing our life. It’s not postponing our good behavior. It’s not postponing the gentleness that Jonathan spoke, whether it’s somebody on the outside or somebody that’s sitting right behind you today in this church that you’re not getting along with. It is becoming a peacemaker, and being a citizen of that Kingdom now, and learning to approach people with gentleness and to get off our soapbox.
Notice what it says in verse 6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” That’s one of the most turned to verses that’s always a good closer in a sermon at, or a split sermon, or a sermon to just encourage everybody. But there’s one thing that maybe you don’t realize. When you look at this “being confident to this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The words that are used there for begun and to complete are out of Hellenistic literature and Hellenistic culture. These words that are Greek roots are words that are used for sacrifice. They are used for sacrifice and the temples of ancient Achaea. It’s is about sacrifice.
“Being confident of this very thing that as you begin this life of,” put it this way, paraphrase, “this sacrifice as the Master was sacrificed, a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Now, this is encouraging because God gave His own Son to be sacrificed. And we then and like turn sacrifice our lives, we become subservient to the will and to the model of Jesus Christ Himself, and He will “complete until the day.” But there’s two things that we have right here. In verse 4, it says, “with all joy,” joy is not happiness. Happiness is based upon external events, making us happy. Our children all love to receive a toy, especially when the batteries are working and especially when it doesn’t require batteries. We’re all children growing up. We like good things given to us or good things coming our way. But what happens when the batteries go dead? What happens when the toy gets rusty?
See, joy is different than happiness. Joy is not, “I will scratch your back. Can you scratch my back?” Joy is recognizing… are you with me brother, and that God has called you for a purpose on this day to hear His word in Sabbath services, to recognize that you’ve been chosen, that you’ve been called to be elected, to be a part of the family of God, but it doesn’t come without a cost. It cost Jesus Christ. And yet, that same cost, it says in Hebrews, you want to jot it down, in Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×, it says, “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross.” For the joy that was set before Him.
Now, what I want to share with all of this then as I want to go to another point here, and I’d like to wander over now to the aspect if my eyes can fall on it here in verse 27, something I want to cover. Notice that it says here in verse 27, “Only,” speaking to the Philippians who he love so much, “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Notice what it says, that you may know, “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
The apostle Paul was a realist. And we see it in Philippi, we see it in the other cities that he would cross that. The Roman Empire was highly cosmopolitan. Even in the city of Philippi, you had a whole Roman colony of retired soldiers that were living in Philippi. You had Macedonians, you had Jews, you had people from Asia Minor, it was very cosmopolitan. There were different racial groups, there were different ethnic groups, there were different cultural groups, there different economic stratas, there were men, there were women. It was a very, very diverse.
And Paul recognized that, if left to itself, if left to itself, it would come undone, unless they had one spirit, unless they had one mind, unless they had one leader unless they had one person to look to, to model to explore, to internalize, to express. And that leader is then found here. It says, “only let your conduct.” and that’s exactly what Jonathan was talking about your conduct. The word there is from the Greek conversation, let your expression, let your communication, let your way of life conduct your conversation, your body language, your verbal language, your… everything that are, be worthy of this good news, worthy, worthy. Not just putting in time, but worthy, working at it, and learning more about the example of Jesus Christ.
One thing that Paul recognized, and I’ll share with you today, after 55 years of being an organized religion. When you have many, many different people from many, many different backgrounds, this unity, this unity, and coming apart is always just around the corner. If we don’t model the mind of Jesus Christ, if we just carry our little soapboxes around with us, in our mind or in our heart, we can become undone. This was Paul’s concern 2,000 years ago. It’s been all of our concern in our lifetime. When we try to simply model a man rather than the Man, the heaven sent Man— the example. And we look to men to save us rather than recognize that we already have a heavenly Apostle in heaven. Hebrews 3:1 Hebrews 3:1Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
American King James Version×, that the author of Hebrews has considered the heavenly Apostle, Jesus Christ.
With that thought, then let me take you to chapter 2. And we are just going to get through chapter 2 here, just the bottom line. We want to do something really, really important. What I would do if I can show you, go home and do this if you want to. Just get a colored pencil. And just chapter 2 is right here for me. This is a vision test. Now, chapter 2 right here for me. Put an X right there, X in soft pencil, because X marks the spot. Philippians 2:1-13 Philippians 2:1-13 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Why, 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.
