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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 2’

… He was not worried about claiming His rights …

Philippians 2:6

 

Jack Webb was a no nonsense TV detective on Dragnet.  I do not remember a single episode from the series (I was too young), but I do remember these words:

“You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to consult an attorney.”

 

These words form the core of what is know as your Miranda Rights, which since 1966 every police officer must recite before interrogating anyone.

 

Personal Rights have become an overarching issue in American society.  We talk about civil rights, the right to life, consumer rights, gun rights, the right to free speech, the right to the free exercise of religion etc.  

 

The Bill of Rights, which forms the first 10 Amendments of the  US Constitution were written to protect the natural rights of liberty and personal freedom in America.  

 

If someone seeks to limit or take away our rights, we become feisty and angry.  We might go so far as to hire a lawyer, file a lawsuit, and contact the media.   

 

What rights are you willing to give up for the benefit of others?  Before you answer, reconsider Philippians 2:6.

 

Jesus gave up His rights as God, comfortably enthroned in heaven with the freedom to demand that we worship, serve, and obey Him!

 

Why did Jesus give up His rights? 

… to live and die for the forgiveness of your sins.

 

What did Jesus gain in giving up His rights?

… rejection, ridicule, humiliation, whipping, suffering, and a public crucifixion.

 

Jesus knew what He was getting Himself into when He gave up His rights, but this did not stop Him.  Absolutely not.  In John 15:13 Jesus said: 

“There is no greater love than to give up your life for the ones you love!” 

 

And Paul tells us to think like Jesus.

 

I wonder what our world would be like, if we all thought and lived like Jesus?

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… consider the interests of others …

Philippians 2:4

 

This morning I heard a commentator talk about how America is doomed to deteriorate from the stalemate in Washington DC, because we “love politics.”

 

He would have been more accurate if he had said, “Our nation is in decline because Americans have learned to think only of themselves.”

 

Community rights and the rights of others have become frivolous concepts in America’s judicial system and emphasis on political correctness.  It’s all about individual rights … my rights!

 

The current American mantra is, 

“I have my rights and they trump yours!  You only have your rights if they do not limit mine!”

 

Our political system simply accentuates this selfishness.

 

Anyone with a successful marriage knows that their marriage will fail if both husband and wife do not consider the interests and needs of their spouse.  

 

This is one reason many Christians have failed marriages.  We have failed to consider the interests and needs of our spouse.

 

The Westminster Confession of Faith writes: 

“Marriage is designed for the mutual help of husband and wife.”  

 

This affirmation is built upon God’s declaration in Genesis 2:18:

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit just for for him.”

 

If your marriage is on shaky ground, Paul’s counsel in Philippians 2:4 is one of the great secrets for having a great marriage. 

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 … do nothing out of self-centeredness or out of pride …

 Philippians 2:3a

 

This morning after clearing 5 inches of snow off my driveway and sidewalk, I did the same for my neighbor.  Before you give me a Gold Star for Community Service, I need to come clean.  In a few weeks I will be flying to Florida and I am hoping that if it snows while I am away, my neighbor will clear my driveway and sidewalk for my wife.

 

My act of kindness was more savvy than it was self-less service to others.

 

Would Paul, will Jesus, applaud my kindness or see through the veneer of my sweetness?

 

Since I told you about my generous act of kindness, then it is clear that I have failed the pride test.

 

It has been feared that if Congress drops the charitable tax deduction non-profit service focused charities and churches will be hurt.  I pray that a change in the laws will not affect my giving.  

 

I’d like to believe that most of my charitable giving and service to others is not tainted by selfish ambition and conceit.  

 

How do you discern the difference between self-less service and selfish service?  

 

My measuring stick is simple:   

If I hope that my service will yield either a benefit or positive attention for me, 

then it is not self-less service.

 

The key is in my intent, my reason for serving.  

 

If my neighbor stops and asks if I am the one who cleared his driveway and sidewalk, should I remain mute? 

 

 God would be pleased with that.

 

I can tell my neighbor about my travels later.

 

Dang, there I go again ….

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If you have been encouraged by Jesus …

if you have been comforted by His love …

if  you have fellowshipped with the Holy Spirit … 

if you have personally felt God’s tender love …

(Philippians 2:1)

In these words Paul reminds us of the personal blessings of our experiences of God’s grace, which God has showered upon up.

We frequently forget all which God has done for us in the course of our everyday lives.  It is these small yet significant blessings of encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and tender love which sustain us.

As a classic debater Paul uses his gift of persuasion to encourage us to live the life God calls us to live.  Paul believes we owe a personal debt to God.

His reasoning and pleading is, “Since God has been merciful and gracious to you, then you should joyfully live from the bounty of His love?”

As a Pastor, I fear that we live in a world where more and more Christians live with a sense of entitlement.

They believe God owes them.  They believe God is in debt to them. They believe they deserve special treatment from God.

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in worship.  Do you go to worship for the simple pleasure of adoring God and learning from His Word or do you go to worship expecting to be fulfilled, to sing music you enjoy, and to have worship your way?

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in our demands for grace. When you sin do you demand that their should be no consequences to your behavior or do you submit yourself to biblical discipline.

I see this sense of entitlement expressed in difficult times.  When life is hard do you complain to God, questioning His grace and love or do you see Him walking with you through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4)?

Christians who live from a sense of entitlement will never be happy and will never find joy in Christ, much-less in life.

This is why Paul begs us to remember our experiences of God’s grace, they are key to your joy and peace today.

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