Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P65 (09-15-20)
As we read in Philippians, concerning the attitude in Christ Jesus, there are three basic attitudes that God wants to form in us, the attitudes of servitude, humility and dependency on the Father. When we come to Christ by faith in his death, burial and resurrection for us, we are on the starting line, where for the very first time the Spirit of God is placed in us. The mind of Christ is what we now have, to discern the things of God.
We need the mind of Christ so that our minds can be renewed with truth to replace the error of the world, the philosophies and the thinking of the world that has kept us in bondage and is contrary to the life God has given us. We are instructed to renew our minds with the new mind God has freely given us, to be able to walk in the new life. We have this option to participate in the divine nature. We are to have this attitude that if not for the grace of God, there go I.
By knowing that God has made you holy and deeply loves you, that is the foundation that transforms your life, your relationship with God and with the family of God, your born again brothers and sisters of like mind. As children of God, we are all learning to walk in the new way of the Spirit. Any one of us can make mistakes, stumble and fall into sin. We need others in the body of Christ to help restore us in right thinking, with an attitude of servitude and humility, knowing that they themselves could have easily done the same sin also.
We desire others to be gracious to us, and to show wisdom to overlook our faults, relying on the grace of God to form in us new attitudes. We all need those times of instruction, correction, reproof and training in righteousness, and there is the proper time for those things, but we are all, who are in Christ Jesus, under the training of God. Ultimately God is the one who causes our growth.
Any one of us can become trapped in a sin, whether drugs, alcohol or depression. Yes, even depression is a sin of not depending on God, of having unrealistic expectations and misplaced dependency. We must understand everything that does not come from faith is sin. So, that alone begs the question, “How many times do we all really sin?” And the logical conclusion, “Praise be to God for His continual grace in us.” So in the same manner of heart God deals with us, we are to have the same attitude to restore a brother who has been trapped in a sin, to be humble in our attitude and restore him gently.
We are told to be thankful in all things, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. When we ponder all that Christ Jesus has done for us, we should be the most grateful people on the face of the earth. We can live in a state of continual thankfulness.
Is it not refreshing to know that God does not deal with us on the basis of sin and death? God already took away our sins, never to be seen again. He has chosen to remember our sins no more ever since the time He fulfilled the law for us, becoming sin for us, so that in Him, we have the righteousness of God in us.
Is it not even more amazing that God deals with us in grace as a child of God! He knows that we will mess up, that we will at times cave into the cravings of our flesh and sin, being forgetful of the things He taught us or taking our eyes off Him and His promises. He is gracious to you and me, so He instructs you and me on how to live in the new way of the Spirit, where against such things there is no law.
So what does that look like to be a child of God? God loves you dearly. He speaks tenderly to you, with gentleness and He guides you into all truth. When you fall, He is not looking to pass judgment on you. The judgment of all sin has already been judged on Christ in your place, over 2000 years ago on a cross. So, He grieves for you, has pity on you like a compassionate father, longing for what is best for you.
All that is in Christ, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control is placed in you, and is available to you to accept by faith, to access. That which is in Him is in you, and then, like the parable of the vine and the branch, such fruit is borne on the branch. The spiritual nutrients in Christ Jesus are accessed by faith, and nourishes you and expresses itself through your body as you abide or rest in Him, depending on the Father to produce this in you and through you. It begins with changes in your attitudes of heart, showing up attitudes of dependency on the Father, of servitude and humility to others.
As a matter of review, we will pick back up at the beginning of chapter 12 on the attitudes of love. Once again, we will see the three basic attitudes of Christ Jesus.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!
As we discussed so many times in the past, that the fact that our attitude is what God is looking at. It did not say that we should duplicate the actions of Jesus, but that we should copy the attitude of Jesus. Again, the reason for that is that Jesus walked in total dependency upon his Father, doing nothing unless the Father told him to do it. I cannot copy his actions unless God was telling me identically the same thing that he told Jesus to do.
What we have to understand is what God is looking for is an attitude that says, “I am available to you. I have made my body available to you as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in the sight of God, and that is my reasonable act of worship.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
From the passage of scripture in Philippians, you see three basic attitudes staring at you. The attitude of Christ is the attitude of servitude, an attitude of humility, and an attitude of total dependency on his Father, spelling itself out in obedience to the Father. Those are the attitudes God wants to build into you and me, not to try to duplicate the actions of someone, but to get our attitudes in line with the one, who is Christ Jesus.
So Jesus said my attitude here on earth, as a human being, finding myself in appearance as a man, I have an attitude of servitude, of humility, and I am not going to consider equality with God something to grasp or hold onto. In other words, do not think of yourself too highly than you ought. I Am going to walk in total dependency upon my Father. My Father lives in me, and that is my guide.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When we see that, then in Romans 12, we studied the fact that that means that we are no longer to conform to the pattern of this world because we are never going to obtain Christ attitudes by listening to the world’s attitudes. They are in total contrast with each other.
The golden rule is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The world’s golden rule is to do unto others before they do unto you. Or, do unto others and then cut out. You have a total contrast between the two.
If you and I are going to develop an attitude of Christ Jesus, an attitude of servitude, humility and dependency on Christ, we can no longer conform to patterns, attitudes, and philosophies of this world. So, we set out from the moment of spiritual birth with the ability to have our minds transformed, and renewed to learn the attitudes of God, and therefore, to adapt those same attitudes. It is only then that we are able to test and approve the will of God, His good and pleasing and perfect will.
People are always saying, “I want to know the perfect will of God.” You cannot do that if you have the attitude of the world. You are going to do that when you obtain the attitude of Christ Jesus. Therefore, what is God’s will, good pleasing and perfect will for me? To walk in an attitude of servitude, to walk in humility before man, and to walk in total dependency upon the Father.
We do not deal with that in religion. We deal with actions. It makes no difference whether you are humble or not, just go do something. It does not matter if you are serving for your self accolades, it is just go do and do. That is what the world looks at.
But God says, “what I am looking at is a mind that says, ‘I am going to be a servant, and I am going to live in dependency upon my Father, and in total humility in regard to God.’”
Then we looked at Romans 12, where we should not look at ourselves more highly than we ought.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Then we started looking at what our attitude should be toward one another, the body of Christ. What should our attitude be toward God? Total dependency in Him. Now, what is should our attitude be toward the body of Christ?
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
We are all a part of the body of Christ. The true church is the ekklesia. Quite frankly, it is not confined by a building. It is people. A believer in China is just as much a part of the body of Christ as a born again person sitting in New York. The body of Christ is not an organization but an organism. Christ is the head and we are the body.
He wants us to have that attitude toward the body. What we have done is said that my little assembly over there, on the corner of walk and don’t walk, is the church. Others come up and say, “No, that is not the church. That is a church.” Another guy says, “No, you are all wet. We were there before you were.” Others say, “We are the ‘Church of Christ’. Don’t you see the name? It says the ‘Church of Christ.’” All these things substitute for what God says is the body of Christ. For the body of Christ is not an organization. It is an organism.
Our attitude needs to be that of Christ Jesus. We cannot say “I have an attitude of Christ and, therefore, say that I am functioning in His good, pleasing and perfect will if I see my little assembly as the church instead of being a part of the body of Christ. It is an ekklesia, a group of called out ones, hopefully.
But as you and I know, you can have assemblies that do not have any called out ones, just people. I was in one. I grew up in an assembly like that. I am not being judgmental. I know that to be true. I do not know if any of the people there were saved. That was an organization, a church organization, but from God’s standpoint, was not an ekklesia. They were not called out yet, not even born again, including myself at that time.
Then, we talked about forgiveness, how we as people, chosen of God, should be forgiving toward one another just as Christ Jesus forgave us. And to put on those virtues of love, that binds everything together in perfect unity.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
I think it is only as we begin to see this concept of us being a part of the body of Christ rather than seeing ourselves as a gathered group of people, who belong to an organization. We must keep this sight in mind of a head and a body. The head and the body are joined together. When it comes to the body, although their parts are many, they form one body. We see we are not two bodies, not three bodies, but we are one body. That is difficult to do when you have denominations all over the place, when you have Catholics and Protestants, converted Jews and non-converted Jews. That concept in and of itself annihilates you of getting a picture of what God calls the body of Christ.
When we come to understand the truth of these things, that you are part of the body of Christ, now what is your attitude toward your own body? Remember what Paul said when dealing with marriage.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[Genesis 2:24] 32 This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
We get up and wash these bodies. We clean these bodies. We feed this body for sure. We exercise this body and sometimes we put implants in it. We do all kinds of things to this body. Some things do not belong there. But what I am saying is we are for this body. We want it to look good and smell good and feel good and all of this type of thing. That is as natural as anything in this world. We care for this body.
If you and I are a part of the body of Christ, we should care for one another the same way. Do I want to cleanse you? Do I want to wash you? That is the washing of the feet type of thing. Do you wash your own feet? Of course I would. Well, wash someone else’s feet. See another person who is in Christ as the same way you see yourself. Care for them. Love them. Would you go out and rumorize your left arm because it is not behaving as your right arm should? Do your fingers get together to have an assembly meeting to discuss what thumbs should be doing on behalf of the head? No.
You should care for your body, for each other. Yet what do you see? People out wanting to destroy other members of their own body. That is not only stupid but there is a degree in which it is sadistic. For me to sit down and cut my own body, why you would say you are demon possessed. Or to cut my thumb off because it was not doing right. We would say that he is a sadistic human being. What is wrong with you? People sitting around cutting themselves are called demonics.
We have to understand that when we do not understand that we are all a part of the body of Christ, then we do not care for one another and we do not love one another and we do not forgive one another. We are unbelievably forgiving of ourselves, are we not?
When it comes to the violation of the law, I want justice. But when I violate the law, I want mercy. We are the best defense attorneys. You see people on television, saying basically, “I am a good person. What I did was not that bad. We all make mistakes.” I heard that last night about a teenage girl put in jail for burglarizing and armed robbery. She was 17 years old and was sent to jail for 7 years. The comment of the girl was “Everybody makes mistakes.” We will defend ourselves like crazy. But do we defend each other? No. When someone makes a mistake like that, we say “I want to get him.”
That is not the mind of Christ Jesus. You can sit in church until purple all over from just idleness, if you want to. But that is not going to do anything for your attitude. All of these actions we do, singing in a choir or being the pastor of a church, or teaching Sunday school, but if our attitude toward the body of Christ is not inline with the attitude of Christ Jesus of humility, caring for one another, forgiving one another, then you do not have the mind of Christ. It is either that you do not have the mind of Christ, meaning you are not saved, or you have the mind of Christ living in you, but you are not paying any attention to it.
So this is what the renewing of the mind is all about. This is the philosophy of the world, “Go do unto others and cut it out” or “Do unto others before they do unto you.” That is not God’s mind. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Would you like people going out trying to ruin you? Then do not go out and try to ruin someone else.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Our tongues are the destroying element in these types of things. According to James, we can do more damage with our tongues than anything else. That is how we destroy one another because the law prohibits us from going out and killing them. If not, we would probably do that in self righteousness. But we don’t, although some people are so mad at those performing abortions that they would go kill the doctor. Then they would say, “that is okay”, you see. That is how perverted we can get in our thinking processes.
What we have to see is, if you are in Christ Jesus, then His mind lives in you. We are told that in Corinthians that we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16
16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This the attitude of Christ Jesus, an attitude of humility. It is an attitude of dependency. It is an attitude of servitude. If you do not want someone to do something to you, then do not do it to them. What happens to people is, ’Yes, but what you did I would never do.” That sounds like the man sitting there praying to God, “I am glad I am not a sinner like them”, in comparison to the man who says, “Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner.”
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
When we realize from God’s vantage point, there is no one righteous. There is no one who is going to stand before God in his own righteousness, but rather he is going to stand only by relying on the righteousness of Christ. That is why we have no right to judge one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Now, in regard to our attitude toward the body of Christ, live at peace with all men.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
I want you to notice something about that, folks. This does not say that if you live at peace with everyone that everyone is going to live at peace with you. So you do not do that for a response. You do that out of your heart of servitude. Live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on you. Now there are other people who do not want to live at peace. But as far as you are concerned live at peace with them. Why does it say if it is possible? Because sometimes you live around people where it is impossible to live at peace with. They will not let you.
For example, take a wild tiger. If you got into the cage, if at all possible live at peace with this tiger, but the fact of the matter is, because it is a wild animal, it is not possible, so you better get out of the cage. It is the same thing. We live with people like that. There are people that as far as you are concerned you can be at peace with them, but they are not going to be at peace with you.
You have people who are totally atheistic in their thinking, like the Madeleine O’Hare crew. How is a Christian going to live at peace with them? But as far as you are concerned, live at peace. In other words, I do not have to be mean and angry, but I also must realize that because of my relationship with Christ and their total denial of Him, it is not possible to live at peace with him. But as far as I am concerned, live at peace.