13 For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
American King James Version×is what the Body of Christ needs more than ever on this day. This is what the Los Angeles congregation needs, the Redlands congregation, the San Diego congregation, the Bakersfield congregation, and all the people in the Body of Christ around the world.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ,” any encouragement, “if any comfort of love, if any” notice, “fellowship of the Spirit,” second fellowship, there’s the fellowship of the gospel, that good news that has come into our life, the heraldry of the Spirit of God leading us to understand that there’s hope. Now, it talks about the fellowship of the Spirit. Notice it doesn’t say the fellowship of the truth. There’s a lot of people that have come into our way of life and said, “When did you come into the truth?” But some of those people are no longer here. See, it’s not enough to know the truth. You have to have the spirit. You have to be like Paul, where it says, “I am a bondservant. I’m owned.” Oh, that sound not politically correct in 2019. “I am owned by God the Father. I am owned by Jesus Christ. I am not here to live my own life. I’m not here to do my own thing.” Boy, doesn’t that sound primitive? Well, I’m glad I’m a spiritual caveman. I am owned. I am bought.
Someone else gave their life that I might live. And it speaks here, notice what it says, “The fellowship of the Spirit.” When you understand that you begin to connect with people, as Jonathan was saying in his message, so often, we tend to connect on the secondary and tertiary matters of life, rather than the primary matters of life that somebody that didn’t have to die, but willingly died for us voluntarily died for us, gave Himself for us. When our discussion begins with that, we have a discussion worth having. And this is what Paul’s leading to “fulfill my joy and being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. And let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in loneliness of mind that each esteem others better than himself.”
What’s Paul saying? Get off your soapbox. You may not realize it but you may be wrong to esteem one another, to hear one another out. They have a discussion, they have a conversation. Brethren, this is Robin up here talking to you, been in Pasadena a long time. Where would we be today in this way of life with those that have been in our life, and those that have been amongst us if they had just followed that example right there, “fulfill my joy, being a like-minded,” not following this man, not following that man, but being together in the fellowship of truth, the fellowship of suffering, the fellowship of the gospel, the fellowship of the Spirit, having the same love being of one accord of one mind. Whose mind, what mind? The one mind of none other than Jesus Christ.
And what is challenging sometimes is people will divide a congregation. They will divide a body of believers because they think that God is talking in their ear alone. How often have people that think that they are doing God a favor, have tried to stymie, which you can’t, but try to stymie the gospel work of God the Father and Jesus Christ? They can’t do it. But so often, what happens, they think they’re doing God a favor, just as much as the Jewish community thought that they were doing God a favor by sending Jesus of Nazareth to Golgotha, thinking they were doing God a favor. And yet, in that mind that was on that cross in that body, that was the great gift of God.
Let’s notice what it says here, “Let each of you,” verse 4, “not look after your own interests, but also for the interest of others.” Think, move beyond your own goodness, move beyond your own moment, move beyond your own thoughts, get off your soapbox, and think about others. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The X is there. X marks the spot, this is the one to look at, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” it wasn’t something to grasp to, “but made of Himself no reputation,” He Himself took on “the form of a bondservant,” the Creator became a part of the creation “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 to the death of the cross. Therefore God also highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall 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.”
Why did God the Father? Because God the Father, over the river, Jordan said, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased!” When it comes to the supermarket of the Kingdom, you think the supermarkets that we have today, our shelves are full. There are so many… I go in to get applesauce for my dad. I take applesauce over my dad to make sure he’s eating some good food. You know how many different varieties of applesauce there are to look at on a shelf?
See, in God’s supermarket of the Kingdom, there’s only one brand, there’s only one product. Are you with me? There’s only one mind to give your life for and have living in you. This whole area that you’re very familiar with is, in Greek, it’s called a paean , P-A-E-A-N. A paean was in Greek literature, it was poetry or it was prose to denote victory, to denote praise or triumph. In the Hellenic culture maybe towards in Achilles out of the Iliad, or it might been to Leonidas, the king of Sparta that died at Thermopylae, it might be to somebody else, it was this portray, this praise. And so what Paul is doing here, he’s kind of… this is an inset paean , it’s a song of victory and triumph for you and me to grab a hold off, and the hub of it all.
