The Secret of Contagious Joy
Having the Mind of Christ Part 2
Two little guys were arguing at breakfast over the last pancake. Mom broke the conflict up and said, “Now boys you remember what we learned about the way Jesus thought? Do you think that Jesus would argue over the pancake? No He would let His brother have the pancake. Now I need you to be like Jesus to each other and do what He would do.” The boys were quiet for a moment, staring each other down. Then the older brother looked at the younger and said, “You be Jesus first.”
We need to be Jesus to each other. And we need to go first.
Paul’s appeal to the Philippians applies equally to us today. He didn’t leave what that would mean in the area of theory. We are to outwardly show the inward and hidden mind of Christ, which you have if you’re a Christian. Having it, however, does not mean we are perfectly showing it!
You know we miss the joy of the Lord sometimes precisely because we look for it in all the wrong places. We look for it as we grasp selfishly, and live proudly, and refuse to give ourselves sacrificially in service to others. A selfish, proud man who will not love His wife sacrificially is a death sentence to his marriage.
Selfishness, pride, and an unwillingness to give ourselves freely should not characterize us if we’re Christians. Now we will no doubt occasionally slip back into these from time to time. After all, they are our default mode! We still live with a fallen nature.
The Bible doesn’t just show us how Jesus lived and what He, but it takes us inside how He thought. And then it says, “When you think this way, and then you’ll live the same way.” If we are not acting this way, it’s a thinking problem. And we must be willing to have our minds renewed. How often? Well every time we start living and thinking in the flesh again. “The mind set (same word) on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
How does that look? Well, three things we learned last week. The mind of Christ (or “mindset” of Christ) leads us first to be unselfish…considering the interests of others first.
FIRST, JESUS DEMONSTRATED UNSELFISHNESS BY GIVING UP EQUALITY WITH GOD. (V 6)
Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Jesus had a good thing going in heaven. Jesus didn’t come to earth to become God. He was eternally God before He came. “Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich” we read in 2 Corinthians 8.
This One Who is Deity, was Deity, and will always be Deity—the second person of the Trinity—had eternal wealth and power and wisdom and strength and angels worshiping Him constantly. He was enthroned in glory, but He gave that up unselfishly, seeking the interests of His Father and our interests before His own.
We had nothing to motivate Jesus to act unselfishly toward us. We are not unselfish people by nature. Anything but, actually. Now that said, there are some folks who seem to be less selfish than others; who are more generous and philanthropic. But that is not the kind of radical unselfishness Jesus demonstrated for us.
Recently there was a picture on Twitter that demonstrated something of this. A twelve year old girl was having trouble with her math homework, and so she emailed her teacher. He came to her home with a whiteboard, knelt down on her front porch and taught her through the door! He didn’t say “good luck” or “come to my front porch.” This teacher would have been paid the same to stay home. He didn’t have to risk his health or give up his free time to help this little student out. He had nothing to gain, but the satisfaction of getting to help.
We couldn’t comprehend God. We couldn’t solve our sin problem, and didn’t know enough to know we were in real, eternal trouble. A person unawaken to their sinfulness is like a person infected with the coronavirus but is not aware that something is terribly wrong inside them.
But Jesus, Who was equal with God, Who in fact WAS “the fullness of the godhead bodily,” gave that up to be born as a Jewish man, and He came and knelt before us and gave us a picture of Who God is. He washed His disciple’s dirty feet. He served the least deserving.
The mind of Christ leads us to live unselfishly. Even when it’s hard; ESPECIALLY when it’s hard. We are to have an unselfish attitude (mindset) even toward people who are selfish by nature.
JESUS SHOWED HUMILITY BY BECOMING A SERVANT
You know it may sound strange, but the Bible says that Jesus, “for the joy set before Him” went to the cross. Sometimes there are hard things we have to endure. But even hard times don’t stop the joy Jesus gives us.
He did not count equality with God something to be clung to. He unselfishly gave up His rights to be worshiped, to be honored, to be adored as He was in Heaven and He stepped onto earth as an infant.
RG Lee, the great Southern Baptist evangelist, used to say, “Jesus was as much God as God is God, and as much man as man is man.”
I know some critics have claimed that Jesus never directly claimed to be God, but let’s understand that when Jesus was tried by the Jews He was being tried for blasphemy. They understood that He was making a claim to be God, and they wanted Him crucified for it. 3 reactions to Jesus: Hate Him, run from Him, follow Him. But you can’t “like” Him.
We are remembering the HUMILITY of Christ as we think about and reflect on His dying. I think, of all the qualities of Christ we need to be looking for in our lives, humility is the one thing (my opinion) that God values most. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The death of Jesus, the obedience of Jesus shown by the humiliation and shame of the cross, is the extreme illustration of Christ’s humbling Himself. Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” The mind of Christ is a mind of humility.
