good quote

" In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by ...bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people." ~ A.W. Tozer

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ok correction... I will have this number until April 3rd. The new number will be 704-300-4108.
FWD: Going to be going to a new cell in 30 days. New number will be 704-300-4108. Wont be able to do pics with the new #

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Joyful Life: Study on Philippians Chapter 8

Philippians 2:19-30
    "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me."

Two Humble Servants
Selfless Concern for others honors Christ.
      James McConkey, author of The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit, used to tell this story in his own inimitable way.
      Into the life of my brother came this experience. The winter was ending. The ice in our native river was breaking up. A few miles above our home was a small town at which an immense ice jame had formed in the river. Just below this was an island on which eleven people, men, women, and children, were imprisoned.
     Everyone knew the fate that waited them. If the ice dam, with its great wall of water behind it, should break, it would sweep those unfortunate people down-river to their deaths.
   When my brother learned of this situation he put fifty dollars in his pocket and hurried to the little town. When he arrived there he found the entire population lined up along the river banks waiting for the inevitable catastrophe. Standing among the crowd he offered the fifty dollars to any man who would attempt to rescue the imperiled islanders. But no one signified his willingness to make the desperate attempt. Again and again he repeated his offer, and each time it was refused.
   Unable to induce anyone else to try the rescue operation, he sent to the village store for a length of small but strong rope. When it came, my brother tied this to his belt and offered to join himself to any man who would rope himself in an effort to save the lives of the doomed people on the island. Immediately four men stepped to his side, roping themselves to the same line of peril. And those five men picked their way across the great ice dam at imminent hazard of their own lives to bring back to safety those that otherwise would have certainly died. When he offered money, there was not a man who would take the risk. But when they saw him willing to give himself, and were touched by the life that counted no price too great, he drew them instantly to his side.

   Paul realized the value of examples. Timothy and Epaphroditus were partners in the gospel who considered others better than themselves and demonstrated concern for their needs. Paul held them up to the Philippians as examples they could esteem and emulate.

  Paul wanted to visit the Philippians, but he was unable to do so because he was confined in Rome, under house arrest. He hoped to visit them again, but in the meantime, he assured the Philippians: "I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you" (Philippians 2:19). The word translated "I trust" means I hope. "In the Lord Jesus" points out that Paul subjected his plans to the Lord's sovereignty. Lord willing, he would send Timothy to Philippi because he wanted to be encouraged by a favorable report of the Philippians' spiritual progress. Although his own circumstances were difficult, he was interested in the Philippians' situation. He considered them more important than himself, and he regarded them as his partners in the work of the gospel.
   Why would Paul send Timothy? What made Paul choose him rather than someone else? He chose Timothy because he was convinced that Timothy was a man of deep concern and blameless character. Paul wrote concerning Timothy: "I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state" (verse 20). By "like-minded," Paul meant that Timothy shared Paul's concern for the Philippians. He could be trusted to offer the Philippians a helping hand and a pat on the back. He had a good mind and a tender heart.
  It made good sense to send Timothy for another reason. Paul wanted the Philippians to show concern for one another. They could see how Timothy portrayed his concern for them, and they could follow his example. Do other believers matter to you? If they do, do they know it?
  We often feel that we live in a me-first, dog-eat-dog kind of world, but self-centeredness wasn't born in our lifetime; it has been around a long time. Even in the first-century Church self-interest abounded. Paul informed the Philippians that he had selected Timothy as his messenger to them, "for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (verse 21).
   Does your concern for others outweigh your concern for yourself? When Jesus taught His disciples about His inevitable death on the cross-- a substitutionary death for sinners-- the disciples ignored His words. They chose to deny Jesus' cross and dream about His kingdom. Hoping to get a jump on the rest of the disciples who wanted prestigious positions in the Kingdom, James and John asked Jesus to give them co-regent positions. "Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory," they petitioned (Mark 10:37).
  Jesus' reply knocked the props out of the disciples' political platform. "Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them, but so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all" (verses 42, 43).
  Then Jesus offered Himself as the supreme example of selfless concern for others. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister," He explained, "and to give his life a ransom for many" (verse 45).
   If we truly follow Christ, we will reflect His character by caring more for others than for ourselves.

Timothy's Proven Worth
    The Philippians knew "the proof" of Timothy (Philippians 2:22). "Proof of him" means his proven worth. He has stood the test in his ministry with Paul. He had served with Paul in the work of the gospel as a son with a father. Plutarch suggested that "character is simply habit long continued. "Timothy had habitually served others. That was a major mark of his character. He was characterized by concern. He displayed the attitude Paul wanted the Philippians to show to one another. His humility made his like-mindedness possible.
  Are you known for your concern for others? What is the mark of your character? What is the record of your Christian service?

Expect Company Soon
   After describing Timothy's concern and character, Paul again mentioned his visit to Philippi (verse 23). He hoped to send Timothy "presently"-- at once. As soon as Paul knew the outcome of his legal trial, he would send Timothy. At the same time he hoped to visit the Philippians shortly (verse 24). "Shortly" means without delay. Paul seemed to think that he would be released from Roman custody and then visit the Philippians without delay.

    Epaphroditus served as another example of consideration and concern for the Philippians. Paul had not sent him to the Philippians; they had sent him to Paul. Having found Paul in Rome, Epaphroditus performed a ministry of service to him. Now, however, Paul was returning Epaphroditus to the Philippians because Epaphroditus had fallen ill in Rome.

Concern about the Christians Back Home
    Paul's imprisonment had reduced his ministry opportunities, so he needed someone to help him in his ministry. Out of concern for their missionary, Paul, the Philippians had sent Epaphroditus to him. Paul regarded Epaphroditus as his brother and companion and fellowsoldier (verse 25). That's quite a recommendation. On the other hand Epaphroditus was the Philippians' messenger. He showed unselfish concern for Paul's needs. His attitude was precisely the kind of attitude Paul wanted all the Philippians to show to one another.
   But Paul informed the Philippians that he was sending Epaphroditus home. Why? For two reasons. First, Epaphroditus had become homesick. He "longed after" the Philippians (verse 26). He had an intense desire to go home. Second, Epaphroditus had become greatly distressed upon learning that the Philippians knew he was ill. Epaphroditus believed he had failed his friends in Philippi by becoming sick in Rome. In spite of his illness, he was obviously more concerned about how the Philippians felt. In a display of concern for Epaphroditus, Paul had decided to send him home.

So Sick He Thought He'd Die
   Paul informed the Philippians that Epaphroditus "was sick nigh unto death" (verse 27). He had nearly died. However, God was merciful to both Epaphroditus and Paul; He healed Epaphroditus. He spared Paul the sorrow of having to see Epaphroditus die in Rome. Paul was ready, therefore, to send him back to Philippi, where the Christians would rejoice upon seeing their friend. That happy reunion would reduce Paul's sorrow (verse 28).

A Hero's Welcome
   Paul urged the Philippians to receive Epaphroditus "in the Lord with all gladness" (verse 29). "Receive" means to welcome to yourselves. He wanted them to give Epaphroditus a joyful welcome. In addition, he exhorted them to honor him. He reminded them that it was for the work of Christ that Epaphroditus had approached death's door (verse 30). In fact, he had been careless with his life in order to minister to Paul.
   Epaphroditus was a sterling example of Christlike concern. Rather than being concerned about himself and his needs, Epaphroditus considered Paul's needs and ministered to him. Now, Paul wanted the Philippians to reciprocate by throwing out the welcoming mat for Epaphroditus and by showing Christlike concern for him and his needs.
   Some Mennonites consider it wrong to charge for helping another human being. Instead they say, "I will charge thee nothing but the promise that thou wilt help the next man that thou findest in trouble." That's the way it should be in the work of the gospel; everyone considering everyone else and being concerned about everyone else.
   Epaphroditus' lowly mindedness was evident in his ministry to Paul. It enabled him to be a good partner in the work of the gospel. He, Timothy and Paul were humble servants of God. They considered others better than themselves. They were concerned about others and their needs. They served as shining examples for the Philippians to follow. Christians, today ought to follow their example. They were humble partners in the work of the gospel?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Joyful Life: Study on Philippians Chapter 7

Philippians 2:12-18
    "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me."

The Christians Daily Workout
  The believer's life should demonstrate that he knows Christ.

   A laborer had complained all morning to his fellow workers that he didn't have a shovel. Finally, at noon, he complained to the foreman. "I've got a problem," he said, "I don't have a shovel."
  "Well, what are you complaining about? You don't have to do any work if you ain't go no shovel," the foreman offered.
  "Well, I know that. But I haven't got anything to lean on--- like the other guys," the worker complained.
   Sometimes we Christians would rather lean than work. We forget that we need to work. Being a Christian is a full-time job. We must work at it. If you're a "leaner" instead of a worker, you need to pay close attention to what Paul wrote to the Philippians about working out their salvation.

An Obligation not an Option
  After portraying Jesus Christ as the example of humility, Paul once again exhorted the Philippians to take appropriate action. With lowliness of mind (Philippians 2:3). He wanted each of them to esteem others better than himself and to consider the needs of others. He knew, of course, that humble and selfless thinking doesn't just happen; the Philippians needed to work at it. Therefore, he exhorted: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (verse 12).
  "Work out" has the idea of bringing something to completion or conclusion such as working out a math problem. Notice that the concept is working out and not working for salvation. The Philippians were saved. They needed to apply their salvation to their lives. Their salvation would be incomplete until they applied it to their relationships with one another. The command "work out" demanded continuous action. It also demanded individual action, because each believer received Paul's command. It demanded inclusive action, too, because all the believers were supposed to comply.
  Not only did Paul exhort the Philippians to work out their own salvation, he urged them to work it out "with fear and trembling" (verse 12). This phrase demonstrated the seriousness of their thinking about other believers. They were obliged to be both serious and sensitive in their interpersonal relationships. The command was an obligation not an option.

A Vocation not a Vacation
   Are you working, or are you on vacation? Are you applying your salvation to everyday situations? Someone described his vacation this way on a postcard, "Having a wonderful time; wish I could afford it." If you're on vacation and not working out your own salvation (notice "your own"; not someone else's), you can't afford it. There's too much at stake. You need to work at the responsibility of considering others better than yourself and at the task of showing genuine concern for them. Remember consideration, concern and cooperation in the work of the gospel require that you work and not just wish.

Cooperation Please!
  The Philippians were able to work out their salvation because God was working in them "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (verse 13). They could work it out because God is working in them. The Greek word "worketh" in verse 13 is different from the Greek word for "work" in verse 12. The word in verse 13 means to work effectively.
   A frustrated boss called his new secretary into his office. "Maggie," he sighed, "I don't understand it. You've worked here only three weeks, but you're already five weeks behind in your work."
  Like Maggie, some people "work" but don't seem to get anywhere except further behind. It's not that way with God; He works effectively.
  God was working in the Philippians "both to will and to do of his good pleasure." "To will" denotes purposeful determination. God was causing the Philippians to be willing to work out their salvation. "To do" means to accomplish something, to cause it to happen. God was accomplishing in the Philippians' lives what He caused them to want to do. The Philippians were not alone in this task of becoming what God wanted them to be. God was working in them; they needed only to cooperate.
  In southern New Jersey, a clearing exists where oak and pin timber once stood. However, whoever cut down the oak and pine spared one tree about fifty feet from the road. Evidently it was spared because of its freakish appearance. A close look at this sole surviving tree reveals that it started out as two trees, about eight feet apart at the base, where each measures about ten inches in diameter. About six feet from the ground, the trees arch and unite in one trunk. From that point, they are one tree with a common truck and top. The Philippians were joined together with God in working out their salvation. God was exhorting them and enabling them. He and the Philippians were working together to work out their salvation.
   How comforting! God was so interested in the Philippians' spiritual growth that He initiated and implemented the growth process. In the same way, God is working in you so that you might work out your salvation.

Getting Along in God's Family
  The Philippians were partners in the work of the gospel. They needed to work out their salvation in their everyday relationships with one another. Their relationship with Christ was supposed to affect their relationships with other believers. Therefore, Paul urged them to "do all things without murmurings and disputings" (2:14). "All things" is both emphatic and inclusive, and refers to the Philippians' attitude toward one another. "Murmurings," meaning complaining, denotes grumblings against other people. Specifically in verse 14 it refers to grumblings that cause disunity. "Disputings" means disputes or arguments. Paul wanted the Philippians to avoid these harmful behaviors.
  If the Philippians did all things without complaining and arguing, they would present a strong, united testimony to an unbelieving society. Their interpersonal relationships would build for them an appropriate reputation. They would be "blameless and harmless" (verse 15). "Blameless" means free from fault and describes a person who is above accusation. It describes a person's reputation in the community. "Harmless" means unmixed and refers to a person's motives. Taken together, the two words "blameless" and "harmless"  picture a pure and sincere Christian.
  Paul also wanted the Philippians to be "without rebuke" (verse 15). This word means unblemished and describes the Christian whose relationship with God is pure.
  Each of these three words emphasizes an essential aspect of Christian purity. The Philippians lived in a dishonest and depraved world (as you do). Paul wanted them to maintain a pure testimony.
   In Hatfield, England, Margaret Elms, the municipal registrar of births, marriages, and deaths recorded the name of a deceased man on a death certificate. She wrote "Mr. Serious Misconduct of Mill Lane, Welwyn, aged 74."
  How did such a strange name originate? It originated when Malcolm MacTaggart changed his name to Serious Misconduct following an ugly work-related incident.
  In 1939, MacTaggart had a quarrel with his employer, the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company. It seems he took two weeks vacation when the company insisted that he was entitled to only one week. The company fired him, and listed the reason as "serious misconduct."
  MacTaggart never forgot the railroad company for what he perceived to be an unjust dismissal. Perhaps to keep his resentment alive and to embarrass his ex-employer, he changed his name from MacTaggart to Serious Misconduct. He put his new name on all his official documents, including his social security payments book, and kept that name until his death 34 years later. His death finally removed the stain from the character of former railroader Malcolm MacTaggart.
  Our character stains stay with us for a long time also. And many times those stains come from messy relationships with other Christians. Non-Christians know when "serious misconduct" exists among believers. The word gets around, and our testimony loses its effectiveness. We are perceived as no different from unbelievers. Have your attitudes and actions toward other Christians affected your testimony? If they have, begin to repair them. The next time you are tempted to put yourself first and disrupt the unity of the body, remember that the charge of serious misconduct may dog your steps for a long, long time.
  Right relationships among Christians help to build a strong testimony for Christ in their community. In the midst of spiritual and moral darkness, they "shine as lights in the world" (verse 15). They stand out because their character and conduct are different. While they hold back a tide of godlessness, they hold forth the word of life (verse 16). They keep a firm grip on the gospel, which they offer freely to the unsaved. They order their lives by the high standards of the Word of Life, thereby proving that they are citizens of Heaven. Those who hold fast to the Word of Life become a source of joy to their spiritual mentors (verse 16). They will rejoice at the Rapture.

Paul's Example
  Paul practiced what he preached. He did not live a "Do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do" life. He considered the Philippians as better than himself; and he was deeply concerned about them. If somehow his death as a sacrifice could be credited to the Philippians' account in addition to what they had sacrificed to support his ministry, he was willing to die. In fact, he would rejoice in that sacrifice (verse 17).
   Commenting on verse 17, J. Dwight Pentecost observed:

  Paul views the Philippians as priests, and he sees the good works that spring from faith as the thank offering that the Philippians are offering to God.... But Paul does not want that sacrifice to be a bare sacrifice, and when the sacrifice of their works is offered as a thank offering to God, Paul adds himself as a drink offering in order that the heart of God might rejoice at the offering of praise and thanksgiving that the Philippians together with Paul make. The effect of pouring wine upon the sacrifice would be to cause it to flame up brilliantly. When God sees that sacrifice of good works offered to Him, He is satisfied; but His heart rejoices with new rejoicing when He sees the brilliance of the flame that comes as a drink offering, the sacrifice of Paul, is added to the sacrifice of these saints (The Joy of Living, pp. 106, 107).

  Someone has calculated that the average worker could double his production overnight if he would do everything he knows he should do and stop doing what he knows he should not do. You are a partner in the work of the gospel. That responsibility demands work. Throughout your Christian life, you are supposed to pursue a vocation not a vacation. You are supposed to serve God faithfully. You need to work out your salvation as you work for the gospel. As you do so, your productivity in the work of the gospel will increase dramatically. Just do what you know you ought to do and stop doing what you know you shouldn't do.
  Consider others better than yourself. Be concerned about others. Don't concentrate exclusively on yourself and your needs.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Joyful Life: Study on Philippians Chapter 6

Philippians 2:5-11
    "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The Son Who Became a Servant
The believer should humble himself.

    A small religious college was experiencing financial difficulties. One day a wealthy man visited the campus, where the first person he met was a white-haired man in overalls. The old fellow was painting a wall.
  "Where can I find the president?" the wealthy visitor asked.
  The painter pointed to a nearby house and assured the visitor, "If you stop by that house at noon, I'm sure you'll find him there."
  At noon the visitor knocked at the front door of the president's house. To his surprise, he was greeted by the same man he had talked to earlier, but now the old fellow was dressed like a college president. After accepting an invitation for lunch with the painter-president, the visitor asked a number of questions about the needs of the college and promised to send a small donation. Two days later a check for $50,000 arrived.
  Because the college president was humble enough to tackle a painting job, he had not only brightened a wall but also the college's future.
  In a far greater way, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled himself for the sake of others. Although He was God, He became man. Because He humbled Himself and died for us, we Christians enjoy a bright future.
  Paul wanted the Philippians to serve one another humbly, so he focused their attention on the example of humility Christ set. If the Philippians emulated Christ, their church would resemble a little bit of Heaven.

Be Lowly Minded
   Paul wanted the Philippians to be like-minded, but he knew that like-mindedness develops only when people are lowly minded. So, to encourage the Philippians to be lowly minded, he introduced the example of lowly mindedness Jesus Christ set.
   "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," Paul admonished (Philippians 2:5).  Another way to express Paul's admonition is to say, "think like Christ among you." Such thinking would activate the will. It would produce Christlike behavior. If the Philippians thought like Christ, they would humble themselves and serve one another just like Jesus Christ humbled Himself for our sakes. High-mindedness divides a church and causes individuals to serve only themselves, but lowly mindedness welds a church into a dynamic and caring group of selfless followers of Christ.

Where's Your Focus?
    Paul commanded the Philippians to share an attitude of humility. After all, Christ humbly focused on the needs of others. Throughout His earthly ministry He gave Himself in service for others. And at the end of His earthly ministry He laid down His life for others.
   In the work of the gospel, attitude is far more important than aptitude. Because they were partners in the work of the gospel, the Philippians' attitude toward one another was more valuable than the talents they contributed to the work. A church may bulge with talent, but only humility makes it a home. Talented people may entertain one another, but humble people edify one another. Talent may give a church notoriety, but humility gives it unity.
  Hudson Taylor, a pioneering missionary to China, is remembered best for his faith. However, he was also a humble man. When someone asked him how he was chosen for missionary work in China, he replied that God chose a little man so that others could see what a great God we have. If more Christians regarded themselves as little and God as great, the church would present a clearer picture of God's grace and power.

