The Mind of Christ pt II

I’m sorry the snow storm prevented you folks from attending last week and hearing the message the Lord laid on my heart to share with you. Although I preached it for the few who were here I didn’t post it on my site because I know folks get more out of my messages from hearing them preached than from reading them later. That’s why I’m going to preach it again today. Continuing with my series of sermons concerning the mind of Christ; we’ll start by reviewing the Apostle Paul’s letter to those early Christians who were living in Philippi, followed by a relevant verse from his letter to the Corinthians.

“… let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] 6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God, God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, 7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. 8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! 9 Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, 10 That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:5-11 (AMP)

“… let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Philippians 2:5 (AMP)

“… For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart, 1 Corinthians 2:16 (AMP)

In my last sermon I mentioned the fact that, although I received the mind of Christ when He converted me in the early 1970’s just as every other Christian did the moment they were reborn, I didn’t use very much of it until just before the end of that decade. Actually, I didn’t even know what Paul was talking about. I quoted several Bible commentators in order to provide you folks with an amplified commentary on the verse we were focusing on. I know this particular method has enabled you to have a clearer understanding of what Paul was saying. To refresh your memory here’s the one I concluded my sermon with. Please keep those verses from Philippians and Corinthians in mind while I quote Alexander Maclaren who wrote:

“The purpose of the Apostle in this great passage must always be kept clearly in view. Our Lord’s example is set forth as the pattern of that unselfish disregard of our own needs, and devotion to the needs of others, which has just been urged on the Philippians, and the mind which was in Him is presented as the model on which they are to fashion their minds.” “The broad truth which stands crystal-clear is that the Incarnation, Life and Death are the great examples of living humility and self-sacrifice. To be born was His supreme act of condescension. It was love which made Him assume the covering of human flesh. To die was the climax of His voluntary obedience and His devotion to us.” “The whole strange conception of birth as being the voluntary act of the Person born, and as being the most stupendous instance of condescension in the world’s history, necessarily lies with the clear conviction that He had a prior existence so lofty that it was an infinite descent to become man,” [in order] “to rescue men, and win them to Himself and goodness, and finally to lift them to a place [Heaven] from which He came down for them, seemed to Him to be worth the temporary surrender of that glory and majesty. We can only bow and adore his perfect love.”

“The scene in the Upper Chamber [Heaven] was just a feeble picture of what had already been done behind the veil. Unless He had laid aside His garments of divine glory and majesty, He would have had no human flesh from which to strip the robes. Unless He had willed to take the ‘form of a servant,’ He would not have had a body to gird with a slave’s towel. The Incarnation which made all His acts of lowly love possible was a greater act of lowly love than those which flowed from it. Looking at it from earth, men say, ‘Jesus was born.’ Looking at it from heaven; ‘Angles say, ‘He emptied Himself.’” “But how did He empty Himself, by taking the form of a slave, a slave to God.”

“Jesus as He ‘emptied Himself’ in the act of becoming in the ‘likeness of men, humbled Himself,’ and all along the course of His earthly life He chose constant lowliness and to be ‘despised and rejected by men.’ It was the result moment by moment of His own will that to the eyes of men He presented ‘no form of comeliness,’ and that will was moment by moment steadied in its unmovable humility, because He perpetually looked ‘not on His own things, but the things of others.” (A) That’s as much as we were able to cover in my first sermon in this series. I would now like to focus on verse 16 where Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:16 (ESV) “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of ChristYou and I have the mind of God.  Think about that wonderful fact and its implication. By way of explanation, allow me to share something I recently came across.

“We have the mind of Christ. We have the unfathomable mind of God. His thoughts are vast; they’re unsearchable and unbiased, and they have been revealed to His servants in Christ by His Spirit and through their God given faith in Him. We have the mind of Christ representatively. For example, the minds of great men represent themselves through the character of their disciples. Jesus put His disciples in possession of His mind with its great ideas and they faithfully represented His mind to others. They died; but their followers, in their turn, transmitted the mind which they received. “ (B)

Christ’s “… unique and exemplary life, and His suffering, death, and physical resurrection from the dead transformed His handpicked disciples as well as the lives of many others. As He once said, “I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10 NRSV). The lives that He transformed in turn transformed much of the world: its morals, ethics, health care, education, economics science, law, the fine arts, and government. These changes, often not recognized, are still largely operative in the West, continuing to produce many positive effects that are also present in some non-Western areas of the world.”  “One only needs to look to sectors of the world (such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia,) where Christianity has had little or no presence to see the remarkable differences.” (C) “We look at the true Church, and we can see in it the mind of Christ (actively demolishing the Kingdom of Darkness).

Another example is through literature. A man’s book is kind of a second incarnation of himself. Thus the Mind of Jesus has come down to us through the New Testament. In their historic influence Christ’s mind has come down to us in this way. Christ has distinctly assured us that He; not His mere influence, but Christ Himself; is with the Church always, even until the end, to enlighten, sanctify, guard and strengthen it. This fact gives the Bible a wonderful advantage over other books. You can take up the work of an author, who has already passed through this world and entered into the next, and you will find many things you won’t understand, but you have no help. But when you take up the Bible-even though it was written centuries ago-its Author is by your side. Furthermore, if you and I have the mind of Christ, then whether or not we live our lives in a manner reflective of His mind is an immense obligation. (However we must remember that) our obligation is always regulated according to the ability and privileges with which our Creator has endowed us.” (D) Allow me to explain.

Jesus was teaching one time “… when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, Luke 12:1 (ESV). “Then…Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they [men] entrusted much, they [men] will demand the more, Luke 12:41-48 (ESV).”

