Thursday, January 16, 2014

United With Christ, United In Community

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." 
Philippians 2:1-2 (New International Version)

"Now if your experience of Christ’s encouragement and love means anything to you, if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and all that it means in kindness and deep sympathy, do make my best hope for you come true! Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you."
Philippians 2:1-2 (J.B. Phillips)

Being united with Christ should naturally result in unity among Christ followers, right?  If only that was so!  

Paul appeals to the disunity in the church in Philippi, calling the Philippian Christians to demonstrate what they have experienced in Christ to bring unity among themselves.  He fleshes out their experience of Christ to describe what this unity should look like in the community of Christ followers.

"being united with Christ"  =  "being like-minded"

"any comfort from his love...tenderness and compassion"  =  "having the same love"

"common sharing in the Spirit"  =  "being one in spirit and of one mind"

For this kind of unity to manifest itself in a community of Christ followers we need to set aside selfish ambition and consider the interests of the community before our own interests (Philippians 2:3-4).

A common experience of Jesus Christ should produce a common expression of Jesus Christ among a community of followers of Jesus Christ when "[our] attitude [is] the same as that of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 2:5).  Read the rest of this passage - Philippians 2:6-11 - to discover Paul's description of the attitude of Jesus Christ that ought to be the same for every person who calls themselves Christian and are a part of Christ's community called the church...

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of as servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - 
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

I want to be this kind of Christ follower and the leader of this kind of church that possesses and demonstrates an attitude that reflects the character of Jesus Christ!

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