Unity

Tuesday Devotional: Philippians 2

bibleRead Philippians 2:1-11

This is not about you.  Unity with Christ means that the spirit of extreme selflessness has taken up residence in your life and in your spirit.  This is the frontline in the battle between your sinful nature and the spirit of the living God.  We would rather talk about the things we want to talk about.  We would rather engage in the activities that we are most interested in.  We would rather eat the food that most pleases our palate.  We would rather put our self first–all the time, every time.

But this is not about you.  Counting the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ means that you have signed your name on the spiritual dotted line of the New Covenant that agrees and declares this is no longer about you.

The blessings of Jesus follow after complete submission to the name of Jesus.  How can we think that we can receive the blessings of Jesus while living completely in contradiction of the spirit of the very same Jesus?  Delusional.  Deceived.  This is not about you.

Jesus did not come as a conquering King to rescue you.  He came low and disgraced so that he could pay the debt of your sin to forgive you.  Jesus is the living embodiment of selflessness and submission.  This is Jesus and this is his Gospel.  This is not about you.

HE forgave you. HE dwells in you. It is all about him.  He is the Christ.  He is the Lamb.  He is Jesus.  Jesus is now your meaning of life.  Jesus is now your passion.  Jesus is now your prize.  Jesus is now the center of your everything.  This is not about you.

Beware of the spirit in you that attempts to credit, glorify or promote the self.  This is not of God and this is not worthy of Jesus.  There is nothing about the Christian life that elevates the self.  He must become greater and we must become less.  Anything different is not the Gospel and must be revealed and rebuked for what it is.  A lie.  Your life is now hidden in Christ, the light of the world.  Hidden.  Unseen.  Unnoticed.  This is not about you.

 

Tuesday Devotional: Ephesians 4

bibleRead Ephesians 4:1-16

The body of Christ is ONE body.  There is no other.  Standing side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder with your sister and brother in Christ, you are united as ONE body.  This is no easy task, but with God all things are possible.  Our sin desires to be independent.  Our sin desires to be one notch above the rest, one step further than the whole.  Sin deceives us into thinking that certain parts of the one body hold special significance and priority over other parts.  Sin will deceive us into thinking that our gift or position is of more importance to the body than the rest.  This spirit of division is the antithesis to the Gospel.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is humility, unity and love.  The Spirit of Christ in us seeks unity in spite of our own comfort, desires and pride.

The Christian is called to a life of unending and comprehensive sacrifice.  Nothing about sacrifice is easy.  Why should we think that our union and fellowship with other believers would be any different?  It’s not.  Our relationships with each other in the body of Christ are often the things used by God to refine us the most.  Without the tension and challenge of seeking unity in the Church there would be no growth, no transformation and thus no life.  We need each other.  We need this tension.  We need the sacrifice.  The sin in us will turn from the challenge and seek to find any available opportunity to blame-shift, judge, criticize and reject those around us in the Church.  Seek unity.  Seek Jesus.  By the blood of the Lamb we were saved from eternal condemnation and that same blood is the only chance we have to finding unity in the body of Christ.  Allow our Lord to sharpen you.  Allow him to reveal what is in you.  Allow him to teach you.  Find your place at the foot of the Cross and welcome your brother and sister to join you there and only there.  This is not friendship.  This is fellowship, and fellowship of the deepest kind, bought at the highest price.  We have all been saved.  We have all been forgiven.  We are all beloved by our heavenly Father.  These are the ligaments that bind us together and nothing else.  Unity is not an option, it is the result of living in Christ, for Christ and with Christ.

Jesus is God in the Flesh: The Unity

The Reflection Series for this month is adapted from Reasoning the Rest, which you can read or download from the main menu. This month, we’re reflecting on the divinity of Jesus Christ. 

source

If you profess faith in the Christian message, yet lack this belief about Jesus’ identity, you expose a complete lack of understanding of the very Bible wherein you find the figure of Jesus in the first place. The Gospel narratives leave no possibility to reject the deity of Jesus. Rather, they appreciate, rely on,  and believe in the message that he spoke.

We can better understand this vital truth about Jesus with these four points concerning Jesus and his teaching.

  1. The man of “The Name”
  2. The man of Authority
  3. The man of Unity
  4. The man of Forgiveness

For the next several weeks, we’re going to reflect on these indicators that support the divinity of Christ Jesus.

The Man of Unity

While many cling to the belief that Jesus was not one with God in personal identity, some will profess that Jesus was one with God in a way that emphasizes the “with” while excluding the “one.” To do this is to completely reject the words of Jesus since he himself spoke of his nature as being, “one with the Father.”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
“But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.
“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:54-59

Despite this testimony, many persist in the viewpoint that Jesus was simply a gifted teacher endowed with Godly abilities to teach and to heal, but only to the extent that his teaching ultimately lead those to God and not to himself. This opinion places Jesus in the realm of Prophet and not Messiah. However, Jesus did possess qualities resembling those of the Old Testament Prophets. Jesus healed; so did Elisha. Jesus spoke the words of God connecting past, present and future seamlessly, directed by the Father himself; so did all the prophets.

Yet at a certain point, the unique qualities of Jesus separate him from the line of Prophets. His characteristics become the characteristics only seen in the Father himself, which not only aligns Jesus with the Father but makes them one. Most famously in the Gospel of John, Jesus openly declares to his disciples that he is “one with” the Father in Heaven.

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” John 14:11

This oneness was not only on display throughout the ministry of Jesus in miraculous healings and resurrections, things only God could do. This oneness was not only on display in the form of his claims about himself, directly professing things that only God could profess. This oneness was not only on display by the way that Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about the coming Messiah as truly “Emmanuel” or “God with us.” This oneness was most powerfully on display when Jesus conquered death through the victory of the cross. That display of Godhead set in motion the transformation of the entire world, one person and one country at a time, through the dwelling of his heavenly Spirit in all those professing faith in the oneness of Jesus Christ and the Father as God in the Flesh, sacrificed for sin on the cross, resurrected on the third day and presently alive and awaiting the day of Judgment when all things will be made new, just as they were when he created in the beginning.