I have seen people who are not divorced yet but are very angry with one another. They still communicate with one another. What should I do? As far as you are concerned live at peace. That does not mean the person is going to live at peace with you. That ties into the instruction in Corinthians, that if you are married to an unbeliever and he does not want to live with you, then let him go.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
What does that mean? It means simply this. Your mindset as a believer is I am going to live in forgiveness and wanting to be a peacemaker, but if they do not want to, then I must realize that if it is possible, live at peace, but because of their attitude toward me and my relationship with Christ, it is impossible to live at peace. It is possible for me but not for him because he is not willing to let that happen. That is what you are dealing with.
I will tell people sometimes, why don’t you make a start of friends. Let us just be friends, not trying to get our marriage back. Let us try to bury the hatchet and at least be at peace with one another. I have seen sometimes where that takes place and marriage is restored. At other times, people remain but without that bitterness. Again, impossible to do unless indwelt by the prince of peace, who is Jesus.
Another attitude is an attitude toward others’ mistakes. In other words, we live to help and to serve your brother. Are you serving? Do you have an attitude of servitude toward your brother when you are blasting them and when you are trying to expose them and you are trying to get even with them or you think that someone is getting away with something that deep down in your heart you could get away with but do not seem to be able to with him, then all of those things are attitudes that are keeping us from having an attitude towards others mistakes.
If we ever look at life realistically. That is what scripture says.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you
Have you ever made mistakes? Have we ever made mistakes? Of course we have. How do we want people to respond to our mistakes? To forgive and be loving. Then why do you not do the same thing with other people’ mistakes.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
To me that is one of the most important verses in the bible towards the attitudes we are talking about, amplifying the attitude of Christ Jesus, an attitude of servitude. I am going to go to this brother and serve this brother in helping to restore him. It says it is an attitude of humility. Do not ever go with an attitude that I could never be tempted by that or by anything. But it is an attitude of humility. It is also, therefore, an attitude of dependency that that restoration is going to have to be in the hands of God. In other words, always have in your mind that there for the grace of God go I.
When you are talking about being caught in a sin, it does not mean someone is peeking around the corner. It means you have been trapped in a sin. There are people who are trapped in all kinds of sin. You can be trapped in sexual sins. You can be trapped in alcohol. You can be trapped in drugs. You can be trapped in gambling. You can be trapped in a critical spirit. You can be trapped in the sin of worry, constant worry. You can be trapped in the sin of allowing yourself to be depressed all the time. We look at that as depressed. No, it is a sin because the root of those things are an unrealistic expectation and misplaced dependency. You have your dependency on something else besides God. All of those things are things you get trapped in. You get trapped in a mindset. You get trapped in a negative mindset. Any time anyone says something, it is negative. Never anything good, but always bad. Scripture talks about that.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
How come? Because if you do not, you are thinking of something else. Where Satan attacks us is in our thinker and our willer. In other words, if I think it and I feel it, I will choose it. There are so many things in the human experience where we can be trapped in certain things, trapped in our selfishness and self centeredness. We will deal with some of these issues as we go along in this study of always wanting to have our own way, always wanting to be noticed, always wanting to pay back evil. All of these things are attitudes that are contrary to the attitudes of God.
So, it says when you see a brother that is trapped in this sin, we step back, many times, in our holiness and say “look at that person. How can that person do that?” What gets me is God cannot use them. Listen, God can use any old bush. God is not looking for your abilities, only your availability. It is interesting to me in the Old Testament, a man after God’s own heart was King David, who was an adulterer and a murderer, yet it says he was a man after God’s own heart. Moses murdered an Egyptian. The apostle Paul, “Oh yes”, but that is where he was saved. He was a violent man. Peter denied the Lord three times and God only knows what he did, with Peter with a foot in his mouth most of the time. You do not see God using perfect people for there are not any. In the line up of faith in the book of Hebrews, you read Rahab the prostitute is in that list. How did these ever get in there? We would never ever put her in there. Yet you will have people who will adapt the attitude that this person cannot be used by God because they are divorced. That man is divorced so you might as well hang your bible up because God can never use you again. Who is the best person to reach out to people who have gone through marital problems and heartaches, especially when children are involved? Who is in the best position to go out with a heart of compassion. It does not say to go through that to get a heart of compassion. That is life that those things have happened. So we are judgmental as if to say God can only use a person with a perfect life. There is no one like that. God looks upon our hearts.
Order the Bible Study; “A Closer Look at Faith, Hope and Love” book today!