INTRODUCTION: Repetition is an effective teaching method. Paul again tells the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord” (3:1) because it is a safeguard for their souls. Joy defeats the cynicism, depression, and negative circumstances of the world. Paul reminds them why they can have a joy that transcends life’s fears and anxieties: they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul warns them of alternative teachings that lead them away from Christ. Salvation is in Christ alone.
The Jesus-Plus religion is the wrong way to heaven.
*Religion that requires Jesus plus something else will not get you into heaven. Formalism or legalism will not put you into a right relationship with God. Rituals, rites, or creeds and other external actions do not make you right with God. Only a spiritual heart change through faith in Jesus Christ will make you right with God. “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (3:3).
*Paul warns against false teachers whose character, conduct, and teachings mislead people. The Judaizers required useless circumcision plus Jesus for salvation. “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh” (3:2).
The Minus – Jesus religion is the wrong way to heaven.
*Personal morality or heritage or achievements will not put you in a right relationship with God. “I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (3:4-6).
*Any belief system and practice that leaves out Jesus will not meet God’s standard of salvation. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:7-8).
The Jesus-Alone religion is the right way to heaven.
*Only Jesus measures up to God’s standard of righteousness and holiness. Christ alone makes us right with God. We must know him personally and accept his righteousness by faith. Faith means Forsaking All I Trust Him. “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (3:8-9).
*Paul’s driving desire was to know Jesus. He wanted to grow closer and closer to Jesus. He wanted to know Christ’s power and even share Christ’s pain until his dying breath. He wanted to experience the resurrection in Christ. “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (3:10-11).
There is only one way to heaven and right standing with God: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
INTRODUCTION: One motto that has been commonly used during this coronavirus pandemic is “We’re all in this together.” We hear it on TV and radio and see it on social media platforms and outside retail stores and businesses. The expression captures the reality that all of us face a common problem and that we can overcome it together. Paul challenged the church at Philippi to work together in the humility and obedience of Christ. Christians are on a journey of faith together. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). The world is ready for a good word. The world is ripe for hope and purpose and love. Who will bring that message to them? Jesus said, “you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). So, what are the traits of a laborer in Christ? Paul gives two examples of Christian workers in Philippians 2:19-30. They demonstrate the humility and obedience of Christ in action.
GOD’S WORKERS HAVE A COMMONPURPOSE.
*God’s laborers share the same feelings, have a kindred spirit, and work from common motives. They want to serve and please Jesus Christ.
Timothy - For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ (2:20-21).
Epaphroditus - I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier (2:25).
GOD’S WORKERS CARE FOR OTHERS.
*God’s workers have a genuine concern for others and encourage people in need.
Timothy - I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon… For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare (2:19-20).
Epaphroditus - I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus…your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death (2:25-27).
GOD’S WORKERS SERVE IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST.
*God’s laborers sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel. They want others to know about Jesus and demonstrate it with single-minded service.
Timothy - But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel (2:22).
Epaphroditus - I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ (2:28-30).
GOD’S WORKERS RISK THEIR LIVES FOR CHRIST.
*Epaphroditus is called a gambler in this passage. The word risking is from the Greek word that means to “hazard, to throw aside one’s life, or to gamble.” It means to stake everything on the roll of the dice. Paul is saying that for the sake of Jesus Christ, Epaphroditus gambled his life. God’s workers are risk-takers. They have the courage to stand up for what is right and to go where the need is greatest. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me (2:29-30).
Are you willing to lay down your life as a worker and witness for Christ?
INTRODUCTION: Jesus is the perfect example of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5-11). He left the glory of heaven to walk this planet as a man. He obeyed God in all he did even to the point of dying on a cross to redeem each one of us. Paul urges the Philippians to follow Jesus’ example of humility and obedience. He gives them six practical steps that they can follow to be obedient to God. As Eugene Peterson has said, “Discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction.” What are the six steps of practical obedience?
WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING
*Obedience requires an absolute dependence on God and a recognition of our own limitations in serving him. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (2:12).
*Paul says to “work out” not “work for” your salvation. We must be savedfirst before we can begin to produce the fruit of salvation. Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Paul wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
BE ASSURED THAT GOD IS WORKING IN YOU.
* God works salvation in. We work salvation out. But We are not on our own. God is the energizer in us to give us the desire and the power to do his will: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (2:13).
DON’T COMPLAIN TO GOD OR ARGUE WITH EACH OTHER.
*Two things can keep us from being obedient to God and humble with others. We often grumble when doing what God wants us to do. We often fight and dispute with one another when we disagree on what to do. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (2:14).
BE LIGHT IN A DARK, CROOKED WORLD.
*Our testimony and our living must go together. We must be pure before God and innocent before the world. We are to be the shining examples of what God’s family looks like: “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (2:15).
SHARE THE WORD OF FAITH.
*The church has a message to share. We are to cling to the teachings of Christ and demonstrate them to the world. “holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (2:16).
BE GLAD AND REJOICE!
*Paul continues his theme of joy. We can rejoice no matter what the circumstances. “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me” (2:17-18).
Live each day in obedience to God and humble service to others.
INTRODUCTION: What will it take to bring unity to the church? What must be done to build solid, loving relationships? Paul tells the church at Philippi, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Jesus perfectly models the humility we need for unity and love. What is the mindset of Jesus we are to follow? What is this humility that Jesus practiced? What is his example we are to copy? Paul clearly answers these questions in Philippians 2:5-11.
JESUS VOLUNTARILY GAVE UP HIS RIGHTS AND POSITION.
*Jesus emptied himself of the glory he had in heaven. He was and is by nature God and shared all the rights and authority and splendor of God in heaven. He humbled himself and took on a lesser mode. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself” (2:5-6).
*Self-renunciation is the way to true joy. Jesus taught this and lived this. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
*Becoming like Jesus, we can choose to not demand our way or rights and
instead choose to humbly serve others. ‘Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others’ (2:3-4).
JESUS SERVEDOTHERS INSTEAD OF HIMSELF.
*Jesus entered the human family as a man and willingly served others. He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (2:7).
*Jesus stooped from the glory of heaven to be a servant on earth. The one with Supreme Authority became the Servant of All. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor 8:9).
*Jesus shared our humanity with the purpose of bringing us back to God. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
*We are to help others in Jesus’ name. Like Jesus, we must be willing to make sacrifices and perform lowly tasks for the benefit of others. “When he had washed their feet…he said to them…’If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you’” (John 13:12-15).
JESUS FULLY OBEYED GOD TO THE END.
*Jesus was fully human in all respects. He became obedient to God by doing what the First Adam failed to do. Jesus lived perfectly under God. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:8).
*Jesus voluntarily died a horrible, terrible death on the cross. He gave up his humanity, so that humanity could be redeemed. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
*The way to glory is by way of the cross. We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves in obedience to Christ and in service to others. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).
JESUS GAVE GOD GLORY AND HONOR.
*Jesus experienced the joy and reward of faithful service. God exalted Jesus and gave him the name above every name. When Jesus gets honor then God gets glory. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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 (2:9-11). (see also Hebrews 12:1-2)
*Humility leads to exaltation. Faithful obedience to God will receive its reward. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:5-6).
INTRODUCTION: Paul’s identity was in Christ not circumstances. Whether he lived or died, he knew he lived in the presence and power of Christ. He could boldly state, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Yet he was confident that he would see his friends in Philippi once again. Until that time, Paul encouraged the Philippians to take courage, be strong, and work together for the cause of Christ. He says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27). Literally, they were to live their lives as citizens of heaven before a watching world. Our behavior, our conduct, and our interactions are to bring honor to the good news about Jesus Christ. So how do we live as citizens of heaven?
KINGDOM CITIZENS STAND STRONG TOGETHER.
*We are to stand firm against attacks on the Christian community. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit” (1:27).
*We are to be united in the power of the Holy Spirit in one purpose and one mind as God’s people. We do it together to advance the gospel of Christ. “I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (1:27).
*We are to be courageous and fearless in the face of opposition. This is a witness that we have the truth that will set people free. We are to not be “frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God” (1:28).
*We are to recognize that suffering for Christ is a privilege and a gift from God. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (1:29).
KINGDOM CITIZENS LIVE IN UNITY WITH ONE ANOTHER.
*The Christian community is a place of encouragement, comfort, love and compassion. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind” (2:1-2).
*Joy results from Christians united in purpose and love for a common cause. “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (2:2).
*Pride and ambition disrupt the fellowship of the church. Selfishness and division destroy the unity of the church. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (2:3-4).
*The remedy to division and conceit is humility. A true concern for others and a desire to work side by side for the advance of the gospel will reflect and glorify Jesus Christ. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (2:3-4).
We live as worthy Kingdom citizens when we humble ourselves, pull together, love one another, and proclaim the name of Christ no matter what the opposition.
