Sunday, October 14, 2007

Philippians 2:1-4


This chapter starts out with 4 conditional phrases which are assuming that the answer is true: 1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, (and there certainly is) if there is any consolation of love, (and there certainly is) if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, (and there certainly is) if any affection and compassion, (and there is) 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

The oneness of community and fellowship together is what is called for here. This is what the real Lord's prayer is all about in John 17, that they may be one!

Then we see the things that destroy this oneness in Christ: 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

I've been doing lots of evaluation of why we followers of Jesus are so ineffective in penetrating the culture. After speaking in front of the international event hosted by the Dalai Lama (Buddhist) and Imam Khorisani (Muslim) for the purpose of finding peace among a variety of cultures and faiths, I am fascinated with how to lift Jesus up most effectively. I am amazed at how often I've been hearing the same things from people, that Christianity has become highly offensive, yet Jesus is not! Yesterday I spoke with an agnostic who has been turned off by organized religion, yet he was drawn to what I had to say about Jesus.

Maybe Christianity has lost the attractiveness of the oneness spoken of here. Maybe the offensiveness stems from selfishness and empty conceit. One area of conceit that smells funny is the thinking that Christianity owns Jesus. Jesus and His Kingdom are too big for that box!

Jesus stands apart from all others in that He walked the talk. The gospel or good news is Jesus. Jesus transforms those who give themselves to Him inside out and sets them free from all worldly systems. That transformation has a lot to do with setting you free from self-centeredness and the big EGO (Edging God Out), so that you are free to love anyone and everyone with an unconditional love. This is the ultimate purpose of our relationship with Jesus, that we learn to love God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus just doesn't want to be entangled with religiosity or as a founder of any religious system. He doesn't want to merely be something VERBAL, but He wants to be VITAL in your life. When a Hindu principal of a college in India heard Jesus presented in this way, he said, "Jesus has stood four times in history before the door of India and has knocked. The first time he appeared in the early days he stood in company with a trader. He knocked. We looked out and saw him and liked him, but we didn't like his company, so we shut the door. Later he appeared with a diplomat on one side and a soldier on the other, and knocked. We looked out and said, 'We like you, but we don't like your company.' Again we shut the door. The third time was when he appeared as the uplifter of the outcastes. We liked him better in this role, but we weren't sure of what was behind it. Was this the religious side of imperialism? Are they conquering us through religion? Again we shut the door. And now he appears before our doors, as we've heard tonight, as the disentangled Christ. To this disentangled Christ we say: 'Come in. Our doors are open to you.'"

When we practice the oneness of fellowship, compassion and spirit in Jesus and put away our self-centeredness, ego and empty conceit, we are able to present Jesus most attractively as the disentangled Christ.

No comments: