Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 26: The Mind of Christ
August 3 2001 by Catherine Painter , Philippians 2:1-11

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 26: The Mind of Christ | Friday, Aug. 3, 2001

Friday, Aug. 3, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 26: The Mind of Christ

By Catherine Painter Philippians 2:1-11 Jack is more apt to be late for any appointment other than the one with his supper dish. One evening, arriving late, he said, "I saw Charlie staggering down the busy two-lane road. Fearing he'd be hit, I stopped and offered him a ride." "You don't want me in your car, preacher," he argued.

"Get in Charlie," I said.

"Preacher, there's something in my bag you don't want in your car."

"Get in," I insisted, "and took him home and got him in bed before I left."

"Who's Charlie?" I asked, suspecting another 'stray' - those people Jack finds along his way, not members of our congregation.

"Charlie's one of my friends," he answered.

I thought I glimpsed the mind of Christ, and remembered something I'd clipped:

Would you be chief? Then serve. Would you go up? Go down. But go as low as e'er you will, The Highest has been lower still.

Our Goal (Phil. 2:1-2) "A proud person has few teachers." It takes humility to know Christ's mind, the one thing Paul craves for the Philippians. Nothing depresses a minister more than sensing disunity among his flock, whether social or theological.

Reading ahead, we learn that pressures exist from false teachers outside the church (see 3:1-3), and from disgruntled members Eurodia (fragrance) and Syntyche (fortunate) within the membership (see 4:1-3). Paul asks, "Do you want my heart to overflow with joy? Then show the evidence of unity, love and purpose in your lives."

Our Guidelines (Phil. 2:3-4) Paul offers the "how-to" in achieving the task. Self will survey the field in terms of its own advantage. Love, in contrast, will not boast, be proud or seek her own (see 1 Cor. 13:4-5).

The only competition tolerated in the church should be for lowest place and toughest service, not meaning that we are to become "spiritual doormats."

Paul intimates that while the Philippians are perfectly saved (v. 1), they're not perfectly matured, a fact not understood by those who point to so-called "hypocrites in the church." His word "also" allows the right to consider one's own interests, but never at the expense of others.

Our Model (Phil. 2:5-8) In earlier years, it was proper to sign one's correspondence: "Your obedient servant." Today, pretending we're somebody's servant seems distasteful, even undemocratic, as though the idea came from George Orwell's Animal Farm, where a character observes, "We're all equal, but some are more equal than others."

Paul insists the church remember the supreme example of Christ, who, not hesitating to shed His divine status, became a man, making Himself a servant.

When someone asks, "What is life?" Jesus answers, "Service" (see Matt. 20:28). After washing His disciples' feet, He said, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15).

When I read verse 5, I feel I'm being given a spiritual check-up: how's my attitude toward life, work, church, people - all people, even the "Charlies" who delay my suppertime.

A tourist, watching Mother Teresa minister to lepers in Calcutta, said, "I wouldn't do what you do for a million dollars."

"I wouldn't either," she answered, "but I would do it for the love of Christ."

Jesus was surrounded by disinherited and sick people - the "Charlies" of our world. He never got used to it, and neither can we who follow Him. Those we serve will not always be lovable, but we have our orders.

Our Purpose (Phil. 2:9-11) Paul reminds the Philippians that a day will come when "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Atheists, agnostics and those who delayed too long will not decide to bow. They will bow.

Paul leaves us two choices: we bow before Him now, as our Lord, and spend eternity with Him (see John 14:1-3); or bow before Him later as judge (see Matt. 25:41-46) and experience eternal separation.

Often, during quiet time, I read scripture, write my response and sign my name. Following no other passage do I feel more like writing a "thank-you" note than this, to Him who performed a miracle in my life. I don't understand the cross, nor do I need to; I only need to bow before it, saying: Thank-you, Lord. In my imperfect love I'll follow, seeking to serve those for whom you died. Your unworthy, but obedient and grateful servant, Catherine.

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8/3/2001 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter , Philippians 2:1-11 | with 0 comments
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