“No man can tell the day or the hour when eternity will invade time and summon him home. How, then, would we like God to find us? We Christians ought to want Him to find us with our work completed. Life for so many of us is filled with loose ends. There are things undone and things half done; things put off and things not even attempted. Great men have always believed that a task must be finished. Praying to His Father, Jesus said, “… I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do,” John 17:4 (AMP).

No man should lightly leave undone a task he could have finished, before night falls.” “We have a habit of dividing life into compartments. There is a part in which we remember that God is present; and there is a part in which we never think of Him at all. We tend to draw a line between the sacred and the secular; but if we really know what Christianity means we will know that there is no part of life when the Master is away. We are working and living always in our great task-master’s eye (just as it is on the tiny sparrow we sometimes sing about). The passage finishes with the warning that knowledge and privilege [are] always [accompanied by] responsibility. Sin is doubly sinful to the man who knew better; failure is doubly blameworthy in the man who had every chance to do well.”

“And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. Luke 12:42-44 (ESV)

“This was electrifying teaching, and the disciples minds were reeling at the implications. So Peter asked a question they were all thinking. “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” (V41) Jesus’ subsequent answer revealed that the parable was for the Twelve-and then for others who would subsequently exercise authority over God’s people.”  “In simplest English, the servant of Christ who has been faithful in his temporary earthly responsibilities will at Christ’s return be given vast permanent authority in the eternal state. This principle is again highlighted in the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19:15-17.”

“When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities,’” Luke 19:15-17 (ESV).

“As to the nature of the enlarged eternal authority, we do not know. But we can be sure it will be joyous, because to do His bidding will be the delectable food and drink of the redeemed. I am reminded of the earthly servanthood of John Broadus, the faithful president of Southern Baptist Seminary during the Civil War. At war’s end the seminary had four professors and seven students, and one of those was blind. Only the blind student took Broadus’s course on preaching. Under such circumstances, many teachers would have been tempted to give less than their best. But not Dr. Broadus, who gave painstaking care to every lecture. Those magnificent lectures became the substance of the most famous and influential of all books on homiletics in American history, The Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. Broadus’s authority was increased because he was a faithful servant. But that is only the beginning of the story. The final story is being written now, as Broadus serves Christ in the final state.” “Of course, not all servants are faithful and wise, so Jesus addressed their plight as well:

“But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful,” Luke 12:45-46 (ESV).

“The “servant” here has not simply been lazy or indolent but monstrously unfaithful-a drunken glutton who beats not only men but women-an abuser of both divine trust and human life. His life is a grotesque perversion. When the master (Jesus) returns, the cruel servant suffers a grisly end, and Christ pronounces him an “unbeliever.”

“Those in Christian leadership may profess what they will. They can use every Christian cliché, hold the Bible like Billy Graham and say, “The Bible says,” build a following in wide Christian circles, but if that man or woman consistently behaves in an unchristian way, he or she is not a true believer. Paul told the Ephesians: “For of this you can be sure: no immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them,” Ephesians 5-5-7. And listen to St. John: “This is how we know who are children of God and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right in not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother,” (1 John 3:10).” (When I read this statement I was reminded of all those pastors and preachers today who believe in the absolute truthfulness of the doctrine of God’s sovereign grace just as I do. However, they never mention anything about God’s foreknowledge, foreordination and predestination because they are afraid of how the people sitting in the pew may react and what it may cost them personally, just as there are some sins some of them don’t speak about either). “Everything will be revealed when Jesus returns, so we must make sure our life matches our profession of [faith]. Everything will be put right, and the truth will be known at last!”

“Jesus tells us that ultimate justice will be exquisitely meted out: that servant who knows his masters will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows, (vv.47, 48). Some people by virtue of their greater knowledge, age, experience, and influence in the church will suffer far greater penalty for the same sin that an ignorant person will. James rightly warned, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly, (such as those pastors and preachers I brought to your attention a moment ago,) (James 3:1). Equity at the end of this unfair world is a delectable thought. Praise God that He is such a judge that nothing will get by Him. Praise Him for His fairness. And, of course, praise Him for His grace-our only hope.”

“Jesus summed it all up in a famous proverb; “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and for the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,” (v. 48b). We have so much. We have the word of the Old Testament, the word of the prophets, the word of the covenants. We have the word of the New Testament, the revelation of the Incarnation, the gospel of grace, the life and teachings of Jesus, the apostolic witness and teaching. We have 2,000 years of the church’s testimony. We have abundant preaching. We have Christian education. We have thousands of books. We have a wealth of opportunities. Consequently, much is required of us!” (E).

WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST. Every Christian received it the moment he or she was converted. I wonder how much of it is reflected in the way you live your life and in how I live mine.

Lord willing, next week ….

(A)        Expositions Of The Holy Scripture, Corinthians, by Alexander Maclaren, D. D., Litt. D. Pgs.253-257.

(B)        Biblical Illustrator, By Joseph S. Exell, ed.Vol. 17, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 199.

(C)        UNDER THE INFLUENCE, How Christianity Transformed Civilization, by Alvin J. Schmidt, pgs. 16; 14.

(D)        THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, Revised Edition, © 1975 Translated by William Barclay, Second Edition 1956, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pa. pgs. 167-168.

(E)        Luke, Volume 2, © 1998 by R. Kent Hughes, Published by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 1300 Crescent St. Wheaton, Illinois 60187, pgs. 64-65.

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February 13, 2011 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized 6 comments

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