The Mind of Christ pt IV

Unbelievers’ exhibiting what appears to be the mind of Christ in their daily lives often cause confusion for some Christians. Although these folks want nothing to do with Christ and His church, their benevolent Christ-like acts of compassion and mercy often outshine those of all too many Christians. That’s why it’s tempting to erroneously conclude that the person must somehow be a believer. For instance, consider the compassion Jesus has for hurting people. It’s a wonderful example for His followers such as you and me to emulate, but all too often unbelievers put many of us Christians to shame.

When Jesus began His public ministry in the world He came to save, He found it to be a moral cesspool. A case in point was the town of Bethsaida which meant “house of fish.” It was located on the northeast side of the Sea of Galilee, and was where Peter, John and Phillip lived (John 1:44; 12:21). Jesus didn’t sit in the homes of these men waiting for people to come to Him. On the contrary, He walked throughout the town and heard the cries of a suffering humanity wherever He went and so do many unbelievers today, especially the ones who are in the liberal so-called “Christian” churches. These selfless compassionate people do everything they possibly can to alleviate the misery of their neighbors in need. They donate their time and energy by volunteering in homeless shelters. There they serve our societal outcasts, such as alcoholics, drug addicts, convicted sex offenders and the mentally ill. If that isn’t possible, they will send funds to social programs that do, instead of using it for unnecessary things such as expensive homes, cars and vacations and of course, the latest in video games and computerized gadgets. As I have been stressing in this current series of sermons, none of these unbelievers have the mind if Christ. But all Christians do and you and I have a tremendous responsibility to use it to the best of our ability, and we will be held accountable if we don’t. It’s sad that so many professed followers of Jesus don’t do as much as they could and should to exhibit His mind in their daily walk. Let’s take a look at several passages of Scripture and observe a particular part of the mind of Christ in action.

Jesus delighted in taking pity on hurting people. He loved to relieve them of their misery, and to comfort them and finally to save those suffering folks. The slightest cry of their misery stopped “Infinite Love” in His tracks, such as when He came across an untouchable most folks at the time avoided like the plague.

“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them,” Mark 1:40-44 (NIV).

Another example occurred when Jesus and His disciples were making their way along  a road and,

“… then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road,” Mark 10:46-52 (NIV).

John’s gospel records a beautiful illustration of Jesus’ compassion and mercy for handicapped people.

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing,” John 9:1-7 (ESV).

The Gospel of Mark mentions another event in which Jesus displayed those magnificent virtues.

1 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away,” Mark 8:1-3 (ESV).

Try to visualize the silent tears of a widowed mother who had just lost her pride and joy. It happened as Jesus was entering

“…a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep,” Mark 7:11-13 (NIV) .

I’m sure I’m not the only one here today who has seen a destitute person standing or sitting by the side of the road at the intersection of 189 and Shelburne Road in South Burlington. The person was holding a homemade sign begging for money. Have you ever seen an obviously mentally ill person in a marketplace being ridiculed by so called “normal people” or being chased away by an irate merchant from the front of his or her store. How do you think Jesus would have reacted when He saw these incidents compared to the way you and I often do? That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?

As I have been reminding us, all Christians were gifted with the mind of Christ the moment they were reborn in Him. And each of us has the God given responsibility to display it in one way or another to the very best of our ability. Exhibiting the mind of Christ in our daily walk is a wonderful act of Christ-like love. Preachers frequently cite examples of it in their sermons just as I’m doing today. However, for various reasons many of them don’t preach the whole truth of His love. If and when the folks in the pews discover this fact from the Bible, they leave that church in disgust and look for another one. Some of them never set foot in a church again except for an occasional wedding or funeral. Do you folks know what part of Christ’s love these kinds of men won’t preach about? Hopefully, the following verses from Matthew’s gospel will help us to understand.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” 4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire,” Matthew 3:1-10 (NIV).

With a heart full of love for those first century Jews, John repeatedly warned them that time was running out, just as faithful preachers do today. Needless to say, John’s warning went over like a lead balloon as do many sermons of preachers today do. That’s one of the reasons all too many of them deliberately avoid sharing the truth about God’s righteousness and His justice, and the eternal consequences if people won’t repent. Love wouldn’t allow John to stop warning those Jews at every opportunity. Eventually, he wound up being put in prison and finally beheaded for continuing to preach all of the truth. John had displayed the mind of Christ regardless of the cost. What do you think Jesus may have said to him when John arrived in His presence? That’s another no-brainer, isn’t it? Picking up where the ‘Baptist’ left off, Jesus began His ministry.

“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17

From that day forward Jesus began to preach, and He said,

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” Matthew 4:12-17 (NIV). (Also Mark 1:15; 6:12; Luke 13: 3,5; 16: 30).

Needless to say, Jesus’ and His repeated warnings about the need to stop sinning wouldn’t be appreciated in our day, anymore than it was back then, especially by the religious leaders. Try to visualize the following scene when Jesus concluded with the last of what are commonly known as ‘the seven woes.’ Imagine their outrage, and each mans facial expression and boisterous murmurings.

29 “Woe to YOU, teachers of the law and Pharisees, YOU hypocrites! YOU build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And YOU say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So YOU testify against yourselves that YOU are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of YOU forefathers! 33 “YOU snakes! YOU brood of vipers! How will YOU escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending YOU prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them YOU will kill and crucify; others YOU will flog in YOUR synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom YOU murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell YOU the truth, all this will come upon this generation. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, YOU who kill the prophets and stone those sent to YOU, how often I have longed to gather YOUR children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU were not willing. 38 Look, YOUR house is left to YOU desolate. 39 For I tell YOU, YOU will not see me again until YOU say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,'” Matthew 23:1-39 (NIV).

In his excellent book, Days of Vengeance, David Chiltain comments: “The sins of Israel, its rebellions and apostates, had been accumulating for centuries, filling up to overflowing. The point of crisis was reached when the Son came. Their rejection of Him sealed their fate, and they were in turn rejected by God. The generation that crucified the Lord and persecuted His apostles was the true “terminal generation.” Israel, as the Covenant people, was to be destroyed, finally and irrevocably. They had received the final warning. Years later, shortly before the holocaust of A. D. 70 descended upon Israel, the Apostle Paul wrote that the Jews

“… killed both the Lord and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost, (1 Thessalonians 14:16).”

“The same multitude which welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with hosannas was screaming for His blood in less than a week. Like all slaves, their attitude was fickle; but ultimately, their attitude was summed up in another of Jesus’ parables:

“We will not have this man to reign over us!” Luke 19:14)

“The chief priests revealed the faith of the nation when they vehemently denied the lordship of Christ and affirmed,

“We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15).

“So the covenant people inherited the curse. They had waved their branches toward the Owner’s Son when he entered their vineyard, seemingly to welcome Him to His rightful property; but when He came closer and inspected the branches, He found no fruit-just leaves. In keeping with the pattern we have just seen in our study of the Garden of Eden, Israel was ripe for becoming judged, disinherited and cast out of the Vineyard. But they had not only the examples of Eden, the Flood, Babel, and other historical judgments as warnings. God had specifically stated, through Moses, that the Curse would fall upon them if they apostatized from the true faith. We would do well to remind ourselves of the warnings in Deuteronomy 28 where God threatens the loss of family and possessions, becoming raveged by numerous diseases, suffering from warfare and the oppression of a victorious pagan nation, turning to cannibalism on account of famine, being sold into slavery and scattered over the face of the earth, (Deuteronomy 28:63-67).

“Because Israel committed the supreme act of covenant breaking when she rejected Christ, Israel herself was rejected by God. The awesome curses pronounced by Jesus, Moses, and the prophets was fulfilled in the terrible destruction of Jerusalem, with the desolation of the Temple and the obliteration of the covenant nation in A. D. 70. As God had promised, the Kingdom was indeed established when Christ came. But instead of embracing and assimilating old Israel into its structure, the Kingdom came and ground Israel to powder. God’s new Temple, the Church, was established as the old Temple was torn down and reduced to rubble.” (A)

The horrendous things those repentant Jews experienced in A. D. 70 were nothing in comparison to what awaited them in eternity. And, all because they WOULD NOT accept Christ’s love for poor lost sinners, and by DELIBERATELY REFUSING TO REPENT. As I’ve reminded you folks numerous times in the past, it’s too late for any of those people, but not for anyone who just heard this message. The clock is ticking! Time is running out! If any of you haven’t already done so, I plead with you, I beg you to accept the priceless gift of their sins from the One who said:

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16 (NIV). When you do so, you will cross over from death to life. You will put on the mind of Christ and have a tremendous desire to do everything you possibly can to lead folks in your life to the Cross of Christ and accept the gift of forgiveness of their sins, and then look forward to enjoying everlasting happiness, joy, peace and delight themselves in Him forever.

Lord willing, next week …

(A) Paradise Restored, by David Chilton, © 1985 Reconstruction Press, P. O. Box 7999, Tyler, Texas 75711, pgs. 80-82

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

March 13, 2011 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized 10 comments

10 Responses to “The Mind of Christ pt IV”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *