Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparing for Sunday -- I Believe in . . . Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord

1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11

This week, we are exploring what it means to believe in “Jesus Christ, his only son our Lord, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.” As such, we are contemplating that amazing event called “incarnation” where God took on flesh and dwelt among us. For Paul talking to the Philippians, who were apparently having a bit of congregational infighting, this declaration was more than just a theological statement, this is an ethical statement. If they truly believe then they will have the “same mind” that was in Jesus Christ.
1. According to Paul, Jesus “humbled himself” by taking on human likeness? What does it mean to say Jesus humbled himself? Is that different from Jesus humiliating himself?
2. What does glory look like when seen through the example of Christ?
3. What would our individual lives look like if we had “the same mind as that was in Christ Jesus”? What changes would you have to make in your life if you followed the example of Christ in taking on flesh and being obedient unto death?
4. Paul is not talking necessarily to individual Christians but to a congregation in turmoil. What do his words have to say to us as a congregation? If we were in full accord and of one mind (and that the mind of Christ!) how would we operate differently? Worship differently? Serve differently?
See you on Sunday!

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