The Way Towards Unity

Philippians 2:1-11

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In Philippians 2 we find our memory verse for this week, in which Paul exhorts the church at Philippi towards unity: “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind (Philippians 2:1-2, NRSV). In the verses that follow, Paul gives the Philippians some instruction on how they can work towards achieving that unity.

 

Paul’s advice for the Philippians is to pursue humility in order to achieve unity. Humility is to hold one’s self or self-interest in a low or modest regard. In practicing humility, those in Philippi would be placing the interests of others and the agenda of God above their own desires and concerns. This lowering of one’s self would allow room for the Gospel to take over each member’s life and for the church to come together for the purpose furthering the Gospel in their community. In this, they would be unified.

 

But Paul doesn’t stop at giving them some ideal to chase after; he offers a model to copy—a perfect one. Jesus had more reason than anyone to pursue self-interests: he was like God. When tempted to have all the kingdoms of the world put under his rule without having to suffer first, he refused (Matt. 4:8-10). Jesus always subjected himself to God. God’s agenda was the only one he cared about—even if it meant torture and death. Paul called the Philippians to have this same mentality, and we should too.

 

Each one of us has objects we hold as valuable (physical and otherwise), some of them justifiably and others not. We have families and jobs, both of which are important and should not be neglected. We also have ideas, opinions, and agendas that we might say (or at least our actions would suggest) are just as important. What we must remember, and what our actions must mirror, is that all of the things we find value in must pale (greatly) in comparison to the worth we place on the Gospel—God’s agenda.

 

Can you image what the Church would look like if we were all unified around and living out this common idea? What a sight that would be…will be.

– Joel Fletcher

Count the Cost

Mark 7-9

mark 8 36

Wednesday, May 10

What is the most you have ever paid for something? What is the most you have ever gotten from selling something? We value our things and we value our money. It seems that prices keep going up and up on everything that we need. Yet when we sell something it seems the price is never quite as high as we would like it to be. When we buy or sell we must ask ourselves, “What is this really worth to me?” That question will help us decide if we want to buy or sell at the price offered.

 

Jesus asks His followers to place value on what may be the single most valuable thing we have, our life and the choices we make in it. In Mark 8:31 Jesus teaches that He, “must suffer many things and be rejected … and be killed, and after three days rise again.” In the verses that follow He tells Peter that Peter had not set his mind on God’s interests, but his own. Then Jesus tells us, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) Jesus is saying that we must place a value on being His follower. We must also place a value on following our own desires. We must decide which is of greater value to us. If our desires win and we choose to seek the things of this life and avoid the suffering of following Jesus it is a steep price to pay. Jesus says, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Proverbs puts it this way, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 16:25)

 

I leave you with the 2 questions that Jesus asked His disciples in verses 36 and 37, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

-Bill Dunn

 

(Photo Credit: ttps://www.bbmquotes.com/quote-from-the-bible-mark-836/)

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