The hub of it all, dear friends, is let’s take a look at here, verse 8, “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.” Now, if you have this poem, stay with me when I look at… here’s the PowerPoint. Here’s the whole poem up here. The very hub is right here. The hub is the cross. The hub is that Jesus Christ was crucified. The hub is that this Man was brutally beaten, nail to wood, hung up for everybody to see, and He died at death. This is where Paul always centered right here. He said himself that, “I did not come preaching about this or that but I came and I preach Christ crucified. He gave Himself for us.”
But even in this, it’s not allowed because he says then, verse 9, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” “That which was put down by man, I have elevated, that which was found guilty in the court of Rome, and guilty in the hallways of the Jews. The Supreme Court of Heaven has overturned, case closed.” He’s been exalted. You see, remember when Paul… not Paul, but Jesus came into Nazareth and He preached the Jubilee, Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61, what is the Jubilee about? The Jubilee is about those that think that they are exalted, that are on their soapboxes, they’re going to be brought down. And those that are humble, those that are humble, and yielding, and life-conversant, and gentle, as Jonathan brought out, that maybe not everybody recognizes in this lifetime, they are going to be raised up by none other than God.
Jesus came not only to announce the Jubilee. I’ll be as bold to say that He is Jubilee. You know, you can talk about Jubilee all day long, you can write 1,000 words about it. You could talk about humility all day long and write 1,000 words about it. A picture’s worth 1,000 words. I’m here to remind you today as you’ve come to services to worship God and to worship His Son, that your Savior, God’s Son, humbled Himself and took on the form of this creation, and was killed by this creation for you and for me.
I have a question for you. We have been called, and I’m going to close with this, I might have come back in a couple of weeks and do more. Just Robin talking to you up here. I’m one of you, known you all forever. There are many wonderful, wonderful things that this church, as we call it, has been able to do over the years. But I asked you to consider. I asked you to consider what might God have yet done if we’d been a more humble people. Bold, yes, with the gospel. Bold, yes, with the Kingdom of God. But having humility and a love about us that was so different than the world that is around us, so different, the difference between night and day. What might God have yet been able to do that He wants to do through us today, God willing, and through you as individuals. God cannot use pride no matter how large it is. But God can use humility no matter how small it is to serve His purposes.
What will you do with this message today? And what will your Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and Thursday be like? Did you come to Sabbath services today just to put in time? Or have you come to Sabbath services to learn how much we need to have the mind and heart of Christ in us that we might be that holy people, that holy people that is called for in Philippians 1, the hagios , the sanctified, the saints? You and I have been called the mind of Christ in everything that we do, whether it is our… know so often we say, “Oh, I should not have said that. It got past me.” No. So often we talk about our words.
I want to challenge you this week that you bring into captivity and you bring into full focus in Jesus Christ, in Christ. You say, “Well, Mr. Webber, why do you keep on talking about Christ?” Because that’s who God the Father gave us. They love, they serve, they work together. Will you, not only your actions, but your words that lead to actions, and your thoughts that lead to words, and your motives that lead the thoughts. So often, we’re working over here when it’s got to start over here. You ever noticed that? That’s why God’s ways are not our ways. And we’ve got to get on His wavelength, His heart length, if we’re going to be a difference.
I will share something with you. I am going to be preaching so get used to it. We’re going to be preaching out of Philippians for a while, so I already know what I’m going to talk about next time because we only got through one-third of this today. I will tell you something that as we… not only Philippians, the whole Bible is given for inspiration, etc., but I tell you as we become a Philippian-like church, as we become like a Philippian-like church and recognize what God called us out of in spite of ourselves, and then gave us the fellowship of the gospel, gave us the fellowship of the Spirit. And yes, He’s called us to be in the fellowship of the suffering before Him and with one another.
What this congregation will be like even more, even more, with the light in the example that we can be in our community, with people that don’t even agree with us. But when Jonathan has his buddies over, he’ll say, “You know, this guy, you know, I don’t agree with the thing that he says but there’s something unique about him. There’s something different about him. There is something… I like being around him.” See, Jesus was a magnet. When He came into a village or He came into a house, there was something about Him that drew people to Him. That light supposed to shine in us.
I know God wants to visit you on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday of this coming week to see how you’ll take this message, and if we can begin to make a difference and grow before Him, and have that joy of the Lord.