Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P66 (09-16-20)
As we think of attitudes of heart that God wants to form in us, think about the attitude in Christ Jesus, who said, “Not my will but your will be done” and so he proceeded to carry out the will of the Father, which was to sacrifice himself on a cross to take upon the sins of the whole world. Now, that is contrary to the desire of the flesh that wants to save our lives. Recall the words of Jesus to us, “What good is it to gain the whole world and yet forfeit your soul?“ or “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it.”
Our flesh does not naturally want persecution, hardships and trials, yet we know they will come and we know the things the Lord told us about concerning end time events, and the birth pains we must endure. So when we pray, do we pray like Jesus, and say, “Lord, I know what I want to happen, but Lord, it is not my will that I want. You know what is best for me. You know what better purposes will come out of whatever happens. Yes, I make my requests known to you, with thanksgiving, but in the end, what I want is your will not mine.”
So often in this world, we succumb to the thinking of the flesh, even to the point of shaking our faith. My flesh is saying this, ‘this is what I want.’ Do you get to the point of doubting, and saying, ‘Where is God?’” He is where He has always been, living in you, never leaving you or forsaking you, being faithful to you even when you are not faithful to Him. Such is His unconditional love for you.
People say, “God let me down.”, “I do not believe in God anymore. I asked Him for something and He did not give it to me.”, “Why did this person die?”, “How can these types of things happen to these people?” or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” For there aren’t any good people. All the attitudes of the world are in contrast to the attitudes of Christ Jesus. We have to be in the position of saying, “Lord, in this life that I live down here on this earth, I am not looking for my will, because my will is normally not the best. I do not know what is best for me, but you do. So I am asking for your will.”
The philosophy and thinking of this world is so contrary to the thinking of God. But, as born again believers, we have the mind of Christ, and we can participate in the divine nature. We can rest in what God says, in his precious promises to us, that He will cause all things to happen together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His good purposes. Do we always know what His good purposes are? No. But we walk by faith, knowing that He, who is perfectly loving and holy, who has given us everything we need for life and godliness, we trust Him and hold onto that truth, that promise by faith. If He did not withhold His only Son for us, will He not also give us all things. This life down here is not the end. It is only the beginning, and there will be a life forevermore, where there is no more sorrow, sickness, death or pain. So let us learn to walk by faith, and make ourselves available to God for His good purposes.
God shows us in Christ what humility and servitude is. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many, to buy us back from slavery to sin to freedom in Him. He served us because we needed to be served so we can come to know who God is, the unconditional love and acceptance of God, that we might see our unrighteousness and want His. Likewise, He tells us to walk in that same love, that same gentleness and loving kindness to others. That loving kindness is what led us to repentance. So when we see a brother in sin, we go to him, with that same humility and gentleness of Christ Jesus, to be his friend, and lead Him to the One who restored us, to offer him help so he can be restored. And as we do, we do not boast in what we have done, but we come as Jesus came, to make his Father known, to glorify his Father in heaven. For when God is at work in us, showing the fruit of it in our lives, then all men will know we are His disciples by our love for one another.
So let us put our roots down deep in the source of our life, who is Christ Jesus, so that the fruit of the Spirit will be worked out in and through into the lives of others. We are not here to be served but to serve and follow in the same attitude of heart as Christ Jesus. So let him who boasts boast in this, that he knows and fears the Lord. Let him who does good, serving others from the heart, learn to say, “I am only here to do my duty, the continuing debt to love one another.”
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.
I have said, so many times, if I was to see a person on the exterior, and I have known Amy, my wife, for a lot of years, and if I were to say from even her teenage years and her young years, when I met her and we married, if I were to say an outward life that was lived in a moral way, without ever in excesses, never involved sexually outside of marriage, never was a drunkard, smoker or gossiper, just from an outside standpoint, that woman has led an exemplary life in regard to what the world would say, “there is a good life.” But Amy is the first person to tell you that she is so thankful she does not have a bubble head where people can look in and see what she is thinking. As Amy said, she can be evil in her heart as anybody alive. People would come up and say, “Oh, sweet Amy“, and she would want to say back, “Oh, shut up.” She has the same conflicts inside of her as you and I do. She fights and struggles with those Satanic attacks just like I would. I could sit down and think about myself and say, “somebody can do a lot better than I have done in my life.” So I am glad I have got that contrast in my life.
I can look at Amy and say that on the outside she is an exemplary person. But she has the day to day need of Christ the same as the worst person on the face of this earth. We have to realize that we have no room in our hearts for this judgmental spirit we get into. So many times, as fallen people, we make up our mind that that person does not have the right to do anything any more, that person who is divorced or whatever great sin we see it as. We think we have to get rid of him. That is playing God.
So it is saying that if someone is caught or trapped in a sin, what is the biblical way of handling that? Go to them. Never ever go to them with the spirit that I could never do that.
They have these things, interventions they call them, to deal with someone who has been drinking too much, where the wife is more holier than thou. So they had one of these interventions, where she went out and got all of his friends, and her children, and they got twenty people over his bed, on how horrible he was, about his drinking habits, and this type of thing. Is that a godly thing to do? No. Is that what scripture says to do? So, you who are spiritual, do you gather up all the holy ones around, have an intervention and bombard the daylights out of him, telling him how bad he is? If someone did that to me, I would show them how bad I am, with a ball bat.
That is not the mind of God. God says that you go to him, always with an attitude of, “brother, I want to help you.” The first thing you have to do, when you go to a person like that, is to say “It is obvious to me you have a problem, and you have a problem. The issue is, ‘Do you want help?’ I cannot give you help if you do not want help. But if you want help, I am here to help you.” That is an attitude of humility. It is also saying, “I want you to know something, brother. I am not judging you because I could be involved in that myself.” I do not know why some people became an alcoholic and I did not. I don ’ t know why didn’t and they did, because I used to drink lot, too.