INTRODUCTION: Paul renewed his relationship with his friends at Philippi. He had started their church and had depended on their support for ten years. He began his letter with thanksgiving and prayer for his partners in the gospel. They were concerned about him. He was in prison chained to a Roman guard. He would soon appear before the Emperor and could be sentenced to death. Paul wanted to reassure his friends about his situation and about the reality of death. Why do we face adversity? What do we do when our plans are interrupted by unforeseen circumstances? What should the Christian’s attitude and approach be when facing the prospect of death? Paul faced adversity in prison and the possibility of death. We face the adversity of the COVID – 19 pandemic and the possibility of extreme illness or death. This forces us to face an important question just like it did for the Apostle Paul: Are we living in circumstances or are we living in Christ? Two other questions will help us answer this question.
HOW DOES ADVERSITYADVANCE THE GOOD NEWS?
*Paul was convinced that his imprisonment spread the message of Jesus Christ in unanticipated ways. God often uses our difficult situations to make the gospel widely known. God uses trying circumstances to spread the gospel to new audiences. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (1:12-13).
*Being bold and faithful in adversity becomes an inspiration and witness to others to be courageous in their faith. Paul’s consistent witness in prison encouraged other believers to share their faith. “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (1:14).
*Going through adversity may draw critics, criticism, and opposition, but even that can be a cause for joy. Paul was simply happy that the gospel was preached even if it was from wrong motives. My attitude toward adversity can be bitterness or joy. ‘Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (1:15-18).
*Paul saw adversity as a means to his own spiritualdevelopment. He had hope and believed God would use his trials to glorify Christ. “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (1:18-20).
HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN CONFRONTDEATH?
*A Christian’s true life is in Christ whether alive on earth or with Christ in heaven. Our identity is in our relationship with Christ. A person with that kind of confidence does not fear death. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21).
*Death is simply an entrance into a more glorious existence with Christ but living on earth is an encouragement to others and a continuation of the work yet to be done. “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account” (1:22-24).
*Christians should aim to live fully to the end to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ as long as we can. “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again” (1:25-26).
INTRODUCTION: When tragedy strikes, it is common to hear people say, “My thoughts and my prayers are with you.” Politicians are known to repeat this expression after a tornado strikes a city or another school shooting takes place. The intent is good, but the phrase seems old and worn and can be taken as just another attempt to express sympathy without any real desire to change things. Some have even gone so far as to say, “Don’t give me your thoughts and prayers. Do something about it.” They suggest prayer is not doing anything. The Apostle Paul had a different view: Prayer is everything. After the initial greeting in the Letter to the Philippians, he starts his letter with thanksgiving and prayer for his friends in Philippi. He wants them to know how grateful he is for them and his deepest desires for them as God’s people. We need to remember each other with thanksgiving and prayer especially if we have been apart for a while.
REMEMBER EACH OTHER WITH GRATEFULNESS OF HEART.
*Be thankful for fellowship in Christ. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:3-5).
*Be thankful for their faithfulness in serving Christ. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6).
*Be thankful for their friendship in the cause of Christ. “It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (1:7-8).
REMEMBER EACH OTHER IN SPECIFIC PRAYER.
*Pray that your friend be more loving. “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…” (1:8-9).
*Pray that your friend be more discerning. “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent…” (1:9-10).
*Pray that your friend be pure and innocent of wrongdoing. “and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (1:10).
*Pray that your friend be fruitful in good works. “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (1:11).
We may not be able to be with each other, but we can always give thanks and pray for one another.
Pray for someone today and let them know that you did.
INTRODUCTION: What is church? The coronavirus pandemic has cause us all to reconsider what church is. We are not able to gather like we normally did. We have been forced to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works…and…not neglect our meeting together, as some people do” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT). The virus has pushed us to look for new ways to meet and fellowship and serve together. The social distancing has pressed us to present the gospel in new and creative ways. As we rethink church, it would help to go back and look at the first church in Europe, the church at Philippi. That church began with a blank slate in a new culture on a new continent. This early church reveals to us that the church is made up of servants, saints, and the saved. Paul greets the church in Philippians 1:1-2: “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
THE CHURCH IS MADE UP OF SERVANTS.
*The church is started by servants who are sold out to Jesus. “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus” (1:1).
*Paul and Timothy were the missionaries who planted the church at Philippi (Acts 16:1-15). He calls himself a servant (doulos) of Christ Jesus. Doulos means “bondservant” or “slave.”
The person who starts a church is sold out to Jesus.
THE CHURCH IS MADE UP OF SAINTS.
*The saints of the church have been separated from the world and structured into a new community. Paul wrote “to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons” (1:1).
*The “saints” (hagios) are set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones, holy ones. They are set apart for God’s holy purposes. We read about the saints in Philippi who followed Jesus: Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15); the slave girl who was a fortuneteller (Acts 16:16-18); and the jailer and his household (Acts 16:25-34). These new followers of Jesus became the new community of believers called by God to serve him in Philippi. Peter writes about the new community: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
*The new church had leaders, “the overseers and deacons,” who brought structure and order to the church. Overseers were the pastors or elders and the deacons were designated helpers in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-13).
The people who gather in the name of Jesus Christ make up the church.
THE CHURCH IS MADE UP OF THE SAVED.
*All the saints of the church have been saved by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:2).
Grace (charis) is the unmerited and "free favor and good-will of God, and all the blessed fruits and effects of it" (Matthew Henry).
Peace (eirene from verb eiro = to join) pictures the binding or joining together what is broken or divided and conveys the basic meaning to set at one again.
*We have been saved by God’s grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
*We now have peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Everyone enters the church in the same way – repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
The jailor cried out in fear: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house (Acts 16:30-32).
INTRODUCTION: People are searching. People are looking for answers. People are seeking peace and purpose for their lives. Whether they know it or not, people are pursuing Jesus. Early on Easter morning, a group of women went to the tomb to anoint the crucified body of Jesus. What they discovered that morning transformed their lives and changed the course of history. Jesus was alive. He was not dead. Jesus was risen. Everything shifted. Just like the corona virus has created a new normal for all of us, the Resurrection of Jesus has created a new reality for each one of us. What we do with the Risen Lord Jesus determines our destiny. How will you pursue Jesus? How will you respond to the new reality? Consider today who Jesus is and what you need to do.
JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED ON A CROSS AND BURIED IN A TOMB.
*The women who had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus went to the tomb on Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus. They discover Jesus’ body is gone and an angel confirms that the Jesus they knew and saw executed is not there. “And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified…” (16:2-6).
*Jesus was fully human, and he really died on a cruel cross and was buried. But he died for a reason – he died so our sins could be forgiven. The Apostle Paul, writing about the Christian faith, gave us the basics of the gospel story in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you…For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried…”
JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AND APPEARED TO MANY.
*The angel told the women not to be shocked and alarmed. Jesus is risen. He has conquered the grave and death. He is no longer in a tomb. He is the Living Lord. He would appear over the next 40 days to his followers and prove he was alive from the dead. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:6-7).
*Paul agreed with the angel and gave his own testimony about the gospel and the Risen Lord Jesus. Jesus is alive and many have personally seen him after his Resurrection. “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
JESUS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN AND IS GLORIFIED WITH GOD.
*Luke writes about the Ascension of Jesus to heaven. Jesus said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee,why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
*Jesus is now glorified in heaven with his Father and empowers the work of his church on earth. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs” (Mark 16:19-20).
HOW WILL YOU RESPOND TO JESUS?
*You can believe that Jesus died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, and be saved and forgiven of your sins, or you can choose not to believe and be condemned. And he [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
INTRODUCTION: This is Holy Week on the Christian calendar. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with the Cross. Wedged between the Triumphal Entry and the cruel Cross is the Passion meal, the Last Supper. Here Jesus reveals the purpose of his coming. His disciples argued about who was the greatest among them. They vied for the best seat at the table. Jesus quietly picks up the basin and the pitcher and a towel and begins to wash their feet. It’s not about the greatness and the glory – that’s Palm Sunday. No, it’s about service and sacrifice – that’s the Cross. Jesus demonstrates that true greatness comes through service and sacrifice. John 13 displays the servant attitude of Christ. The events of the Last Supper show the traits of a true servant. The marks of a true follower of Jesus Christ are love and humble service.
A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST EXEMPLIFIES HUMILITY IN SERVICE.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him (13:3-5).
*Jesus humbled himself while the disciples argued about who was the greatest (see Luke 22:24-30).
*Humility is stooping from a position of power to voluntarily serve others. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST EMBODIES PURITY IN PRACTICE.
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you” (13:8-10).
*We are bathed at conversion, but a regular confession of sin keeps us clean. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST MAINTAINS OBEDIENCE IN COMMITMENT.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (13:12-15).
*When you are committed to Christ, you will do what he asks. When you obey, you experience God. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST DEMONSTRATES LOVE IN RELATIONSHIPS.
*The mark of the Christian is love. The evidence of being a follower of Jesus is love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (13:34-35).
For a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s not about the cheers and the crowds. It’s about the humble labor and self-offering love.
For a true believer, it’s not about the praise and the glory. It’s about service and sacrifice.
We are to have the mind and attitude of Christ as we humble ourselves and serve others in his name.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross… (Philippian 2:3-8).
How are you serving? How are you sacrificing? How are you loving?