Down from His Glory
  Jesus Christ provides the perfect example of humility. He provided the standard by which Christians should examine their willingness to put others' interests ahead of their own.
   Paul described Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate existence in Heaven as "being in the form of God" (Philippians 2:6). "Being" means existing. "Form" denotes the essence of something. Therefore, "being in the form of God" means that Jesus Christ existed with the same nature as God, because He was God.
  Paul also wrote that Christ was "equal with God" (verse 6). Because Jesus Christ was God, He shared equal honor and glory with God.
  How did Christ respond to His eternal position as God? He "thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (verse 6b). He did not think the nature and prerogatives of Deity something to be clutched and used for personal advantage. He freely left Heaven and came to earth to identify with humanity, to experience humiliation and to "taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). Hebrews 2:14-16 describes our Lord's condescension on our behalf:
                    Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

   When Jesus Christ left Heaven, He "made himself of no reputation' (Philippians 2:7). He did not cease to be God, but He "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," (verse 7). Although He assumed the form of a servant, He remained God. He could never cease to be what He was eternally-- perfect God. However, He veiled His deity when He became a man. He freely laid aside the independent exercise of His divine prerogatives and lived on earth as a servant. Throughout His earthly ministry, He did the Father's will. He said, "I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29).
  The word "form" in Philippians 2:7 indicates that Christ possessed all the essential characteristics of a servant. Just as He was really God, He was also really a servant. He demonstrated this servitude often during His life on the earth, but graphically portrayed it when He clothed Himself as a household servant, bent down and washed His disciples' feet (John 13:1-12).
   "Made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7) means that Christ became a real human being. Having a real human body, He experienced pain and suffering, hunger, thirst and weariness. He was a human being like every human being, with one exception-- He did not have a sin nature. Hebrews 4:15 assures us that Jesus Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 7:26 adds that He was "holy harmless, undefiled separate from sinners."
  In His condescending to come to earth as a real human being, our Lord identified with humanity. The incarnation did not interrupt or terminate His deity; He was God and remained God, but to His divine nature He added a real human nature.
   Paul informed the Philippians in Philippians 2:8 that "being found in fashion as a man," Jesus "humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." The word "fashion" in this verse denotes something external and changeable. Since Christ was a real man, His external appearance changed, just as ours changes. If you need proof of this fact, look in the mirrior. You will recognize that your appearance is different now than it was ten years ago. However, Jesus' eternal deity didn't change.
   Jesus humbled Himself by becoming a human being and by becoming a servant, but His humbling Himself went even further. He "became obedient unto death" (verse 8). His death was repulsive, excruciatingly painful and barbaric. He died on a "cross" (verse 8). His obedience to the Father and His servanthood took Him to Calvary, where He voluntarily died for our sins.
  The lesson is clear: Jesus considered others better than Himself. He looked on the things of others. He emptied Himself, humbled Himself and died on the cross. Paul wanted the Philippians to be like Christ-- to share with one another His spirit of humility. Just as Jesus put others first, the Philippians were to do the same. By being lowly minded, they would experience like-minded fellowship.

The Name above All Names
    Christ humbled Himself, the God "highly exalted him" (verse 9). After dying for our sins, Jesus arose bodily from the grave and later ascended to Heaven. God exalted Christ not only by seating Him at His own right hand (Hebrews 1:13; 8:1), but also by giving Him "a name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9). God gave Jesus the name "Lord," which was God's own personal name. Jesus did the humbling, God did the honoring. Is there not an interesting sequence here? Humiliation precedes honor.
  God honored Christ for two reasons: (1) that every knee should bow at the name of Jesus (verse 10) and (2) that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (verse 11). The Son became a servant, but He didn't cease being sovereign. Someday everyone will submit to His sovereignty.

A Personal Challenge
    You and the other members of your church are partners in the work of the gospel. As partners, you need to work together. To work together, you need to be like-minded. To be like-minded, you need to be lowly minded. To be lowly minded you need to think as Christ thought. The work of the gospel summons you to humbly submit yourself to God's will and to serve others in Jesus' name.