I have to say, “for the grace of God there go I.” I do not know why I never took drugs. They weren’t around when I was around. If they had been, I do not know if I would have taken them. I do not think I would have, but I could have. I cannot sit back and say I would never do something like that. I am capable of doing anything. If we would look at ourselves with sober judgment, like scripture says, we have to come to a conclusion on that sober judgment, that I am capable of doing anything. Therefore, I cannot judge somebody for what they are doing because I could do the same thing. But I can be in a position to go to them and help them. In other words, I am never going to go with an attitude of “I am better than you.” “I am better off than you, but not better than you. In Christ, you are better off, but not better.”
It is an attitude of servitude that you can go to a person with an attitude, “if you want help, and if you do, I do not know whether I can help but I will lead you to the one who can. I will be your friend and I will guide you through this thing.” That is where you see love. If somebody is doing that to you, you say that is love. That is a testimony to the world around us. That you know you are my disciples by your love toward one another. That is what God does. That is God’s attitude, God’s mind. Anything other than that is Satan’s mind.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual, restore him gently, not any other way, except gently. Again, we talk so many times, that godly sorrow is what produces repentance. When we go about and try to restore someone harshly, we produce rebellion. But when we restore them gently, talking about the love of God, and how love will draw you back, that enables God to get into the action and produce inside of this person a godly sorrow that produces repentance.
If we were diligent, as born again believers, to try to help people with a spirit of love, never with judgment, never with rumorizing. One of the things that takes place that I have seen is where someone goes with that spirit of gentleness, of a desire to help, and then, for some reason there is something inside of us, where that tongue wants to brag about how good we did with that person. All you are doing is rumorizing. You cannot wait to tell someone how effective you were in how you went about gently to help someone. We have to learn how to function in a vacuum, so to speak, of a secret nature, where we are never going to be working with someone and dealing with someone and immediately telling someone about the situation. So, all of those things are attitudes that God wants us to have. So, folks if we are going to be a servant and walk in humility and are going to walk in that newness of life, a dependency upon God for results, again if that person is restored, we cannot sit around and say, “look at what I did.” We can say, “I led him to the One who restored this brother.”
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Again, what he is saying is the greatest is the servant. We look at the master as the greatest, don’t we? They are the ones who are the owner of the house, who have all the rudiments that go along with that. The servants are just serving, like an underling there. But from God’s vantage point, the greatest is the servant. So if you want to be first, as far as God is concerned, not man, you must learn to be a servant, just as the Son of man. “I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” In other words, to buy them back. We look at Jesus and he was not served. He came to serve you and me. The God of this universe looked down on His creation and said, “those people need served. They are a mess and I am going to correct their mess and I am going to come and serve them.”
The example of that was given in Luke 22:41-42.
41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
That is an attitude of surrendering our rights to have our own way. I have said so many times before, “Do you want God’s will for your life?” or “Do you want your prayers answered?” because they may not be the same. I do not think you can pray to God in any other way. “It is not my will I am looking for. I am looking for your will. I know the things I am going through are unpleasant to me. I do not want to go through those things. You and I know that. But if there is a purpose in this, so what I want is your will to be done. And when your will is done, then I will see a purpose for it. But if there is a purpose for it, and I do not know, but you do, then I want your will to be done.”
So we go with that kind of attitude? It is an attitude of saying, “Here are my desires, but I do not know whether they are your desires. My flesh is saying this, ‘this is what I want.’ But again, I am not insisting on that. If I do not get my way, I am not going to say, ‘Where is God?’” People say, “God let me down.”, “I do not believe in God anymore. I asked Him for something and He did not give it to me.”, “Why did this person die?”, “How can these types of things happen to these people?” or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” For there aren’t any good people. All the attitudes of the world are in contrast to the attitudes of Christ Jesus. We have to be in the position of saying, “Lord, in this life that I live down here on this earth, I am not looking for my will, because my will is normally not the best. I do not know what is best for me, but you do. So I am asking for your will.”
I think many times growing up in a lawyer’s home, the most obvious thing for me to have done would be to go to law school. My dad always said, in his opinion, that I would be a good lawyer. My wife also says that I can defend myself better than anyone else. But I look at that type of thing and say, “Why did I not go to law school?” I could have. We had the finances to do that and the opportunity to do that. No problem getting accepted. My grades in undergraduate were certainly able to get into law school. I could have gone into practice immediately with my dad or any place I wanted to go. Why did I not do that? Because if I had done that, when I look back, and gone into a law school and done these other things, and if I had been in a small town setting, I probably would not have come to the end of myself. There was a reason for where I was.
Looking back on my life, I do not believe that had I done what was obvious to what I should or could have done, I probably would have grown up in my hometown, and would not have been exposed to all the things exposed to in my life. I would not have done those things you do when out in a larger city that would have brought me to the end of myself, to come to the Lord Jesus. I think of my military training. I was in ROTC. I could have gone into the air force as a lieutenant. There was something inside me that I did not want to go into the military as a lieutenant. I have always been around nice things all my life. I am in a nice college and a nice fraternity. I want to crawl on my belly. That is insanity. I want to go in as a private and be around common people. I turned my commission to go in. I just want to be drafted. I just want to be around normal people. That is what I did. I got drafted and I was around normal people. If I had not done that I would have never gone to Germany and met Amy. Where does that desire come from? I do not know where that came from. It sounds stupid to me today. I think God says, “I got something for you far greater than what you think. So follow my will.”
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