JESUS SHOWED THE DEPTH OF SACRIFICE BY GIVING UP HIS LIFE
Jesus “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We see some amazing illustrations of sacrifice in our world today in the self-giving we are seeing in our medical communities. Doctors and nurses are risking their lives just by showing up for work. Yet they serve even knowing it may cost their lives.
These sacrifices point us to the One Who said, “No man takes my life from Me, I give it to them.” You know it’s one thing for us to see these amazing folks giving as they are, but let me ask you a question. If a patient showed up one day that the doctor knew; let’s say a guy that he had recently found out was having an affair with his wife.
So ideally that wouldn’t change the doctor’s treatment of this patient. But now, this man who took the doctor’s wife has the virus and treating him may cost this doctor his life. Would he give up his health and maybe his very life to care for one who was an enemy?
What is unique about Jesus’ sacrifice is that EVERY PERSON He died for was an enemy! “But God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were enemies (at enmity) with God, He sacrificed Himself for us.
There will be countless ways, I believe, for us to show a sacrificial attitude. But for the Christian, there should be no hesitance here. We have the mind of Christ! A mind that forgives; that loves even when love isn’t returned; that shows the best when others show their worst.
We should not shrink back when we are called to give everything for the sake of the Kingdom. In his book The Insanity of Sacrifice, missiologist Nik Ripken wrote,
It is one thing to read about God’s people in other times and other places who have sacrificed in obedience to God. It is another thing altogether to imagine that God would expect the same of us. But why would God exempt us from the same sacrifice that He has required from His people throughout history? God will do anything—ask for anything—demand anything . . . to fulfill His purpose. He even sent His only Son to fulfill His purpose. And when that Son arrived, He declared the purpose of God clearly and openly: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). That is the purpose of God: to seek and to save the lost, for His glory. As the people of God, it is both our privilege and our calling to embrace and share in God’s purpose. In fact, the very reason for our existence is to join God in His work.
These three attitudes: unselfishness, humility, and sacrifice should mark us as Christians. The verses we have briefly examined show a perfect picture of all three.
JESUS DEMONSTRATED THE PLEASURE OF GOD IN HIS EXALTATION
“Therefore,” Philippians 2:9 begins. “Therefore,” looking back on all that was written in verses 6-8; Christ’s self-emptying, His refusing to “grasp” the privileges of Deity, His becoming a servant (doulos: slave), His becoming obedient to the death of crucifixion; all of that is included and summarized in THEREFORE.
THEREFORE God has “super-exalted Him.” Jesus stepped down into human existence, occupying a lowly human body. He became man and yet never ceased being fully God.
Of all the world religions and philosophies that people have followed, NONE regards the material, physical world as highly as Christianity. Eastern religions as a whole reject the material world as an illusion. Greco-Western religions regard matter as evil.
Neither religions of the East or the West could have imagined a statement like the Hymn to Christ that is found in Philippians 2:6-11.
That God became a man…not for a little while, but reigns forever in a human, though exalted and resurrected body!
THEREFORE God has exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every Name…
“There is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved, “ we read in Acts. Jesus has a Name that excels and exceeds every Name that could be named.
It is before Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father. Every knee, every tongue, in every language…for the first time since Babel every tongue will speak the Name of Jesus together!
The confession, JESUS IS LORD, has been for two millennia the confession by which men and women, boys and girls are saved. No other Name will do. No other Name can suffice. No other Name but the Name of Jesus.
This confession requires two things:
- It requires CONVICTION. We must be convinced in our hearts that Jesus is indeed Lord of our lives. He is God, as He claimed to be. When the disciples said “Jesus is Lord,” they did not confuse what they meant. The Greek word “kurios” (Lord) was used in the Greek Old Testament translation to translate the word “Yahweh,” which is the Hebrew name for God. Over 1600 times this term was used. For the apostles who wrote the New Testament, this would have been the Old Testament translation they were most familiar with. For them, saying “Jesus is Lord” was claiming “Jesus is God.”
- If Jesus Christ is God, as the Bible claims He is, then this requires of us a second thing: COMMITMENT. Our conviction of Who He is must be followed by our COMMITMENT of everything to Him. You cannot casually “like” Jesus. People didn’t just “like” Him. Some people hated Him, and wanted Him dead. Some feared Him, and fled. But some fell at His feet and called Him Lord and God.
If Jesus Christ is Lord, then that confession demands “our soul, our life, our all,” to paraphrase the old hymn. It leaves us no quarter. We despise Him, we flee from Him and hide in claims of atheism and intellectual arguments to prove His claims wrong, or we fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
But you can’t just “like” Him. That option is not open.
He is Lord, He is Lord
He is risen from the dead and He is Lord
Every knee will bow, every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord