At the end of chapter 1 Paul tells the Phillipians not to be terrifed by their adversaries. They heard word of what was happening to Paul and see the world around them as a time of Christian persecution. Now in chapter 2 Paul makes a request of them. During this time of grief, he exhorts them that if they find any comfort in Christ ( and that is where we should find our comfort in time of need), if they are continuing to walk in the fellowhip of the Holy Spirit , if this brings about any mercy within them, than make my joy complete he says...and do not set your heart on pleasing yourself, but humbly love one another, esteeming others higher than ourselves. Often times we lift someone higher than ourselves because they seem smarter or more talented than we are, or look nicer than we do,
but Remember God looks at the inward man, He looks upon the heart......
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:(talking about Saul) for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7
Our goal should be to please and honor God. It is the faith, fear and love of God in a persons heart that God is pleased with. As we esteem or estimate others in our judgement higher than ourselves.
John 1:1 tells us In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The chapter goes on to tell that the Word referred to here is none other than Jesus Christ himself! Jesus was with God when He created everything. Jesus is God! He had it all and willingly chose to leave the presence of God, and come to earth in the form of a man, to "put on flesh", and that not of an earthly King to demand honor and respect, but a humble servant. Born to a virgin, He lived a life submissive to the will of His Father in heaven, sinless and obedient all through His life on earth… to His death. Not just any death but the most humiliating, torturous death known to man. As verse 5 says let this mind be in us...the same humility that was in Jesus our perfect example of humility.
verses 9-11 Wherefore....because of our Saviors obedience, Our Father exalts Jesus Highly, He esteems Him highly, above any other. That name literally is a name above any other, and figuratively it is a character or authority above any other.
So that at the name of JESUS every knee shall bow, that is every knee of things in heaven, in and under the earth. And every tounge will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! That He is the supreme authority over them all. And because of the obedience of the Son in life and in death, because He chose humility, it will bring glory and Honor unto the Father.
Something interesting, the NAME of Jesus or Joshua, is held by Jesus and a few other Isrealites through out the years but in
Revelation 19:11-16 we read...
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Remember...figuratively Jesus name is His character or authority...Faithful, True, Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Counselor, Almighty God, Prince of Peace, Shelter, Shadow, Tower of refuge, Strength, Lover of my Soul...I am convinced it will take me eternity to explore all the facets of the name of my Savior. We have time on this earth to explore the Word of God if we "want" to make time for it, may God reveal those facets.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
Reverencing the Lord and finding knowledge in God's Word we can see that if God is Faithful...than we can trust him
- IF God is True...than every man is a liar.
- IF Jesus is the Word of God, than He washes us clean.
- IF He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords than He will rule and reign with ultimate authority.
- IF He is Counselor than our souls will not be satisfied with the counsel of any other.
- IF Jesus is Almighty God than confess Him as Savior now, don't leave earth without being washed in the blood He shed for you.
- IF He is the Prince of peace then stop worrying and fretting and rest in Him.
- IF He is our Shelter than hide safely in Him.
- IF he is your tower of refuge than know that if God be for you than who can be against you.
- IF Jesus is your strength than know that when you are weak He is strong.
- IF Jesus is the lover of our souls, than communion with Him once found is forever longed for.
SO that at the name of JESUS every knee shall bow, that is every knee of things in heaven, in and under the earth. And every tounge will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
verses 12-13 As well as Paul knows and loves the Phillipians he still urges them, exhorts them to follow his counsel and secure their salvation.
Our oldest son, has loved hot fresh baked chip chocolate cookies straight from the oven as soon as he was old enogh to reach them on the table. All throughout his young life I have warned him to stay away from them until they cool, and he would always tell me OK Momma, OK Momma, but this one day... I had my back turned just long enough for him to reach up to the cookie sheet on the table and grab a hot cookie. BUT He got too close, and burned his lip on the edge of the cookie sheet. He HEARD with his ears what I had to say to him, but he went straight out and DID what I told him not to do. He is also alot taller and doesn't have to reach UP to the cookie sheet any more, but these days he stands by with a glass of cold milk when I pull the cookies out of the oven .
Open your Bible to the Book of James...
Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. Jam 1:22-25
Paul was not urging the Phillipians to obey God to annoy them, but to put into action the saving work of God in their lives, to obey God with deep reverence and fear. When we obey what we hear God say... we please Him and bring glory and honor to Him.
verses 14-16 Moreover, do all these things that bring pleasure to God, such as fellowship with Him and one another, worship, prayer... do all these things without murmurings and disputings.
I remember when the kids were little and would be grumbling. I would remind them of the punishment that God gave the Israleites for grumbling and complaining...
No not 40 years of DESSERT...but 40 YEARS IN THE DESERT!
How come I can't do that?
How come he gets to do that?
Oh the whinning and complaing God has put up with from us through out time!!!! And yet He still loves us and is patient with us.
What is it that others see and hear in us?
Non-believers hear loud and clear the message we are sending with our lifestyle. It doesn't even take words to convey it.
We need to be shining the love of Jesus to a warped and morally corrupt generation. We may be the only followers of Jesus our friends or neighbors or co workers or classmates ever see....How do we do this?
By holding onto the Word of God. By sharing the Word with others...by sharing the Word of God that is hidden in our hearts. This is true fellowship...centered around the life of Jesus, and the Word of God. As we speak the words of life...as our lives are clothed in unity and humility, as we hunger and thirst after righteousness, as we walk in purity, and patience, as we live in true peace, given by the Prince of peace the world will see something different. As we walk moment by moment in the arms of the Lover of our Soul, led by the Spirit, this dark world will see a transformed life.
Ok...Think about a Lighthouse...
There is a storm brewing, the sky is getting dark the winds are blowing, the sea is raging and many ships are in danger of being dashed against the rocks. A christian shining for Jesus should be as that Lighthouse. Just by it's shining presence standing ever vigilant, the Lighthouse is warning lives...
LOOK OUT! DANGER!!
THERE ARE ROCKS AHEAD!!
AND IF YOU KEEP GOING,
YOU'LL ALL BE DEAD!!
Paul tells the Phillippians do this, do this...and you will make my joy complete, and so that I will not have run or worked hard for no reason.
verses 17-18 sacrificed for your good than so be it. I will rejoice in that and ask you to rejoice in it as well.
How does Paul find joy in the midst of dying for others? Remember Pauls words in chapter 1
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Phippians 1:21
Can we say... for me to live is Christ and for to die is gain? As believers, in dying we do not loose all hope, but in dying we will see the evidence of the hope that is within us.
Ok...In John chapter 20 we hear the story of Mary Magdalene when she is all distraught over the fact that the tomb where Jesus was buried was empty. Being so distraught, she forgot He said He would rise again in three days...We are just like Mary aren't we? Our emotions get the better of us and off we go...
Mary went running to get help...PETER, JOHN.... JESUS IS GONE! So they come running and looked into the tomb and said...yup...He's gone...And they went home... WELL! that didn't help! Isn't that just like us? We run to others for help and when that doesn't work we go to what we think is the next best thing...Crying of course! Oh woe is me!!!
Now like Mary, I'm sure our hearts hurt in real pain at times, and I am not making light of that pain, but we cannot let our emotions run our lives. There she is standing all alone, crying her eyes out, and looking into the tomb once again to see if Jesus was there, (I have always thought it would have been great to see the look I imagine on on the angels faces when they saw Mary and asked..."WHY ARE YOU CRYING?"
Now any other itme in scripture when an angel comes to a human they say (probably in a deep booming voice) ...FEAR NOT! DO NOT FEAR!
But here stands a woman, so engulfed in sorrow that 2 angels talking to her doesn't even scare her one bit! She even answers them...They have taken my Jesus and I don't know where they have laid him. Still in sorrow she turns from the tomb and sees who she thinks is the gardener...He asks her... why are you crying, who are you looking for?
So still engulfed in her sorrow she relates her story once more....I can picture her head hung low, tears in her eyes, as she hears who she thinks is the gardner call her name... but in a voice so familiar to her heart.....
Can you imagine the heart so overwhlemed with sorrow, and suddenly flooded with so much JOY!!!!
My Jesus...MY JESUS...My Savior...Lord there is none like you...ALL of my days I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love. My Comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength, let every breath and all that I am never cease to worship YOU!!!
SHOUT to the Lord, all the earth let us sing! Power and Majesty...Praise to the KING, Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your NAME. I'll sing for JOY... at the work of YOUR hands...forever I'll Love you forever I'll stand... Because....Nothing compares to the promise I have in YOU!!!
Ohhhh...how her heart must have lept with JOY.
Then after finally letting go of Jesus she ran to tell the disciples the news, and they all saw Jesus again behind locked doors appear to them. Only Thomas would not even believe what he saw until he could touch Jesus. After Thomas was satisfied that it was Jesus...Jesus told him
because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Blessed are Paul and Mary and Thomas because they have seen Jesus and believed, but oh how happy, and blessed and joyous are we today who believe in Jesus and yet have not seen Him.
Can we say... for me to live is Christ and for to die is gain? As believers, in dying we do not loose all hope, but in dying we will SEE the evidence of the hope that is within us. For this cause we can REJOICE!
more yet to come......